Readers comments 1-15-21
The last best hope on Earth
In response to the insurrection on January 6 in OUR nation’s capital, President-elect Joe Biden characterized the event as “An assault on the most sacred of American undertakings, the doing of the people’s business.” In so doing, he has provided us with the opportunity to consider the magnitude of the violation in the context of the sacred nature of our founders’ creation.
As the immediate heirs to the intellectual curiosity and freedom of thought birthed during the Enlightenment, most founders believed that some form of concordance needed to exist between their experience of the sacred, and their vision of a form of government and governance that could “secure the Blessings of Liberty” to themselves and us, their posterity.
From their correspondence and the words and concepts put forward in their Declaration of Independence, it is clear that our founders’ sense of the sacred played an essential role as their source of inspiration, courage, and authority to declare independence, and claim their right to form a government that reflected their collective understanding of the sacred and their time and place in history.
Like most Americans who observed the profanity of the insurrection on January 6, in OUR NATION’S CAPITAL, President-Elect Biden was disturbed to the core of his being, by the depth of contempt and disrespect for processes and precedents that have preserved the integrity of our democratic processes and institutions for generations. And by breaching the barricades, ignoring orders to retreat, and forcing entry into the legislative chambers of the Capitol Building, the insurrectionists demonstrated their purpose to disrupt, the necessary element to be charged with, and tried for sedition.
How our Justice Department proceeds with identifying and prosecuting the organizers, provocateurs, and insurgents who violently entered and terrorized those who were in the final and necessary act of publicly recording the presidential election results, will determine the trajectory of our nation’s destiny. But proceed it must!
President-Elect Biden is well aware of what is at stake, quoting President Abraham Lincoln’s words, “We shall nobly save or merely lose the last, best hope on Earth.”
Throughout his campaign, President-elect Biden alluded to his personal commitment to fulfill the obligations of his oath of office, which I think for him means that in some essential way, it is an oath to bring into concordance the sense of the sacred that permeates our founding as a Nation, and the secular Constitution, which presents the blueprint to govern in a manner dedicated to serve “We the People,” “to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States” and “secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity.”
The “We” for whom the words of Lincoln were intended included elected official, but more importantly and necessarily, “We the People,” the citizens of Lincoln’s time and place. Its reference in the context of the current threat to the integrity of our nation and the continuity of the peaceful transfer of presidential authority, is intended to engage the same audience, “We the People,” you and me, and every citizen of our time and place.
And herein lies the challenge. How and to what extent will each of us engage in this absolutely necessary act of citizenship, and what outcome will we use to measure progress and success? Our individual and collective efforts to restore the integrity of our democratic republic, the rule of law, and civility, mutual respect, and common decency in our public discourse, will only be achieved through an honest, soul-searching assessment of our own political lives.
All of us have lived experiences with one or more disruptive periods of our nation’s history. And whether you were a participant or disengaged observer during these challenging periods of our shared history, none of us were immune to the political consequences, and most of us have experienced a profound deterioration of our attitudes towards government, elected officials, and our ability to even discuss political issues at the dinner table with family and friends, much less in public with our fellow citizens.
And if your history resembles mine, it is difficult to escape a sense of complicity in the erosion of our level of trust in government and the people we elect to represent us, and more importantly in our ability to engage in civil discourse with people holding views that differ with ours.
So herein lies the real challenge that we, and only we, MUST face, in order for the sacred experiment of self-governance to continue. Are we, as the generation that both spent the inheritance paid forward by preceding generations of Americans, and watched in horror the penultimate act of desecration inflicted on our constitutional democracy, willing to discover the thread of the sacred that connects our founding as a nation with the desecrating acts of a few of our fellow citizens. And with an urgency that assumes responsibility for the outcome, begin to restore the sense of the sacred to our performance of the duties and obligations of citizenship, in order to experience the “Blessings of Liberty” and secure them to our posterity.
