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Letter to the Editor

| Opinion | April 4, 2019

Donald Trump proved he had the eye of the tiger, heart of a lion, and will of a champion back in 2007. WrestleMania 23 was approaching. Donald J. Trump appeared on WWE Monday Night Raw in February 2007 and stood up to the czar of professional wrestling Vince K. McMahon.

Many people are intimidated and run away in fear at the great Vince McMahon, but not Donald Trump… President Trump proved he truly has balls of steel! Donald Trump challenged McMahon to a match at WrestleMania 23. They both agreed that because they were so rich they wouldn’t directly fight each other but would instead pick a wrestler to represent them. The loser would get his head shaved. Donald Trump put his fabulous hair on the line in front of 80,000 fans at Ford Field in Detroit Michigan. To make a long story short, Donald Trump came out on top. This particular WrestleMania had one of the highest PPV buy rates in WrestleMania history, and it’s largely thanks to Donald Trump.

His victory on the evening of April 1st 2007 proved he was ready to face a titan like Hillary Clinton in a fierce Presidential race. Donald Trump was the first (and only President) to have a match in World Wrestling Entertainment! He can’t be stopped!

WrestleMania 35 will be on April 7th. President Trump probably won’t be there, but it should still be awesome!

-Eric G.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Lynching

| Opinion | April 4, 2019

Robert Mueller put together a dream team of top investigators and prosecutors, nearly all of whom were donors and supporters of Hillary Clinton for president. Mueller Team member and Clinton activist Andrew Weismann was famous for being relentless and on the edge of ethics in his past and current investigations. They cajoled, pressured and threatened witnesses in order to gain testimony that would implicate President Trump, his family and team, in a conspiracy with the Russians to affect the 2016 Presidential election. Several supporters were charged and convicted of giving conflicting testimony to the special investigation. CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times plus other members of the mainstream media reported that it was basically a slam dunk that the president and staff were going to be indicted with conspiracy and obstruction of justice. They, in addition to our elected Democrats and Democrat talking heads, knew that their nightmare would be soon over and that it would result in overturning the election with the removal of President Trump by means of impeachment.

The story began with several top people in the FBI (likely with a wink, wink, nudge, nudge, from the then President Obama) deciding that the only way that Trump could win was with the help of the Russians. He just had to be an agent of Putin. They obtained a dossier filled with false and salacious information that was paid for by Hilary Clinton’s campaign. Without verification of this phony document, they took it to the FISA court four times in order to gain permission to spy on citizen Trump and his team. These top agents were convinced they had put together a chain of events that would make Donald Trump ineffective and end his presidency.
A funny thing happened to the vigilantes on their way to the public lynching. Mueller and his team of professionals, who were certainly not friends of President Trump, found no, I repeat no evidence of collusion by Trump, his family and his staff. This was despite multiple attempts to penetrate the President’s campaign and team by the Russians, and likely by the FBI. Further, there is no credible evidence of obstruction of justice in the investigation of crimes that never occurred.

Grace is not a word known by Democrats. They made countless vile accusations and even spoke of treason, which Mueller’s report showed to be spurious. People of high character would admit they are wrong and ask for forgiveness. (Insert crickets chirping). Ideologues ignore the proof that they were wrong or lying and move on to the next attack. After all, truth is not relevant. Bringing down Trump in any way possible is. Then there are those that cannot let go when confronted with overwhelming evidence that is contrary to their past public assertions.

We now have the very special cases of California Congressmen Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell. They still hold that the Russian conspiracy with Trump happened and is ongoing. They have cited that they have evidence, but have yet to provide it to the American people. For their clear demonstration of their minds being disconnected from reality, I hereby nominate them both for the prestigious “Stultus Est Sicut Stultus Facit” (Stupid is as Stupid Does) award. Frankly, they both should not only be removed from their committees, they should be forced to resign. Those who voted to re-elect them should be bowing their heads in shame. CAGOP, RPLAC and ALAMEDAGOP, it’s time you do your job. Head in the Sand.

Always Advocating Alan – Elks Riders Rally Across America for Brain Injured Children

| Opinion | April 4, 2019

Just by coincidence, last week I was sitting in the KHTS hot seat being interviewed about my views on “supporting our residents in need by volunteering labor and resources to worthy causes around the Santa Clarita Valley.” Specifically, I was asked, “How did I get started contributing in such a manner?” I answered by citing my own very different situations, which led me to become involved.

The first time was about personal involvement. In the mid-1970s, my eldest son was very passionate about playing “Little League Baseball.” After getting to know many of the other parents, we decided to form first a Women’s Fast Pitch Softball Team, and then – not to be outdone – a Men’s Slow Pitch Softball Team. In those days, each of the active parks had a county-funded staff member who oversaw all the activities at their park, which included managing the lights. As you might expect, we got to know each of them very well and were extremely saddened when the young man who staffed North Oaks Park was killed in a motorcycle accident. As it turns out, the county was running short of funding and had placed a hiring freeze on park staff positions. To avoid the community losing use of North Oaks Park after dark, I volunteered to turn the field lights on and off five days a week, and did so for the next four years, until timers were installed. While I did provide a benefit to the community, I look at it now as being a little too self-serving.

Fortunately, my first experience taught me a valuable lesson, and later situations were far more altruistic. For example, while I was working at JPL, a gentleman named Carl made me aware of his involvement supporting Shriners Hospitals for Children. He explained how Shriners Hospital is committed to providing children with world-class care in the areas of Orthopedics, Burn Care, Spinal Cord Injury, Cleft Lip, and Cleft Palate. Plus, they perform those services regardless of a family’s ability to pay. Well, he had my attention. I could see the enormity of value their services provide and the positive impact it creates for each patient they serve. I could not help but ask him; how could I join in and become a Shriner? Well, Carl and some other local members helped me through the process. No, I do not drive one of those little go-carts, but I did join the Motor Patrol and ride my Harley in parades. In addition, every year we visit a Shriner facility around Christmas time and bring toys for our patients. Two years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Alec and his family. You would recognize him in a minute. He is the wheelchair-bound youngster who has appeared in the Shriner TV ad for quite some time. Alec has the support of a wonderful family, and is as charming in person as he is on the screen.

I am sure you can understand why my interest was heightened when I heard about the “16th Annual Elks Riders Rally Across America for Brain Injured Children.” This event resulted from an idea brought forth by New Jersey resident Ray Cola. To start, Ray was looking to get groups of Elk Riders to promote a rally on the second Tuesday in April, with proceeds going to a local family or charity for the purpose of helping brain injured children. While Ray put his first event together for a small number of participants, the rally has grown to be a national event, with members of the Elk Riders participating in virtually every state of the union by sponsoring a rally of their own on the same day of the year. For example, to name just a few, events will be held by Elk Riders in Florida, Bessemer, Medford-Malden, New Jersey, South Amboy, Cranford, Bayonne, Hillsborough, Brick, Pompton Lakes, and Old Bridge. In Florida this year, Lodge 1511 has chosen to help Brenden, who was born with Autism, Bipolar Disorder, intermittent Explosive Disorder, Tourette’s syndrome and a learning disability. His mother, Lynn, and Brenden “have been repeatedly denied necessary assistance and feel as though they’re in and endless battle with insurance. Brenden needs to be cared for in a full-time institution with professional medication regulation, therapy, psychiatric treatment and ABA therapy.”

Here at home for the second consecutive year, Santa Clarita’s Elks Riders Lodge 2379 will be sponsoring a rally and donating the proceeds to a special child in need. On their event flyer, the riders provide an opportunity for you to meet Marissa, a child who “was born to drug addicted parents and adopted by a wonderful woman named Sarah. Marissa experienced a traumatic birth with extensive brain damage and kidney failure as immediate concerns, followed by chronic pulmonary disease, seizures and the inability to eat as a ‘normal’ baby. Marissa spent the majority of her first two years in the hospital requiring many surgeries. Seven months ago, Marissa was hospitalized for a non-emergent issue, but by the time she was discharged three weeks later, she had deteriorated to the point she was put on hospice care and sent home to die. She was semi-comatose for three weeks, and while those who love her sat vigil and waited, she thankfully continued to fight on. One night, without warning, she woke up and went right back to her normal routine as if the last few months had never happened. Today, at six years of age, she is also suffering with renal failure with her estimated kidney function at 4 percent. Some days are better than others, some days are very difficult to get through, but then there are those days when she smiles and laughs, reminding all of us how precious life is. Unfortunately for her adoptive mother Sarah, this is extremely financially demanding, time-consuming, and emotionally draining.”

So, if you believe this is a worthy cause and desire to be a part of the solution, you are invited to join the Elks Riders on April 13 for a day of fun while we raise funds to help care for Marissa. Everyone is welcome to participate in the Poker Run, no matter if you ride in a car, trike or bike. Be ready for a scenic trip around our valley with wildflowers blooming. Sign in at the Elks Lodge, located at #2379, 17766 Sierra Highway Canyon, Country California 91351, starting at 9 a.m., with drivers at $25 and passengers at $15. Arrive early, and if you are one of the first 100 people to arrive, you will be provided a free breakfast burrito. The first participants will be leaving the parking lot at 10 a.m., with the event ending at Route 66, where you will enjoy live music by L.A. Kraze, possibly bid on silent auctions, and buy 50/50 raffle tickets.

It is important to remember that while this will be a day of fun for all, you will be assisting Marissa, a child affected by brain injury, who desperately needs our help.

You can pre-register or donate, by going to: BIC-Ride.com. A special thanks to the Rock Inn, Bravery Brewing, Bergies, Route 66, KHTS and The Gazette for their help making this event a success.

Intelligent Life?

| Opinion | March 28, 2019

by William Tozzi, contributor

Remember when there was a concern about the world being invaded by extraterrestrial beings? Whatever happened to that interest? Here is my unproven, yet plausible, theory about that.

Beings from another solar system, which was collapsing, wanted to secretly infiltrate our planet to start a new life. They learned a technique to successfully impersonate human beings and be assimilated into our culture. They intermingled with our population and interbred with us. They spread their genes and their values of life throughout our country and the rest of the planet. They looked just like humans, but their attitude and desires were from a different world. Originally, they were highly intelligent. However, interbreeding with humans caused their offspring to have an unforeseen decrease in mental comprehension, making their judgment obtuse and unbalanced.

The space invaders realized their mission and methods were flawed. They conceded they could not succeed in infiltrating the earth and saw no hope of improving the intelligence of humans. So, to stop attracting attention to themselves, they abandoned their effort, and blended-in with everyone else. However, they believed the human race was beyond hope and would eventually self-destruct, and the earth would revert to a mindless orbiting rock.

I first thought this idea was complete nonsense, until I seriously thought about the extreme radicalism and socialism taking over this country, leading us toward failure and destruction.

I wondered if it was just coincidental, or if there actually was a connection between the extraterrestrials and the advancement of our modern technology. Around the time of the industrial revolution, did the extraterrestrials introduce their advanced technology to try to stimulate the human brain and\eventually transform our way of life?

Using this line of thinking, maybe there is a correlation between the rise of technology and the rise in mental illness, since no one is able to effectively explain this phenomenon.

Also I believe there could be a chance many of our outspoken public servants could be the offspring of the space invaders and are expressing their distorted outer-space philosophy. Did some of us evolve into a generation of intraterrestrial hybrids or, more likely, misfits?

I strongly feel intelligent life may exist in our galaxy, and, for sure, in the universe. But, history and current events proves it definitely does not exist on this planet.

The opinion expressed in this article may appear to be sarcastic, cynical, or off-the-wall. I’m only hoping some of us will find enough intelligence to stop our world from collapsing.

