Readers comments 2-12-21
I am a Citizen, and you represent Us
If you remain bumfuzzled by all the rhetoric and distorted political reality surrounding those who claim to “own” one or the other of our nation’s two political parties, then you need to know that you are not alone. You also need to know that you are experiencing the only “rational” response to the mind-numbing events of the last six months.
And if, like me, you find yourself standing at the proverbial fork in the road because you know we are witnessing a serious threat to our nation’s integrity as a democratic republic, then the signposts might read despair and hope.
Despair entails doing nothing, because you think, and more devastatingly believe, that nothing can be done to rob fate of its decades of inertia, while watching helplessly as the United States of America joins other failed nation-states in the “dust bin of history.”
Hope on the other hand is a call to action based on the belief that our Constitution, although used and abused by those who would replace democracy with despotism, provides the means to take action of an equal and opposite kind to undo what has been done.
“We the people” are the only source of secular authority recognized and established by our Constitution, and it is only through the respectful and civil exercise of that sacred authority, that we lay claim to it, and secure it and the “blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.”
We are a nation of people not political parties, special interest groups, and political action groups, the existence of which must be ancillary and subservient to achieving the will of the people through the people’s elected representatives.
Upon being elected to serve as your representative on our city council, and in preparation for taking the oath of office, I reread the Constitution of the United States of America, in order to know exactly what I was affirming to protect and defend. And I often reflect on the Preamble as a reminder of the boundaries and specifics of the authority and responsibilities conferred on elected representatives by the people.
I use it here as a conclusion that you might do the same, asking yourself how often our current elected officials reference it as their anchor and North Star, when fulfilling their obligation to do the people’s business, by virtue of the authority transferred to them by We the People.
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, ensure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
Claremont housing policy
I’m writing to address housing policy in Claremont and in California, generally. Prior to my somewhat recent move to Claremont, I spent a good deal of time traveling to/from San Francisco (SF) and Arlington, Virginia. While in SF, I stayed in the district of then Board of Supervisors rep Scott Wiener. I was very impressed with Mr. Wiener’s acumen and in particular his desire to create more affordable (higher density) housing in SF. Mostly though, SF City Hall’s onerous permitting process along with the local NIMBY veto power wielded by neighborhood associations effectively dampened housing development. Mr. Wiener later won a well-deserved seat as a California state senator and introduced many bills (CA Senate Bills 35, 50, 827 and 902) to enable increased housing density, mostly along transportation corridors…but those bills were often opposed even by environmental groups.
This takes me to Claremont’s recent Colby Circle development and La Puerta soccer field issues…so reminiscent of what transpires/ed in SF to prevent the timely construction of housing. At this point, you’re probably thinking I’m going to recommend taking further control away from local jurisdictions and forcing more high-density housing development on Claremont…but you’d be half wrong.
There’s a silver lining when local residents and jurisdictions delay and confound housing development (which keeps housing prices high): Doing so encourages Californians (mostly with lower incomes) to relocate to lower cost red states and that tends to turn them blue. Many of our political problems in Washington, DC spring from the constitutional anachronism giving two senators to all states regardless of population. CA has just two senators representing 40 million people versus Wyoming’s 600,000, Idaho’s 2 million, and Utah’s 3.3 million. Having unaffordable housing is one means to encourage 100,000s+ of CA’s citizens to relocate to close by, less-regulated red states to flip them blue (this vote-blue desire evidenced by CA’s overwhelming presidential choice of Biden by a plurality of 5 million votes). Californians are also moving (and relocating companies) to Texas where Trump beat Biden by ~700,000 votes (5.7%) …so even flipping Texas is a future possibility. Such relocation is the political path of least resistance to take over red states. I note California émigrés have already impacted Washington, Oregon, Nevada, and Arizona…but housing in those states, particularly Washington and Oregon, is getting rather expensive. Lower cost Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, and Texas could eventually have blue senates and blue electors.
The Regional Housing Needs Assessent (RHNA) notwithstanding, anti-affordable housing practices will encourage more Californians to relocate, flipping more states blue…but is even this political equity objective appropriate given the resentment and pain of relocation plus the rising costs that homelessness will put on our citizens? In addition, aren’t we just helping to expand/export our inefficient suburban sprawl into more states? Is this really a path towards a sustainable future?
