Readers Comments 7-29-16
There’s a big chunk missing from both candidates and their parties. Both Hillary and Donald have raved about rebuilding our military, realizing the need to relieve and expand our military from the current exhausted and overly-utilized regular, guard and reserve, volunteer troops.
Where is the affirmation that we must have a renewed, universal (both men and women) selective service program, if our military is to be restored to the anticipated levels for optimum effectiveness in the upcoming “defense” against ISIS, etc.?
I, for one, believe we need a universal social service program, where everyone from 18 to 26 must serve, say, two years in a chosen branch of service: from military, agriculture, medical, infrastructure (a CCC or WPA-like program), to education, and something akin to the Peace Corps. It could bring this country together in useful and meaningful ways.
Again, everyone in high school would know they had a service-oriented destiny, with opportunities for earned benefits in their immediate future, so they could take their performance in school more seriously and have a way of becoming a constructive participant in sustaining America.
Is there a way to at least get this discussion into the popular consciousness? Are there others who agree with me? I hope so.
Years ago, we all knew we better do our best as teenagers because at 18 we had to register for the draft. The better one did in school, the more options one had in the draft. No options meant I’d be carrying a BAR in the Chosin Reservoir nightmare or on Hill 881. Of course, that was solely male and military, which made the law too limiting for many.
Thank you for considering this.
In his recent letter [COURIER, July 22], Merrill Ring seeks to equate the National Rifle Association, the “gun manufacturing industry” and our Second Amendment with the July 7 anti-police, anarchist shooter in Dallas.
Mr. Ring goes on to assert, without citing a source, of course (because none exists), that the Dallas shooter “acted on a major NRA principle,” namely, opposition to tyrannical government. He then sums things up by accusing the NRA of “hypocrisy” for not supporting the anarchist shooter. The proper word(s) to employ here would not be “hypocrisy” but, rather, “non-sequitur.”
For the benefit of those who may be wondering, a much better indicator of tyrannical government would be—no, not the Dallas police force—but a government with an elected leader whose ultimate guide to Constitutional action is whether he has a pen and a phone.
Voting rights advancement
The end of June marked the three-year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision to gut key provisions of the Voting Rights Act (VRA). We’ve had three years of bad laws that make voting harder in states all across the country. But there is a solution. Tell Congress to repair and modernize the Voting Rights Act today.
The Voting Rights Advancement Act was introduced to address the voting discrimination unleashed in the wake of the Shelby County v. Holder decision. Yet the legislation is being held up on both sides of Congress. It is an unfortunate fact that discrimination in voting against racial, ethnic and language minorities continues in America. This should be unacceptable in the greatest democracy in the world. Add your voice. Tell your senators and representatives to move the Voting Rights Advancement Act forward.
Without congressional action to repair the VRA, 2016 will mark the first presidential election in 50 years without its full protections. Throughout the 2016 primaries we saw voters face a variety of obstacles, from reduced polling places to long lines to removal of registered voters from the rolls, and these challenges are just a canary in the coal mine for what’s to come in November without the VRA’s protections. It’s time we all call on our senators and representatives to take action and end voting discrimination in this country.
VP for Advocacy
League of Women Voters
of the Claremont Area
The Gold Line rush
At the end of its meeting on February 23, 2016, the Claremont City Council “moved to direct staff to work with the [Metro Gold Line Foothill] Construction Authority to prepare a design concept for a light rail overpass at Indian Hill Boulevard in the Village for review by the city’s Traffic and Transportation Commission, Architectural Commission, Planning Commission and City Council.”
This was so the city could make a decision about an overpass before a February 2017 deadline set by the Construction Authority. Failure to build overpasses at the time of line construction will result in massively higher costs to do so after the line is built.
On Tuesday, July 26, some seven months prior to the February deadline, city staff suddenly recommended, and the council voted, to reject the offer of a $20 million overpass, which would have been built by the Construction Authority at no cost to the city. This action was taken without holding commission meetings and with little advance public notice. This is open and transparent government in Claremont?
At commission meetings, citizens of Claremont could have learned about how many light rail trains per hour (the line capacity is 40) will be passing through the city and about how many minutes per hour the at-grade crossing at Indian Hill Boulevard will be blocked by passing light rail, commuter rail and freight trains (up to 48 minutes).
At commission meetings, citizens of Claremont could have learned that the overpass did not have to offer 16 feet of clearance (the I-10 freeway overpass at Indian Hill is only 14.5 feet) and that ramps on either side—the alleged “Great Wall of Claremont”—did not have to be 700 to 900 feet in length but could be as little as 300 feet at the 5 percent grade light rail trains can climb.
At commission meetings, design treatments could have been explored to make the overpass and ramps less imposing.
In rushing to get items passed before their August break, city staff and the council instead have decided to build another kind of wall through the heart of Claremont. This wall will be made up of moving trains that will block Indian Hill for large portions of each hour all day, every day.
Because of the design of surface-crossing warning devices and how humans tend to interact with them, someone will inevitably think they are safe to cross the track while, in fact, a second or third or fourth train is approaching, with the resulting horrific consequences.
City staff forced council to make a rash and uninformed decision on the light rail overpass, one which will alter Claremont forever, with no formal open and documented public input. That should be a very serious concern to us all.