Copyright 2019, William Tozzi, Golden Pen Writers Guild, Santa Clarita, CA

Seppuku: Will Our Nation’s Traitors Fall on Their Swords?

| Opinion | March 28, 2019

The Mueller Report submitted last Friday and the subsequent summary letter from Attorney General Barr gave the American public a few key answers to questions that some of us knew and some had contemplated, but at the same time completely blindsided many who had been getting all of their news from the likes of CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times and The Washington Post.

The front-page headline on the following Monday from the New York times, one of the most virulent anti-Trump newspapers for the past two years, did note that the Mueller report vindicated and exonerated President Trump.

That admission, however, didn’t seem to be enough to placate angry readers – the digital version of the issue was replete with subscribers commenting that they were cancelling their subscriptions, angry to have been lied to for the past two years.

As many of the paper’s issues have been filled with articles discussing “anonymous sources” and “incontrovertible proof” that President Trump would be indicted for crimes associated to the Mueller investigation, it’s not difficult to understand why their readers would be so upset.

While vague in some areas, AG Barr’s summary letter stated two points quite plainly: neither President Trump nor anyone in his administration colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 election, and President Trump did not make any attempts to obstruct Mueller’s investigation (something that interestingly enough, Andy McCabe had sworn in his first congressional testimony, but later made a 180 degree turn when trying to sell a book).

But there is another lesson that we must take from AG Barr’s summary of the Mueller report: there are traitors in our midst, possibly guilty of the horrendous crimes of treason and sedition for stoking fear, division, anger and hatred against a sitting President for their own political gain.

On Monday Tim Murtaugh, the Director of Communications for Donald J. Trump for President, Inc sent a memo to news outlets naming the worst of the treasonous individuals. In it, he suggested those news organizations ask themselves a simple question before booking any of the named individuals for interviews: does this guest warrant further appearances in our programming, given the outrageous and unsupported claims in the past?

Murtaugh asks the media outlets to “apply basic journalistic standards” in considering booking any of the named guests to appear on their show, and suggests that if they are booked, that the media outlet replay their salacious claims and ask the guest to answer for their actions.

The names in question are a motley crue that did everything they could to stoke the fires of division in our nation over the past two years, and none would survive anything more than basic scrutiny into their own past devious behaviors.

Senator Richard “Da Nang Dick” Blumenthal (D-CT) lied to constituents during his campaigns for years, claiming he was a Vietnam veteran, even recounting stories about his own heroism … until it was made public he had never even deployed to Vietnam. We should remember Blumenthal’s own grandstanding during the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings, telling Justice Kavanaugh that “if any of his story were false, it all was false.” I guess that means we should never believe anything from “Da Nang Dick.”

Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA) has been close friends with some rather unscrupulous individuals (Jussie “Hate Hoax” Smollett and Ed “Murders Male Prostitutes” Buck), and has some very interesting investigations going on into his involvement with strange occurrences at The Standard Hotel in his district. We should also mention that Schiff himself called for Devin Nunes (R-CA) to step down from the House Intelligence Committee for meeting with intelligence agents outside of Congress, yet Schiff thinks his own private meetings with FusionGPS founder Glenn Simpson at the Aspen Conference were above board – not to mention that Schiff was perhaps the most vigorous and dishonorable purveyor of the collusion hoax in all of politics.

Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) endorsed the Iran Nuclear Deal, supports full gun confiscation in the US and has made outlandish claims about “obvious collusion” that have now been disproven by Mueller’s investigation.

Representative Eric Swalwell (D-CA) was directly behind Schiff in volumes of perpetration of the Russian collusion lie to Americans, yet he himself has been accused of accepting bribes and making comments about “nuking” American gun owners in his own quest for full gun confiscation in the US.

DNC Chairman Tom Perez lied about his family history (quite the common occurrence these days between Occasio-Cortez, Warren, Beto and many others) and engaged in gross prosecutorial misconduct in his pre-politics days, including prosecuting whistleblowers.

Former CIA Director John Brennan is believed by many to have actually started the Russian conspiracy hoax, claiming that he had intelligence from Eastern European intelligence allies that he brought to the FBI. It should also be noted that the dates which he testified, under oath, about when he learned of the “dodgy dossier” don’t add up – as it has come to light that he briefed members of Congress months before he alleges he knew of its existence.

There is perhaps one culture left on our planet that could be considered as honorable, still infusing the important virtue of honor within their society. People found guilty of doing terrible things are shamed, held accountable and shunned, which helps reduce the amount of terrible things we’ve seen in our American society of late – a problem which I believe stems from our uncanny desire to make stupid and morally bankrupt people famous, whether through entertainment or politics.

In the Japanese culture there is a tradition known as Seppuku, known better in the west as Hari Kari. This is the action by which a man who has dishonored himself, his nation, his family or failed miserably in a task may choose to “fall on his sword.” I’ll leave the gruesome details out of the exact process, but it is that man’s last opportunity to “regain his honor” by admitting his wrongs and holding himself accountable to the utmost degree.

Now that we know the names above have been lying outright to our entire nation, in front of any camera or giving interviews to any “journalist” who would listen, will they take the honorable route and fall on their swords?

Many people are discussing “healing and moving forward” since the exoneration of President Trump was submitted by Robert Mueller, but the only way to truly heal is for those responsible to be held accountable.

Thankfully, there is some hope left: although I doubt any of those listed above would be willing to commit Seppuku either literally or figuratively by some other action such as stepping down from their positions and apologizing, we have found that prosecutors within the government may be doing it for them.

President Trump has vowed to hold the responsible parties accountable, and over the past few years we have learned of several behind-the-scenes investigations going on into the political shenanigans we have been forced to watch – whether through Seppuku, the guillotine or jail, the only way to move forward is to send a signal to the other dishonorable members of our political and media world that this will not be tolerated, and that justice will be swift and final.

Robert Patrick Lewis is a Green Beret OIF/OEF combat veteran with 10th SFG(A), CMO of Heroes Media Group, entrepreneur, MBA and award-winning author of Love Me When I’m Gone: The True Story of Life, Love and Loss for A Green Beret In Post-9/11 War , The Pact and The Pact Book II: Battle Hymn of the Republic. Follow him @RobertPLewis on Twitter or on his RobertPatrickLewisAuthor Facebook page.

The Electoral College is Not a Place!

| Opinion | March 28, 2019

Many in the Democrat leadership have been calling for an end to the Electoral College. Few know what it is and how it works.

From the National Archives: “The Electoral College process consists of the selection of the electors, the meeting of the electors where they vote for President and Vice President, and the counting of the electoral votes by Congress … The Electoral College consists of 538 electors. A majority of 270 electoral votes is required to elect the President. Your state’s entitled allotment of electors equals the number of members in its Congressional delegation: one for each member in the House of Representatives plus two for your Senators.”

Due to each state having two representatives, regardless of the number of congressional districts, less-populated states get a very slight advantage per capita; as compared to highly populated states in the number of electors they are assigned. The Electoral College was established so that the people of the few highly populated states, such as California and New York, would not dominate the entire nation. Trump won 2,600 counties, compared to Clinton’s 500 in the 2016 election. Clinton slightly won the popular vote. In extreme voter population differences between the coasts and the rest of the country, the system worked as designed. It allowed the vastly more numerous lower population states to have some say on who became president.

Elizabeth Warren stated that the Electoral College was put into place “in order to thwart popular democracy.” So why is it that the new generation of would-be Socialists keeps talking about our democracy being thwarted? To begin with, we are not, nor have we ever been a democracy. Our Constitution tells us that “We the People” are citizens of “The United States.” We have a republican form of federal government with our members of congress being elected democratically. Under federalism we have a central government with a series of lower governments.

First, the Electoral College was put into place to protect individual states’ rights. It was designed to reduce high-population states from dictating policy to lower population states. Perhaps better stated, the people do not elect the president; in order to protect the interests of individual states, these states a have slight edge in electing the president.

Second is the rather broad concept of preventing tyranny. Our founders considered that one of their most important responsibilities. We have a defined, limited and divided government to prevent too much consolidation of power. They agreed with William Pitt the Elder, Earl of Chatham and British Prime Minister in a speech to the UK House of Lords in 1770 when he said, “Unlimited power is apt to corrupt the minds of those who possess it.” We do not have a democracy in order to prevent the tyranny of the majority. This type of tyranny is much beloved by Socialists, for it allows the majority to legally steal the wealth and property of the minority without consequence. It’s very attractive to get something for nothing if you are not the one being stolen from. This type of tyranny is the mother’s milk of socialism and brings disaster to all societies that have embraced it. I hope that we never abandon the Electoral College.

My latest nomination for the “Stultus Est Sicut Stultus Facit” (Stupid is as Stupid Does) award goes to minority leader Chuck Schumer, when after the release of the Muller report, he stated, “We must wait until after we see the report, before we jump to conclusions.” Jumping to conclusions is guaranteed. Chuck just said so.

The Social Media Schutzstaffel

| Opinion | March 28, 2019

by Eric Goldin, contributor

Those aspiring to be political pundits were once required to study for years in domestic and global affairs. These men and women would take numerous college and university courses in political science, economics, business, journalism and a wide range of other subjects. Countless hours had to be spent doing research about the events transpiring in the United States and the rest of world, and what problems many nations faced. Young journalists also had to pay their dues by going out into the field and doing hard investigative work for many years. They had to prove they were willing to do the hard work and show that they were accurately presenting the facts before they could be deemed trustworthy enough for them to be anointed with their own radio or television show. We used to have a very high standard when it came to picking those good enough to give political insight and wisdom to the entire nation. Political commentators needed to be very knowledgeable and sophisticated. They needed to be well-spoken and talk calmly and smoothly. This isn’t the case anymore.

The rise of social media has given total hacks a platform to spew their idiotic nonsense. Sadly, the vast majority of the younger generation gets their news and political commentary from the internet. Any schmuck with a video camera and internet access now feels he has the ability to talk like an expert about huge global issues – and many of them expect their audience to accept them as aficionados on every subject, even when it’s clear that they don’t have the slightest clue about what they’re talking about. They get very angry whenever somebody calls them out on their lack of knowledge, and they will yell and scream like a lunatic when somebody criticizes them. These clowns act like complete babies. The vast majority of these schlubs never studied economics, political science, or know the proper etiquette for journalism, yet they speak with such arrogance.

A group of morons called The Young Turks (TYT) have been the biggest beneficiaries of the internet age. TYT thinks just because they’re young and progressive that they can speak fluently about complicated worldly issues. They are the biggest independent internet news source in the United States. This organization is led by a man named Cenk Uygur. He can’t even give a single though without asking “right?” at the end of it – clearly begging his audience to back him up and agree with him. Uygur’s sidekick is a woman named Ana Kasparian. She gets angry at the drop of a hat when somebody offers a differing opinion from her own. TYT has a bunch of other cohorts who are ill-mannered and think because they speak boisterously and use swear words that their words somehow have more value. TYT hardly does any hard journalism – they comment on stories that are already pre-prepared for them to comment on. But during the rare times when they send somebody out into the field to find out information about a situation or break a story, they almost always get all of their facts wrong.

The saddest thing, though, is millennials take the rhetoric of TYT as gospel. If TYT says something they accept it as fact without inquiring further into the story. TYT has falsely accused many people of racism, sexism, bigotry, and many other slanderous things. TYT is one of the biggest reasons why a person like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was able to get elected to congress. The younger generation listened to the way TYT spoke very gushingly about Ocasio-Cortez – without offering even a hint of real criticism – and millennials decided Ocasio-Cortez was worthy of the prestigious position she holds now.

Cenk Uygur’s organization has caused damage that’s going to be felt for years to come. Social justice warriors who are backed by TYT are gaining political power left and right. America is going to enter a very dark age because of this. TYT has been able to get away with it because young people have been conditioned to trust people who spew far-left talking points and who have a social media presence. There are many people who have been so brainwashed by TYT that they’re willing to defend them to the death. Cenk Uygur has created an army for himself, consisting of loyal followers who will act like drones and who will viciously attack opposing voices. This social media Schutzstaffel that Cenk Uygur has forged needs to be stopped. Intelligent people need to speak out against TYT and their ilk.

