Readers comments 11.12.12
Claremont’s disclosure practices
The city staff’s proposed amendment to the city’s conflict of interest code is on the council agenda for Tuesday, November 13. I’ve read the proposal and noticed a few features that concern me:
1. The City Clerk will be required to make financial disclosures of subordinate officials available for public inspection, but not those of the mayor, council members, planning commission members, city manager, city attorney and city treasurer. This meets the minimum requirements of state law, but the city should go further and make all disclosures available.
2. Officials will not be required to disclose contributions and loans to election campaigns. The city’s code should require that copies of state-mandated campaign finance reports are immediately provided to the city clerk and made available to the public locally along with other financial disclosures. Not all reports to the state are posted online and easily viewed.
3. When an official recuses him/herself from a decision because of a conflict of interest, the official will have the option to reveal the conflicting interest. This should be mandatory.
The city council should also instruct the city clerk to post the agenda and attachments for the next Tuesday’s meeting each Wednesday, rather than each Thursday, so that citizens will have the opportunity to comment in letters to the COURIER before the deadline for Saturday’s edition.
Thank you for Prop 30
We are proud to live and work in a community that puts its children first. Thank you for your support of public education and Proposition 30.
Dave Chamberlain, president
Talia Bowman, vice president
Claremont Faculty Association
Well, all of the shouting and campaign commercials are over and the American people have spoken. For Claremonters a new day has dawned with our newly- minted districts, we now have different representation.
It is with a spirit of hope, that our newly- elected Democrats, who will represent us on the state and federal level, will be more representative of our views and values and work together with us to champion issues that are close to our hearts.
On the national level, our president, Barack Obama has been re-elected. From a history buff, it is interesting to note several unique facts. President Obama is the first Democrat since Franklin Roosevelt to win 2 elections with over 50 percent of the vote and the president also joins President Roosevelt in being re-elected with unemployment numbers being as high as they were.
President Roosevelt built a new coalition of voters who supported his candidacy and President Obama has done the same. America today, is a changing country with changing demographics. It is a country that is multi-racial and multi-cultural. The faces of the crowd for the victory speech of President Obama reflected the face of America today.
The current Republican Party faces some tough questions, if they are to remain relevant. We need 2 strong political parties with competing ideas. The Republican Party can no longer be the party seeking to win the white vote, while ignoring or insulting the concerns of women, and minorities. It will not be long before whites as a percentage of voters is a minority. The Southern strategy worked for awhile and gave the country Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and both Bushes. But times have changed and the reality is that we are a changing country.
We face challenges in the days ahead and it is my hope that in the next few years there will be a greater willingness to work across the aisle to deal with today's problems. The country wants it and demands it. If our representatives in Washington deny this reality they do so at the country's peril.
An open letter to the GOP
On the occasion of President Obama's re-election, I would like to address those who represent the Republican Party in this country. The message is simple: 4 years of unprecedented promotion of hate, misogynism, racism, homophobia, obstructionism and lies did not help any of us, Democrat or Republican. We as a nation need you to examine your policies and to denounce the lunatic fringe that, apparently, has no shred of decency.
We also need you to function in the spirit of compromise, not attack; charity, not greed; and acceptance, not separatism. We are all losing as a people because we are so divided.
As a great poet once said, “The times they are a-changin’!” Not only are the times changin', but the complexion, if you will, of society is changing. We all need to work together to make this nation the melting pot that we falsely claim it currently is.
The people are speaking: 2 more states legalized gay marriage and, hopefully, we are on the road to becoming less bigoted and more democratic as a result. Whenever I hear someone promoting hate toward gays, I remember the same voices 50 years ago speaking against African-Americans and using the same justification for their opinions.
This letter is an open invitation for discourse and compromise, not an indictment. Please search your souls and realize that we cannot be a free nation until all our brothers and sisters are accorded the same dignity and rights as others. When that happens, we become free at last.
In the spirit of Dr. King,
Our democratic values
While analysts reflect on the recent election, there is one topic I have not seen any of them discussing. The election blocked, for the time being at least, a major attack on American democracy. There were 3 components of this attempt to undermine the political character of the country.
First, political campaigns and governance always involve a tense relationship with truth. But as many commentators have pointed out, no previous presidential candidate so fully refused to accept truth as a value in democratic leadership.
In this election, the Republican candidate rejected the importance of truth, of facts. The aim was solely to attain power no matter what the facts. A democracy cannot exist when its leaders, and would be leaders, have no regard for truth.
Second, the Republican party, through a variety of tactics in the service of ‘voter suppression’, tried to prevent voting on the part of people who were presumed to be likely democratic. Studies have shown repeatedly that there is no significant amount of voter fraud in the country. Moreover, in a democracy the presumption must be that it is better to allow some who are not eligible to vote than to create conditions in which genuine citizens are prevented from casting their ballot.
Third, the huge amount of money spent in the campaign, unleashed by the Supreme Court’s logically and historically unacceptable Citizens United decision, went (of course) overwhelmingly to Republican candidates. Corporations and the very rich were enabled by the decision and their wealth to try to further replace our democratic system with a plutocracy.
Fortunately, the attack this time was blunted: lying, voter suppression and excessive money spent did not succeed in electing the party of the rich and powerful.
Only if we all become aware that this election was an onslaught by the wealthy against ordinary citizens and against our democratic values, can we hope to repel more class warfare in the future and also dislodge the successes it has already had while we have slept.