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August 14, 2020

Destruction of the Administrative State | Letters to the Editor

Destruction of the Administrative State

Perhaps you remember that the title above was Steve Bannon’s goal.  I wasn’t sure what that meant in the beginning, but it is clear now that Bannon (through Trump and his Republican supporters) is achieving his goal, and weakening our country.

Many, if not most, federal agencies are in chaos, being run by people who are shills for big money (Republicans call it “anti-regulation”). Here are a few examples: Trump appointed an oil pipeline advocate to the Interior Department and a climate change denier, Scott Pruitt to the EPA. Through his constant attacks, Trump has obviously weakened the Justice Department. He believes Putin over our intelligence agencies such as the CIA and NSA. He has attacked and worked against the State Department, as in Ukraine. He appointed Ben Carson, who doesn’t believe in social safety nets to HUD (Housing and Urban Development). He appointed Betsy DeVos, who wants to privatize public schools, to the Department of Education.  e appointed Alex Azar, a pharmaceutical company president, as Director of HHS (Health and Human Services).  He appointed Rick Perry, a coal lobbyist, to run the Department of Energy. He appointed Ajit Pai to the FCC (Federal Communications Commission). Elizabeth Warren said this about Mr. Pai: “Chairman Pai has worked at breakneck speed to transform the FCC from an agency that works in the public interest to a big business support group.” In my mind, the worst chaos has come in the military. By ignoring the foundation of military order, the “Chain of Command” and pardoning a murderer, Trump has weakened morale to the degree that the Secretary of the Navy quit.

Trump has damaged critical federal agencies and made our great country weaker, as we enter a period of increasing chaos—not the least of which is the religious war he has caused by siding with Sunnis (Saudi Arabia) Israel, and our own evangelical Christians against Shias (Iran).

Putin’s goal, of course, is our demise. He gets an A+ so far. The future is up to us.  

Don Eggleston, Aptos

Jack Gordon for Judge

My name is Parker Mozee-Baum and I am writing in support of Jack Gordon as a candidate for Judge in Santa Cruz County. I have had the pleasure of knowing Jack for nearly 15 years as one of his daughter’s close friends, and he’s seen me through my ups and downs, and tipsy-turvy life. Not only has he talked with me about growing pains, but he never judged my character because of my identity. As a transgender person, I feel more than confident that Jack supports the LGBT+ community eagerly and wholeheartedly. He watched me transition through the various phases of my life, and supported me 100 percent of the way. I believe his methods and skills are something Santa Cruz County should look forward to, as Jack has been such a positive role model for me since childhood. Santa Cruz needs fairness, justice, open minds, and intelligent leadership that I know Jack can provide.  

Parker Mozee-Baum, Gresham, Oregon

Benefit assessment tax ballot

I just thought the public, in general, should know about this upcoming tax called a benefit assessment. All five county supervisors voted for it with no public discussion except for an hour before the votes are tallied, how generous. This assessment will more than double my CSA48 tax on me property tax bill. The county wants to raise over $1.5 million dollars the first year. This assessment has no expiration date and increases by 4 percent per year. 

The intent is to hire a whopping 6(count them 6) new fire firefighters to be paid for by $800,000 of the increase. That’s $133,333 per firefighter. Doesn’t sound bad, except when you realize the sate picks up the tab for firefighters during the fire season which is about 8 months. That means the $133,333 only has to pick up the tab for the offseason to the tune of $33,333.33 per month. Not bad work if you can get it. The votes will be counted on a weighted basis meaning some entities get more than vote. Those would be local firehouses, schools and other government agencies and businesses who want to stay in the good graces of the board of supervisors will vote for the assessment. Lockheed is included in the voting and they have about 580 votes. Just another ram job by our elected supervisors.

George Limburg, Santa Cruz County

Bernie Sanders is the best choice for veterans

There’s an old saying “a man (or woman) cannot ride two horses at the same time.”  Political candidates who have Super PACs and hold fundraisers in wealthy people’s living rooms and then claim to represent working Americans are being hypocritical.  Senator Bernie Sanders has received the largest number of donations of any candidate for President in history up to this point, with an average donation of $18 and is the only top tier candidate with no billionaire donors.

As the former Chair and longtime member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, Sanders has a longtime proven track record of standing up for veterans and ensuring they and their dependents receive the care and benefits they are entitled to.  

Among other things, Sanders will implement as President are: 1. Eliminate the VA benefits backlog, fully fund and resource the VA, and stop the privatization of the VA.  2. Fill the nearly 50,000 vacancies at the VA in Bernie’s first year as President.  3. Provide over 60 billion dollars in new funding to repair, modernize and rebuild the VA infrastructure.  4. Expand the VA’s Caregivers Program together with mental health services for veterans.  5. Reform harmful VA regulations that restrict access to care and benefits based on character of discharge,  Go to www.berniesanders.com (Issues) for more.

 Bernie is the only candidate with the political will, zest and tenacity to make his proposals law.  His effort to generate the largest voter turnout of all time will sweep new people into Congress that share his progressive vision and allow him to pass his platform.

You know and I know that not everyone who reads this agrees with Sanders on every issue. The key thing is your total impression of the person. Sanders is probably the most authentic and honest person in national politics and we can trust him to follow through. He has received more donations from military members than any other candidate.

 For these reasons and many more, Bernie Sanders is by far the top choice for veterans to support.

Gordon Kobayashi, Valley Springs

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