Always Advocating Alan – Who Will Get the ‘Green’ From AOC’s ‘New Deal’?

| Opinion | March 28, 2019

It was 1928 and the economy was booming when Herbert Hoover ran for president by promising, “A chicken in every pot and a car in every garage.” But, in just the next year, the Stock Market crashed, leading the United States into the “Great Depression.”

As the population experienced an unprecedented unemployment rate of 25 percent, bank loans were unavailable, bread lines formed, and despair hit an all-time high. That level of uncertainty opened the door for Franklin D. Roosevelt to run for president, when on July 2, 1932, he accepted his party’s nomination and promised a “New Deal.” After his election, between 1933 and 1939, President Roosevelt’s administration quickly acted to provide his constituents with economic relief, in addition to reforms in industry, agriculture, finance, waterpower, labor and housing. These programs were accomplished by vastly increasing the scope of the federal government’s responsibilities and activities.

While the “New Deal” did not fix it all, along came World War II, which created infrastructure and manufacturing capabilities at a level never before experienced, making the United States the dominant manufacturing center of the world. Yet after the dust settled, we came to understand that anything the government tells us we will be getting for free is just another way of saying, “We will pay for it later.”

Today, almost 90 years later, the economy is booming again, and the Stock Market is hitting “all-time” record highs. All the while, homelessness, drug addiction and health care costs are going through the roof, which certainly seems counterintuitive. But as our elected leaders have not come up with workable solutions for what still ails us, they appear to be suffering from a “depression.” They seem to be thinking, solving a crisis worked in 1928, why shouldn’t it work today? So, they came up with an emergency; the “World is Coming to An End in 12 Years,” if we do not go along with their “Green New Deal.” Now, if I was still young, naive and had never heard of all the times so-called experts, historians, and religious scholars predicted the end of the world, I might get more excited. Google it for yourself, and you will be amazed how many times humanity’s annihilation has been predicted.

So, where are all the scientists predicting our demise in 12 years? It was just several weeks ago when I attended a water board meeting and watched a presentation on the effects of Climate Change using United Nations data. Their model showed the consequences of doing nothing through the end of this century, which is a lot further in the future than 12 years.

Today, there is a very passionate segment of the world’s population genuinely concerned with the consequences of not taking decisive action to reverse the effects of Global Warming. But even the U.N.’s information is not good enough for those whose belief in the “Green New Deal” demands the world immediately eliminate the use of all fossil fuels by converting to 100 percent renewable energy and figuring out how to keep cows from passing gas. Plus, it all must happen within the next 12 years. I even heard one marginally intelligent politician attempt to compare implementing the “Green New Deal” with President Kennedy’s vision of “landing a man on the moon and safely returning him to earth by the end of the decade.” He thinks that if we could go to the moon and we put enough money toward implementing the “Green New Deal,” it will happen.

Why are those expectations unreasonable today? It is easily understood, if you are a technologist. When President Kennedy announced his vision in 1961, the United States already possessed the basic rocket and computational capability (computers) to implement his stated goal. Not that it was easy, or did not require a lot of innovation, but we knew it was possible. But 50 years prior, if President Taft would have come up with an identical proposal in 1910, it would not have happened, no matter how much money he threw at it, because the basic capabilities simply did not exist at that time.

Today, if we were to go “full bore” toward eliminating the use of all fossil fuels, we would run into some insurmountable roadblocks. While it might prove possible to implement ocean-going ships using a combination of sail and solar power, the same cannot be said about the Airline Industry. Eliminating air travel plus air freight would impact every major business in the world. Plus, there are many unknowns, such as how soon could we come up with a method of storing power at night, or when the wind is not blowing? Today, there are companies experimenting with the construction of large lithium-ion battery packs to take homes completely off the grid. But lithium-ion batteries are expensive and represent a substantial fire danger, plus, is there enough lithium to satisfy such a large need?

That brings me to the last challenge of this issue, which is to be very careful not to create even greater ecological problems when implementing solutions for climate change. Remember when we heard about the advantage of replacing Incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent (CFL), and the federal government prohibited continued manufacturing and sale of incandescent light bulbs? CFLs use substantially less power, requiring less power to be generated. But the instant their use was suggested, I knew they contained mercury, causing breakage and disposal to become an even bigger problem. Today, CFLs are being replaced by LEDs. A 100-watt equivalent LED produces a brighter amount of light than a CFL, while using approximately a fifth of the power of a 100-Watt incandescent bulb. There is an enormous amount of power to be saved when every home, business, and street light has been converted to LEDs, but someday we will have to dispose of them in an ecologically friendly way.

Since time began, humans have come up with innovative methods and technologies to do more with less, while at the same time improve our way of life. No matter if the problem is global warming, climate change, or how to support an ever-increasing world population; I am confident humanity will find a way to make better use of the earth’s finite natural resources. I also believe those innovations will come forth from the scientists, engineers, and technologists who will implement solutions to satisfy our future needs. Politicians and elected leaders can do their part to enable the necessary research by providing the funding and encouragement required.

Today, per the US Energy Information Administration, the United States consumes 17.6 percent of the world’s energy, of which only 1.6 percent is supplied by Solar and 6.6 percent by wind, making it easy to conclude that the United States cannot solve the problem alone. In addition, we are already starting to see pushback against solar and wind technologies due to the increasing amount of land being consumed by their footprint. In all likelihood, the next generation will look back on 2019 the same way we look back on Y2K, remarking about how silly it was to think the world would end in 2031, and praise how technologies they now find commonplace solved the conundrum we were so nervous about.

They might even choose to quote a past president, whose motto was “It CAN be done,” because of their renewed faith in the future.

Letter

| Opinion | March 28, 2019

Trade Taxes for Tuition, AB-211

California residents: would you like to convert a portion of your California state income tax to college tuition for you, your child or grandchild?

CA state Assembly bill AB-211 would provide a state income tax deduction of as much as $10,000 per year when the money is deposited in the California 529 plan.

Today a CA 529 plan is free of federal and state taxes as money grows in the plan and when the money is withdrawn for higher education expenses. AB-211 would make the CA 529 an even better deal by providing tax deductions for CA 529 contributions.

The $10,000 deduction would be available to married filing jointly, head of household or surviving spouse taxpayers. For other qualified taxpayers the deduction would be only as much as $5000 per year.
Contributions to a CA 529 plan can be as little as $15 per pay period when using automatic payroll deduction. Contributions are not limited to earned income.

The CA 529 plan has four main options for investing with many choices under each of the main options. Investment options can be related to the age of the plan beneficiary and the risk tolerance level of the plan participant. Annual fees also vary with investment options and choices.

AB-211 is being reviewed by the CA state assembly committee on Revenue and Taxation where the CA State Treasurer Fiona Ma has testified in favor of AB-211.
AB-211 was introduced by assemblyman Ian Calderon (D-Whittier) and is sponsored by the CA State Treasurer.

The full text of AB-211 can be found on website assembly.ca.gov.

For CA 529 plan information: ScholarShare529.com or 1-800-544-5248

The Revenue and Taxation committee head is Autumn R. Burke (916) 319-2062.

If you are in favor of trading part of your state income taxes for college tuition please call your state representatives and voice your approval of AB-211:

Assembly: Christy Smith (916)319-2038 Local office: (661)286-1565

State Senator: Henry I. Stern (916)651-4027 Local office: (818)876-3352

Please call early and often … inform your relatives and friends!

-Greg W.

 

 

Notes from an Extreme Centrist – The System Worked Because of an Unlikely Hero!

| Opinion | March 28, 2019

I completely accept the Mueller findings! I always said that the Mueller investigation’s success is NOT dependent on finding the president guilty of a criminal conspiracy with Russia or criminal obstruction of justice. A finding that the evidence against Trump is insufficient for criminal charges is also a success.

The suggestion by some that the report validates any claim that this was a witch-hunt is patently ridiculous. Witch-hunts ALWAYS find witches! This was a real investigation by an incorruptible, extremely competent investigator, based on 100 percent justifiable probable cause. Mueller has produced far more indictments and convictions in fewer than two years than Starr produced in four. The nation and our system of governance would have suffered immeasurably without the Mueller Investigation. Every American – whether a Trump voter or opponent (like me) – should be incredibly grateful to Mueller, Barr and the system. THE SYSTEM WORKED! For that, however, we should be even more grateful to someone else.

Full disclosure: I am not a fan of Jeff Sessions! That said, Sessions is a true profile in courage. He suffered 20 months of unrelenting pressure and public humiliation from a president he spent two years working tirelessly to elect. He was the first major GOP politician with a national reputation who publicly endorsed Trump, when even the GOP still recognized Trump for the conman that he is. As he was being abused by his boss and president, knowing that time in his life-long dream job was on a death watch, Sessions pursued that president’s agenda more effectively than any other Trump official. He could easily have not recused himself. He could have fired Rosenstein and/or Mueller and made his recusal purely academic. He could have kept his job! But he didn’t. Jeff Sessions served a higher authority. He did what he knew was right, despite personal, public and professional sacrifice. There are many things in Sessions’ public record that I despise, but Jeff Sessions, at the critical moment for him and our nation, proved himself to be a man of principle and I respect him for that.

Despite the Mueller findings, the fact is, we already know there was collusion. There were over 100 documented contacts with Russian intelligence officials from 17 different Trump campaign officials all covered up by lies. The fact is, the word collusion has been grossly misunderstood and distorted. Collusion is not a crime. Criminal conspiracy is. Mueller cleared Trump and his campaign of criminal conspiracy with Russia. It explicitly DOESN’T clear him of obstruction of justice. Essentially, Mueller and Barr kicked that can to Congress. Thus, Trump’s defeat will no doubt depend on Election Day 2020, not an impeachment trial in the Senate – and that’s a good thing for the nation. However, this is no time for a Trump victory lap. The show is far from over with Mueller. There’s SDNY, EDVA, the NYS Attorney General, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance and several committees in Congress. There are still more threads to pull than sheep at shearing season. Stay tuned. The beat goes on!

The Great Collusion Confusion Delusion

| Opinion | March 21, 2019

by Dale Paule

It’s been right there, under their noses all the time, while they’ve been wasting boatloads of time and tax-payer money using Robert Mueller as a Bloodhound; tracking rumor after rumor across political swamps around the world, hoping to find the slightest trace of a Russian footprint leading to that guy who works at, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, Washington, DC.

Two long years of it, with the stunning end result to date: zipity-doo-da!

But in spite of that, many still don’t believe it’s not there; they’re convinced it’s just around the next mango tree. If all you watched on TV was CNN, MSNBC, or most of the other mainstream echo chamber propaganda “news” networks, you’d probably think the same thing, too.

It was once the goal of American journalism to bore through the lies, deceit and cover-ups for the truth, then drag it out into the light for the public to see and judge for themselves.

Unfortunately, that concept is apparently no longer in vogue. It seems now to be a fad of the past, along with bell-bottom pants, Hula-Hoops and mood rings.

Today, many who enter “Journalist” as their occupation on their Tax form are simply megaphones for those who would lie and deceive the public for their own ends. Each night, these “journalists” look straight into the camera with a straight face, and with amazingly similar phrases “inform” the public about whatever version of the truth they’ve been handed by those who hide behind a curtain of anonymity!

Well now, every joke has its punch line, and the “collusion” joke that’s been played on us for the past two years has been a real doozy. But now, it’s our turn, because as it turns out, that guy at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue actually has been colluding—a lot. Only it wasn’t with the “Usual Suspects,” the Russians.

