L.A. voters approve wastewater repairs
Lori Burkhammer’s article (“The invisible problem, May 2005) shines a light on an important issue: the Clean Water Act has become a federal mandate without adequate funding. But the article’s survey of local funding efforts is missing an important success story: Los Angeles Proposition O, a $500 million stormwater infrastructure bond on the ballot in November 2004. The 76 percent “yes” vote for adoption of this clean beaches measure was won by a vibrant coalition of Los Angeles city elected leaders, environmentalists, businesses, labor groups and neighborhood organizations, and represents a decisive “win” for our environment and points the way to a new approach toward its protection. The voters of Los Angeles want improvements to the stormwater system done right and managed well. With Proposition O, Los Angeles will be a leader in building practical solutions and will improve our health and reduce environmental problems that accompany toxic urban run-off.
— Los Angeles Councilmembers Eric Garcetti and Jan Perry
May Editor’s Viewpoint divides readers
As an elected official I receive numerous publications. I have found American City & County one of the most enjoyable to read and politically unbiased. However, your editorial, “Divide and Conquer,” (May 2005) shows a very liberal slant.
One of the main reasons, I believe, Republicans control Congress and the White House is because the majority of the people want to see a more conservative judicial system. They are tired of judges enforcing their own personal view over the views of a statewide election (such as those states who have voted to ban gay marriage only to see the vote of the people overturned by a few judges). If a panel of judges can override the vote of the majority in a particular state on a particular subject, then the only way to change that to reflect the will of the majority is to elect conservative politicians who will appoint conservative judges. That has happened.
Majority (whether Democrat or Republican) does rule. It should rule in Congress as they appoint judges or conduct any other business. It’s a pretty simple concept, though hard to take when your party is in the minority.
— Kris Southward, Abilene, Texas, City Council
In your editorial “Divide and Conquer,” where you criticized “trash talking” politics, the only perpetrators cited were “opponents to legal gay partnerships and abortion.” By my lights, those on both sides engage in lobbying and political activity at every level of government. How do these efforts represent “trash,” and why do you single out only one side for criticism?
Perhaps you are taking it for granted that your readers agree with abortion rights and legal same-sex marriage? If so, you are mistaken. I certainly do not, and neither does a clear majority of the public, if you believe nearly all of the polls.
You charged that social conservatives seek to “intimidate and impeach” judges and “steamroll” appointments to the judiciary. However, there have been no serious efforts to remove judges who support abortion rights or gay rights.
The goals of organizations opposed to legalized abortion are to enact a Human Life Amendment, or at least to have the Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade so that the issue could be visited by the state legislatures. How do these goals present a threat to the rule of law or the authority of the courts? Democratic advocacy is not a novel concept. What was novel was for the U.S. Supreme Court to completely remove the issue of legalized abortion from the purview of the people and the states through Roe v. Wade (an “exercise of raw judicial power,” according to Justice B. White’s dissent). Indeed, Roe v. Wade would not be the law of the land had not the supporters of abortion rights effected the overthrow of the laws of 38 states via Supreme Court fiat and then continued to dominate the Senate’s judicial confirmation process. Have you forgotten what abortion-rights supporters did to “trash” qualified Supreme Court nominees Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas?
There is now a serious attempt to impose legal same-sex marriage by overturning the marriage laws of 40 states as well as the federal Defense of Marriage Act (signed by President Clinton in 1996), which protects the rights of states to define marriage. Indeed, those in support of legal same-sex marriage have advanced no serious legislative initiative, because there is no support for their agenda among the majority of people in almost any state.
As for the Senate filibuster issue, characterizing the supporters of up-or-down votes as tantamount to “trashing the American legal system” is hyperbole, to say the least. Good people can disagree on this issue.
When you want to criticize people for opposing abortion and same-sex marriage, I suggest that you try criticizing them for the substance of their positions, instead of resorting to ad hominem attacks. I believe that respected leaders, such as yourself, should demonstrate a more open and respectful attitude towards those who disagree with you and who wish to effect their principles through the legal process.
— Thomas Skrobola, Finance Director, Rochester, Mich.
Your concern for both liberals and conservatives is admirable, and your continued concern for good government in general is to be admired and replicated. Although all your points are well taken, you seem to have missed the main point, which is that government in the United States is to act as an elected or chosen regulatory body. It exists to regulate or maintain the status quo of society in general. Government is supposed to stand as a staunch bulwark against both political extremes of liberalism, conservatism and all the other “isms” and “schisms.” It can’t always be fair, but it must always continue to try to be just and responsive to its citizens. It was designed this way on purpose, so that it could endure.
As anyone who has been on the planet for more than 15 minutes can attest, our world is being assaulted on all fronts by a maelstrom of geopolitical, social, economic, religious, ecological, technical, health, population, family and business challenges. To survive these and other untold future challenges, our government needs flexibility so it will bend, not break. There is no question that it needs to be malleable so it can be formed into a useful and coherent power that can assist its citizens live their lives, enjoy their pursuit of happiness and respect the gift of liberty. But, just like a malleable metal, our government must continue to be strong and resist the corrosion and the waxing and waning of political and social “isms.”
The time has come for all Americans to realize the dangers of continuing our infantile approaches and attitudes toward government. We all need to think beyond the 20 second sound bites and short stories we see on the news every night. Daily we need to become involved, concerned and help inspire good government at all its levels. JFK said it best: “Ask not what your country can do for you, but rather ask what you can do for your country.” This still rings true some 40 years later! Thank you for your concern and untiring support of keeping good government strong. You have my support as well as my sympathy.
— Frank Thomas, Staff Engineer, New York
It is unusual for a publication of this type to deal in any way with social issues. Your editorials on various such issues have been good. I appreciate them. Keep it up.
— John Vago, Mechanical Engineer, Design Branch, Philadelphia Water Department
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