Back in my once native Arlington, VA, its “Comprehensive [Development and Transportation] Plan” seeks to concentrate high-density, mixed-use development along transit corridors, while preserving and enhancing Arlington’s existing single-family and apartment neighborhoods. First approved in 1960, Arlington’s Comprehensive Plan is updated at least every five years. This ongoing plan has successfully balanced many competing land-use needs but essentially banned new high-density housing except near train stations, consolidated bus depots, and along major feeder corridors…and thus kept the support of those wanting to maintain their green leafy neighborhoods as well as developers who were given an equally green light (including form-based code which sets criteria to automatically approve projects) to create higher-density housing at transportation hubs and along linked corridors.
If Claremont and other SoCal cities were to follow such a Comprehensive Plan, we’d strongly encourage higher density/more affordable housing development near the Claremont train station and areas like the Montclair Transit Center, and secondarily on major thoroughfares with frequent direct bus/interlinked feeder lines to those hubs in coordination with the Inland Valley Transit Authority. Such development along transportation corridors has a lower carbon footprint than typical low-density single-family dwellings. At the same time we’d ban projects building higher-density multi-family housing away from those hubs/transportation corridors. Why is this type of arrangement so difficult to implement? It was certainly possible in Arlington, VA. The time for magical thinking is at an end. Is it possible for us to have a bite of blue cake and eat it, too?
Let’s Clean-up Our Elections in 2022
The attack on the United States Capitol on January 6th was a horrific incident and has been condemned by both sides of the political aisle. I too was horrified by what happened, however rather than trying to blame President Trump for the attack, maybe it would be better to fix both the real flaws as well as the public’s perceived flaws in the voting process.
Sending mail-in ballots to all supposedly registered voters under the guise of “safety” due to COVID-19, in my opinion, was the single biggest opportunity for fraud in the election. I not only received ballots at my house for my wife and I, but also for my deceased son who hadn’t lived with us for eight years and who was murdered on 11-09-18, my daughter who hasn’t lived in California for more than 13 years and who has been registered to vote in Colorado since then, and my eldest son who also hasn’t lived at home for more than 13 years and has been registered to vote in at least three different cities in California since then.
On 2-7-19 a Los Angeles Federal Court ordered Los Angeles County to purge their voter rolls of approximately 1.5 million inactive voter registrations. Obviously, this has not been done and I’m sure other counties within this state have similar problems. Because the Democrats have a super majority in Sacramento, there is no incentive to clean-up the voting rolls.
I propose the following solution: Rather than trust the Registrar of Voters offices throughout the state to purge their voting rolls, why not simply state that every two years, all voters must reregister in-person to vote at the DMV or your local post office with a valid governmental photo ID, a signature, and a fingerprint. Voters wishing to vote by mail must properly complete their ballot, place their fingerprint and signature on the inner voting envelope, and place said ballot in the pre-addressed outer envelope postage pre-paid. All mailed ballots are due in their respective registrar’s office by closing of the polls on election day. All in-person poll votes would require voter ID and would be counted first by computer. As each outer envelope of each ballot is opened, a fingerprint scanner reads each ballot and verifies that it is from a registered voter and if said person had already voted in person, said ballot would be considered void or at least provisional. If the inner envelope fingerprint or signature were computer verified by an eligible registered voter, that envelope would be opened and the ballot is put into the counting machine. Envelopes with illegible fingerprints would remain unopened and put in a separate pile for signature verification. Any ballot received without either a validated fingerprint or signature in accordance with the most current voter rolls would be declared null and void.
I admit that I was one of the 74 million voters whose Presidential candidate lost and I’m one of the “Deplorables that shop at Walmart” that Katie Couric insists that I now need to be “deprogrammed” of my Conservative America First and Make America Great Again views.
Despite these insulting remarks from the left and the censorship threats from Big Tech over the exercising of my various Constitutional rights, I want this country to heal. If we want this country to remain free, there must be trust in the way our elections are conducted. I believe no one, including President Trump, would have disputed the election results if both the actual and perceived voter fraud would have been eliminated. Judges will seldom, if ever, rule fraud against election results in a national election because there is really no way to fairly unwind the results to cure the fraud without disenfranchising the honest voters. Therefore I believe it is imperative that all chances of fraud be eliminated BEFORE decisions to allow mail-in ballots begins or in two years we could have a repeat of 11-3-20.
Kris M. Meyer
Last week Bill Dodge wrote a letter on Claremont housing where we misspelled his last name. We regret the error.