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Re: "The pragmatic warlord," Oct. 27, 2011
I am eagerly awaiting any organized resistance to this president's policies from our community's liberal and (purportedly) progressive groups, and especially the churches ... but I'm not holding my breath.

It appears that party affiliation trumps all else, including faith-based calls to action, so popular when the party in power is Republican. In particular, All Saints Church is starting to look - to the naked eye at least - as though they may have richly merited their much-publicized IRS investigation for political intervention.


More or less?
According to the ruling in Lavan vs. City of Los Angeles, upheld by two federal court injunctions, Los Angeles retains the authority to remove abandoned belongings on public thoroughfares but cannot remove goods which clearly belong to a homeless person just because they remain unattended for a period of time.

Property owners still wonder about the blight of homelessness in their communities, while civic activists either celebrate homeless persons or worry about the plight of poverty which afflicts them. Lawyers merely litigate the property rights of the homeless persons. Instead of arguing about a homeless man's belongings, why don't city leaders, civic activists and lawyers attend to a more important issue: Why are there so many homeless in Los Angeles?

First of all, the individual may be a veteran who has not received proper care from the Veterans Administration. The Brentwood VA has turned into a private club for pet owners, Laundromats and solar panels, yet tens of thousands of wounded warriors still wander the streets.

Second, the growing problem of mental illness has not been addressed effectively. The gradual expansion of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual has catalogued more diseases, yet has provided no solutions. The governmental expansion into health insurance has decreased quality care and access for practitioners and patients. The Affordable Care Act has only exacerbated this problem.
Then there are those who still struggle to find a job and get back on their feet in this anemic economy. A government which taxed less, spent less, did less (that we would see less of altogether), would help ensure more business, more commerce, more opportunities and less homelessness.


Re: "For freedom's sake,"
July 2
It's great to see a high quality play about Thomas Paine! Too few people today know who Thomas Paine is. John Adams wrote of Paine, "Without the pen of Paine the sword of Washington would have been wielded in vain." His book "The Age of Reason: The Complete Edition" really smashes through religious superstitions and helps us get closer to a belief in God based in our innate God-given reason.


Re: "Top two to the rescue," Aug. 8
Our electoral system gives an illusion of democracy but election laws, money and corporate media prevent representative government for all of serious concern. The reason alternative parties have not grown as much as some would like is because elections are rigged, legally rigged. Proposition 14 was put on the ballot as a result of a late-night budget deal behind closed doors with no public input. The promoters promised more choices, but now instead of six or seven candidates running for statewide office, the general election is reduced to only two candidates. In the 2012 elections, many of the candidates facing each other in the general election were often from the same party, disenfranchising a large number of the voters. What we have is roughly 20 percent of the voters, those with no party preference, trying to dominate the nearly 80 percent of the voters, those who belong to a political party. There has been a 70 percent reduction in the number of alternative party candidates as a direct result of the new top two elections.


Excellent article! I have been voting for third-party candidates for years (except for the last two presidential elections). I have done so out of protest over the stranglehold our two major parties have on politics in our country and the welfare of its citizens. What we see in politics today mostly comes out of Washington. But what we are seeing is like seeing the high rising branches of a huge tree. We cannot turn things around by trimming a branch of government here and there. We have to get at the roots. In this case, the roots are at the local level. We cannot expect to get independents or third-party candidates elected at the national level in any meaningful numbers unless they first make their marks at the local level.

Starting in the "minor leagues" and working your way up is the best way for independents and third-party candidates to work their way up to the "major leagues." They shouldn't expect to start at the top. Besides, it is easier to get elected at the lower levels. People are much more willing to stray from the two major parties at the state and local levels than they are at the national levels.
In California, the Top Two Open Primary and Ranked Choice Voting can be the greatest tools in our history to turn things around and escape the captivity of the two major parties - but only if people take advantage of it.

I would like to see candidates for every open position with candidates from all of the minor parties. If nothing else, it is good advertising. It lets people know that they are still alive and functioning. If third-party candidates show up on only an occasional ballot here or there, it gives voters the appearance of a weak or dying party. People want to support strong or resurgent parties and, the more candidates there are for all open offices, the stronger the party appears.

~ JIMB37

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