What is at stake is nothing short of the challenge President Lincoln successfully confronted, and President-elect Joe Biden is preparing to take on as President of the United States. And like President Lincoln, President Biden will need “We the People” to be fully engaged in restoring the Union, lest WE “lose the last, best hope on Earth.”
GSW rate increase
The Golden State Water Co. is in the process of requesting a rate increase. Last week a letter to the editor expressed alarm about that. My mind is a swirl of related thoughts.
• Since late last year California water futures have been traded as commodities on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. That is a point of economic interest in the Central Valley as a hedge against drought shortages. Almonds, pistachios and other cash crops are at stake and the groundwater has already been ravaged.
• California, Nevada and Arizona are negotiating how to allocate Colorado River water that is in dire short supply. There isn’t even enough water in the river at the southern border to meet our treaty obligations to Mexico. Notice the “bathtub rings” around Lakes Powell and Mead.
• The Imperial Water District sells its federally subsidized agricultural water to coastal metropolitan suppliers for hundreds of dollars per acre-foot more than the federally subsidized price of about $3.25 per acre-foot.
• There is economic anxiety across California about the anemic growth of the state’s population. Is a growing population an economic necessity? In a state that can’t even house all of those already here!
Perhaps there ought to be a serious discussion of how we use water, where we get it and what environmental damage is caused by extracting it. Some limits to growth appear to be upon us.
Jim des Lauriers
Crushing small businesses
Banning outdoor dining at restaurants operating responsibly and following published guidelines makes no sense. Forcing closure of barber shops and hair salons that follow CDC guidelines makes no sense. There is no scientific evidence that an increased number of COVID-19 cases are the result of these or other small businesses, operating responsibly according to CDC guidelines, remaining open. Massive numbers of small businesses are dying while Wal-Mart, Lowe’s, Home Depot, Costco and other large stores are allowed to remain open. Is wandering the aisles of a crowded big box store safer than getting a haircut at a barbershop that allows one customer to enter at a time? Is standing in line six feet from others waiting to get into Target safer than dining outdoors six feet from others?
So, I am writing in support of those restaurants and other responsible small businesses who would defy the authority of the government to put them out of business when there is no scientific proof that the restrictions have much chance of reaching any positive result.
I continue to be stunned by the number of anti-maskers who go out of their way to assault and shame mask-wearing citizens. Like a group of feral animals, they protest, they raid malls and big box stores proudly proclaiming their freedom from government overreach and captured in all their glory by hundreds of smartphone videos. So I recently had this Twilight Zone fantasy moment in which there were no TSA, no baggage or passport inspections—nothing!—at any airport anywhere. Flyers would have the precious freedom to fly with no security hassles whatsoever. You buy a ticket. You get on a plane. End of story. On each flight, then, one would never be certain if there were passengers carrying bombs or guns or machetes. But our freedom lovers would not have to endure pesky safety measures like, say, the wearing of masks around others. I wonder, then, how many would feel comfortable boarding an airplane.
Citadel of democracy
On January 6, 2021 right-wing extremists attacked our citadel of democracy in Washington, D.C. They attempted to overthrow the duly elected legislated bodies of our government. They threaten the lives of the leaders of those legislated bodies. But they did not do this seditious act without encouragement from a parcel of demigods. They were philosophically lead by a ministry of liars set to incite the violence that occurred. They were both of political and corporate enemies of discourse and violent rhetoric.
Donald J Trump
Donald J. Trump Jr.
Cultist citadels of disinformation:
And the white supremist and anti-American value militias.
These people and these organization have led a seditious war against democracy and they should all receive the wrath and economical reprisal of the American people, besides the legal penalties of sedition.
Each and every person who enabled the siege upon the Capitol and the Congress need to feel the full wait of the law upon them and suffer any and all circumstances reaped upon them by God, country and community.
Overreaching his authority
Governor Newsom just signed executive order M-19-19 which diverts $5 BILLION from the special gas tax revenue to “Global Warming Projects.” Once again, he is overreaching his authority instead of letting the legislature do their job.
He obviously learned nothing from being sanctioned by the court for overreaching on the voting procedure.