“But, if it’s not the Russians, or some other foreign player, then who?” you might ask.

Brace yourself; here’s where that punch line comes in; It’s us, “We the People!”
Now, ain’t that a real knee-slapper?

Unless I’ve got the wrong slant on what “Collusion” means, I believe a rough translation would work out to something like, “working together with a person or group to achieve a common goal.”

It seems to me, and a lot of others, the guy has been “Colluding” all over the place with “We the People;” colluding to bring jobs and companies back home and allowing free enterprise to drive the economy, instead of a room-full of anonymous bureaucrats in Washington continuing to apply their failed academia-spawned theories. All most Americans really want is the chance to run their own lives and not have their path blocked by those who have “other plans” for their country.

It would be great if this were one of those old Hollywood, feel-good, happy ending kind of movies, where it ends with the hero saving the country and the screen is filled with throngs of happy, smiling faces standing in front of a giant American flag streaming in the wind with button-busting pride, complete with the National Anthem playing in the background as the screen fades to black.

Unfortunately, this ain’t that movie. And even if it were only a movie, we wouldn’t know how it’s going to end yet, because we’re only in the middle of it. And sadly, there are many who are trying hard to insure it doesn’t have a happy ending.

We’re just going to have to wait a while longer before we can find out whether it ends with the American flag streaming victoriously across the screen, or a plain white one.

Vindication for President Trump, Proof of Guilt for Obama & The DNC

| Opinion | March 21, 2019

On March 14, 2017, President Trump erupted with a series of tweets that accused Barack Obama of wiretapping him. Of course the press was quick to excoriate him for these claims, but slowly over the past two years we have seen evidence slowly released showing that these claims, as with most of President Trump’s, were absolutely accurate.

It’s funny that the media doesn’t spend too much time filling in the details of how they got it so wrong, nor the accurate timeline of Admiral Rogers (then head of the NSA) making a secret trip to Trump Tower, which was followed by then President-elect Trump moving his entire staff to one of his resorts until a proper sweep and de-bugging could be completed.

Also missing from the mainstream news was a report from the FISC court titled “The Improper Disclosure of Raw Intelligence about Americans to Unauthorized Individuals,” which outlines how Fusion GPS contractors without proper security clearance were accessing the NSA database to spy on the Trump campaign. This is completely open-source (but heavily redacted), yet the media doesn’t see this as “newsworthy.”

Either that or they just don’t want you to know about it because it doesn’t fit their narrative.

It’s clear these contractors simply pulled information on the wrong Michael Cohen for their spying, but that never comes up either.

Although obvious when one understands that the Dodgy Dossier is highly predicated on Cohen visiting Prague to pay hackers – something shown as false by his travel records, passports and people verifying he was in the USA when the dossier placed him in Prague – the media also doesn’t see this as “newsworthy.”

It’s either that, or they’re trying desperately to keep us from understanding just how complicit they are in this entire scandal.

They’re also not spending a whole lot of time on two enormous pieces of evidence which have recently been released, adding more proof that not only was the entire premise of the Russian Collusion investigation a complete farce, but that President Obama was running the operation.

If you haven’t read the released transcripts of testimony from Bruch Ohr (formerly of the DOJ) and Lisa Page (former FBI counsel and Peter Strozk mistress), you should. You won’t be seeing much about them from CNN or MSNBC, but thankfully Representative Doug Collins has released them to the public so that we can read & see for ourselves:

https://dougcollins.house.gov/page
Jeff Carlson received these leaked transcripts several months ago and wrote about them for the Epoch Times, but contrary to their actions after any anonymous leak was received by the mainstream media over the past few years, not much reporting outside of conservative outlets was done. Thanks to Representative Collins, we now know that not only were these leaked transcripts accurate, but they help paint a much clearer picture of the debacle that is SpyGate.

If you’ve been getting your news from the media (like most of the nation) your full understanding of the greatest political scandal in our nation’s history is likely very skewed and missing a significant amount of facts – and they want to keep it that way.

But, thanks to the army of citizen journalists who knew there was more to the issue than we were being told, a significant amount of information that the media doesn’t want to report on has been uncovered.

For example, did you know that Glenn Simpson (Fusion GPS founder) wrote an article for the Wall Street Journal in 2007 that outlined almost the exact story that we’ve been told happened in 2016? It bears an uncanny resemblance to what we were told was the Russian Collusion scandal, and features many of the same players – it was only the 2016 version that brought in President Trump.

You’ve heard of the infamous Trump Tower meeting – but did you know the meeting was set up by people in the Clinton political machine, and that some of those present really worked for Fusion GPS? Curiously, quite a few of these “incriminating” meetings that Democratic politicians have used for their “proof” were either set up by intelligence assets or Clinton donors, friends or co-conspirators.

Paul Manafort was just sentenced for a number of issues totally unrelated to his work with the Trump campaign – but did you know that Tony Podesta, brother of Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, worked with the same people, in the same places, and also failed to register under FARA, yet for some reason didn’t meet the same investigation or prosecution as Manafort?

Did you know that Bob Mueller came under intense fire from Congress when he was head of the FBI for indicting people with unverified evidence, and was forced to create something called “The Woods Procedure” to ensure claims were verified before using them to go after someone – and that he did not follow the Woods Procedure in the Russian Collusion investigation?

Have you ever asked yourself – if every claim of an impeachable offense so far, for the past two years, has been proven an absolute hoax – how do Democrat politicians still make claims that they have more? Are we to believe they purposely put forward multiple hoaxes but held back the real evidence all of this time, destroying all of their credibility in the process?

Most Americans know that we’ve been at war in Afghanistan for over 18 years now, but many don’t know that we’ve been involved in war right here, on U.S. soil, for over two years since President Trump was elected. Obama’s administration and Clinton’s political operatives weaponized our intelligence agencies and the media to destroy a political opponent in the greatest scandal in our nation’s history, and have been fighting tooth-and-nail to unseat a duly-elected president.

But while the war in Afghanistan is fought with bombs and bullets, the war here at home is being fought with information. And thanks to technology, although the media is refusing to accurately report on this war, the truth is available to anyone who is willing to take the time to look for it.

Any conservative knows that our values are under attack, but most don’t understand that our very nation is, as well. (Did you know that every email from the Hillary private server was being BCC’d to China? It was buried in the OIG report but not reported by the media.)

So, if you are a conservative who loves your country and our way of life, it’s time for you to suit up. Inform yourself; watch the senate hearings to know what actually was said versus what the media tells you. Listen to Dan Bongino, who literally wrote the book on Spygate and has a podcast where he outlines the criminality every single day.

We are involved in a war in which many of us are not even fighting back. But the time has come to inform yourself, fight for your country and understand the level of attack that we are currently under.

Robert Patrick Lewis is a Green Beret OIF/OEF combat veteran with 10th SFG(A), CMO of Heroes Media Group, entrepreneur, MBA and award-winning author of Love Me When I’m Gone: The True Story of Life, Love and Loss for A Green Beret In Post-9/11 War , The Pact and The Pact Book II: Battle Hymn of the Republic. Follow him @RobertPLewis on Twitter or on his RobertPatrickLewisAuthor Facebook page.

Agenda 21, the Green New Deal and The Mob

| Opinion | March 21, 2019

By Betty Arenson

Recently, a commentary in the opinion section of another publication was printed on the topic of the Left’s Green New Deal. The author also made reference to the link between the GND and Agenda 21.

Irrespective of the author’s cited sources and information, along with her conclusions and opinions (it is an opinion page), the commentary, the newspaper’s editor and owners, the title of the weekly column and the GOP in general were irresponsibly and viciously attacked. The commentary’s content was accused of being “right-wing conspiracy theories.” It cannot be viewed because it’s been deleted from the website. Thank you, Mob.

There are two sides of opinions: the conservative American Policy Center has one view of Agenda 21, and the liberal Southern Poverty Law Center has another. One unit does not cancel out the other; one only has to look at what we are seeing in our own backyard these days.
Agenda 21 is a fact. Agenda 21 and Sustainable Development Goals are not conspiracy theories, but published UN sustainability objectives. With that, I also give you the following, and you can decide for yourselves.

The Mob’s hit piece against the article will be addressed later.

It is no surprise that not everyone has heard of Agenda 21, irrespective of the program being 27 years old. In short, it’s all about “sustainability.”

For example: seventeen goals are listed in Sustainable Development Goals, which can be found on the Sustainable Development Goals Wikipedia page. “Goal 5: Gender equality” states, “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.” Sound familiar? There are plenty of sources that have written on the matter (easy Google search) and some will be cited here.

The International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) is the Local Government for Sustainability, i.e. “a global network of cities, towns and regions committed to building a sustainable future.” (Wikipedia)

Agenda 21 is a non-binding plan of the United Nations regarding “sustainable development.” It arose out of a meeting in Brazil in 1992 at the Earth Summit/UN Conference on Environment and Development. About 178 nations attended that summit. “It is an action agenda for the UN, other multilateral organizations, and individual governments around the world that can be executed at local, national, and global levels.” (Wikipedia).

According to an article published by the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) entitled “Agenda 21? What is Agenda 21?”: “Most people have never heard of Agenda 21. If they have heard of it, they likely believe it to be a vague United Nations program that will never see the light of day, or they believe it is imagined by conspiracy theorists. Yet, the principles contained in Agenda 21 are at the heart of many of our federal programs since the late 1990s. They reach every corner of the United States and impact millions of Americans who don’t even realize the document exists.”

“President George H. Bush, along with leaders from 177 other nations, signed onto this “non-binding” UN action plan that was purportedly designed to assist governments at the local, national and international level implement (sic) the principles of so-called “sustainable development.” The “21” in the name refers to the 21st Century.”

“… the following year when President Clinton quietly established the President’s Council on Sustainable Development (PCSD). The PCSD codified Agenda 21 into U.S. policy through a program called Sustainable America. Today, nearly all federal programs dealing with land management, education, environment and much more are linked to Agenda 21 through Sustainable America.”

“Because of grassroots pushback, the federal government today rarely uses the term Agenda 21 or Sustainable America anymore – especially with any program it is promoting (emphasis added). Instead, programs which administer Agenda 21’s sustainable development principles are given warm and fuzzy titles like the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative, Partnership for Sustainable Communities, Obama’s Climate Action Plan and many more. Even the newest education fad, Common Core, is linked to Agenda 21, as are the new Next Generation Science Standards.
Another group called “Democrats against Agenda 21” is headed by Rosa Koire, who wrote, “UN Agenda 21/Sustainable Development is the action plan implemented worldwide to inventory and control all land, all water, all minerals, all plants, all animals, all construction, all means of production, all energy, all education, all information, and all human beings in the world.  INVENTORY AND CONTROL.” (https://www.democratsagainstunagenda21.com/.)

This is how Rosa Koire describes herself: “[I’ve] been a Democrat since I was registered to vote . . . I’m anti-war, I’m gay, I’m [a] feminist.”

“Google has over 300 million references to Agenda 21, yet it’s hard for most people to get the truth about Agenda 21 because of the truckloads of smoke and misinformation generated by government bureaucrats and the progressive media. This UN program is indeed real and it is an affront to our personal liberties. Agenda 21 is supposedly designed to make the world “sustainable” by limiting human activities that environmental extremists believe are harming the planet. That may sound fine to many people – until they understand what it means in practice. In order to protect the environment, Agenda 21 instructs governments to micromanage virtually all human activity – which the governments either severely restrict, or regulate to the point that such activity can be minimized.”

According to “Excerpt, UN Agenda 21” from Green-Agenda.com: “Effective execution of Agenda 21 will require a profound reorientation of all human society, unlike anything the world has ever experienced a major shift in the priorities of both governments and individuals and an unprecedented redeployment of human and financial resources. This shift will demand that a concern for the environmental consequences of every human action be integrated into individual and collective decision-making at every level.”

