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| Opinion | July 19, 2018

I just finished reading Lee Barnathan’s background article on Logan Smith and applaud Logan’s courage and civic mindedness in running for public office. However, I cannot support Logan’s advocacy for sanctuary cities, marijuana dispensaries, and his opposition to block homelessness on public streets. We see how well that has worked out in San Francisco, Seattle, Denver and many other Liberal enclaves. No thanks.
Max

 

It’s Official! Trump LOST

Now that everyone finally agrees Russia meddled in our election, we know how Trump won. The MAJORITY of the country DID vote for Hillary Clinton, of course, but now we know Russia made sure Trump won the electoral college, because it’s FAR better for them. They are master manipulators.
It explains why Trump’s deflecting the special counsel’s findings, trying to end it at every turn: He HATES LOSING, and the Mueller investigation proves he didn’t really win.

His biggest weakness (a massive narcissist who is desperate to appear a “winner”) makes him EASY for foreign leaders to manipulate. All they have to do is flatter him. Get him out of there before our democracy is a mere memory.
To Republicans who loved to chant “lock her up” and talk about Hillary’s lies, Trump’s lies are totaling over 1 million and counting. LOCK HIM UP!

-Greg

P.S. Trump’s tweeting about “higher intelligence”?! He has to be the president with the lowest IQ EVER. And who elected him? Americans with the lowest IQ’s ever.

Wrong Headed Versus Evil

| Opinion | July 19, 2018

by Stephen Smith

I have often heard conservative commentators remark that conservatives think that the progressives are wrong-headed, however, progressives think that conservatives are evil. Unfortunately for progressives, it has created a situation where they seem to believe that it is honorable to do and say evil in confronting what they believe are the evil Conservatives. Conservatives may continue to argue with facts, logic and compassion, but their words fall on deaf and angry ears from those who believe that Conservatives are the manifestation of evil.

How else can you explain the reactions against the Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh? Last week, Hillary Clinton spoke at a convention for the American Federation of Teachers in Pittsburgh, with menacing eyes and a stern strong voice, saying she once believed that his confirmation would take us back to the 1950s, but now believes that our rights will be rolled back to the 1850s. Her declaring the 1950s as the throwback puts us in a time before Roe v. Wade and abortion were illegal or frowned upon by society. From the left’s viewpoint, crushing the life out of a women’s unborn child is not only a mothers right worthy of celebration, but it is proper to take property (tax dollars) from those who view this action as murder by funding such organizations as Planned Parenthood who are deeply involved in abortion.

Of course, those who object to killing and theft as a method of birth control and call for a policy of “right to life” are labeled as stupid, misogynist and evil. She is clearly implying that Justice Kavanaugh will not only end all man-created rights for women, but also, implied by her reference to the 1850s, will bring back slavery. Does she really believe that a Kavanaugh court would repeal the 13th Amendment to the Constitution which states, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” We are either very blessed by not having an insane Hillary Clinton as President, or she believes her lies are justifiable because she is simply doing evil to fight evil. It is shameful that such a decent, well-qualified man is subject to such slander. In addition to his many community involvement activities, every week he has coached children’s sports and volunteered for Catholic charities to feed the homeless. Hillary clearly lacks the moral authority to make her pronouncements on such a fine man.

While in college, student Hillary Clinton did her thesis on Saul Alinsky, author of the tactical guide book currently being used by the Progressive Left, “Rules for Radicals: A Practical Primer for Realistic Radicals.” This guide promotes disgusting and immoral tactics that were not inspired by our Creator-given unalienable rights. Instead, it’s dedication states, “Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history (and who is to know where mythology leaves off and history begins — or which is which), the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom — Lucifer.”

Recently, we have seen the adoption of Alinsky tactics in the recent Congressional hearings with FBI agent Peter Strzok by the faux outraged Democrats. Strzok was smirking while Democrats were attempting to block his testimony. The actions are nearly endless. Listen to almost any statement by Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, Kamala Harris or Maxine Waters.
Liberty and freedom are very fragile things. The words and actions of our political leadership in recent weeks do not serve those principles well. Creating FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) serves the extremes of totalitarianism and anarchy more than that noble vision upon which our nation was created.

Editorial Cartoon

| Opinion | July 19, 2018

The Automation Question

| Opinion | July 19, 2018

By Anthony Sotelo

For centuries now, the human way of progress has been a constant redefining of the modes and means of production. We developed tools to make labor easier and established trade routes to gain use out of newfound excess. Each step in civilization coincided with a step in technological advancement. Each technological advancement meant less and less manual labor to be done to perform a task.

As you may know, the average American is a laborer. That is, they sell their time and expertise to a company or person to fulfill a task. These tasks range in difficulty, and you usually get paid respectively. Naturally, the laborer depends on their wage to clothe, house and feed themselves.

We are reaching a critical point in our history that no one wants to acknowledge. The elephant in the room is the use of machines and artificial intelligence to replace humans in various workforces. This, by all means, should be a welcome change in our society; less work for us to do means more time to relax, right? Not exactly.

As I said before, wage laborers depend on a consistent form of income through their work. If a machine is able to replace them and turn the owner a profit, they will lose their job in an instant. The number of available jobs will continue shrinking. And it isn’t just manual labor; as artificial intelligence becomes more and more sophisticated, the capabilities and effectiveness of machines rise, making an increasing amount of jobs obsolete.

Not only does this have a catastrophic effect on individual lives, but it places a crushing blow on the spending power of the working class. The destruction of high-wage labor jobs will further gouge the rift of income inequality. Many will have no means of making a living and our social systems will not be able to withstand the wave of unemployment that will come. So what is there to do about the impending automation?

It is important to note that the machines are not the ones replacing us. As skilled as a robot may be, it is not sentient and cannot make decisions to work on its own. Behind this drive for efficiency is the loyalty to the bottom line. Someone is laying off these workers, ordering these machines and saving some money. Something that should make a laborer’s life easier thus ends it as they know it.

To this end, we must approach our economy in a new way if we are to avoid a societal crisis. Establishing worker owned co-operatives and democratizing workplace affairs is one way of ensuring savings stay within the hands of workers. Not only do these co-ops provide sustainable, local jobs, but they stimulate the local economy by keeping revenue out of multinationals. By keeping labor localized, workers can enjoy the benefits of automation without crippling their capability to live.

The other option is to stand idly by while the already looming wage gap grows larger, dragging more and more people into poverty. Of course, as more people slip into poverty, less people can spend their money on the copious amount of now-so-easily produced goods. And anyone who has taken a high school history course knows what happens after that.

Always Advocating Alan – The City of Santa Clarita’s Homelessness Plan, Let the Other Guys Do It!

| Opinion | July 19, 2018

Homelessness is a growing issue, which appears to be of greater concern to our residents every day. We are constantly bombarded with images of homeless encampments in the news and on social media, as well as views of mountains of trash left behind as homeless encampments are forced to move. Some of us see the situation first hand on our daily commute to our place of employment, as well as on the way home. But, even with all the attention this situation is getting, a solution is still out of reach. Looking at homeless demographics, there are those who are drug addicted, those with mental health issues, some who are just down on their luck and need a helping hand, and others who, believe it or not, actually like the homeless lifestyle.

Helping individuals living on the street is going to take a multi-pronged approach, including changes to our legal system, providing financial aid, employment assistance, transitional housing, medical and psychological services – all of which will probably never provide a 100 percent solution. Helping those who want to be helped, or who can be convinced to be helped, is currently the best we can expect. Yet, we are realizing, with rents and the overall cost of living going up, there are a fair number of our neighbors and friends who are in danger of becoming homeless. Seniors who are living on a small fixed income are already in the crosshairs of homelessness. Some seniors have moved out of state or doubled up with a friend, but there are many others who are just a few dollars a month away from being out on the street.

Well, to bring the discussion closer to home, it was not that long ago we were told a fable in order to convince us to vote for Measure H. Advertised by the “Ballot Statement” and PATH, Measure H would provide the funding necessary to end L.A. County’s Homelessness over five years. The sad part of it is that the Santa Clarita Valley will be contributing three times more than we will be eligible to get back to address the homeless issue, because the maximum amount of return is distributed by the percentage of homeless in an area. Our city council decided not to chime in on this issue, and even after the measure passed and preliminary discussions were being held on how to divide up the funding, our city was not represented.

But now, Homelessness has become a hot issue, and it is an election year. According to the July 7, 2018 Signal article penned by Councilmembers Smyth and McLean, “In 2017 the (City of Santa Clarita Homeless Ad Hoc) Committee was formed to discuss and work toward the most effective strategies for addressing homelessness in our city. The committee meets regularly to collaborate with stakeholders from the Santa Clarita Valley and beyond.” Yet, that is far from what really transpired. In fact, being an Ad Hoc Committee, their meetings have not been at regular intervals, or noticed to the public. In addition, minutes of their meetings have not been produced or made public, as well. We just keep hearing councilmembers talk about what a great job they are doing.

