Readers comments 11.21.12

Building Bridges

Dear Editor:

It was wonderful to see the story about Pomona College’s Bridges Auditorium in the November 17 issue of the COURIER.

It is a beautiful space and a great resource to the college and to the community. I’d like to clear up some confusion about the venue’s ownership history.

Although constructed on land owned by Pomona College, Bridges Auditorium was owned and operated by the Consortium—originally known as “The Claremont Colleges” and now the Claremont University Consortium (CUC) from 1932 to 2007.

After repainting the iconic landmark at its own expense, Pomona College determined that Bridges Auditorium’s future would be better secured by acquiring the building from CUC. That transfer took place in 2007, and Pomona College subsequently made several urgent capital improvements, from updating electrical and fire safety systems to replacing the original septic system with a connection to the sewer system. Pomona College continues to subsidize the annual operating budget for the auditorium.

As Pomona College works to restore Bridges Auditorium to prominence as a major event venue, we hope to better serve both college and community needs.

Cecilia A. Conrad

Acting President, Pomona College until January 5, 2013

 

One party state

Dear Editor:

Apparently my letter “Trending Towards Socialism” struck a nerve among the liberal faction in Claremont. They wrote such darn long letters. However, I wish to make a point one more time.

The people of this country voted their best interest, whether it is a welfare check or food stamps, which they are afraid they might lose in an Obama economy (and I don’t blame them) or maybe an increase in a Medicare supplement that they cannot afford. People vote their interest.

In this election, it is clear that citizens wanted 2 things to happen. They wanted a big government tent and to tax the rich. Mr. Obama, more than any other candidate that I can remember, and I have been around a long time, did a wonderful job of promoting class envy. No one can touch him in that area.

There is a slight downside. California is now a one party state. The Dems are already talking about doubling the car tax. The LA Times has even started to panic, saying “not so fast” on a lot of issues. When there is no one to object, the Dems get tax-crazy and power-hungry. I even hear through a certain legal grapevine that there is going to be an initative brewing after the immigration status is resolved to start open-border legislation. Now that is going to be interesting.

The various interest groups have formed powerful coalitions and I firmly believe there will not be another Republican that will win the White House for many, many years to come. It will basically be a one-party country.

One of my favorite people, Hillary Clinton—after the poor thing gets some rest—will most likely be the nominee in 2016. She will win if Bill is by her side. There would have to be 15 percent unemployment for that not to happen. The problem is, what will the media do when there are no Republicans to pick on? In California, there are just some tokens. After the 2016 national election blowout, there will be just a few Republicans, who don’t really matter in the House and Senate.

The Republicans will lose in great amounts because of the so-called “cultural changes and youth vote.” White men who voted for Romney should do the right thing and just kill themselves. They will be worthless in society in 2016. Who needs them anyway? As one letter-writer wrote “they are pillagers.” 

TV, radio and newspaper people will have no one of any importance to talk to but themselves. It will be hard to get guests to spar on the hated Fox news channel. Maybe they will drag out a very, very old John McCain and he can argue with Jesse Jackson.

I can imagine some massive layoffs and it will be boring in 2016 for the Claremont COURIER to be still talking about the fees in the Wilderness Park, and whether the fees should go or stay. The Readers Comments section will all be agreeing with each other on politics. How boring. What to do? Journalists and media people losing their jobs—how sad. Tsk, tsk.

Jacqueline Mahoney

Claremont

[Editor’s note: Perhaps it has already been heard through the covert “legal grapevine,” but readers and staffers should be happy to hear there will be no journalists laid off from the COURIER. We’re quite healthy. —KD]

 

Paying their fair share

Dear Editor:

As we slogged our way through the recent political campaigns, and as we now approach the legendary “fiscal cliff,” there’s been a lot of talk about getting the rich to pay their fair share. President Obama uses that expression quite a lot, as does Nancy Pelosi.

The newly elected senator from Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren, said that she was going to make sure the “big guys pay their fair share.” You hear it all the time. It’s gratifying to know that everybody is trying to be fair. But what might a fair share for the rich be? The answer is not obvious to me. In 2000, the people with the top 10 percent of income paid 67 percent of all the income tax revenue collected by the federal government. In 2009 it was up to 70 percent. This does not include social security taxes or Medicare, both of which are small potatoes to the wealthy. This is just federal income tax. From all the talk, I would never have guessed it was that high. 70 percent. Wow!

So then is 70 percent a fair share? Is it fair that only 10 percent of the people have to pay 70 percent of all the income taxes? If 70 percent is not fair, what would a fair percentage be? Maybe we should ask these folks to pay 80 percent of all federal income taxes? 90 percent? Let’s just ask them to pay 100 percent of all federal income taxes and make them all wear a big scarlet letter “A” on the outside of their clothing! How’s that for fairness?