He obviously is totally ignoring the will of the voters when they agreed to his gas tax hike in order to repair the roads that were in such disrepair. When will we get enough signatures to put “Recall Newsom” on a special ballot and get him out of office?
Democrats for Justice
It is a great honor for me to endorse the Democrats for Justice slate, and Tina Fredericks for E-Board, in this 2021 Assembly District Election representing Assembly District 41. They represent the change we need in the California Democratic Party. They will bring a balance of youth and experience, fresh ideas and wisdom, into the party.
I have been a California Democrat my entire voting life, and was devastated when Donald Trump won the presidency in 2016. Out of despair the day after the election, I wrote an open letter to my daughters which was published in the Claremont COURIER. In it, I apologized to them for not doing enough to stop a conman and serial predator from becoming president. I was their father, I felt I could have done more to protect them from having Trump as the role model-in-chief for millions of entitled white males out there who would now feel it was okay to treat women like objects.
My activist roots were set aflame. I decided I would no longer be just a single voter. I would be an influencer. I dedicated much of my free time toward flipping Orange County blue and got involved in local politics as well. In 2019 I was elected as a delegate to the California Democratic Party, running on the Democrats for Justice slate organized by Tina Fredericks. During that last two years, I have come to admire Tina’s organizational and leadership style which led us to win 12 of the 14 delegate spots. Her skill was further on display this fall as Tina ran for and won a seat on the Pasadena Unified School District board. I believe she succeeded because she truly listened to people, carefully considering the issues important to her future constituents.
After many deep conversations with my daughters, it is my conclusion that what we must do now is bring young people into the Democratic Party, not force them away by dismissing their efforts to bring progressive change to our country. We need young people to trust that the party’s values are their values. The party needs to dedicate itself to working for the issues that ultimately will be up to the next generation to share. The way to earn their trust, in my opinion, is to bring them into the party and to get them involved now. That is what Tina is doing and is why I have decided to step aside this time and make room for young activists.
I am impressed that the Democrats for Justice have recruited a diverse group of bright, talented, and accomplished young people with proven records of progressive activism, like Josue Barnes, co-founder of Claremont Change, a racial justice and police reform organization, Sashary Zaroyan, mental health advocate, and Jonathan Horton housing activist, to run this year. I have worked with some on local campaigns for racial justice, the environment, housing and local offices, including Phalana Tiller and Sam Berndt. Others, I have come to know in virtual meetings and phone conversations. Josue Barnes went to Claremont High School with my 25-year-old daughter, and the youngest slate member, climate activist Larissa Cursaro, attended CHS with my 21-year-old daughter.
Democrats for Justice is a diverse and accomplished group of activists including Joe Salas, educator and former candidate for Citrus Board, gun violence survivor, Cindy Montoya, and environmental engineer, Tim Wendler. They are running on a truly progressive platform. I wholeheartedly endorse the Democrats for Justice slate and urge you to vote for them all, including Tina Fredericks for E-Board.
Mike Boos, DMA
California Democratic Party Delegate, AD41, 2019-2021
American historians and political commentators in ranking Presidents have placed Trump at the bottom, as our worst President. While that is correct, it is not sufficient: being the worst of something is relative to the excellence of the others ranking higher or the worst may be just a whisker below those above. I argued some time ago that, in order to show Trump’s place in American history, he must also be named on a quite different list, the list of great American disasters. That list includes Pearl Harbor, 9/11, slavery, the Vietnam War, Wounded Knee, the Dust Bowl… you can continue.
The Trump Presidency belongs on that list.
Trump’s latest actions, however, have over-taken even that recognition that he is a national disaster. He was elected to destroy, to end Lincoln’s realization that the U.S. is dedicated the equality of everyone, to wipe out America as a liberal country. As a culminating (we hope) act of that project, in his chaotic and incompetent way, he incited his authoritarian cult to physically attack a major symbol of the country. We are lucky that it was no worse, with more deaths, especially of those who are our elected representatives.
I have no idea how to name the further list that only Trump inhabits.