Well, some funding did arrive in Santa Clarita when the city received a $50,000 grant to generate a plan on how to handle our Homelessness issue. The city hired Analytic Insight LLC to “engage in strategic planning and development of a Homeless plan for the city.” A Draft Community Plan to Address Homelessness, dated July 2018, is now available on the city website for community review and comment. The document is 60 pages long, with some notable sections as follows.

Within the plan, a description of the City Planning Process reveals, after interviews with 30 undisclosed stakeholders, a two-day strategic planning event, and a network analysis, indicates the top 2 “Areas of Greatest Need” as: 1) Lack of a Year-Round Homeless Shelter, 2) Lack of Affordable Housing Options, including Transitional, Permanent and Supportive Housing. Are you surprised or impressed with these findings? I certainly am not. It really took $50,000, a consultant, and an interview process to find out what we already knew? Further discussion of the current Winter Homeless Shelter included observations showing, a lack of adequate street lighting, sidewalks, running water, and sewer connection. Not to mention, the shelter is a group of temporary structures. Then, why does the city brag about giving “Bridge to Home” $1 million worth of land? Maybe the city should use its influence, or a little money, to hook up the facility to water and the sewer system. The currently defined fix for Bridge to Home’s shelter is, “to investigate a variety of funding sources … to address these needs,” with the city providing an effort to capture Measure H funding by generating Measure H applications by March 2019.

Several other areas described incomplete activities, such as determining families and individuals at risk of becoming homeless by using information gathered with the help of schools and Student Resident Questionnaires. There was no mention of a process to also identify families and individuals at risk of becoming homeless who do not have children in school, as well as retired seniors. Mental health and drug addiction appear to be included in the Homelessness Plan, but nothing about Primary Health Care and Dental. Why have they been left out?

To sum it up, the City of Santa Clarita’s Draft Community Plan to address homelessness is not an action plan, it is a plan to generate other plans, develop materials, and have more meetings, scheduled from now through the end of 2021. While the plan calls for many tasks to be performed, the responsible individuals and their organizations are not identified. Buy-in by performing organizations is also not included. When a plan does not address the entire issue, lacks specific assignments, and does not have buy-in from those expected to perform specified tasks, it is guaranteed to fall apart. My suggestion is to change the status of the Homelessness Committee so as to fall under the Brown Act and have meetings which are noticed and open to the public. That way, members of the public will be able to attend and provide input relative to areas they feel are lacking. At a minimum, the plan should be revised to add responsible individuals and organizations and include the process which will be used to validate task completion.

I urge each of you to visit the City of Santa Clarita’s website at santa-clarita.com/homeless, have a look at the Draft Homelessness plan and return comments to the city by emailing homeless@santa-clarita.com before August 22. Because if we are not all in this together and continue to push the city council, I can assure you nothing will happen, and the problem will only get worse.

Trump Buys Survival Insurance from Brett Kavanaugh

| Opinion | July 13, 2018

By Dick Polman

Feel free to tell yourself that Donald Trump chose Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court because the guy went to Yale (Trump reportedly loves Ivy League creds), or because the guy has been thoroughly vetted by the Heritage Foundation and the Federalist Society (the right-wing groups that have long been funneling conservative judges to the bench).

But if you really want to know why Trump chose Kavanaugh, just check out the article he wrote in 2009 for the Minnesota Law Review. He said that serving presidents should be exempt from all criminal and civil investigations – because they’re just too darned busy doing the people’s business. He teed up his argument on page 1,460:

“I believe it is vital that the President be able to focus on his never-ending tasks with as few distractions as possible. The country wants the President to be ‘one of us’ who bears the same responsibilities of citizenship that all share. But I believe that the President should be excused from some of the burdens of ordinary citizenship while serving in office.”

Then came this, on page 1,461:

“Congress might consider a law exempting a President – while in office – from criminal prosecution and investigation, including from questioning by criminal prosecutors or defense counsel… Even the lesser burdens of a criminal investigation – including preparing for questioning by criminal investigators – are time-consuming and distracting. Like civil suits, criminal investigations take the President’s focus away from his or her responsibilities to the people. And a President who is concerned about an ongoing criminal investigation is almost inevitably going to do a worse job as President.”

There you have it, folks. Trump has purchased survival insurance. Yes, Kavanaugh’s ascent will virtually cement a 5-4 conservative majority for decades, tilting America further rightward on everything from civil rights to corporate power, but Trump would’ve punched that ticket by choosing anyone on the Federalist Society’s wish list. As they say at Wharton, Kavanaugh is “value added.” He has the requisite conservative creds, plus he’s on record saying that presidents should be exempt from investigation. Trump’s knowledge of jurisprudence could probably fit in a thimble, but he has a feral instinct for saving himself. Indeed, it has been confirmed in news reports that Trump’s aides flagged that law review article for his edification.

So if or when Robert Mueller’s investigation lands in the laps of the justices, on some crucial point of law, Trump can probably count on Kavanaugh to serve his interests by arguing that Mueller is burdening a very busy man and that therefore Trump shall not deign to honor a Mueller subpoena. That’s the kind of fealty Trump craves. Senate Democrats, who are virtually powerless to block Kavanaugh’s ascent (in part because some of the red-state Democrats up for re-election could vote Yes), may well argue during the confirmation process that Kavanaugh should recuse himself if he’s confronted with the Mueller probe, or with the current defamation suit that accuses Trump of sexual harassment – on the grounds that he shouldn’t sit on any case that involves the president who nominated him. Good luck making that stick.

By the way, there’s a very funny moment in the Law Review article when Kavanaugh unveils his exempt-the-president argument and quickly adds: “This is not something I necessarily thought in the 1980s or 1990s.” Yeah, no kidding. Because in the 1990s, as a lawyer with a Republican track record, he served on Kenneth Starr’s team, in criminal pursuit of President Clinton.

At one point Kavanaugh told Starr in a memo, “I am strongly opposed to giving the president any break.” So he had no qualms then about investigating a serving president (of the opposing party, anyway). Suffice it to say that he has since changed his mind.

Can Trump count on Kavanaugh’s loyalty when the chips are down? Perhaps the nominee gave us a hint on Monday night, when he thanked Trump for the honor and immediately went into hyperbolic overdrive: “No president has ever consulted more widely, or talked with more people, from more backgrounds, to seek input about a Supreme Court nomination.”

How could he possibly know that? Why should we believe that? If Brett Kavanaugh wants the American people to believe that he’ll function as an independent member of the supposedly independent judiciary, and that he’ll have an open mind when confronted by a potential constitutional crisis, it would surely behoove him not to sound like the daffy doctor who said that Trump was virtually the healthiest human specimen since the dawn of man.

Copyright 2018 Dick Polman, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. Dick Polman is the national political columnist at WHYY in Philadelphia and a “Writer in Residence” at the University of Pennsylvania. Email him at dickpolman7@gmail.com.

Letters

| Opinion | July 12, 2018

I have lived in Canyon Country since 1988 and have lived with the increased traffic congestion and took the opportunity to write the editor of the Santa Clarita Signal, looking for proposed action to remediate some of the congestion. This was a few weeks back and the response that I got was that the City and LA County were addressing this. To be more specific I ask if the City Powers were looking at the traffic congestion created by the aggressive building of new homes. Whether there was specific plans to address the traffic problem that is going to be the result of the additional homes being built on the river area West of Sulphur Springs School, which will surely impact Sand Canyon and Soledad Canyon. And last but not least; why has the City not found it necessary to construct Bus Pullouts to help avoid the traffic back ups throughout the East Side of the Valley? Thank you for your time.

Michael Satterthwaite

 

I feel like I have been on an enjoyable road trip down memory lane after reading Harry Parmenter’s “Finders Keepers”.
Whenever I pass a lonely, lost penny on the ground, I always bend down to pick it up. I can never forget my mother’s words that a lost penny will bring good luck. It’s amazing how memories inspire us to carry on.
Myrna Fein

‘If Men Were Angels, No Government Would Be Necessary.’ – James Madison

| Opinion | July 12, 2018

by Stephen Smith

No group of individuals is imbued with more responsibility to protect and defend the Constitution than the members of SCOTUS.

With the battle for the confirmation of the next Justice for the Supreme Court under way, we would do well to remember these words from some of the framers and signers of the Constitution of the United States of America.

“If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.” – Alexander Hamilton

“The legislative department shall never exercise the executive and judicial powers, or either of them: the executive shall never exercise the legislative and judicial powers, or either of them: the judicial shall never exercise the legislative and executive powers, or either of them: to the end it may be a government of laws and not of men.” – John Adams

“[A] limited Constitution … can be preserved in practice no other way than through the medium of courts of justice, whose duty it must be to declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void. Without this, all the reservations of particular rights or privileges would amount to nothing … To deny this would be to affirm … that men acting by virtue of powers may do not only what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid …” – Alexander Hamilton

There it is. The purpose of our government as realized through the application of the Constitution is to protect individual rights such as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, with a limited government. The individual branches of government, (Legislative, Executive and Judicial) are clearly defined, and one branch should not usurp the powers of another. De-facto legislating from the bench is a no-no. Social change issues may be enacted by the legislature. Our founding documents define what government may not do to the people, and not what it must do for the people.

