Listen to Bera's Disputed 2010 Gas Tax Remarks: Did Lungren Get it Wrong?

Dan Lungren says Ami Bera supports an increased gas tax, while Bera says he never supported such a move.

For instant updates, follow Elk Grove Patch on Facebook and Twitter.

Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Gold River) criticized election opponent Ami Bera at a forum this weekend, saying the Elk Grove Democrat supports higher gas taxes. Bera was quick to dispute that, according to The Sacramento Bee.

Both men were sparring over remarks Bera made during a 2010 telephone town hall, when Bera said an increased gas tax was worth considering. 

"He wants you to pay more at the pump than you do now, not for infrastructure but for punishing you, because he says as a doctor he knows how that's changed (behavior)," the Sacramento Bee quoted Lungren as saying at the forum.

The Sacramento Bee said Bera "suggested in an interview after the forum that he had been misquoted" in 2010, and his campaign manager disputed Lungren's portrayal of the issue:

"Dr. Bera does not support increasing the gas tax and never has," campaign manager Josh Wolf said in an emailed statement. "In 2010, he was asked if an increase in the tax would help curb consumption and he replied that it would, although he never stated that doing so was a good idea. He didn’t support it then, and he does not support it now because it would be an unfair tax on the middle class."

The Bera campaign declined to comment further on the issue.

I was the one who reported on the 2010 telephone town hall (in the Elk Grove Citizen) and luckily, I kept an audio recording of the event. Bera's disputed remarks are embedded above.

Readers, what do you think? Did Dan Lungren mischaracterize Ami Bera's 2010 remarks, or does the audio say otherwise? Leave your thoughts as a comment below.


Sign up for the free Elk Grove Patch newsletter | Like Elk Grove Patch on Facebook | Follow @ElkGrovePatch on Twitter | Blog for Elk Grove Patch

