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Readers comments 8.18.12

Golden State Water’s deceptions

Dear Editor:

Mayor Larry Schroeder’s Viewpoint regarding the continual stream of lies and misrepresentations from Golden State Water (GSW) was right on the money.

What is so puzzling is the continual reinforcement of this habitual dishonesty and deceit by the Public Utilities Commission? As Mr. Schroeder points out, the PUC’s awarding of unsupportable increases that advance the ongoing exploitation by the GSW monopoly are predictably consistent.

If one were a conspiracy fan it would suggest the PUC was in the pocket of Golden State Water Company. However, it is more likely that GSW has learned they can simply bury the commission with a continual deluge of uncertain information and legal harassment to the point where the PUC sees a settlement in the favor of the company as the only means of getting the problem off the table.

The system is broken. Not only is it not working to stop unjustified exploitation of citizens, it is designed to encourage continual fraudulent manipulation by mandating this whole process be repeated every 3 years.

GSW will continue to rake in exorbitant profits as long as Claremont citizens are forced to be part of a perverted system where an investment of a few hundred thousand in legal ammunition provides a steady stream of millions of dollars to GSW shareholders and company executives.

John Roseman

Claremont

 

Voters’ rights

Dear Editor:

The League of Women Voters is all about voting: encouraging voting, educating voters, helping people make their voices heard by voting. We educate and advocate about voting.

Then why do we protest so loudly about voter ID laws? Because these laws are a form of voter suppression; they are a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.

Supporters of voter ID laws point to charges of voter impersonation or voter fraud. The facts simply do not support these charges. Despite many allegations and frequent careful examinations of voting records and patterns, little or no evidence of voter fraud has been found.

When studies are done, they consistently point at vote by mail (absentee) voting as the place where most voter fraud might occur. Voter ID laws deal only with voters at the polls, and not vote-by-mail voting.

What has been shown, repeatedly, is that voter ID laws reduce access to voting and do this disproportionately among the elderly, students, women, people with disabilities, low-income people, and people of color.

In a study commissioned by the Brennan Center for Justice, 11 percent of those surveyed did not have a government-issued ID that would be required for voting.

Using census data, this means approximately 21 million otherwise qualified voters who would be turned away at the polls. Of these 21 million:

• more than 70 percent are women

• over one-third are seniors

• approximately 20 percent are between 18 and 24 years old.

Even among those with a government-issued ID, many do not have an ID that shows their current address. This is even more likely among those who earn lower incomes and young people, regardless of income level, because they tend to move more frequently than average.

These same groups of people—women, the elderly, students, people with disabilities, low-income people, and people of color—also are more likely to have difficulty obtaining the required photo ID to be able to vote. They may not have the required back-up documents, and they may have more difficulty taking time off work during business hours, getting transportation to the government offices that issue the IDs, and finding the money to pay the application fees.

Voting is a fundamental right. The League of Women Voters stands with those who protect access to voting rather than those who would disenfranchise eligible voters.

The impact of voter ID laws is to restrict voting, especially among certain groups of voters.

We do not need to protect ourselves against a problem that doesn’t exist.

We do need to ensure that the greatest number of people possible is offered the chance to exercise their right to vote.

Helen Hutchison

LWV California

2nd VP for Program and Advocacy

 

Mind block

Dear Editor:

Mr. Valentine’s letter was different from the usual letters you receive. Most of the letters are in the usual mindset of the “absolute know-it-alls” who write copious letters to the editor—the usual suspects.

Half the town has an “I’m right and you should know it” attitude. The other half goes about their business, knowing they can think for themselves.

It’s too bad when you have a blockage of the mind. I hope it doesn’t hurt too much!

P.B. Ferguson

Claremont

 

Establishment clause redux

Dear Editor:

Two people responded to my recent challenge to explain the Constitution’s Establishment Clause.

Mr. George Roleder says that I challenged “readers” to cite wording in the Constitution. Well, sort of. Actually, my challenge was directed at the 3 lawyers from the Americans for the Separation of Church and State who penned their own letter to the COURIER; but Mr. Roleder is, of course, more than welcomed to participate, as well.

Curiously, Mr. Roleder declared further, “Obviously he [meaning me] believes that only his opinions are worthy of consideration. Hardly the basis for any serious search for the truth.” All the more curious, since my challenge was deliberately intended to elicit opinions. This discussion impresses upon us just how important it is that we citizens cultivate our own independent thought processes.

Another writer correctly identified the very flawed Supreme Court decision as being Everson v. Board of Education, and quoted extensively from Justice Black’s opinion.

Unfortunately, both of these writers fell back on Supreme Court cases, and neither accepted the challenge to cite—nor to explain in their own words—any wording from the Constitution. So, in that case, I’ll go first.

Amendment I to the Constitution, as regards religion, is a two-part affair.

 The first part reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…” The Founders intended with this phrase to prevent Congress from creating (i.e., establishing) a governmentally recognized or authorized national religion in the new country. To put this into context, at the time of the Founding, the officially recognized national religion in the United Kingdom was the Church of England; in France it was the Catholic Church.

The second part reads: “…or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” This is the applicable part for us at the moment.

The Founders intended by this wording to prevent Congress from restricting, limiting, or circumscribing our expressions of religious belief in our daily lives, private as well as public. By extension, the Founders would have understood this prohibition to extend to the Supreme Court, as well, hence removing from the Court any jurisdiction in this area 

Douglas Lyon

Claremont

 

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