Divergence from this basic concept defines the real difference between Constitutionally-oriented Republicans and the modern Progressive Leftist Democrats.

Republicans will look for a Justice who is an originalist and uses the founding documents, their original intent as discussed and argued by our founders as the referential source for their decisions. Originalist judges will not legislate or engage in executive edicts. They will honor the separation of powers. They are not there to enact social change – that is the job of the legislature. They must determine if a law is constitutional by a fair reading of the text and not how they feel about the efficacy of the policy or those enforcing it. They are the keepers of the Constitution. They have one standard, and it is to look at each case independently and make judgment based on whether it holds up to Constitutional muster. They know that if they do not adhere to these ideas, we become not a nation by the rule of law, but by the ever-changing whims of men.

This may sound harsh, but the Progressive Leftist Democrats have largely rejected the principles behind the Constitution, except where it may be convenient. Senator Chuck Schumer has called Justices who seek to follow the Constitution in making their decisions, far right-wing extremists. Progressives believe the courts should be the instrument of social change, especially when they have failed to do so in the legislature. The results are that by legislating from the bench we have laws and policies enacted and enforced by Justices who do not answer to the people. The feelings of the Justice often take precedent over the law as written. They are looking for Justices who conform to the progressive agenda and beliefs. Progressivism is becoming the new religion that cannot tolerate decent. Once progressive Judges are seated, a firm reliance on Stare Decisis (precedent) is promoted to avoid the need to look to the Constitution for guidance.

I would suggest a reading of the travel ban decision, both majority and minority, to see how these ideas play out in real life. https://www.npr.org/2018/06/26/623525875/read-supr,eme-court-decision-upholding-trumps-travel-ban.

The battle for the next member of SCOTUS has been engaged. To quote Shakespeare, “Cry ‘Havoc!’, and let slip the dogs of war.” I am rooting for the Constitution.

Take A Knee?

| Opinion | July 12, 2018

Publisher’s note: As football season approaches, I’m sure the controversy over kneeling during the national anthem will resurface. A Gazette reader submitted the following article to me, originally published by Christian Index in September of 2017.

By Stanislaus “Stan” Drew

Take a little trip to Valley Forge in January. If you don’t know where that is, just Google it from the sidelines. Hold a musket ball in your fingers and imagine it piercing your flesh and breaking a bone or two. There won’t be a doctor or trainer to assist you until after the battle, so just wait your turn. Take your cleats and socks off to get a real experience. Then take a knee.

Then, take one at the beach in Normandy where man after American man stormed the beach, even as the one in front of him was shot to pieces … the very sea stained with American blood. The only blockers most had were the dead bodies in front of them, riddled with bullets from enemy fire.
Take a knee in the sweat soaked jungles of Vietnam. From Khe San to Saigon … anywhere will do. Americans died in all those jungles. There was no playbook that told them what was next, but they knew what flag they represented. When they came home, they were protested as well … and spit on for reasons only cowards know.

Take another knee in the blood drenched sands of Fallujah in 110 degree heat. Wear your Kevlar helmet and battle dress … your number won’t be printed on it unless your number is up! You’ll need to stay hydrated but there won’t be anyone to squirt Gatorade into your mouth. You’re on your own.

There’s a lot of places to take a knee. Americans have given their lives all over the world. When you use the banner under which they fought as a source for your displeasure, you dishonor the memories of those who bled for the very freedoms you have. That’s what the red stripes mean. It represents the blood of those who spilled a sea of it defending your liberty.

While you’re on your knee, pray for those that came before you, not on a manicured lawn striped and printed with numbers to announce every inch of ground taken … but on nameless hills and bloodied beaches and sweltering forests and bitter, cold mountains … every inch marked by an American life lost serving that flag you protest.

No cheerleaders, no announcers, no coaches, no fans … just American men and women … delivering the real fight against those who chose to harm us … blazing a path so you would have the right to “take a knee.”

You haven’t an inkling what it took to get you where you are … but your “protest” is duly noted. Not only is it disgraceful to a nation of real heroes, it serves the purpose of pointing to your ingratitude for those who chose to defend you under that banner that will still wave long after your jersey is retired.

If you really feel the need to take a knee, come with me to church on Sunday and we’ll both kneel before Almighty God. We’ll thank him for preserving this country for as long as He has. We’ll beg forgiveness for our ingratitude for all He has provided us. We’ll appeal to Him for understanding and wisdom. We’ll pray for liberty and justice for all … because He is the one who provides those things.

But there will be no protest. There will only be gratitude for His provision and a plea for His continued grace and mercy on the land of the free and the home of the brave. It goes like this…
GOD BLESS AMERICA!”

Stanislaus ‘Stan’ Drew originally wrote this post (in 2016) ‘when he was a member of Palm Springs Baptist Church in Palm Springs, FL’ after San Francisco 49er Colin Kaepernick first began his protests during the National Anthem. Stan currently lives in Crescent City, FL. 

Back to Decency

| Opinion | July 12, 2018

by Tali Radcliffe
Free speech. Here in the United States, it is taken for granted. Our founding fathers thought it was important that in the new country they were creating, people had the right to speak their minds without repercussions from the government. Many feel the United States is the poster child for free speech. However, in recent times, that cherished right has been threatened. On college campuses and other places across the country, people are being shut down because of their opinions. People are being chastised because they are not using the right words. What am I talking about, you might ask? I am talking about the extreme use of political correctness in our society. Now, for all of you political correctness lovers out there, be warned: this article does not use political correctness to the extreme. I will speak respectfully of others, but I will not be monitoring everything that comes out of my mouth. I am a person who speaks my mind, even if it’s hard to hear. Alright? Great. Let’s begin.

The third edition of Webster’s New College Dictionary defines political correctness as “of relating to, or supporting a program of broad social, political, and educational change, especially to redress historical injustices in matters such as race, class, gender, and sexual orientation,” and “being or perceived as being (overly) concerned with such change, especially in the avoidance of giving offense.”

At its foundation, political correctness is good. It’s synonymous with behaving like a decent human being to others. However, when people start to become concerned with monitoring and censoring our actions and everything that comes out of our mouths, I start to draw a line. It is one thing to be a decent human being when conversing with people, but it’s another to take it to the extreme by suppressing people’s speech and actions just because it might offend somebody.

A good example of this is found in an article titled, “College Turns Halloween into Liberal Political Correctness Fest,” written on Breitbart.com, published in October of 2015. It mentioned that some colleges were restricting Halloween costume options that were deemed “politically incorrect,” some examples being hula skirts, afros, and leis. Dressing up as Pocahontas, Pancho Villa, or as a cowboy were also considered no-no’s, in addition to many others. You can see the whole list in the article. Additionally, the article mentions that the only politically correct costumes that did not offend anybody were dressing up as a carrot, a bottle of ketchup or mustard, a tree, or peanut butter and jelly on bread. However, the article retorts by saying even that may offend people who have allergies, or eat gluten-free food. My point in all of this is that you can always offend somebody, no matter how hard you try not to. Therefore, let’s lighten up a little with the restrictions of Halloween costumes, for goodness sake. I get that people are trying to be considerate, but I think this is going a little too extreme.

Never before in my life have I felt timid and scared to voice my opinions as I do today. I am a conservative Christian. My beliefs and opinions usually do not match the majority of students on campus. I avoid talking about anything controversial, which in today’s world constitutes a lot of topics. I do this so I am not yelled at or shut down because of my opinions. I find that trying to keep up with the current political correctness standards exhausting and they prevent me from trying to say what I really mean.

Let me elaborate. For my Statistics class, I had to gather data about the COC student population. As part of the process, I had to conduct a survey. I thought about asking what a student’s gender was, but then decided that was too much work, as the number of gender identification possibilities can be quite large to be inclusive of all, making the question more complicated than I thought it should be. In the end, the gender question was required. I ended up giving four options: male, female, gender-neutral, or prefer not to answer. In my communications class, I did something similar. I had to distribute a survey to my classmates and was required to include gender. I asked, “What is your biological sex: male (XY) or female (XX),” leaving no room for discussion. On one of the surveys that was filled out, one person still asked about gays and lesbians. Your sex and gender are two different entities in this world, today. One is what you are biologically born as, and one is what you identify as, because you can identify as a host of different genders. Just look on Facebook. They have over 50 to choose from.