Now, let’s look at some of the text of the Green New Deal as hyped by Democrats with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez leading the way. This following bill can be retrieved from www.congress.gov:

Introduced in House (02/07/2019)
“This resolution calls for the creation of a Green New Deal with the goals of:

  • achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions;
  • establishing millions of high-wage jobs and ensuring economic security for all;
  • investing in infrastructure and industry;
  • securing clean air and water, climate and community resiliency, healthy food, access to nature, and a sustainable environment for all; and
  • promoting justice and equality.

The resolution calls for accomplishment of these goals through a 10-year national mobilization effort. The resolution also enumerates the goals and projects of the mobilization effort, including:

  • building smart power grids (i.e., power grids that enable customers to reduce their power use during peak demand periods);
  • upgrading all existing buildings and constructing new buildings to achieve maximum energy and water efficiency;
  • removing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation and agricultural sectors;
  • cleaning up existing hazardous waste and abandoned sites;
  • ensuring businesspersons are free from unfair competition; and
  • providing higher education, high-quality health care, and affordable, safe, and adequate housing to all.”

The GND, in part calls for:

  • basically, any craft that spews any degree of nasty stuff will be banned from use. Ships, boats, yachts;
  • we will pay for every existing building structure to be “green” upgraded;
  • will expand high-speed rail (going to Hawaii and Europe should be fun … and challenging);
  • eliminate flatulent cows (then what animal?);
  • *I strongly suggest that flatulence will never match that which is coming out of Washington D.C.;
  • provide a guaranteed federal government job to all who cannot or “will not work”;
  • mandate universal “free” healthcare”;

Presently, we have government officials telling us that we:

  • cannot use plastic straw;
  • cannot purchase cups of soda over 16 oz.;
  • have gadgets on our utility meters giving “them” control of our resources;
  • have to use certain light bulbs;
  • have to buy/use certain toilets;
  • are now on notice that air travel in the not-so-far future will disappear;
  • are limited to what kind of vehicle to drive;
  • must have certain solar apparatuses on a new house roofs;

Are you getting picture? Now: The Mob.

Their Mob is the rabble that wreaks havoc when they cannot control everything and everyone. If they cannot change others to adopt their mindset or demands, they will use every cruel and malicious tactic possible to minimize or destroy “the enemy.” Intimidation, threats and if needed, violence, is theirs. Remember the dangerous acts against Tucker Carlson’s home and family or The Mob physically clawing at the doors of the Supreme Court?

In the case of the opinion page commentary, an outrageous website was used to maliciously broadcast garbage and cherry-pick info, attacking everything they could point at … everything that wasn’t them. Yes, the Keyboard Commando(s) went to work in fevered mode … intimidation and slime is the name of the game.

The lesson to be learned is DO NOT capitulate to The Mob; ceding one little millimeter results in their taking ten miles. They cannot be partnered with, trusted, satisfied or rationally dealt with. Surrendering, yielding or submitting to them in any way whatsoever is emboldening and they then tout cowardice. Second lesson to be learned: The Mob never gives in and they never give up, but that does not mean they have lasting strength, unless others give it to them. They are loud and appear forceful, but there’s no need to hand them anything.

We are in the United States of America. We get to read, share ideas and have opinions free of The Mob who intend to dominate our minds, thoughts, opinions, ideas and actions.

In the end, you can be your own person, or let someone else dictate your being. You have a choice.

Notes from an Extreme Centrist – ‘Why?’

| Opinion | March 21, 2019

Headline from the NYT, 3/15/2019:

Two New Zealand Mosques, a Hate-Filled Massacre Designed for Its Time

“I went to Friday afternoon prayers at my local mosque today. When one wakes up to overwhelming incomprehensible tragedy, you feel helpless and want to do something. The only thing I could think of was to go to the mosque and pray with my Muslim brothers and sisters, to share their pain, pray to the same G-d we also share and in a very small way reach out to them as best as I can. As they prayed to Allah and recited verses from the Quran, I silently recited the Kaddish, the Jewish prayer for the dead. The imam’s sermon was all about love, about reaching out across religious and ethnic differences to Jews and Christians, to listen to each other with peace and understanding, to confront hate and evil with love and understanding. My goal was to be as inconspicuous as possible. My yarmulke is not that much different from the head coverings most of the men were wearing. Most wore street clothes much like mine. I took off my shoes and sat on the floor just like everyone else. Still, as the service ended, the imam recognized me from the podium as I had been there during happier times about 2 years ago with my friend Jamshed, and thanked me for coming. He recognized me as an observant Jew. And literally 1 day after rockets had flown between Israel and Gaza and 49 of their brothers and sisters had been massacred in a mosque just like this one, during Friday afternoon prayers half way around the world, over 100 Muslim men came up to me and individually embraced me, a Jew, thanking me for my small gesture. It was all I could do to hold back my tears.”

My question of “Why?” is NOT why horrors like this occur. We know why! My question is why do White Power Supremacists, from David Duke after Charlottesville to the shooter in New Zealand, see in Donald J. Trump – our president – a kindred spirit? Donald Trump is not responsible for Charlottesville or the massacre in New Zealand. I want to be very clear about that still.

On March 11, just four days prior to the massacre, Trump gave an interview to Breibart, the online right-wing propaganda site masquerading as news, where he said the following:

“I can tell you I have the support of the police, have the support of the military, have the support of the bikers for Trump – I have the tough people, but they don’t play it tough – until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad.”

What are we to make of this comment? Is he threatening violence in the streets if he doesn’t get his way with the wall or if he loses in 2020? Is this an appropriate threat for an American president to make to the American people?

During his campaign, he advocated for a Muslim ban. After Charlottesville, he declared there were good people on both sides. Less than 24 hours after the massacre in New Zealand, in response to a reporter’s question in the Oval Office during the Veto Signing Ceremony, he declared that White Power Supremacists and the violence they advocate and perpetrate are not serious problems in the United States.

My Trump-supporting friends can legitimately claim that the president’s words in all these cases are being grossly misinterpreted, that his intent and meaning carry no racist or poisonous purpose. That may be so; however, the David Dukes of the world and other White Power Supremacists all take comfort from these words. Why? The president of the United States, whether he likes it or not, is the spokesperson for the moral/ethical soul of all of us.

At times like these, he should never speak in a way where his words must be parsed to determine what he really means. They must be clear to everyone! It’s hard to interpret the words “Muslim Ban” as anything but racist! After the torchlight parade of Nazis screaming “Jews will not replace us” into the Charlottesville night, Charlottesville was no longer about Confederate monuments, at least for those Americans like me, who are the targets of Nazi hatred. It was only about Nazis marching in American streets. After the Charleston church, Pittsburgh synagogue and Christchurch, New Zealand massacres, White Power Supremacist hatred and violence are serious problems for everyone in America who isn’t white and Christian; and I pray even for the vast majority of American white Christians.

In Judaism, we hold leaders to a higher moral/ethical standard than the general population. Moses was denied entry into the Promised Land by HaShem because he struck a rock in anger in front of the Israelites! I honestly don’t know if Trump consciously carries favor with Nazis and White Pride Supremacists with his consistent equivocations. But it really doesn’t matter. What matters is that he consistently fails America when it matters most with his words. He should be ashamed of himself and every American who takes America’s ideals of tolerance and brotherhood seriously. Those of you who voted for him should loudly and proudly shame Donald J. Trump for this failure. It is inexcusable!

The Times, They are a-Changin’

| Opinion | March 21, 2019

Recently, I met for breakfast with a Home School Mom (HSM) who is also a school choice activist. As I suspected, being a responsible HSM requires energy, dedication, perseverance, wisdom and a willingness to innovate. In her case, she is also an agent for change in how we approach and fund education. She was accustomed to hard work and long hours. HSM came from a poor family and did not find her academic voice until she spent two years in community college. She eventually became a medical doctor, serving at County General Hospital. Like most students, she had amassed massive college debt and put in 70-80 hours a week to pay back her tuition.

The trigger for HSM to become an educator/administrator for her children was the advent of the controversial Common Core program being advocated by our school systems. This led to her studying Common Core, current educational practices and the curriculums being taught to our children. After doing approximately 100 hours of research, she concluded that the school system was just not working and that our children were being dumbed-down. After looking at high school textbooks and helping some of our two-year college students, that certainly was no surprise to me. She further came to believe that our school systems were a scam. She was convinced it was more about hustling money for schools to pay off pensions than about giving the students the tools they needed to be successful in life. She learned that California was two years behind the rest of the country in education. It was then that she decided to take her children out of school and take on the challenge of supervising her children’s education.

HSM told me that the masses are waking up, and we do not need the educational system as we have known it. She told me about Sage Oak, Inspire and Sky Mountain charter school systems that have programs to help home schoolers and provide accredited classes for children whose parents are taking responsibility for their education. It turns out there are many resources available for home schoolers.

In addition to accredited schools that can provide specific classes, the internet has many educational sites with free or inexpensive advanced classes. She cited many other examples of resources now available to parents who choose to have their children home schooled. Many two-year colleges offer free classes and books to High Schoolers who can do college level work. The possibilities are truly exciting. She talked of the advantages of designing a program that was consistent with the strengths and talents of the student. It is a far cry from the one-size (perhaps really three or so) fits-all method offered by the public-school systems. It also avoids the indoctrination designed to change social norms that have infiltrated California State approved textbooks. That subject alone easily fills a book.

Public-school students are being provided with age inappropriate state approved materials. The schools have fear mongered about climate change, leaving children in terror that they will be dead in 12 years. So much for schools having safe spaces. They are graduating without basic math, reading and writing skills to do college work. They are not taught the critical thinking necessary to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the arguments fed to them.

HSM co-founded Highland Latin Academy, where parents of home schoolers taught classes in their own area of expertise, including hard science, economics, mathematics and biology. She taught finance and anatomy. She has recently come under attack by her local school system, which is why I have respected her anonymity. They claim that her group was not providing an adequate education, so she had her 14-year-old daughter equivalency tested. It turns out that she was already doing college level work. Three years ahead of the public schools!

HSM is convinced that our school systems are failing our students. She believes that the greatest source for progress and innovation is competition and the free market. That is why she has signed on to be the Home School Liaison for SchoolChoice2020.org. SchoolChoice2020.org is proposing a change in California law. Currently, all educational funding is going to local schools based on zip code. Under SchoolChoice2020, educational accounts would be created for individual students and would follow them to whichever accredited schools their parents choose to enroll them in. This means that low income families can send their children to the best schools available, public, charter, private or religious. As of this writing, the projected amount would be about $16,000 a year. Unspent funds would accumulate and any left over could be used for trade schools or college.

If you wish to contact HSM, learn more or help SchoolChoice2020.org. Use the contact information on their web site. Ask them about sponsoring an event in your home and providing a speaker.

Always Advocating Alan – Is Santa Clarita Led by Ants or Grasshoppers?

| Opinion | March 21, 2019

When you were a young child, did your parents read Aesop’s Fables to you? One of my favorites is “The Ant and the Grasshopper.” In this story, a hard-working Ant toils diligently to gather and save food for the winter. The Grasshopper, instead of doing the same, basks in the summer sun and enjoys the coolness of autumn without a care in the world. But, when winter came, the Grasshopper “found nothing but snow to eat. He got weaker and weaker until one day he couldn’t move at all. Several ants came by as he was lying in the snow. ‘One of their nests must be close by’ he thought. ‘The ants will give me food.’ But he was too weak to move and the ants didn’t know he was there.” Of course, the moral of this story is, “It is best to prepare for winter because winter always comes, and some winters may be worse than others. There is a time for work and a time for play, and you should save for a rainy day.”