I don’t think a lot of people understand that the rich are already paying such a large portion of income taxes. In a recent poll, 58 percent of the American people said they though the rich should pay more. I have to believe that few people know what the actual figures are. You would think otherwise, but not once did I hear any of those blockhead Republican politicians give their listeners these statistics. I was shocked to learn it, and I think others would be, too.

Another shocking figure, this one much more well known, is that 47 percent of Americans pay no income taxes at all. None! Some are retirees on social security, so you have to figure they spent a lifetime paying taxes and now rightfully want to be done. Military personnel in combat areas pay no taxes, and who would want them to? But the retirees and military personnel are the smallest portion of the 47 percent, and I think that a number other than zero might be their “fair share.”

It’s often argued that lower income people are the ones who can least afford taxes. That is undoubtedly true. But lower income people are also the ones who can least afford things like air conditioning, dishwashers, flat-screen TVs, computers, Internet and every video game known to man, and yet they seem to have all those things. Some of the folks I know who inhabit that sweet tax-free zone actually have campers, boats or even horses! So what would be so wrong if they contributed a little something to the public good?

At this point, some of you are reaching for your keyboards, primed to remind us all how people would have to forego food if they had to pay income taxes. But please, please spare us. Those of us without personal assistants to do our grocery shopping know that few of the people we see in line at Stater Bros. using the government EBT cards look like they’ve missed many meals.

I don’t know what to make of all this, it’s too perplexing. Perhaps this may be a symptom of the ever-evolving English language. It used to be that the word “gay” meant happy and light-hearted, but now it has quite another meaning. When I was a kid, anyone born in this country was able to call themselves a “native American.” Not anymore.

I suppose that in modern-day usage, the word “fair” is used to describe a condition where the out-voted few get to pick up the tab for what is becoming a nation of free- loaders. Let us annotate our dictionaries accordingly.

Bruce Spena

Claremont

 

Democracy is not Socialism

Dear Editor:

Jacqueline Mahoney’s letter from November 14 got me thinking of how people throw around words like socialism and fascism as though they describe any and every evil they see when it comes to government regulation. For the record, socialism is a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.

In our case, “community” refers to our elected officials—because we live in a democracy. We elect representatives to work for our welfare to regulate the means of production, distribution and exchange.

We should all be working together to ease the anxiety of those who are uncomfortable about “socialism,” whose candidate lost the election, and who believe that our way of life is now going to decline into what may be a further concept of socialism, as Marxist theory would describe it, as a transitional social state between the overthrow of capitalism and the realization of communism.

Relax, people! Democrats (capital “d”) do not want a communist government nor a communist economic system. We are democrats (small “d”). We believe in democracy. We may see more evils in capitalism than most Republicans, but we recognize and respect our democratic republic and want the best for the people of this country, just as you do.

I agree with Ms. Mahoney that those of us who voted to keep President Obama in office for 4 more years should not gloat about our success but should, as she notes, remember that, although Mr. Obama won the election, it was by a slim margin.

What surprises and scares me is that so many people did vote for Mr. Romney. Most of us—over 50 percent of those who voted—did not see Mr. Romney as a competent person to lead this country.

For me and many others, his personal wealth did not make him a criminal, nor did it make him less capable of leading this nation. However, I do think his wealth,  and the experience that earned him that wealth was an impediment to his understanding of what most Americans have to struggle with every day.

Simply put, Mr. Romney is a fool. He is foolish to believe that millions of dollars from other wealthy people whose interest he would best serve once in office could buy him an election. He is foolish to believe that running an international sports event qualifies him to run the federal government. He is foolish to believe that people who come here from other countries so their children might have more opportunities will go back to where they came from voluntarily and end our illegal immigration problems.

He is foolish to believe that would-be students can borrow money from their parents to go to college instead of utilizing available, needed student loans. He is foolish to believe that the personal decisions a woman makes about how many children she will have or when she will have them is not just that—personal.

He is correct to believe that most families want what he has been able to give to his family, but foolish to believe that that goal is not a struggle for most families in the socio-economic real world, where most of us live. He is a fool to believe that giving tax advantages to the wealthy and corporations creates jobs, even though for 11 years we have allowed those tax breaks, and we are still, as Ms. Mahoney states, dealing with rampant unemployment.

We elected a fool 12 years ago, and we have struggled through wars and tax breaks that have made a few folks richer and most of us poorer or struggling to live well. George Bush is a fool who did not have the qualifications to lead, was incompetent at making intelligent decisions and who gave away our national treasure by turning a surplus into a deficit. What scares me is that if Ms. Mahoney’s figures are reliable, 58 million Americans were willing to elect another fool to lead this country.

One more thing that unnerves me. Please do not describe all families on food stamps as those who don’t “give a damn” about where it comes from and hope to be on food stamps “forever.” Let’s be careful how we judge people in need.

I am sure that many hardworking, tax-paying fellow Americans on the east coast will need food stamps and other essentials from the federal and state governments until they get back on their feet, through no fault of their own.

Pamela Hawkes

Claremont

 

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