The extreme use of political correctness, in my opinion, discourages open communication. It prevents us from speaking our minds and having intellectual, thought-provoking, discussions with each other, because we are too preoccupied with avoiding offending someone, instead of having a conversation. According the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE)’s website, Ann Coulter, a conservative author, journalist, and lawyer, was disinvited from speaking at college campuses three times as of 2014, because she speaks in a very frank manner that some people can find offensive. With this and her political views, there were three missed opportunities for college students to possibly have heard different sides of issues, different ways of thinking about things. This is concerning. If people are not open to hearing both sides of an argument, then how can we ever hope to accomplish anything?

College of the Canyons has recently hosted deliberative dialogues regarding the gun issue on our campus. I have attended two of them. From what I have experienced and heard, there have been more good exchanges of ideas, opinions, and views than bad ones, even if they differ greatly. To me, it feels like we are actually moving forward and working on finding a solution to the problem. Why can’t we have more of that? There are always going to be people in the world who will offend you, that will rub you the wrong way. I have experienced some of those people. I bet you have too.

But let’s rise above the crutch of “being offended” and instead be open to agreeing to disagree on some issues. It makes life so much more interesting and intellectually vibrant. As one Santa Clarita resident who is a conservative Christian and mom so eloquently puts it, “if people treated each other decently, there would be no need for it. If we opened our minds to differing opinions, then perhaps we can take something from that opinion and make ourselves better with it.” Such a simple concept, yet so powerful and meaningful. Imagine what the world would be if we took her advice. Having our minds open to differing opinions and views of the world can make us better people in the process. The first sentence of our Constitution reads, “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure 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.” It defines who we are as a nation and as individuals. The extreme use of political correctness has restricted our general welfare to be ourselves and the blessings of liberty to speak our minds without repercussions.

So I ask you, implore you, to take a moment and listen, to open up your mind to the possibility of other ideas and views of this world. That is how this country was started, by people being open to new possibilities. Our country was the first of its kind. Some thought we would not make it. But here we are, over 200 years later, still going strong. Is not our very existence as a nation proof that we can overcome our differences and be united? I ask you, all of you, regardless of your views, opinions, and beliefs, to listen. I ask you to be open to bettering yourself and making yourself a more rounded, intelligent, learned person. If everyone one of us does that, there is no need for political correctness, because we are just being decent, respectful human beings who can converse with each other without being ambivalent. Isn’t that the kind of world you would want to live in? I sure would, and I hope we can start to get along with each other and put the “kind” back in humankind.

There Goes the Neighborhood

| Opinion | July 12, 2018

I was never a fan of the children’s show “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” when I was a kid. My eyes were usually focused on the town of Bedrock. There was a lot more going on there than in the sleepy place where Mr. Rogers lived. If I wasn’t hanging out with “The Flintstones,” I might be found immersed in the hyperkinetic world of Warner Brothers’ “Looney Toons.”

Mr. Rogers’ hometown was slow and boring. But “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” a new documentary about his show, now in theaters nationwide, has caused me to re-evaluate my opinion.

Television in the 1950’s and 1960’s was (especially when it came to children’s programming) often inane and consumer-centric, pitching foods that were high in sugar and low in substance, household products we didn’t necessarily need, and toys like Barbie that defined feminine beauty. There were also the toys that not-so-subtly hinted at what it meant to be a man, like G.I. Joe action figures, which promoted the sale of plastic weapons of war.

I didn’t have the patience for someone as dull as Mr. Rogers. I couldn’t appreciate his subtle, nuanced message extolling the specialness in all of us. Tackling issues like race relations, death, divorce, love, loneliness, anxiety, hatred, and violence was clearly over my head back then. Even though I and many other kids were forced to confront them in our own lives.

Fred Rogers was an ordained minister with training in child psychology; a man who wrote, composed and played music, designed, produced, and performed nearly everything viewers saw and heard on his show. He was also the pre-eminent spokesperson for both children’s programming and the value of public broadcasting.

Funding for public television was then, as now, a target of conservative leaders in Washington. Some considered it a ridiculous waste of taxpayer money at a time when President Richard Nixon was demanding increased funding for the Vietnam War. Despite this, the soft-spoken Rogers managed to convince Rhode Island Sen. John Pastore, the gruff tight-fisted Democratic Chairman of the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Communications at the time, of the value of programming that spoke to the need for the social and emotional education of children that public broadcasting provided.

After listening to him, a visibly moved Pastore said Rogers’ words gave him “goose bumps.” His gentle advocacy helped convince the committee to more than double public television’s budget the following year. Rogers’ appearance before Pastore’s committee, in 1969, is a stark contrast to the overwhelming number of congressional hearings currently gracing our television screens today, and a testament to those who still believe that differences in political and fiscal ideologies, as well as the truth, need not reek of partisanship and hostility.

Not everyone, however, subscribed to Rogers’ philosophy. After his death from cancer, in 2003, a Fox News commentator took to the air stating “this man, this evil, evil man ruined a generation of kids.” She was followed up by another member of the panel who said that Rogers’ message that everyone is special filled kids with a “with a sense of entitlement.”

That idea was also floated several years back by The Wall Street Journal, whose editorial staff (not its reporters) often acts as though they’re publishing the house organ of the Republican Party rather than a newspaper. It was re-iterated in a Journal column by Jeffrey Zaslow this past week. He quotes Don Chance, a Louisiana State University finance professor, who arrived at the highly original conclusion just last spring that Mr. Rogers is, indeed, to blame for the sense of entitlement displayed by many young people today.

Conservative finger-pointing is often obtuse and extreme. I think most parents would agree that their children are, in some way, special. Whether they’re kids in cages or the progeny of those who espouse hate and anger. Being special is not about entitlement, it’s about what makes us unique individuals and valued members of society. Just as being at opposite ends of the political spectrum makes us unique, though not always valued.

This is a nation of neighborhoods, though it often seems we’ve drifted far afield from the “kinder, gentler” one former President George H.W. Bush spoke of nearly three decades ago; the kind espoused by Fred Rogers. Too bad. The neighborhood where he once resided seems like a pretty darn good place to live.

Maybe we can all buy a home there someday.

Copyright 2018 Blair Bess distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Blair Bess is a Los Angeles-based television writer, producer, and columnist. He edits the online blog Soaggragated.com, and can be reached at BBess.soaggragated@gmail.com.

Editorial Cartoon

| Opinion | July 12, 2018

So You Think You Can Run for City Council

| City Council, Opinion | July 12, 2018

Past Santa Clarita City Council races have always been entertaining and exciting for the 12 people who keep up with local politics, and of those 12, the six people who aren’t running.

But, if you are new to the circus that is SCV politics, it can be overwhelming – even more overwhelming if you decide to throw your hat into the race. With the filing period quickly approaching, all eligible contenders are getting in line. And if you are worried about the people you are up against, don’t. In fact, we have already seen them a million times before. They’ll probably fit one of the following descriptions. Maybe you will even see yourself in one of these predictable stock characters.

The “John”
Hey, you. Yes, you. Don’t think we don’t see you bending over to fix someone else’s busted sprinkler with your own hand tools. You have control-fueled altruism written all over your uptight face … and that makes you perfect. You have it all: a quiet wife, kids who are quiet around you, and a neighborhood that is quiet because of you. You simply can’t deal with noise because of all of the noise that’s buzzing around that ‘ol noggin of yours. “Bills, bills … should I murder my wife … bills.” It can get overwhelming. But you keep it cool, because one day, you’re going to snap. And they’ll all be sorry. Until then, channel it into voting on laws that keep homeless people from being absolutely anywhere.

The “Deborah”
Debbie! Deborah! Deb! You are absolutely wonderful. Always volunteering, always giving your time. You are everywhere at once. You have such kind words to say all of the time. But sometimes, your opinions surprise us a little. Like, “Disney makes kids want to get ‘gay married,’” and “John Kerry’s reptile tongue can taste American fear.” You are so quirky. So colorful. So … off. You are always on top of making those seasonal vests that definitely don’t give you away as a chronically anxious stitcher. Don’t worry, the government isn’t going to be taking away your needles – at least not anytime soon – so stitch together some legislation that will make it harder for residents to start small businesses.

 

The “Jeff”
Look at you sporting that American flag pin on your blazer. You are goal-oriented. The city council is clearly not your last stop. You have your lizard eyes on the grand prize – the state stage, that is. You will kiss as many babies it takes to earn a one-way ticket to sweet Sacramento. You are mild, moderate, and utterly forgettable. At least for now. When the time comes, you will take a firm stance in compliance with an issue that is extremely agreeable. That way, you have the credible background of local politics to keep you up, without the backbone of moral integrity and chutzpah to weigh you down.

The “Betsy”
If giving a crap about local politics was a sport, you are Babe Ruth. You haven’t missed a single meeting since 2007, and everyone knows it. You have read every law, read between every line, and drew every connection that was or wasn’t there. From CEMEX to Measure S, you knew that something fishy was going on before they even drafted those meeting agendas. You are the car alarm that goes off when someone slams the door a little too hard. You are tenacious. What would we do without you? The council knows your handwriting, so they don’t even have to read the name on the public speaker card. Godspeed.

