Shadegg’s Border Problem

Posted March 3, 2008 at 6:35pm

If Rep. John Shadegg (R) is having problems at his district office, he might want to call Rep. Ed Pastor (D-Ariz.). That’s because Shadegg’s office isn’t technically in his own district, Arizona’s 3rd. Instead, it’s in Pastor’s 4th district.

Confused? It’s easy to see why.

Shadegg moved his staff into the office, located on East Bethany Home Road in Phoenix, back in 1997, a spokeswoman says. But a round of redistricting ahead of the 2002 elections

moved the borders of Shadegg’s district, leaving his office about 200 feet on the wrong side of the district line.

The quirk, the result of the often wacky vagaries of district-drawing, had gone relatively unnoticed until HOH started making inquiries. Democrats in Arizona, unsurprisingly, were amused to find out that Shadegg — whom they’re hoping to unseat this year — and his staff don’t work out of their own territory.

[IMGCAP(1)]“John Shadegg is so out of touch with his district that his office isn’t even in it,” says Emily Bittner, a spokeswoman for the Arizona Democratic Party. “It’s just another sign that his heart really isn’t into representing the people of the 3rd.”

Shadegg in February announced plans to retire at the end of this term, but changed his mind 10 days later.

Shadegg spokeswoman Abby Winter noted that when the Congressman first signed the lease on the office space, it was a part of his district. The office lease was vetted, like all other Congressional offices, by the House Administration Committee, she says.

But it looks like Shadegg might be rethinking his position on border issues — at least when it comes to those of his own district.

“We’re talking to them now about the best course of action,” Winter says.

Proud to Be a Latte-Liberal. “Labor-loving, latte-liberal pantywaist” sounds like a slur right out of a conservative’s political-attack script. But Steve Novick, the Oregon Democrat running against Republican Sen. Gordon Smith, wears the label with a knowing smile.

Novick actually has business cards identifying him just that way. A helpful tipster sent HOH a copy of the card, which looks like your standard issue, except for the tagline identifying Novick as a “labor-loving, latte-liberal pantywaist.” A hammer and sickle icon identified with communism graces the upper left-hand corner, while the symbol for recycling — another liberal cause célèbre — is on the right side. A union symbol decorates the lower left corner.

Turns out the business cards were a gag gift from one of Novick’s pals, Chris Warner, now an aide to Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski. The tagline borrows from a 1999 Oregonian feature story that actually praised Novick, who was then the head of a nonprofit, for opposing a rival’s tax proposal that the newspaper said would have cut the state’s budget by 15 percent. The headline of the story, which became an inside joke among Novick’s friends, read “Labor-loving, Latte-Liberal Pantywaist Cries Wolf.”

Novick tells HOH that he found the joke “funny as hell,” and he copped to some of the labels. For instance, he admits, he’s been known to enjoy an occasional latte. He does take some exception, though, to being called a “pantywaist.”

“A pantywaist is a wimp, and I consider myself to be a fierce advocate for progressive causes,” he says.

Tour-Menting the Hill. Congressional offices (even GOP ones) are griping at the folks on the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue. And this time, it’s not over spending levels or stalled nominations or wiretap laws, but something a bit more mundane: White House tours for constituents.

The Web site that Congressional offices use to set up White House tours has been on the fritz for the last week and a half, harried Hill staffers tell HOH, leaving them unable to handle the reams of requests from folks back home planning to head to Washington during cherry blossom time. A few offices tell us they’re fending off the requests until the site gets up and running again — and having to apologize to irritated constituents hell-bent on seeing the Rose Garden.

Though the snafu might seem trivial, it’s resulting in ticked-off would-be voters, giving Hill staffers yet another reason to grumble about that other branch of government. “They can’t even get this right,” sniffs one Democratic staffer.

Passport to Congress. Travel guru Rick Steves may have spent the better part of his life living out of a suitcase in faraway locales, but today he’s learning how to become a “temporary local” on Capitol Hill. The author and host of public TV series “Rick Steves’ Europe” will spend the day talking to lawmakers about poverty and social issues as well as the problems with America’s isolationism as part of nonprofit Bread for the World’s lobbying efforts.

Steves tells HOH he’s noticed more and more Americans trying to pass themselves off as Canadians while traveling abroad, in fear of getting poor treatment if they’re identified as being from the United States.

“I find that travel bookstore owners that I know are selling more Canadian flags to U.S. travelers,” says Steves, who tells HOH that he has never disguised his American status.

A native of Washington state, Steves is meeting with the Evergreen State’s Democratic Sen. Patty Murray and Reps. Norm Dicks and Jay Inslee before attending a reception in Rayburn 2322 at 5:30 p.m. The lecture will be followed by a public talk at New York Avenue Presbyterian Church at 7:30 p.m.

Submit your hot tips, juicy gossip or comments here.