The City of Santa Clarita has their own version of Aesop’s “Ant and the Grasshopper” fable when they remind us, “Decisions made in good times are more important than the decisions made during bad times,” and we should “live below our means.” There is no doubt about it. The principle should not only apply to money, but to other resources we use, as well. For the past several drought years, the one resource in short supply was water. Happily, on March 14, 2019, NBC News reported, “California is officially free of drought after more than seven years, drought monitors said Thursday. The Golden State has experienced some form of drought for 376 consecutive weeks, the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska, tweeted. It’s the first time the state has been free of drought since Dec. 20, 2011.” So, the question becomes, what good decisions will we make now? How will we save for the next drought period?

From my perspective, the only way to ease the burden during the next drought period is to use resources we already have available, but have not yet taken advantage of. The first of those resources is recycled water, created by our two Wastewater Treatment plants. The Valencia and Saugus plants produce approximately 20 million gallons a day and dump it straight into the river. What a shock when we learned on February 25, 2019 that “the Board of Directors (Laurene Weste and Marsha McLean) for the Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District of Los Angeles County (SCV Sanitation District) approved a resolution to discontinue environmental studies related to using more recycled water and discharging less water to the Santa Clara River.” Even while a few paragraphs later stated, “The Sanitation District serves the wastewater management of the Santa Clarita Valley.”

Sanitation District management puts the blame on litigation initiated by the “Affordable Clean Water Alliance” as the primary motivator for taking this action, and to protect SCV ratepayers. When the chloride reduction program was first being sold to Santa Clarita’s residents, the only benefit was our ability to use recycled water. As explained in the EIR paragraph titled, “Support for Municipal Reuse of Recycled Water,” “The third project objective (is) to accommodate recycled water reuse opportunities. WRP discharges would not be lower than the minimum flow of 13 (million gallons a day) mgd,” meaning 7 million gallons of water a day would be immediately available, with the number increasing as additional clients are connected. Canceling the recycled water project objective shows we were deceived into supporting this project.

In Clarifications from the City of Santa Clarita pertaining to my column last week, Ms. Lujan stated, “the Sanitation District does not implement recycled water projects.” It would have been more accurate if she would have written, “the Sanitation District does not implement recycled water projects alone.” The way it works is the Sanitation District provides the raw materials of recycled water and then sells it to SCV Water, who sells it to the end user, which could be the City of Santa Clarita or a private entity. Looking at the SCV Sanitation District Chloride Compliance Facilities Plan and Environmental Impact Report published in October of 2013, the third Project Objective is stated as “Provide a wastewater treatment and effluent management program that accommodates recycled water reuse opportunities in the Santa Clarita Valley while protecting beneficial uses of the Santa Clara River.” This was necessary as a result of the Regional Quality Water Board (a group of appointed bureaucrats) fining the City of Santa Clarita $800,000 for pumping water out of the ground in the Shangri-La development and immediately discarding it in the river, because they claim that the water needs to be treated before doing so. To comply with their mandate, water currently being pumped from under Shangri-La, is put in the sewer system, treated in our Wastewater Treatment Plants and then discarded in the river. It is no easier if recycled water is used for irrigation, as permits obtained from this same group are also required.

For years we listened to CLWA management tell us recycled water was too expensive, primarily due to the initial cost of laying the pipes to get recycled water to where it is needed. Yet, more recently, I was highly encouraged by SCV Water management’s plan to implement some first steps in providing this necessary infrastructure. In addition, the city continues to plant “Purple Pipe,” designating it’s use for recycled water when providing landscaping improvements to the roadway medians. The plan is to connect to a source of recycled water when available. Realistically, Purple Pipes in the ground waiting for a source of recycled water provides no value.

SCV Water is not giving up and is exploring what they term “a Next Drop recycling strategy.” Ms. Lujan goes on to point out where some of those drops will come from by stating, “When completed, the new (Vista Canyon Ranch) Water Factory will produce up to 371,000 gallons a day.” Sound like big numbers? Not really. When compared to 20 million Gallons a Day, it represents less than 2 percent of what the Valencia and Saugus plants are currently producing, and less than 1 percent of the Valley’s total water consumption. Plus, the key operative is “When Completed,” translating to “When Available,” which is a term the Grasshopper would have favored.

To sum it up, the two SCV Sanitation District Water Treatment Plants are our valley’s only currently available source of recycled water. While the SCV Water Company is willing to start putting pipes in the ground to transport it to where it is needed, the Sanitation District, led by members of the Santa Clarita City Council, has decided to discontinue efforts to make this water available. While their decision might be in the best interest of the Sanitation District, it is not in the best interest of our valley’s residents.

Will Santa Clarita end up being an ant or a grasshopper? Will we decide to start using recycled water even when times are good, or will we just do nothing in good times and suffer when water availability is scarce? We need to ask those questions at the next city council meeting and find out what the answers might be.

Letters

| Opinion | March 21, 2019

I want to thank the Gazette for the recent article about my efforts to improve public governance by issuing cure and correct letters to local school districts (Hart, Saugus, College of the Canyons).

An important step in this effort was to make certain that the agendas for official meetings be easily accessible to the public in a timely manner. My recent action worked towards this goal by making sure that a prominent link existed on the district’s homepage which linked to the current board agenda. In all instances, the districts made changes to comply with the law.

The Brown Act (1953) with it’s numerous revisions is intended to “guarantee the public’s right to attend and participate in meetings of local legislative bodies”. It is sad that so few citizens take advantage of this right to learn about local government and affect accountability. This community needs more citizens to become involved and stay informed. I should not be a “lone watchdog”, and encourage others to join in the effort. Please feel free to contact me.

As important, we need a local media that is willing to report on items of importance that are actionable items on the agenda. Reporters are able to do extended investigations and ask questions of public officials that are frequently dismissed at public meetings. The Gazette and reporter Lee Barnathan have been exceptional with their coverage. I encourage other media outlets to “up their game” in this area.

I am frequently contacted by individuals who have issues and concerns that should be addressed by local public agencies. Learning the system and participating in the process is important if meaninful change is to take place. Let there be no misunderstanding, my efforts are purposed at making the system accessible for citizens who wish to participate, with the greater goal of holding local agencies and public officials accountable for their actions.

I am thankful to live in a country and state , which promotes public participation and engagement. There is an old admonition, “Think Global, Act Local”. This short phrase is a wise piece of advice, and one which Steve Petzold will continue to follow.

Steve Petzold
Santa Clarita, CA

Doug,
Your headline should have been titled, THANK YOU FOR KEEPING SANTA CLARITA SCHOOL BOARDS HONEST!
Steve Petzold and Alan Ferdman are two people who work harder for the people of Santa Clarita than anyone on The City Council, and most definitely anyone in the CITY! The misuse and misappropriations of funds in this City is appalling, and thank GOD for Citizens like these two men who bring things to the forefront to help the Citizens/residents of Santa Clarita.
I have had the privilege of working with Steve Petzold on Measure E, and you will not find a more fact driven, and hard working person trying to HELP the PEOPLE of Santa Clarita, than Steve Petzold. In no way does he try to steal or misappropriate their money. The City, and The City Council, turn the other way, dance around the questions asked, and continue to give more of OUR hard earned TAX MONEY to things that should be deemed unnecessary.
Elaine

 

Dear Doug,

Regarding your article on Steve Petzold “Menace or Misunderstood?”

Steve relishes in “stirring the pot” when it comes to local issues and government.

That’s OK with me. I don’t often (and in fact, rarely) agree with his politics but appreciate his outspokenness and advocacy. We need people like him. Let’s face it, it’s the people that stir the pot that actually help get things done and keeps government in check. And quite frankly, I’m glad he’s around. He’s doing it so I don’t have to!

-Stephen Daniels
Host of “The Talk of Santa Clarita” podcast and publisher of the SCV Proclaimer.

‘Stultus Est Sicut Stultus Facit’

| Opinion | March 14, 2019

The Head in the Sand Party has just announced its latest nomination for the obscure “Stultus Est Sicut Stultus Facit” (Stupid is as Stupid Does) Award. It’s rumored to have been suggested by the slogan’s creator, philosopher Forrest Gump, and endorsed by the Flat Earth Society. The winner is Superstition University, and its school of critical thinking and logic analysis, for the remarkable teaching and counsel it has given to the Congressional Committee’s questioning of Trump’s ex-fixer and attorney, Michael Cohen. An additional letter of commendation has been submitted for subpoenas issued by Rep. Nadler – which do not include reliable witnesses who were involved in, or created the dossier, that led to the investigation of President Trump. Where are the people who submitted the FISA warrant?

The investigating Demo(c)rats, who historically prided themselves on practicing and employing scientific methodology in their advocacies, have fallen victim to operant conditioning as described by behaviorist B.F. Skinner. His study of rats using his famous Skinner box may provide some illumination. An example of his experiments would be (while in the box) every time the rat turned to the left, it would be given a food pellet. In no time at all, the rat would be turning in circles to the left. When the rewards were withheld the turning behavior would shortly extinguish. Germane to this case is when the pellets were being given to the rats randomly. If by chance the rat was turning left when given the pellet, the subject might begin to turn in circles to the left. More commonly, the rats would begin to engage in bizarre repetitive behaviors in hopes of obtaining more of the coveted pellets.

This type of operant conditioning is known as random reinforcement. The rat would keep turning, as long as it occasionally gets the reward. The relevant factor is that when the rewards stopped altogether, they would continue the behavior, seemingly indefinitely, rather than stopping it quickly as in the example of always getting a reward for the desired behavior. Skinner suggested that this is how superstitions are established and seemingly never go away. Common examples are superstitions about walking under a ladder or seeing a black cat. Athletes are famous for their superstitious behavior, like not shaving during a winning streak, or not washing and changing their socks. Oh yes, and the Demo(c)rats’ obsession with investigating President Donald Trump which has gone on for more than two years with no credible evidence on Trump-Russian collusion presented to date.

The problem for the Democrats, and evidently several top officials in the FBI, was finding themselves in an extreme state of cognitive dissonance. There was no doubt in their minds that Hillary Clinton was going to win the Presidency, and that a boorish Washington and political outsider named Donald Trump did not have a chance of rising to the highest office in the land. After the electoral votes were counted, Donald Trump was declared our next president, while a devastated Hillary Clinton and her supporters were searching for who or what should be blamed. They became the Charlie Browns of politics. Remember his often-used line “How can we lose when we’re so sincere?”

Then the solution to this mental conflict came to them like a gift from the Gods. Donald Trump had to be in collusion with the Russians. It’s the only explanation. Members of the FBI began an investigation. The unsupported Clinton opposition research dossier was presented to the FISA courts to allow spying on American citizens associated with Trump. The slightest allegation presented without evidence became proof. Allegations alone reinforced the superstition that has dominated the thinking of Democrats. They engaged in the presumption of guilt by suspicion, supported by random unsupported hints of collusion. The superstition of Trump colluding with the Russians received one random reinforcement after another. Superstition has morphed into an act of faith. That faith has resulted in the rejection of any exculpatory witnesses or evidence. Questioning of Michael Cohen was restricted. They put faith in a witness who is a serial liar and unable to keep his stories straight. They pressured him to violate attorney-client privilege. Now they are moving to the politics of personal destruction by going after anyone associated with the President. The only winners will be the legions of attorneys. Cah-ching!

True scientific method and legal investigations, to have credibility, must approach things quite differently. They do not begin with a conclusion. They begin with an extensive look at the evidence. All the evidence. Some may support the hypothesis, others may not. In a legal case, the prosecution is required to give any exculpatory evidence they find to the defense. Turns out that the Demo(c)crats pre-interviewed Cohen for over 12 hours without allowing Republican participation. After looking at the data (evidence) you may then come up with the hypothesis. E.g. I think Michael Cohen is a liar. Then you test for it. E.g. Mr. Cohen testified under oath before Congress that he was not interested in having a position with the Trump administration.

You then find an interview where he stated that he was looking forward to having a position in the administration. Therefore, you can state that Michael Cohen is a liar. Typically, you then submit your hypothesis to peer review for confirmation. After testing for other examples that Michael Cohen is a liar and the hypothesis is confirmed, only then can you safely say that Mr. Cohen is a liar.

So, I am going to give it a try.

After hearing years of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s press conferences, I suspect that Rep. Nancy Pelosi often lies. She recently stated that the freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar is not anti-Semitic. I have found many examples of Rep. Omar making statements that most Americans would consider anti-Semitic. Therefore, I conclude that Speaker Pelosi lies during her press conferences. I understand that other politicians may also lie. Saying that others do or do not does not add to or take away from my hypothesis. That said, I submit my hypothesis that Speaker Pelosi lies during her press conferences, out for peer review. Please send your responses to the “Head in the Sand Party” and remember “Stultus Est Sicut Stultus Facit.”

Have a nice day!

Creativity Advocacy – Creativity and ‘Marriage’

| Opinion | March 14, 2019

My significant other and I celebrated 34 years together on February 1. Jimmy and I began as childhood sweethearts, raised four kids and are now on our way into the dessert stage of this complex relationship—the union that many people call marriage, but we call life partnership.

Whenever we hear the Dire Straits song, “Why Worry,” we both choke up because this tune has played as the main soundtrack behind our many courses together. On one hand, time is what has managed to sift out much of the distasteful elements of our matrimony and, on the other hand, time has also managed to fortify us. It seems as though time itself is a staple, a component behind our longevity—which might seem redundant—the longer you stay together, the longer you stay together. Maybe that’s true. But how to actually do that is the tricky part. When I take a step back and respond to those familiar questions, “How do you do it? What’s the secret?” the answer tends to come through the filter of Creativity. (Shocker!)

At first glance, it would be easy to discount the Creativity that goes into a thriving relationship. Most of us are conditioned to acknowledge and recognize the Creative efforts behind sculptures, photography and screenplays. But when you boil it down, long-term relationships require just as much Creativity as The Marriage of Figaro or the Harry Potter series. But could the Creativity necessary for human interaction be a different type than the Creativity required for the Sistine Chapel?

I think not.

As a matter of fact, when architects sat down to plan out the infamous gothic stained-glass windows and vaulted ceilings to be covered in Michelangelo’s elaborate mural, they employed the same force necessary to manage a serious relationship. The fundamental elements of Creativity are innovation, transformation, and connection. Only the building skills needed to execute such an iconic architectural masterpiece are different than the communication skills required for a healthy, functional and more-often-than-not happy partnership.

When something new or novel is introduced into culture, especially if it is useful, it is endorsed as Creative. We see this with new medicines, new technology or an original series on HBO. How does this apply to a marriage or a relationship?

In order for relationships to thrive, we must invent new ways of dealing with old issues, even when starting over with a new partner seems a viable option—something that 60 percent of us do (which can be considered novel, too!). However, long-held patterns that are hard to break warrant new ways of thinking and new ways of being together. Building the Sistine Chapel actually sounds easier than revamping reactionary habits and re-negotiating emotional triggers but, nevertheless, can be done. This Creative juice is nothing new; it’s part of our humanity and always has been. Newness keeps a marriage from going stale and becoming useless.

Creative acts also transform culture, like Benjamin Franklin’s contribution of electricity changed society forever; or like Banksy’s graffiti art transforms mindsets that promote capitalism. In relationships, our Creative efforts transform not only our interpersonal communication but our feelings for one another. When one partner redirects his/her frustration and begins to brainstorm solutions instead of hurling accusations, it transforms the relationship by making a safe place to build trust and then cultivates warm feelings of affection (rather than promoting defensiveness). The transformation isn’t a one-time experience, but an ongoing cycle, like the seasons. Creativity is not stagnant in nature, nor in healthy partnerships. With all this transformation and change in a relationship, it can always be something new!

Finally, the crux of Creativity is connection. The function of all Creative acts is to connect us as a species. Music brings us together; beautiful structures are where we congregate; storytelling through literature and film helps us to relate to one another. Creative acts in relationships are no different. When we write the recipe for a fulfilling relationship, Creativity must be the main ingredient. How to execute that Creativity may differ with each couple, as in expectation, communication style, etc., but the end goal is an intimate companionship so robust that the disconnect in our personal lives doesn’t spill out into society. When we are more deeply connected to our life-partners, we have more to contribute to the collective because we spend less time and money mopping up and dividing up. Our healthy connections are what enable us to impact the world around us in a beneficial way. That’s how we can savor the song “Why Worry,” even if it’s been played and replayed since 1985.

Baby, I see this world has made you sad
Some people can be bad
The things they do, the things they say
But baby, I’ll wipe away those bitter tears
I’ll chase away those restless fears
And turn your blue skies into gray
Why worry now
Baby, when I get down I turn to you
And you make sense of what I do
And though it isn’t hard to say
Why worry
There should be laughter after pain
There should be sunshine after rain
These things have always been the same
So why worry now

Thanks for a Job Well Done

| Opinion | March 14, 2019

by Dale Paule

Like most Americans, I’ve always had a yen to visit other countries around the world. Not the usual kinds, though – the ones tourists flock to, bringing back gaudy souvenirs and photographs of themselves standing in front of some ancient castle or monument – but the other kind they call, “Third World Socialist countries.” You know, the ones where everyone (well, almost everyone) gets to share equally in the misery.

Take Venezuela, for instance, where civil war threatens to break out at any moment, and you’re aware that your very life is in constant danger.
To share that experience; the sights, sounds, and smells, and just to be among the throngs of starving masses, fighting each other just to stay alive. Oh, the thrill of it all!

I’ve long been hoping to take that trip someday. But now, thanks to the diligent, hard work and dedication of our “open minded” and “open border” promoting politicians, I won’t have to leave home to see and experience all those things for myself after all. Because in that, typical Yankee “can-do” and “nothing is impossible” spirit, they’ve managed to bring it all right here to a neighborhood near you; complete with all its sights, sounds, and smelly glory!

Letter to the Editor

| Opinion | March 14, 2019

Calling Out Katie Hill

Recently, Congresswoman Katie Hill – California Congressional District 25 – informed us that she is now advocating for Veterans apparently unaware that the VA Accountability Act was approved by Congress and President Donald Trump in June 2017. Also approved was the Veterans Choice Program. Our House of Representatives approved this VA Accountability Act with 365 votes to 55.

Our past Congressman Steve Knight, both an Army Veteran and an LAPD Veteran, approved the Act while Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi opposed. It is certainly worth noting that in early 2018, Knight was successful in instituting a pilot program enabling veterans to have access to local healthcare facilities avoiding long driving trips to various VA Centers. The local clinics and facilities will bill the VA directly. That was a huge step in improving healthcare services for our deserving veterans.

Katie Hill has stated her concern for our large number of veteran suicides; however she jumbled these very real and serious issues with an EPA report of chemicals in our water. Her KHTS Hometown Station news report dated March 7, 2019, stated that Veterans have a greater exposure to chemicals (PFAS) in our water than average American citizens. Katie clearly implied that PFAS’s contribute to Veteran illnesses and suicides.

I am calling balderdash on Katie Hill’s assertions.

Katie’s resume is extremely thin and the only known connection to veterans is simply that her dad and grandfather served in our military and, during her campaign for Congress, she touted her experience advocating for homeless people. Her website states: “Prior to being elected to Congress in 2018, Katie spent her career working on one of California’s most complex and persistent problems — homelessness.”

Just how has that worked out, Katie?

Katie, please back off on your veterans’ experiment as we’ve all seen your horrible track record.

For the record, I served in combat during 1967 in Vietnam’s treacherous and deadly Mekong Delta as a rifleman, point man, team leader, radio-telephone operator (RTO), and impromptu medic. During our worst day of combat my battalion lost 47 soldiers killed in action along with numerous wounded. As our unit’s historian, to my knowledge only one of our men who made it home alive committed suicide throughout these over fifty years. The vast majority of us who made it home alive promptly began pursuing our American dreams.

Regarding suicide by Vietnam Veterans, no one has determined its exact root cause but it’s my strong opinion that it’s likely a direct result of those Veterans understanding public opinion of the war deteriorated thanks to an unsupportive media. In turn, it was followed by weak knee politicians and the dismal and shameful treatment we were subjected to upon our return to America.

Lastly, its valuable to question today’s miserable societal penchant for embracing “victimhood”.

I believe America’s rise of the victimhood culture has been exacerbated by such phenomena as “Microaggression”, the “Me Too Movement”, etc.; all have quite frankly added to the manipulation of our younger generation of Veterans. This is disgraceful as our veterans are forced to face more than enough challenges serving our nation.

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, 47,173 American citizens committed suicide in 2017. The Veterans Administration has reported an average of 20.6 Veterans commit suicide daily, however that figure includes 3.8 active service personnel. It was reported that of the 20.6 veterans and service members who died by suicide, six had recently used VA health care services but the rate among those who didn’t receive VA care increased faster than those who did.

During the mid 1990’s President Clinton attempted to create a national healthcare program when he expanded VA health-services’ accessibility to cover all veterans. Prior, the services had been strictly available for “Veterans in need”. Additionally, the requirement to report your income and personal assets was dropped, which subsequently required constant funding increases to the VA.

As I advocate for our local Veterans and write their biographies, along with my constant association with my fellow Vietnam Veteran pals, I rarely receive complaints about the VA. In my wide circle of Veterans it’s believed that VA services have noticeably improved in recent years.

Bill Reynolds
Vietnam Veteran
Valencia, California

The Girl Scout Cookie Dilemma

| Opinion | March 14, 2019

by Harry Parmenter

It’s that time of year. Turn the clock ahead, keep an umbrella in the car and get ready for Girl Scout Cookies! Yes, adorable little girls in their adorable green vests selling adorable boxes of cookies outside Vons with adult supervision and a table full of every flavor known to woman (see what I did there? MeToo!): Shortbread, Lemonades, Caramel deLites and the perennial headliner: Thin Mints!

Each box is now up to five bucks a pop (Still a bargain! Not a hater!) and, of course, contains helpful nutrition details on the side, viz: “Sodium 95mg, Sugars 10g, Calories 150” for the “Thanks-A-Lot” (?) brand, courtesy of our good friends at the FDA. Don’t you just love going into some fast food joint for a guilty pleasure trip just to feel the rain on your parade of “Onion Rings 7500 calories from fat?” Government, always there with a handy hint like, why don’t you get your fat self out of here, Parmenter, and go eat some Kale?

Anyway, ‘tis the season when you can purchase an assortment of tasty GS cookies from a variety of public places, and from a variety of enterprising young citizens under four feet tall. By the way, in our current bilingual nation, GS Inc. might want to take a page from the NBA where, for example, the Denver Nuggets recently endured a shellacking from the Vadaresque GS (no affiliation) Warriors while wearing “Los Nuggets” jerseys. “Los Thin Mints;” you know you want some—with hot sauce!

The Ides of March mean, among other things, that every time you walk in or out of the supermarket a group of unspeakably cute little girls with their endearing, squealing voices entreat you or anyone else in the general vicinity with “Mister, would you like to buy some Girl Scout Cookies?” All while Mr. Mister, in my case, avoids eye contact and hopes they’re talking to somebody else because if they’re not, there are only three options: A) blow by them as if my need for Imodium A-D has reached DefCon 5, B) whip out the cell and pretend I am in the midst of a work crisis: “What’s a non-conforming gender?” or C) look the fair-haired eight year old in the eye and say, “Are you talkin’ to ME?” I realize the latter will result in a story on The Huffington Post in a minute and a huff, bisected with their typical converted pyramid of “journalism” (Hint: it used to be “inverted pyramid,” i.e. Who/What/When/Where/Why).