Note: this is satire in case you got this far and aren’t sure.

Comments Off on Always Advocating Alan – California’s Water Supply, A View at Both Ends of the Pool

Always Advocating Alan – California’s Water Supply, A View at Both Ends of the Pool

| Opinion | July 12, 2018

With another Fourth of July parade in the books, I hope all who attended had a good time. Wednesday was a perfect day for the event, the weather was moderate, and with a parade route lined with more folks dressed in red, white and blue than ever before, there were lots of smiling faces. This year, Baby and I rode in the Samuel Dixon Family Health Center float. With a 4-foot duck on top and Dr. Dorothy Dixon Duck dressed in her lab coat and stethoscope, she demonstrated SDFHC’s continued readiness to provide quality health care for our community’s residents in need. The annual Rubber Duck Regatta is scheduled for October 13. It is loads of fun for the entire family. Plus, when you adopt some ducks, you could win some bucks, and be assured every duck adopted translates to the Dixon clinics having an increased ability to provide health care for the uninsured and under-insured.

Just in case you were wondering, Baby is my family’s female, four-legged, white, floppy-eared, curly-haired, tail-wagging Maltese who was born 13 years ago on July 4. I bring her to the parade each year to show her that everyone is out celebrating her birthday. But, I don’t think she was too excited this go around, as she slept on the seat next to me most of the time.

For our Dixon parade team, the day started early, first bringing all the necessary goodies to the staging area, and then decorating the float. Next was Rotary’s yummy pancake breakfast, with a short time to relax and listen to the band. Walking back to our float, I was approached by several community members. It was not terribly surprising when they voiced concern about all the new projects under construction in our valley, the impact on traffic, our limited water resources, and how all the new development will affect the future prosperity of Santa Clarita.

Well, it has been said that “great minds think alike,” so I did not even flinch when I saw that Lynne Plambeck had penned a column for The Signal titled, “Would a Water Agency Ever Say There Isn’t Enough?” and Dan Masnada fired back with, “Would Plambeck Ever Say There Was Enough?”

After I read both pieces, it seemed to me that each of them is standing at opposite ends of a pool, trying to determine if it is half empty, or half full. Lynne is at the shallow end. She can see the bottom and realizes the level of available water is diminishing. She points out that it is the water company’s responsibility to determine if there is enough water to supply existing and new users, while Dan is at the deep end, knowing water will go there first and therefore be under his control. He points to the 5-year Urban Water Management Plan which showed adequate water availability. But did it really show sufficient resources? I attended those meetings and remember a portion of the available water was derived by conservation. Translation: existing users reducing consumption. How is that serving our current communities?

Now, I tend to swim in the middle of the pool. I support property owners having the right to develop what they own. At the same time, I acknowledge that development must be tempered by available infrastructure and resources. Lastly, I deplore waste, and that goes double for water.

Throughout the discussions pertaining to water availability in Santa Clarita, we kept hearing about the 20 million gallons a day processed by the SCV Sanitation District and then just being discarded into the river. Currently, the only one taking advantage of that resource is a golf course in Valencia. They use the recycled water for landscaping because Newhall Land and Farm had the foresight to pay for the distribution pipe. We keep hearing about our water company’s future plans to recycle, but it reminds me of a sign I saw in a bar which said, “Free Beer Tomorrow,” and no matter how long you wait, there is never any free beer.

Then, there is the City of Santa Clarita that appears to be still trying to find the pool. Our council and staff continue to brag about the “purple pipe” they have put in the ground. But purple pipe, which signifies non-potable water, is of no value unless it is hooked up to an appropriate water source, which it is not. For example, water being pumped by the city’s Shangri-La Drainage Benefit Assessment Districts is currently being discarded in the sewer system, rather than being used to water some of our landscaped medians.

Compounding the problem is the State of California, which does not even know there is a pool. The expansion of our state’s water conveyance system ended 35 years ago. The reduction of water delivered through the delta has decimated Central California food production, while excess water north of the delta is simply released into the ocean. Central Coast Farmers trying to stay alive have over-pumped their ground water, causing lower ground elevation in some areas.

What we are witnessing is incompetence all down the line. Hopefully, our state and local leadership will quickly come to recognize that California’s water problems will not be solved by pretending it does not exist, and start taking appropriate action. Otherwise, they may soon dive into the pool and find it empty.

Thank God Justice Kennedy is Stepping Aside

| Opinion | July 6, 2018

By Christine Flowers

I have been waiting for Justice Anthony M. Kennedy to say the words “I retire,” for more than a quarter-century.

The first time I longed to hear that phrase was in 1992, when he penned the majority decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. This was the case, originating in Pennsylvania that was going to put the stake through the dark heart of Roe v. Wade.

Except it didn’t go as planned.

Kennedy, picked by President Ronald Reagan and confirmed by a Senate that had just been through the Battle of Bork, was supposed to be the conservative vote that would finally tip the court in favor of life. He was a Catholic, a Republican, and he probably played golf. The jurist of conservative Catholic dreams.

Instead, he was conservative Catholics’ worst nightmare.

On June 29, 1992, Justice Kennedy read the decision he will be remembered for in pro-life circles, the one that reaffirmed the core principles of Roe and shot down any hope that unborn children would find protection under the Constitution.

The thing that stung, aside from the unexpected betrayal of a Catholic conservative’s embrace of abortion rights, was the language Kennedy used in his opinion. It was as if he were writing really bad poetry, the kind you’d find in the personal journals of a women’s studies major. He gave us what Antonin Scalia notoriously ridiculed as the “oh sweet mystery of life” passage:

“At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe and of the mystery of human life.”

I read that and thought: Help.

As the years progressed, it only got worse. Kennedy took it upon himself to be the Great Liberator, removing the shackles from a prudish and – in his view – unjust society. He helped overturn the last remaining sodomy laws in the 2003 decision Lawrence v. Texas, and did so in the most unnecessarily generous way possible, noting that the government cannot “define the meaning of the [intimate sexual] relationship or set its boundaries absent injury to a person or abuse of an institution the law protects.”

That was “sweet mystery of life” on steroids.

This prompted an increasingly agitated Scalia to warn in his dissent that we had greased the slippery slope of moral relativism to the point that – crazy as it seemed – we’d be legalizing same-sex marriage in a few years.

It actually took 12 more years before Scalia’s prophecy became reality, in Obergefell v. Hodges, written by, you guessed it.

By that point, I’d given up on Kennedy. At least with the avowed liberals on the court, there was no hope they’d ever do anything I could support, admire, or even understand.

But Kennedy had been like Lucy in “Peanuts,” always promising that he’d come over from the dark side and stand with his conservative brethren. He might throw us a bone, like he did when he wrote the opinion banning a particularly gruesome form of partial birth abortion, but when we inched closer and got ready to kick the football, he yanked it away with another decision that sounded like a cross between Emily Dickinson and a Hallmark card.

Each year, on the last day of a session I’d think, maybe this is when he finally goes home to Sacramento to ferment grapes and write Harlequin novels under the pen name of DeAnthony Le Supreme. But each year, he’d wave happily and say, “See you in October.”

Not this time.

First, there was that amazing decision upholding the free speech rights of pro-life groups. Then came the shocking-not-shocking ruling on the travel ban. Then came the opinion against unions. And then, the 81-year-old justice announced his retirement.

I couldn’t catch my breath. It was hard to believe that the all-powerful swing justice was headed out to pasture.

Hallelujah, pass the popcorn.

I know that the Democrats will take this opportunity to fight President Trump tooth and nail. First, they’re justifiably angry at what the GOP did to Merrick Garland, blocking a vote on his nomination to the Supreme Court in 2016. They also know that Kennedy’s replacement has the power to shift the direction of the high court for at least a generation, and not in their direction.

All I know is that after 30 years, we’ll finally get opinions that don’t sound they belong in Oprah’s Book Club.

And, maybe, some justice for unborn babies.

Copyright 2018 Christine Flowers, distributed by the Cagle Cartoons Inc. syndicate.

Flowers is an attorney and a columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News, and can be reached at cflowers1961@gmail.com.

It’s Time for Nancy Pelosi to Go

| Opinion | July 5, 2018

Will Nancy Pelosi continue to make the House her home for much longer? Two recent events give one pause for thought.

During a press conference in June, Pelosi assailed the president’s policy of separating children from their undocumented parents at the border. She said matter-of-factly, “I just don’t even know why there aren’t uprisings all over the country, and maybe there will be when people realize that this is a policy that they [Republicans] defend.”

Uprising is an extremely potent word. Even for those who don’t support the president’s stance on immigration. Protests would have been more appropriate. Indeed, civilized marches in opposition to the president’s policies have been going on throughout the country for weeks. But to use language so inflammatory only further fuels the right and does a disservice to us all.

