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Readers comments 8.9.13

Voting Rights Act of 1965

Dear Editor:

After reading the commentary in the August 2, COURIER, “Congress must act quickly to restore the Voting Rights Act,” I felt compelled to respond. 

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was unconstitutional from the beginning, and the Supreme Court recognized this in their writings. The Constitution guarantees voting rights but leaves the determination of voting qualifications to the individual states. 

Of course, not exclusively but particularly in southern states, there had been a history of egregious violation of black citizen's voting rights. Passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was deemed justifiable by the Court stating, in part, “...exceptional conditions can justify legislative measures not otherwise appropriate.” Knowing that this extraordinary law was unconstitutional, it was originally set to expire after 5 years.

About the current Supreme Court decision that prompted Ms. Taylor’s commentary, she wrote, (the decision) “...erased fundamental protections against racial discrimination in voting that have been effective for more than 40 years.” Well, here we are nearly 50 years later and things have changed dramatically.

Of the court’s recent decision Justice Roberts wrote, “...voter turnout and registration rates now approach parity. Blatantly discriminatory evasions of federal decrees are rare. And minority candidates hold office at unprecedented levels.” (That includes, of course, our President.) The Supreme Court, with their current decision, views the Voting Rights Act of 1965 no longer necessary.

Racial discrimination in the United States is not completely dead. It probably never will be. But it is most certainly on life support. Some folks have a need to keep the illusion of mass racism alive.  Why? There are all manner of reasons.  For the Sharpton's and Jackson's of the world, their livelihood depends on race baiting and racial extortion.

Fanning racial tensions and discontent is used regularly for political advantage.  “Playing the race card” has become an effective way to quickly put a political opponent on the defensive.  

It appears that the League of Women Voters might need to review their positions on race related issues. We need to let racism slip away, only to be remembered as one of those ugly things in our history.

Jack Sultze

Claremont

 

Tenth Amendment

Dear Editor:

Mr. Gar Byrum offers a thoughtful letter [Proposition 8, COURIER, August 2] regarding “standing” to argue a case, and other issues.

Proposition 8 and same-sex marriage are frequently conflated with other issues. Just to clear the air, Prop 8 has no relation, rhetorically or otherwise, to the right of women to vote. That’s already covered in plain, easy-to-read English by the 19th Amendment. Nor does it have anything to do with denying blacks service and public accommodations. Likewise, that’s already covered by similarly plain, easy-to-read English in the 14th Amendment, ratified in 1868 to unambiguously clarify the rights of recently freed slaves.  

On the other hand, nowhere does the Constitution recognize a right to same-sex marriage, or, in fact, address marriage at all, in any way, shape, or form—unless, of course, one is looking for one of those special rights, you know, the ones written in invisible ink, like the right to abortion. 

Our Founders would have seen marriage as one of the many issues, “...reserved to the states respectively, or to the people,” per the 10th Amendment.   Therefore, the federal Supreme Court should have acknowledged Prop 8 as entirely outside the purview of the federal courts.  

Further, as an amendment to the California state constitution, Prop 8 can not be declared unconstitutional by the California Supreme Court. Prop 8 is what the people of the state of California intended to be the law of the land, in California.

Douglas Lyon

Claremont

 

Water: Local or federal control

[Editor’s note:?The following letter was sent to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune with a copy forwarded to the COURIER for publication. —KD]

Dear Editor:

Reporter Steve Scauzillo of the San Gabriel Tribune reported on the meeting held Tuesday, July 30 in San Dimas. His opening statement was: “Powerful water interests and conservative members of cities in Los Angeles County raised numerous concerns relative to the proposed legislation that would grant the National Park Service power to manage portions of the San Gabriel Foothills, Puente Hills, and San Gabriel and Rio Hondo rivers.”

At this meeting, a number of various city council members were in attendance, however, opposition to this proposal was shared by conservative and liberal council members alike.

Many of the liberal council representatives do not support this proposal at this time, so the assumption that opposition, or concern, is only from conservatives is erroneous and divisive.

If Steve was referring to the audience,  I am curious how he could decipher the “conservative.” I could not determine who was a liberal, a conservative, or a non-political member of the audience by visual appearance. Given that all questions were submitted in written form and read by a member of the sponsoring organization, anonymity prevailed.

This is a very important issue: an issue that should not be framed in the confines of “conservatives vs. liberals.”

At stake is the control of the water along our San Gabriel mountains. Water that is used and needed in our cities—it is much of the water we drink. “He who controls the water; controls the land.” That was true in the early years of our nation, and it is true today. One just has to look at the devastation in the central valley of California—ours is the Santa Ana sucker fish, which is on the “protected species” and could have a similar affect on our cities along the San Gabriel Mountains.

This issue and proposal should be studied thoroughly; it should be written clearly, detailed, and without ambiguity.  The difference between a “reporter” and a c”ommentator” is the difference between “objective” and “subjective.”

The public needs objective reporting.   I urge Mr. Scauzillo to report the facts objectively; and refrain from subjectively promoting political divisiveness.

Water is vital to us all—let us be sure we do not fall prey to those who may not have our best interest as their priority.  Kudos to both political parties who are proceeding cautiously in this issue, 

Carolyn L. Gonzales

Claremont