Ric B October 02, 2012 at 12:26 AM
Lungren is getting desperate! After losing the debate & the Sac Bee endorsement, Lungren would have us believe he is the better alternative to protecting us from Big Oil & market manipulators jacking up gas prices to stuff their pockets. He is the man to do this? Lungren takes big time $$$ from oil industry & he is the gatekeeper! The fox(faux) is guarding the hen house folks! Google for yourself Lungren's top 10,20 campaign donors/contributors as reported to the Federal Election Campaign Commission(FCC). How about them as indisputable facts?
Think Free October 02, 2012 at 12:28 AM
Your are right Cody, dang-it. Me and that truth machine again! I know M Legison dang-it is not a proper word! You do not need to point it out!
Ric B October 02, 2012 at 12:29 AM
Cody, I'll make it easy for you. Please delete my pending comments, thanks.
Think Free October 02, 2012 at 12:30 AM
Ric B, I have not heard anything from him regarding speculation. I could be wrong or might have forgotten.
Ric B October 02, 2012 at 12:50 AM
Lungren was wrong Dr.Bera did NOT endorse high gas tax. He said it was something to consider, look at. Just like when you go work on a project or go shopping their are many factors you use to form your decision making process. This does not mean you will do all of your passing thoughts or ideas. Just like window shopping, it doesn't hurt to look. Furthermore I would venture to say Lungren at some point must have voted for a gas tax increase either in an Omnibus legislation or Highway/Transportation funding bill. Would this not be a gas tax increase, especially if he is acting like he would/didn't raise the gas tax?
M.Legison October 02, 2012 at 05:57 PM
This is a very tight race. My information is second hand from the campaign, but from what I understand the race is now statistically tied with Lungren only 2 pts. up. Both campaigns are now using voter turnout models for prediction, and with a new district the data is extrapolated, not purely historical. In 2008, Lungren beat Durston, a less desirable candidate than Bera, by only 6 pts. In 2010 he beat Bera by 7 pts, both in CD3 but using Sacramento County stats only. In the 2012 primaries, he took Bera by 12 pts in the new CD7. The primary turnout was low, so that's not a completely reliable indicator. The question comes back to voter turnout, and down ticket voting. Democrats typically vote down ticket when there are social issues, Republicans with fiscal issues. This year the issues are mainly fiscal. If you use models from 2004, 2010, or 2012 primary, Lungren wins. If we use the 2008 model which is optimistic for the Democrats, Bera could edge him.
Pam Pinkston October 02, 2012 at 07:24 PM
@Think Free. There's no taking Ami Bera out of context. He is a died in the wool progressive---anti-capitalism, forcing an ideology on people to get them to comply with progressive values, big government (from whom all blessings flow). Here is the full transcript of this audio byte. I leave it up to others to read the transcript and make their own decisions. No more "spin," Think Free: TRANSCRIPT PART 1: "We’ve got another question from James (last name inaudible). He’s got a question about energy consumption. James, what’s your question? JAMES: Uh, yes, do you hear me? BERA: I can hear you James. You’re on James. JAMES: OK. My question is, we have a problem with consumption…the culture In America. We have to do things to stop consumption, like a gas tax, raise the gas tax, (inaudible). BERA: Absolutely, that is one example, and that is an example that (inaudible) agrees with, and... JAMES: I’m talking about a force, an action you can do, to, you know, wake up corporate America and wake up the (inaudible)." SEE TRANSCRIPT PART 2.
Pam Pinkston October 02, 2012 at 07:25 PM
@Think Free: TRANSCRIPT PART 2: "BERA: Absolutely. James, I think you’re on the right track there. I mean what we have to do is, instead of taking dollars out of the consumer’s pocket and putting it in corporate America, what we need to do is actually move away from consumption---and it’s not just limited to energy, right? I mean we’ve been sold a bill of goods about consuming things, whether it’s the six-bedroom four-bath house or bigger cars or a television in every room. We’ve been pushed towards consumption and I think we’ve gotta make a movement towards values, and think about the things that are the most valuable to us. So, James, I think you’re on the right track here. Dan Lungren is all about corporate America. I’m all about how do we rebuild main street America. That is truly what drives me. How do we start to rebuild communities. Now, the key to education is rebuilding, you know, a partnership between, you know, the parents and teachers and schools. It’s getting back away from the consumption of things to the consumption of values. So, James, I think your question was right on, one idea that is certainly is out there that we can do is thinking about a gas tax to reduce consumption. But, you know, we saw---as a doctor we certainly saw what happened to smoking rates, so, you know, that’s something certainly worth exploring."
Pam Pinkston October 02, 2012 at 07:32 PM
And for those of you who've never seen it. "The Story of Stuff," is a progressive think tank's anti-capitalism movie that they are showing our children in school. It's on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gLBE5QAYXp8. Never before in our recent history have the freedoms and ideals that this country were built on been under greater attack. Educate yourself and be clear where you stand, because the progressives have a great way of making taking away your freedoms sound like something you should be willing to do "for the greater good." It is noble and generous to be willing to have your choices taken away from you. DON'T FALL FOR THE LIE!!!!!!! Your personal choices and freedoms were the greatest gifts given to you by both God AND the Founding Fathers. They have made this country the most abundant and free country in the world!
Pam Pinkston October 02, 2012 at 07:45 PM
@Think Free: Straight from the transcript, Bera's statement re the issue of using a tax to punish bad behavior: "So, James, I think your question was right on, one idea that certainly is out there that we can do is thinking about a gas tax to reduce consumption. But, you know, we saw---as a doctor we certainly saw what happened to smoking rates, so, you know, that’s something certainly worth exploring." Sounds to me like he's definitely leaning more TOWARDS a punishing gas tax than not. Just sayin'....
Pam Pinkston October 02, 2012 at 07:53 PM
Another half truth spun by the progressives, that we're running out of oil, to bolster their green energy programs. Don't get me wrong---I'm all for green energy, when it becomes affordable and the market will support it. Read this article: http://www.calwatchdog.com/2012/01/24/ca-boasts-23-of-u-s-shale-oil-reserves/ "California continues to try to erect an energy embargo around California with its Cap and Trade regulations and AB 32 mandates to plug its structural $20 billion annual budget deficit. But ironically, California is sitting on a potential second resurgence of its oil patch that might be able to patch up the state budget deficit and sharply cut unemployment. The state budget deficits are not solely due to a prolonged economic downturn. They are a choice."