Pelosi has been called the Republican Party’s greatest fundraiser because of her stridency and the positions she’s taken over the years. Most are critical to maintaining the well-being of the middle and working class; on affordable healthcare, women’s health and reproductive rights, a living wage, fighting tax policies favorable to the rich and big business, supporting regulations that protect the American people from abuses by banks and Wall Street, as well as legislation to combat environmental hazards. She argues her case vigorously and clings to beliefs she feels are just.

Pelosi has long been vilified by the right. She’s a tough political infighter who knows how to keep members of her party in line and push her legislative agenda through – alternating between finesse and intimidation of fellow House members. And there’s the rub. Many of those who have long supported Pelosi are coming to the realization that her time has passed; that she is a relic of another era. An era when politics was more collegial and House members from both parties were inclined to work collaboratively despite ideological differences; and when it came to Pelosi, there were many.

As liberal as Nancy Pelosi is, however, there are an increasing number of Democrats who don’t believe she is left-leaning enough. That she has taken positions far more moderate than most Republicans would have the American public believe. It’s been argued that she and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), in their desire to cut deals, have turned their backs on the more progressive wing of the Democratic Party and those who affiliate with it, including Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Rep. Ruben Gallegos (D-AZ), who is Vice Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

Imagine that. Nancy Pelosi. Too moderate?

Which brings us to the second event. A shift more seismic than Pelosi’s verbal misstep: the stunning defeat of Pelosi protégé and presumptive successor Rep. Joe Crowley, a 10-term incumbent from New York. Crowley, the fourth highest ranking Democrat in the House, was overwhelmingly trounced by 28-year-old neophyte Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, whose only previous exposure to politics was as an organizer for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign. Crowley is a product of old-school Democratic Party machine politics. Ocasio-Cortez ran as a Democratic Socialist.

Ocasio-Cortez ran a grassroots campaign on bread and butter issues in her largely Latino district: putting people to work, Medicare and higher education for all, affordable housing, tax reform to help middle and low-income families, and the abolition of ICE (not even Pelosi has called for that). Crowley spent more time in D.C. than his district and spent significantly more money on his campaign. Ocasio-Cortez, who relied on social media to get her message out, lives in the district and is one of the faces of its changing demographics.

Clearly, an increasing number of Democrats want something more than the establishment is offering, perhaps something more radical. That’s not necessarily a winning strategy in the short-term if they hope to win back Congress come November. Then again, moderation doesn’t appear to be working for them, either.

For the Democratic Party to thrive, it needs to commit to its core beliefs and principles, roll the dice, and take the chance that it may take a decade before the electorate at large is ready to embrace their message. Under the party’s present leadership, the odds of that happening sooner than later are almost nil. And given the direction the current administration is heading the country in, a decade’s wait may be too late.

One thing’s for certain. For the Democratic Party to rediscover itself, Nancy Pelosi must go. And that’s something an increasing number of Democrats and Republicans seem to agree on.

Copyright 2018 Blair Bess distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Blair Bess is a Los Angeles-based television writer, producer, and columnist. He edits the online blog Soaggragated.com, and can be reached at BBess.soaggragated@gmail.com.

The Spirit of 1776 and Immigration

| Opinion | July 5, 2018

by Stephen Smith

Last week, we celebrated the signing the Declaration of Independence. I admit it, I love that document and stand in awe of those brave and brilliant men who established the principles that for these United States of America, all men are created equal, we are endowed by God – not man – certain inalienable rights, which among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The idea is new as tomorrow. This document was a proclamation that the purpose of government is to protect human rights from the abuses of government and the democratic majority.

Signing this declaration came at great risk.

“That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”

If captured, they knew that the signing of the Declaration meant their death warrant.

The least remembered part is where the abuses inflicted upon the colonists by King George were enumerated. Given the issues we are having with immigration today, this one is worth reflection:

“He has endeavored to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose, obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.”

Sounds like a call for open borders. I would suggest that circumstances, not values, have dramatically changed. At the time, our nation was dramatically under-populated. We needed labor and entrepreneurs. We still have a need for agricultural labor and people with special skills, but now, I think the size of our basic population is adequate. I remember a speaker once saying, “I know the Bible says be fruitful and multiply, but look around, we did a good job.”

Prior to our nation becoming an entitled society, immigration functioned quite differently. People who arrived at an official port of entry, many at Ellis Island, were checked to see if they were in good health and able to work and provide for themselves. They were asked if they had family or friends that they could stay with. There were no government support programs, such as welfare, affordable housing, Medicaid and public education. Their situation was to arrive, survive, adapt, prosper or self-deport. They were highly motivated to become “American,” learn English, become economically self-sufficient, educate their children and truly become part of the great melting pot that represented our national motto, “E Pluribus Unum,” from many, one. Many of our most successful and prominent families who have become fully part of our society came from this hearty lot.

Today, the thousands of people crossing into America represent a great human tragedy. They are escaping the cruel and failed socialist governments that so many of our progressive Democrats seem hell-bent on emulating. By avoiding our legal ports of entry, they are entering without screening for infectious diseases, criminal associations, willingness to adapt, English fluency, self-sufficiency or help from their families already living here. If they make it past the border patrol (not ICE), they move into communities where there is little need to learn English or to adopt the American Dream, yet they may still receive public benefits that allow them to continue living here.

The inconvenient truth is that we are simply ill-prepared to meet the challenge of processing so many families into our society. They have begun their life in America by violating our National Sovereignty. Our Congress, Democrats and Republicans have proven unwilling or unable to pass legislation that can solve the problem. Those who are attacking President Trump and calling for the end of ICE are acting like spoiled children by professing their feelings without offering solutions. I certainly have not heard any protestors offering to take a refugee family into their own homes. They are encouraging anarchy and public confrontations, while promoting a socialist, communist one-world view. Protestors seem more committed to the overthrow of the Republic rather than solving a problem. The freedom given us by our founders is a fragile thing. Pray that we can honor that vision while coming up with a practical solution to mass migrations from failed socialist societies.

King Donald

| Opinion | July 5, 2018

by Will Durst

The president’s lawyers must wake up every morning wondering if they’re in the throes of a mescaline fever dream. Which altered reality will they have to deal with today? The legal ground melts out from under them and scary hallucinations swirl around mutating versions of the boss: the Donald Trump who changes his story more often than his underwear and the one who tosses away members of his legal team like used Kleenex.

They recently sent a letter to the Special Counsel asserting that Donald Trump is above the law. Not to be confused with the first Steven Segal movie, “Above the Law.” Although the two do have much in common: both think Vladimir Putin is a great guy and they are in similar physical condition these days.

The argument is the president cannot commit obstruction of justice, because as chief law enforcement officer of the United States, he is the justice department. King Donald. Not only incapable of committing a crime but incapable of being held accountable. Laws are for losers. Take the knee and kiss the ring.

The President tweeted that many legal scholars say he has the absolute right to pardon himself, even though he won’t need to because he hasn’t committed any crimes. Similar to a “Get Out Of Jail Free” card, only better. More like a “Get Your Stinking Paws Off Me, You Damn Dirty Ape” sort of thing.

The good news is he probably won’t wear a crown and risk messing up his aerodynamic coif. But other royal trappings are imaginable: golden jewel-encrusted scepter, floor-dragging ermine trimmed robe and the serial discarding of wives who can’t provide a decent hereditary successor. And yes, Don Jr. and Eric, we’re talking about you.

He claims to possess special powers that immunize him from criminal prosecution. Apparently he was bitten by a radioactive spider at Camp David. And is willing to admit that everything he ever previously said in public was a lie. Wasn’t under oath, so it doesn’t count. And if he does lie under oath, who cares? Who’s going to arrest him, Jeff Sessions? Dream on.

His defense has shifted more than the sands of the Kalahari during one of those windstorms they call a haboob. And speaking of boobs, Rudy Giuliani says the Deep State is framing the president and he might take the 5th if questions about crimes he didn’t commit get too close to disproving that.

Carl Sandburg famously said; “If the facts are against you, argue the law. If the law is against you, argue the facts. If the law and the facts are against you, pound the table and yell like hell,” and Rudy is the best table pounder in the business. As anybody from New York can tell you, this guy leaves splinters.

Trump’s lawyers also claim the president is too busy to answer questions, although the Supreme Court knocked down that claim when Bill Clinton invoked it, and he didn’t spend one- sixth of his presidency at a golf courses. One tenth, maybe.
They’re throwing up alternative defenses like hyperactive Rhesus monkeys flinging feces at a zoo. Not only can’t he be constitutionally prosecuted but the prosecution is a conspiracy. The FBI is full of jack- booted thugs and his hands are too small to fit on the Bible. Can’t wait for them to float the diminished capacity defense. That one might be easier to sell.

Copyright 2018, Will Durst, distributed by the Cagle Cartoons Inc. syndicate.

Will Durst is an award-winning, nationally acclaimed columnist, comic and former sod farmer in New Berlin, Wisconsin. For a calendar of personal appearances, including his new one-man show, “Durst Case Scenario,” please visit willdurst.com.

Letters

| Opinion | July 5, 2018

Doug,

Whenever a product is advertised on TV or radio, the Government requires the maker devote a major portion of that ad to revealing any harmful side effects which a user may encounter.     So, I’m suggesting that we demand the Government expand that listing of harmful side effects warning be attached to all products being sold, to include Politicians. While not everyone is affected by each and every of the other various products, the same cannot be said for the Politician’s product.  How often is it that Politician’s ads promise to cure, fix, or otherwise eliminate some real or imaginary issue that’s harming, “We The Public.”

And how often is it, that after we’ve “bought” the politicians “product,” we find that none of the issues have been corrected, cured, or fixed.  And in most cases, the issues we were promised would be eliminated, have in fact, multiplied.

So, you see, my solution is simple.  Make it mandatory that every politician’s ad must contain a list of their past failures to provide a promised result: no excuses, just the past results, down and dirty.

I think the Public would benefit from this in one of two ways: One; The Public would have at least a shot at knowing something truthful about the person they’re

expected to vote for, or Two; a hell of lot fewer ads harassing our eyes and ears during election time.

Dale


 

I have been reading the Gazette for several years, picking up copies at car washes and fast-food restaurants, prior to it being included with the Signal’s Friday editions.

This past week, while having my car washed, I began to read the “Freeway Close!” article expertly written by Harry Parmenter. Due to Harry’s unique blend of humor, it was all I could do sitting among other car wash patrons to contain my laughter. Harry is certainly a talented writer, somewhat in the mold of John Boston. If Harry has any more tales to share, I’ll try to read them when not surrounded by fellow Santa Claritans so I don’t have to stifle my outbursts.

Regards, Denny


 

So much for the phony liberal bumper stickers on leftist’s car plates saying “Love Trumps Hate”. B.S. Look at all the anger and hatred coming from the left. From beatings and shooting and kicking people out of places of businesses. First, Sen Rand Paul gets beaten up on his own property from a liberal neighbor. For what Pray-Tell? Some neighbor, and he practically got away with it. Then poor Steve Scalise almost gets killed from a leftist Bernie Sanders (BS) supporter who also tried to kill many other Republicans. Sanders gets kicked out of a Chicken joint for simply working for the President of the United States, who’s former President has the same separation policy for illegal aliens and deported a whopping close to 2.5 million illegals over his 8 years in office, something that I doubt President Trump will come close to. The Florida Attn. Gen gets kicked out of a movie honoring Mr. Rogers- for what??? Homeland Sec. gets treated like dirt in Mex. Rest. where no one even told the THUGS to leave. A customer could have had a heart attack or stroke from all the commotion. Police were not even called. Now, a THUG Congresswoman(?) practically advocates violence against any one who works for the President. How are these immoral THUGS who support her are going to act? Do you really think they are just going to ask them to leave that Gas station, restaurant, or Movie theater she told them to patrol? Of course someone will be hurt or killed thanks to her. And she gets away with it. And how Pray-tell are these THUGS going to know who actually works for Trump or maybe they will assume that person does because they only LOOK like the actual person who works for Trump. Are they going to google Trumps aides and look for that person, or will it be mistaken identity? Remember Al Sharpton did the same thing at Maxine Waters years ago in N.Y. and poor Yankel Rosenbaum was beaten to death for simply being Jewish. He got away with it and so will Cong. Waters. Liberals always get to HATE all they want and think it is justified, yet accuse the GOP of being the real Hatemongers which is a big lie. When Mao (lefitst) took over China, first thing he did was jail and execute landlords (considered right-wing reactionary’s). N. Korea jails what they call reactionary right-wing scum, which are really just fine and decent law abiding people. Meanwhile all these leftist THUGS do is steal all the PEOPLE’S $$$ and live a life that they would execute any of the PEOPLE for doing. Now, it is Christians around the world who are the scapegoats. They are treated like dirt in the Muslim world and treated poorly in Europe. They have no power in the world and are often victims. Check out “Voice of the Martyrs). Christians here are treated like trash for simply being decent law abiding religious folks. Joy Behar called all Christians around the world “Mentally Ill”. She should look in the Mirror and at W.Goldberg. All liberals in the Media trash them for no good reason, while ignoring the LEFT that is a Cancer destroying everything it touches from Academia, media, and now even science. Yep, I don’t see a great future for the world. Are we becoming Invasion of the Body Snatchers?


Your Editorial Cartoon about separating children from parents presents a specious argument, equating fact to faith. Border agents separating children from parents can be considered child abuse because of the fact that such separations cause long term psychological problems for the children and creates anguish for the parents. The separation by abortion is a choice that a woman may make for any number of reasons. The issue of a fetus being a “child” is a matter of faith promulgated by religious teaching. Not all people share the same concept that life begins at conception. For those that abide by that concept, their faith would lead them to believe it to be “child” abuse. However, for the rest of the population (at this time, a majority), there is no abuse. For the mother that has to make the difficult and emotional decision, it is her choice. If you don’t believe that life begins at conception, there is no child to abuse. Facts apply to everyone. Faith only to those who believe.

Dr. Mark Elfont
Valencia

Editorial Cartoon

| Opinion | July 5, 2018

Those We Choose to Ignore

| Opinion | July 5, 2018

By Anthony Sotelo

Anyone who has lived in Santa Clarita for more than a decade or two is able to attest to the near-exponential growth the city has seen. Countless new homes, shopping centers and roads are popping into existence seemingly overnight. What was once miles of dirt and hills is now being laid over with stucco palaces and trendy eateries. Despite this growth, we have also seen a rise in the local homeless population.

Recent measures have seen to it that this growing population has no place in our valley. In a 5-0 decision, the Santa Clarita City Council voted to make it illegal to sit or lay on a curb, to sleep in your own property in public places and to sleep directly on public grounds. These measures are being justified with a plan to expand aid for those affected.

However, without tangible institutions for aid, these reactionary measures only do more to alienate an already “invisible” population, and nothing to solve the cause of the problem. As it is now, we are pushing people towards complete social isolation, which is neither an effective nor humane solution to the homeless crisis.

The epidemic is derivative of a much larger problem in California: the increase in rent and utilities without a proportionate increase in real wage. The minimum wage might be going up, but spending power is diminishing with the rate of inflation. The Economic Policy Institute reports a 74 percent rise in worker productivity since 1970, but only a 13 percent rise in wage. Wage-push inflation further stagnates our dollar by raising prices to maintain lofty margins when minimum wage rises.

The explosion in housing becomes increasingly inconsistent with a floundering actual wage and rent spikes. According to Joint Center for Housing Studies in Harvard, nearly one-third of U.S. renters paid more than 30 percent of their wage on rent, higher than the recommended amount in federal guidelines in 2015. A study by real estate database Zillow revealed that for every 5 percent average rent increase in the Los Angeles County, two thousand more people will lose their shelter.

This makes it difficult to dismiss the plight of the homeless as an effect of poor decision making or lack of hard work. The rising cost of rent and utilities is expanding the population of “working homeless,” those with full-time employment who still cannot afford rent.

The faceless bodies sleeping on the sidewalk become harder to ignore when they look like you. As we lose more of our paycheck to the landlord and the utility companies, some of us may have to confront the reality of losing where we call home. If we continue to choose to ignore the increasing number of homeless showing up in the city and deny them assistance, we are choosing to be blindsided by an intensifying housing crisis our council shows no knowledge of containing.

Sources:

Rising Rents Mean Larger Homeless Population


http://www.jchs.harvard.edu/sites/default/files/harvard_jchs_state_of_the_nations_housing_2017_chap6.pdf

The Productivity–Pay Gap

Always Advocating Alan – When Nothing is Happening at Santa Clarita City Council Meetings, Who is Minding the Store?

| Opinion | July 5, 2018

Who is minding the store at City Hall is something I have been wondering about for a very long time. Having attended almost all the Santa Clarita City Council Meetings in the last five years, I have witnessed meetings in which issues brought before the council have been discussed in great detail, and others where important issues have been discussed minimally, or not at all.

To start with, Santa Clarita is a general law city using a council-city manager form of governance. Five council members are elected to represent the public at large. They are authorized to establish the overarching policies and procedures by which the city will operate. In contrast, the city manager is responsible for the day to day management and operation of our city resources, in compliance with the roles, policies, and Procedures, delegated to him/her by the city council. In theory, this is all accomplished to satisfy the needs and oversight of the public. The Brown Act, California’s open meeting law, defines it conceptually by stating, “Local government agencies exist to aid in the conduct of the people’s business. The people do not yield their sovereignty to the bodies that serve them. The people insist on remaining informed to retain control over the legislative bodies they have created.”

The Santa Clarita City Council went on to address their specific operational guidelines on November 2012 in Resolution 12-73: Council Norms and Procedures, which starts with Section 1: Act in the Public Interest, by stating, “Councilmember and staff should recognize that stewardship of the public interest must be their primary concern.” So, here is where the hairs go up on the back of my neck. I’m not interested in what they “should” do. I am far more interested in what they “shall” do, and how they will hold themselves accountable if a problem becomes apparent. Council and staff compliance must not be optional.

While I agree, city council meetings provide a venue for our council to do the public’s business in public, they also serve an important function in educating the public on how the city’s resources and finances are being managed. The June 12, 2018 city council meeting agenda brought forward over 400 pages of information comprised of an annual budget, an update on five categories of assessment districts, an “Annual City Fees and Charges” adjustment, update of park and public space rules and regulations, along with other miscellaneous items. Not one word of council member discussion on these items took place before Councilmember Kellar moved for recommended action, the vote was taken, and the motion was passed. Now I realize, the council’s norms and procedures indicate, “When possible, councilmembers should seek the answers to questions on an item on the agenda from the city manager prior to the meeting.” But, with such a large volume of information released to the councilmembers and the public only three working days before the meeting, with a large number of important details included, the likelihood of accomplishing coordination of the material with five councilmembers in that short amount of time is remote, at best. Providing of course, all our councilmembers were paying attention to what was presented.

Think about it. Councilmembers ask questions during city council meetings for a variety of reasons. A councilmember may want information about an item he/she is concerned about. A need for information may exist to ask for a revision of the item presented, or just raise a concern relative to the decision being voted on. Yet, of equal importance, is when a councilmember asks a question to bring information out in front of the public, so as to keep the public informed. I thought it highly improbable, with the size of what was being brought before the council, there was nothing of value to be discussed in a public venue.

So, prior to the second reading of these items on June 26, I went through the Agenda items, Staff Reports, Proposed Budget and Assessment District Engineers Reports. I found the changes to the Parks and Public Space ordinance looking like a tool to harass the homeless and wrote an article about it two weeks ago. I found a Capital Improvement project with costs escalating substantially and a lack of transparency in the way two of the Drainage Assessment District finances were being presented. I brought up these two budgetary issues during the appropriate agenda item public comment period and expressed my concern with the council’s lack of discussion. Well, that did not get me any new answers to my questions. Instead, Councilmember Smyth decided to give me a lecture for implying he had not prepared for the meeting. So much for the Council’s Code of Conduct where “Councilmembers should treat everyone with courtesy.” Councilmember Smyth could have just proved me wrong by answering my questions, but he did not.

It is frustrating how councilmembers always get the last word at city council meetings, but here in the Gazette, those roles are reversed. I remember the Brown Act says, “The people insist on remaining informed to retain control over the legislative bodies they have created.” Therefore, I will unequivocally state, “I intend to continue asking hard questions at city council meetings and writing about them.” No amount of Councilmember Smyth’s lectures will deter me from the path of determining “Who is Minding the Store” at City Hall – and outing who is not.

Creativity Advocacy: Creativity and Ritual

| Opinion | June 30, 2018

To embrace Creativity means to embrace change.

Creativity has transformative properties—and who experiences these transitions more than a female? My hips changed from narrowed ballerina to widened woman as I entered my twenties so that I could use them to carry things—good for more than just guitars and yoga mats, by the way! My body has morphed into a butterball baby factory four times! This torso of mine also became a milk farm for those four infants. That’s just the physical alterations. What about the mental adjustments women go through in order to accommodate the family’s needs? Of course, men do too, and even infants and children change every few weeks. Our developing bodies and psyches are in a constant state of flux. This power to change derives from the force of Creativity.

Many Creative acts require risk, intention, hard work, dedication, talent, insight and space. If we don’t engage with the force of Creativity, our problem can’t be solved; our screenplay can’t get finished; our painting can’t get hung. But Creativity that starts inside our brains and cells doesn’t need our conscious participation. For example, even when you make up your mind that you’re ready to deliver your baby, you can’t will yourself into labor. No amount of castor oil or jumping on the bed will outdo nature. Even my young students who are working actors don’t want to grow up because it might mean outgrowing their casting director’s needs, but nothing they do or say will prevent the onset of adolescence—and there’s the major mood swings to boot! We change whether we will it or not.

Just recently, I went through the infamous change that women do when they’re about my age. This transformation is complex and confusing and is viewed by society as some sort of disease. Lucky for me, one of my best friends Andrea Slominski, is writing her dissertation on the subject of Menopause because she can hold the candle for me when these complex, confusing and transformative moments darken my path. She truly understands and honestly, what feels better than being known?

Perhaps to offset my own fears of society’s negative attitude toward aging, I decided to embrace my life’s imminent change and throw myself a party. I called it a “Punctuation Party” to symbolize the shift from what mythologists call the Mother/Householder stage to Regent stage. We recited poetry and did ritual stuff, like beading a crown and crafting “blossoming” necklaces. It was so significant, Andrea and I decided our culture should adopt these Punctuation Parties to usher more of us into this exciting question-mark stage of life, right alongside the Mexican Quinceanera and the Jewish Bat/Bar Mitzvah.

The human race has been practicing ritual since the beginning of time. We still have birthday parties, baby showers, weddings and funerals—even graduations—to help us commemorate the big moments in our journeys. Rituals are our way of participating in those rites of passage that happen to us regardless of our deliberation. Ritual allows us the opportunity to put a frame around the fascinating photos that are life itself, to reflect and honor and engage with our own transformation. Ritual also connects us to those who have gone before us. Without it, our lives would be somewhat superficial. Ritual and ceremony tie us to our inner selves and to humanity—and as always, Creative acts connect us to something larger than ourselves. We participate—consciously and unconsciously—with the force that propels the species and the universe at large to thrive.

That’s something to celebrate.

**The Views and Opinions expressed in these columns are those of the writer, not necessarily those of Valley Publications/Santa Clarita Gazette**

Trump’s Hair: An Analysis

| Opinion | June 28, 2018

By Will Durst

Many readers have protested this column’s tiresome history of taking cheap shots at the expense of our 45th President. So today, we reverse that distressing trend and endeavor to travel the high road with an in-depth analysis of one of the most critical problems confronting the nation today. His hair.

Normally, focusing on a person’s physical characteristics is considered out of bounds, and just not cricket, but because Donald Trump’s favorite weapon is denigration, we’ve decided to play by his rules. He’s the one who has called opponents; “a slob,” “short and fat,” “crazy,” “ugly,” “the face of a pig” and of course, famously mocked a disabled guy. The new rules are that there are no rules.

Besides, you could say the very key to the man is his golden canopy. Look at it, no, really, give it a gander: everything about it is wrong. The color. The shape. The texture. The intended result. The scalp underneath. How, in the rotor wash of the Marine One helicopter, it reaches for the heavens like a sentient shrubbery signaling a secret society of Navajo Code Talkers. Not to mention his unshakable and groundless belief that it looks good.

In his unique aerodynamic coif, we can see Donald Trump’s entire philosophy of leadership. The Tangerine Comb Over can be viewed as a microcosm of mane. His propensity for false fronts. Not caring what anybody else thinks. Reliving past triumphs. Railing against common sense and decency. Brash, uncompromising, slightly surreal and totally cut off from reality. It’s all there.

America has questions and it’s time our Commander-in-Chief answers them. What is it really on his head? A wig, a weave, implants, extensions, a merkin, Tribble, carpet sample or a piece of pelt from the belly of a marsupial? Remnant of an especially beloved therapy animal?

Does he wash it, dry clean it or have it regularly replaced through a subscription service? Is it housebroken, or does it need to go outside for a walk twice a day, and does he have to sing or rock it to sleep? Also, who carries around the antidote in case that thing stings somebody?

And, despite using modern technology and being afforded the privilege of the office, exactly how much time does it take to recreate his groovy haircut from the Masters of the Universe ‘80s? With drastically fewer resources? Got to be at least a half-hour every day. That means three and a half hours a week. And he’s been president for 70 weeks, which works out to be 245 hours. A little over 10 entire days.

Think of the things that he might have accomplished with an extra 10 days. He could have fired five or six more Communication Directors. Bungled more foreign relations with allies. Maligned a larger amount of Cabinet members. More time for tête-à-têtes with Sean Hannity. “You hang up.” “No, you hang up.” Played another 40 rounds of golf.

Barbers and hair stylists around the world also have a burning professional desire to know how to achieve that frontal swoop. Hair spray? Stitches? Staples? Scaffolding? Stainless steel rivets? Glue? That would explain a lot. He’s had that haircut since getting out of military school. Sniffing glue for that long cannot be good. No, not good at all.

Copyright 2018, Will Durst, distributed by the Cagle Cartoons Inc. syndicate.

Will Durst is an award-winning, nationally acclaimed columnist, comic and former sod farmer in New Berlin, Wisconsin. For a calendar of personal appearances, including his new one-man show, “Durst Case Scenario,” please visit willdurst.com.

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Doug’s Rant – Video Edition

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