Inevitably I try to slip by unnoticed, but then remember I forgot the plastic bag stuffed in my back seat pocket for the few items I usually purchase, as the irksome ten cent state tax still rankles. When the tariff was initially levied, I did elicit a hearty guffaw from a cashier once when I noted, “Well, a dime bag was a completely different thing when I was a lad.”

So I collect my purchases and approach the exit with a looming sense of trepidation and guilt. I run the traps of self-loathing in seconds: are you really going to walk on by and crush the dreams of these little girls bouncing around in the cold after dark with their moms, whose piercing stares will subconsciously memorize my mug for future reference? (Six months later I’ll be at some random gathering and some woman will give me the skunk eye and, when introduced, say to herself, “Yeah, there’s that skin flint who wouldn’t buy a lousy box of S’Mores from poor little Ashley.”) Won’t you give the kid a fiver for something, anything, even if you never crack open the box? You, the dumbass who blew five Benjamins on the impotent Rams to beat New England in the Super Bowl? You, who dress like a refugee from a holiday in Cambodia? You, who just took five twenties out of the ATM?

The sliding doors part and an enchanted cry to buy is heard again, this time clearly directed at me. Telling them my wife already bought 38 boxes in the last two weeks which will sit in the garage freezer until next year, when they will be tossed or given away before the ritual repeats itself, isn’t an option. Begging off with the been there/done that excuse works with adults, but doesn’t cut it as those plaintive eyes look deep into my troubled soul, their faces brimming with goodness, excitement and innocence, pure, beauteous innocence; untarnished by the inevitable soul-crushing struggles and setbacks of maturity.

The snappy brown vest, the important troop number patch, the merit badges of achievement rewarded and embryonic egos enhanced … am I going to be the scoundrel who bursts that balloon of hope, expectation and naïveté? I can … not, at least this time. This time I will press a twenty dollar bill into the palm of tonight’s little miss sunshine, and tell her to put it toward the cause and keep the cookies. Not because I don’t like them (B+ overall, and btw, this year I didn’t see the ones I do enjoy, the tropical Samoas; put the lime in the coconut, and eat ‘em all up), but it’s those calories from fat, don’t cha know.

Forking over the real green deal elicits a sweet young face exploding with gratitude, contagiously spreading to the other scouts, warming the cockles (whatever THEY are) of my cynical, a-fib heart. The girls jump up and down, teaming up as they put the bill into the till, making my day.

There’s a spring in my step not caused by ligament damage as I walk to the car, having successfully shelved my inner Scrooge. An affirmation, Norman Mailer once said, is the greatest achievement of art. And doing it outside the supermarket doesn’t hurt, either.

Thanks-a-lot girls! See you next year!

Clarification from the City of Santa Clarita to Alan Ferdman’s Column

| Opinion | March 14, 2019

by Carrie Lujan, City Communications Director

Purple Pipe is the standard American Public Works Association color designated for recycled water. The City of Santa Clarita has and continues to install Purple Pipe within all median projects so these landscaping improvements are capable of utilizing recycled water when it becomes available.

Vista Canyon did not create its own Sanitation District but rather annexed into the Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District.

In fact, it was the Santa Clarita City Council that strongly encouraged and ultimately conditioned the developer to fund and construct the future City-owned and operated Water Recycling Factory as a requirement for approving the Vista Canyon project in 2011.

When completed, the new Water Recycling Factory will produce up to 371,000 gallons per day (equivalent to 415.5 acre-feet per year) of disinfected recycled water. This water will be provided to SCV Water to be used for irrigation and other non-potable uses.

In addition to irrigating landscaped areas within the Vista Canyon project, the City intends to enter into an agreement with SCV Water to sell the water. SCV Water is extending its recycled water infrastructure into Fair Oaks Ranch to provide recycled water for areas such as medians, slopes and parks.

Response from SCV Water:

Mr. Ferdman discusses the local response during the last drought period and states the only solution offered was to “conserve and use less water.” In fact, the conservation measures during the last drought were State-mandated and the targets assigned did not take into account the actual condition of the local water supply in the Santa Clarita Valley. SCV Water does note and reminds residents that while we certainly have enough water to meet current and future projected demands, there is never enough to waste.

Response from the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County:

The Sanitation District does not implement recycled water projects. The District’s authority ends at producing recycled water. Both the City and the Sanitation District are prevented by state duplication of service laws from implementing recycled water projects.

A recent Sanitation District resolution involved the discontinuation of a Sanitation District-only study towards more recycled water use. The Sanitation District is still committed to more water recycling and instead will support the efforts of the SCV Water Agency to complete a regional evaluation of water resources, which will lead to better solutions.

The Sanitation District’s actions relate to the discontinuation of the new Environmental Impact Report (EIR) studies that had been in progress since 2016, in consultation with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. There has not been any new recycled water EIR published, and thus there have not been any legal challenges to it.

The Chloride Compliance Project will not make any more recycled water available for irrigation. The project is, however, the most cost-effective and environmentally responsible solution to meeting the State-mandated chloride limit for the Santa Clarita Valley.

Always Advocating Alan – Whiskey is for Drinking and Water is for Fighting Over

| Opinion | March 14, 2019

Can you count the number of western movies you have watched where the plot centered on water rights? Typically, where the rights were owned by an honest, hard-working farming family, which were being threatened by an evil cattle baron? Some attribute the quote about whiskey and water to Mark Twain, but no matter if he was the originator or not, those words remind us how important water is to the southwestern part of our country.

For Santa Clarita, it seems there is always either too little or too much water. Take a trip back to the late 1960s, when enough rain fell from the sky for our river (at that time called “the wash”) to be filled all the way to the top and from side to side. The bridge across Soledad Canyon at Camp Plenty was washed away, and the bridge on Sierra Highway just south of Soledad sunk a couple of feet. Another time was brought to light in “This Week in History 1983” in Wednesday’s Signal, when a rainstorm took out a section of Soledad Canyon Road. And, for the last few days, we have read about the problems that water from heaven may create, specifically for the homeowners in American Beauty and the Trestles. Sometimes, too much water is as much a problem as it is a blessing.

Over the years, as weather patterns changed and local rainfall became sparser, we were still in good shape because the State Water Project made up for what nature was not providing. The aqueduct was bringing all the water we needed from the northern part of California. Then, in May of 1996, the hammer fell when the pumping of fresh water south through the Delta was reduced and limited, due to environmentalists noting an increased number of Delta Smelt being trapped in the pumps. As a result of reduced water supply, farmland in the central part of California was greatly impacted. One only had to drive up the I-5 to see many signs reminding us “Crops grow where water flows.”

By now, over 20 years later, you would expect our state government would have found a solution to this problem. While there has been talk of building a “Peripheral Canal” or “Supply Tunnels” under the delta, nothing has happened. The California State Water Project has not added a new reservoir since the 1970s. Aquifers in the central part of our state have been over-pumped to the point where ground levels have reported to be sinking. All the while, thousands of gallons of water north of the delta are being discarded in the ocean because there is no place to store it or move it south to where it is needed. Locally, we have not done much better. During our last drought period, the only solution offered was for residents to “conserve and use less water.” At the same time, our water companies and city officials continued to approve additional development.

All this went on while we have additional water resources which are only marginally being taken advantage of. A few years ago, when the SCV Sanitation District was trying to sell our community on the need to desalinate our wastewater, we were informed the Santa Clarita Valley uses 20 million gallons a day inside our homes and 40 million gallons of water per day for landscaping. Water from inside our homes flows to one of the two Sanitation District Water Reclamation Plants, and treated water is currently discharged into the river, with a small percentage siphoned off to irrigate a Golf Course in Valencia. It does not take a rocket scientist to understand that if we were to use our total Water Reclamation Plants output for irrigation, it would reduce our valley’s water consumption by 30 percent. Unfortunately, a portion of the Waste Water Treatment Plant output is required by state regulators to be discharged in the river, in order to maintain protected species habitats. Determining the amount which can be recycled was a most important aspect for the SCV Sanitation District Environmental Impact Report to ascertain. No matter if the amount available is 7, 10, or 13 million gallons a day, it would be a significant impact.

Yet, on February 27, 2019, The Signal reported that the Sanitation District “would not be pursuing recycled-water plans and, specifically, would not be preparing the environmental studies needed to make them happen.” Grace Robinson Hyde, the chief engineer and general manager of the SCV Sanitation District stated litigation which had “delayed compliance with the state-mandated chloride limit by two years and cost ratepayers an additional $5 million … To be very clear, all of the legal and resulting costs incurred to date, as well as those potentially incurred in (the) future, have been and will be borne by the ratepayers.”

Someone needs to remind Ms. Hyde that the Sanitation District creates no funds of their own. Every cost is born by the ratepayers, including the cost of not using recycled water. The District probably could have avoided the legal challenge to the Water Recycling EIR if the Sanitation District had not attempted to use outdated portions of the previous EIR instead of conducting a new study.

Plus, on February 18, 2019, the Orange County Register published an article that included a listing of LA County’s Wealthiest Special Districts. The SCV Sanitation District made the list, as it was reported to have $111.4 million in cash and investments, take in $43.6 million per year and spend $31.4 million per year. These are some of the reasons I find the SCV Sanitation District Board’s decision to discontinue the Water Recycling EIR unbelievable. The only part of the current SCV Sanitation District’s Chloride Reduction project (costing our ratepayers over $90 million) which would benefit those who will be paying the bill, is the ability to use recycled water for irrigation. How could this happen, when the majority of that board also sits on the Santa Clarita City Council? That is the question of the day.

For the last several years, the public has been told about the City of Santa Clarita’s Plan to install “purple pipe,” designating recycled water for all median landscaping. But purple pipe is of no value if it is not connected to recycled water. Since the predominant potential source of recycled water in the Santa Clarita Valley is the output of our Waste Water Treatment Plants, and that water cannot be used, where is the city planning to acquire recycled water to fill all those purple pipes? In addition, SCV Water announced plans to implement the first series of pipelines to transport recycled water to areas like parks and schools. Looks like those pipes will remain empty as well.

In a smart move, two major SCV developments currently in process, (Vista Canyon Ranch and Newhall Ranch) are forming their own Sanitation Districts and planning to use the output of their Treatment Plants for irrigation within their developments.

There is one last bit of sunshine in this discussion, which is storm water. State and local governments spend a great deal of time and your money to keep pollution out of storm water, but very little is done to capture it for our use. The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and the Conservation and Local Resources Committee provided a presentation on the subject of “Storm water Capture and Flows to the Ocean” on January 9, 2018. In it they estimated 7 percent of rainfall, or 457,000 acre-feet per year, goes uncaptured and flows to the ocean within their service area alone. Now water types love to use acre-feet as a measurement. Since 99 percent of the population has no clue what an acre-foot is, it makes the discussion sound so technical. So, let me translate for you. 1 acre-foot = 325,853 gallons, which makes 457,000 acre-feet equal to 147.9 billion gallons. Big numbers. Santa Clarita uses 60 million gallons a day, which is 21.9 billion gallons per year. These numbers show that every year’s worth of storm water which goes uncaptured is enough to provide Santa Clarita with water for 6.8 years.

Therefore, the next time you hear politicians tell you to take shorter showers because there is not enough water, remind them the problem was caused by these same elected officials not being proactive in using recycled water, stormwater capture and local storage. While it is true, all these solutions have a cost to implement and cannot happen immediately, if we stand back and continue to do nothing, water shortages will only get worse.

It seems all this turmoil was foretold by Mark Twain, as he sat in an old western saloon drinking whiskey and thinking about the next fight over water.

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