Think Free October 02, 2012 at 08:45 PM
I am proud of you M Legison, you made a statement based on critical thought without slamming anyone as a person or being pretentious. I agree!
Julia Dietrich October 04, 2012 at 12:15 AM
Dr.Bera never said he would pass a gas tax and he never would pass such a tax. He supports closing tax loopholes for corporations and millionaires to fix the budget deficit in order to keep the tax burden off the middle class.
Independent thoughts October 04, 2012 at 12:17 AM
Lungren is an experienced politician who knows that most of what he says to the media will not be fact-checked by the general public, so he feels he has the liberty to say almost anything (within reason) to harm the opposing candidate.
Max Johnson October 04, 2012 at 12:26 AM
i just wish that politics in america could focus on issues instead of sinking into semantic and ad-homonym arguments of no real consequence. I had felt that in the debate the moderators did a good job of getting the candidates to stay on important issues and keeping them in line when they strayed, but now it looks like Lungren has returned to his career politician roots. Not to say that bera wont be any different once he enters the Washington culture. Its just disappointing to see the candidates taking each other out of context like this.
O F October 04, 2012 at 02:48 AM
I like Dr. Bera because he represents Main Street, not Wall Street, like Mr. Lungren does. Also, Dr. Bera does not necessarily support a new gasoline consumption tax, but understands that we need to be more intelligent about how we use our resources and not be wasteful. Mr. Lungren has been misrepresenting Dr. Bera's position on this issue and is using it for his own political gain.
Tim S. October 04, 2012 at 02:54 AM
After listening to the remarks, it seems that these comments were taken completely out of context by Mr. Lungren. Dr. Bera doesn't support a gas tax, and has never supported one in the past. It's hard to trust Mr. Lungren when he makes comments like this - we need our candidates to speak truthfully.
Levi Sheldon October 04, 2012 at 03:08 AM
Lungren once again distorts the word of the doctor for his own political ambitions. Dr. Bera does not support a gas tax, the words were taken out of context. This demonstrates the sweaty desperation of Dan Lungren's deceptive message.
Fausto October 04, 2012 at 03:28 AM
The statement of Rep Lungren regarding Dr Bera's supposed support of higher gas taxes is clearly a misdirection as the actual audio recording by the original reporter of this story clearly shows that Dr Bera did not say he supported increased gas taxes. Why the misdirection? Perhaps Rep Lungren is so concerned that his track record in Congress will cause him to lose this election that he is trying to muddy the waters? Seems like the an act of desperation.
jay October 04, 2012 at 03:35 AM
Dan's misrepresentation of Dr. Bera's stance shows his lack of honesty in his relentless pursuit of political office. This guarantees my vote for Ami Bera on November 6th. I will not tolerate the ineffective truth-bending of the current congress, exemplified by Representative Lungren.
Jerry Brown October 04, 2012 at 03:48 AM
I think it is clear that Dan Lungren is once again misleading the public. He decided to alter the stance of Dr Bera simply to gain political advatage. This type of political point scoring is exactly what the public are fed up with and it is about time we had a representative who really wants to tell us truth and represent us. From what Dr Bera said it is clear that he does not support a gas tax.
YogaMom47 October 04, 2012 at 05:01 AM
Really? He brings up a MISLEADING quote from TWO YEARS AGO. This information is not only out-of-context, but is also outdated. Again, we see Lungren's willingness to mislead the public. But I think we're more intelligent than that!
Ally October 04, 2012 at 05:35 AM
Dr. Bera never said that he would support a raise, just that it's an option to explore. Gas consumption is a large part of any discussion about energy and climate change, and the gas tax is a key policy affecting gas consumption. I feel more comfortable having a member of Congress that considers all policy options and cares about the facts, instead of one that mischaracterizes his opponent's position to get re-elected.
Alice Smith October 04, 2012 at 06:21 AM
Ironically, English friends who visited here last week couldn't get over how cheap our gas is; they pay the equivalent of $10 per US gallon of petrol. Dr. Bera said that reducing consumption in America needs to be considered and gas tax would be one way to do that. He did NOT say he supported a gas tax to reduce consumption by seeking alternative energy resources. He did say that when cigarette tax was raised, consumption reduced and this had a beneficial result. I certainly would love to fund alternative energy methods through a gas tax but that is not what this is about. Dan Lungren voted against equal pay for women. Presumably, 50% or so of his constituents are affected by that. Why are you focusing on his actual votes and misrepresentations of the needs of his constituents.
M.Legison October 04, 2012 at 06:53 AM
Pam, please stop dealing in facts and recorded transcripts. Just because Bera is on record agreeing with the caller about a consumption tax and a gas tax doesn't mean Bera agreed with the caller about a consumption tax and a gas tax.
Pam Pinkston October 04, 2012 at 03:56 PM
LOL, M.Legislon!!! Isn't it interesting how all these Bera enthusiasts, just to malign Dan Lungren and for no other reason, will even go so far as to deny their guy's progressive policies that they would otherwise be all up for? Go figure....
Think Free October 04, 2012 at 05:17 PM
Here is some more information on what Dan Lungren stands for from todays Sacramento Bee http://www.sacbee.com/2012/10/04/4880130/ad-watch-republican-ads-mislead.html
Daniel October 04, 2012 at 06:16 PM
Bera does not support a gas tax and I don't believe he ever said he did. It think this is an example of Lundgren misrepresenting Bera's position for his own gain.
Error404 October 04, 2012 at 07:20 PM
Im so sick of the Republican party these days, each week there seems to be more and more lies and half-truths coming out of their mouths. From the Presidents, "you didnt build that" to this, it seems like the entire Republican strategy is to slander their opponents. Ill be glad to see scum like Lungren out of office soon.
l hilden October 25, 2012 at 06:48 PM
as a former die-hard republican I am disgusted by Mr.Lungren's misinterpretation of Dr.Bera's words..and to this maniacal raging Pam Pinkston I say take a chill pill and get your facts in order.......your ignorance about how and why this country was founded is astonishing.....imagine if the entire population of the U.S. followed your thought train ......would you call that Liberty and Justice for all???


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »