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Bulletin, Record, Progressive, Reporter Wednesday, April 8, 2015 11B COMMUNITY PERSPECTIVE Congress, president need to consult and not just on Iran Congress has developed a fondness for open letters when it comes to Iran. First came the warning shot signed by 47 Republican senators that touched off a storm of criticism. Not to be outdone, the House checked in with its own bipartisan and more diplomatically stated letter to the president, warning that its members must be satisfied with any agreement before they'll vote to reduce sanctions. What lies behind these moves? I think Congress feels left out of foreign policy-making. I have considerable sympathy for this impulse. Over the decades, too much power has drifted to the president when it comes to foreign affairs. Congress has been deferential, even timid, in allowing this to happen, Moreover, the administration has not done an especially good job of WHERE I STAND LEE H. HAMILTON CHAIRMAN CENTER ON CONGRESS AT INDIANA UNIVERSITY consulting with Congress. The president is the chief actor in foreign policy, and it's his obligation to reach out and develop a sustained dialogue with Congress on foreign policy matters. As far as I can tell, he has not done that sufficiently. Yet much as I want to see Congress speak up on foreign policy, how it does so matters. The Senate's letter to Iran was ill-considered and unhelpful. Its purpose was to defeat the nuclear negotiations, and it undercut the president while he was trying to negotiate a deal with another "world leader. It raised questions about America's reliability, invited doubt about the president's ability to negotiate a deal, and created a major distraction at a crucial moment. The letter undermined not only this president's credibility, but that of future presidents as well. It suggests that no one in the U.S. government is empowered to strike a deal. The letter did focus appropriately on presidential use of executive orders to conduct foreign policy, but it wrongly implied that presidents are hamstrung in the conduct of policy. The senators suggested that an executive order on Iran is likely to be reversed by a future president, which is not true. Presidential deals with other countries are rarely overturned by their successors. In part, this is because once an agreement is in place it becomes very difficult to undo -- especially if it's working. Also, presidents are reluctant to reverse their predecessors' work because they don't want to undercut the same tool they themselves rely on to pursue their foreign policy goals. As a nation we've gotten into the bad habit of using executive orders for the most important foreign policy initiatives -- including such watershed moments as Richard Nixon's opening toward China and President Obama's accord with Syria banning the use of chemical weapons. In recent decades, 94 percent of pacts between the U.S. and other countries have been under executive orders; just 6 percent are done by treaty. This is because treaties require a two-thirds vote of the Senate before they can be ratified, and that has become a near-impossible milestone to reach. Yet the fact that a president can act on his own does not mean that he should do so. The reliance on executive orders means we have no clear mechanism, or even requirement, for the president to consult and work with Congress on foreign policy. So Congress feels left out of the action, and in an effort to deal itself back in it'behaves clumsily, as the Senate did with the Iran letter. The way past these bitter battles is meaningful consultation. The president and the Congress need to consult regularly and in depth before problems come to a head. Sustained and respectful consultation would go a long way toward avoiding the acrimonious contention over foreign policy that we've seen of late. Edward S. Corwin, a professor of jurisprudence at Princeton in the first half of the 20th century, once called the Constitution an "invitation to struggle for the privilege of directing American foreign policy" -- a line that is far better known than Corwin himself. Over the last half-century, the contest has largely been decided in favor of the president. Congress' bid to reopen the question is not, in and of itself, a bad thing. But if the president and the Congress want to avoid these flare-ups and strengthen the nation's foreign policy, they should exercise in-depth, sustained consultation. Lee Hamilton is a distinguished scholar, Indiana University School of Global and International Studies; a professor of practice, IU School of Public and EnvironmentaI Affairs; and the chairman of the Center on Congress at Indiana University. He served as U.S. Representative from Indiana's 9th Congressional District from 1965 to 1999. Spring's arrival is important reminder to call 811 before you dig It may seem hard to believe that an underground utility line -- such as a buried electric cable, gas pipe or a water line -- is damaged every six minutes in America because someone didn't take the time to call 811. Last year, there were 41 instances of such damage to Pacific Gas and Electric Co. facilities throughout the WHERE I STAND LIA WHITE NORTH VALLEY DIVISION SENIOR MANAGER PACIFIC GAS AND ELECTRIC CO. North Valley Division, which includes Plumas, Butte, Glenn, Tehama and Shasta counties. And with spring well upon us and green thumbs around the North Valley mapping out their flower beds, we want to remind our customers of the importance of safe digging and calling 811 before you start your project. A simple, toll-free call to the Underground Service Alert program will notify local utility companies of your intention to dig and utilities, like PG&E, will locate and mark underground lines and pipes. Planting a tree? Installing a fence? Trenching? Utility lines and pipes need to be properly marked because even when digging only a few inches, the risk of striking an underground utility line still exists. No matter the size of your project, you should always call 811 at least two days before your dig. Calling 811 is free and takes only a few minutes. It can prevent neighborhood outages and thousands of dollars of damage and -- most importantly -- will keep you, your family and our community safe. The safety of our customers, employees and the communities we serve is always our top priority, and we ask every customer to help do his or her part. One thing that is certain to increase safety, reduce risk and enhance reliability is calling 811 two business days before any digging project. Stay safe this spring LETTERS to the EDITOR Guidelines for letters situation, "unanticipated All letters must contain an income" ought to be placed address and phone number, in the general fund for Only one letter per week per emergencies, aka person will be published; "unanticipated expenses." only one letterperper_nA?er. _ Plupms County is one of month regarding the same only three counties out of 58 topic will be published. Feather Publishing does not print third-party, anonymous or open letters. Letters must not exceed 300 words. Writers responding to previously published letters may not mention the author by name. The deadline is Friday at 3 p.m.; deadlines may change due to holidays. Letters may be submitted at any of Feather Publishing's offices, sent via fax to 283-3952 or emailed to dmcdonald@ps.com. Two supervisors almost got it right The head of Plumas County's building department recently appeared before the Board of Supervisors asking that his department's budget be increased. His department had received $20,000 more funds than anticipated, from building fees, and he wanted to retain, and spend, these funds for "plan checking." Two problems: As Supervisor Engel pointed out, plans submitted for approval already have an engineer's seal on them, therefore do not need a "second opinion" from a second engineer. And, as Supervisor Thrall pointed out, the department head was intending to spend "unanticipated income" over and above his budget. The budget that the supervisors devised and the department head presumably accepted. What was unknown at the time of this hearing is that a second plan check is a serious waste of time and money. It costs property " owners an additional 30-day delay and often more. And as far as a second opinion assuring that the plans are satisfactory, there are about 100 million homes in this country and the failure rate caused by faulty plans is 0.00002 percent (U.S. census data, 2003 and 2008. The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande). Supervisor Engel's concern was valid. Supervisor Thralrs point was that, considering the county's strained financial in the state that does not have a chief administrative officer. Lacking a chief administrative officer, the supervisors, understandably, are not sure of the proper handling of these situations. So (to be agreeable), they gave in to the department head and $20,000 of taxpayers' money will go to an unwarranted increase in a departmental budget rather than to the general fund. It's time that our supervisors face reality and hire a professional chief administrative officer. John Olofson Graeagle Writer needs to be educated I write this letter in response to the "My Turn" article of March 25. Attacks on religious beliefs at the holiest time of the year for Christians cannot go unnoticed even though we are a gentle, loving people. With regard to St. Patrick, anyone who believes that someone would become a saint over reptiles is a theological airhead. Tell Nigel Monaghan St. Patrick chased away the evil that kept the Irish in sinful bondage. Also enlighten the author that Christian influence is freely given, not imposed. Original sin is not sexist. God could have sent His son to this earth without Mary. His son is human and therefore God created Jesus in her as He created Adam and Eve. I fully believe in everyone's right to express their beliefs. It's only a problem when they abound with ignorance of their topics. The hanky-panky part of her article is her failure to educate herself in the truth of creation (no pond slime evolution) and rid herself of the desire to be part of the group who feel that motherhood as a career is demeaning. That is sexist. Fred Thon Quincy Wrong interpretation I would like to make a few comments regarding Ann Powers' recent article, "From Irish Snakes to DiveHy:PanlLY'[ Ecery0ne NS the righi to agree or disagree with the Bible, but we do not have the right to change what it says. She interpreted the biblical account of Eve succumbing to the temptation of Satan and eating of the fruit from the forbidden Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil to be the onset of longstanding sexist beliefs. Actually, God's command regarding the forbidden fruit was given to Adam (not Eve), and God held Adam (not Eve or women In general) accountable for the fall of humanity. Romans 5:12 says, "Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned." 1 Corinthians 15:21 - 22 says, "For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive."(NIV) Ms. Powers also wrote, "Moreover, if we're not 'Eves,' we're supposed to be virginal mothers." Again, that concept is simply not biblical. There is one and only one "virginal mother," Mary the mother of Jesus Christ; the rest of us will never have that option. Ms. Powers concluded by warning of the danger of taking metaphors literally and of misunderstanding allegories, "... they're nothing more than ridiculous and damaging myths needing to be debunked." Whether from misinformation, lack of information or personal bias, Ms. Powers made false conclusions based on her own damaging myth. Gail Arterburn Graeagle He's one of them The Feb. 24 election primary sent shock waves through Chicago politics. The incumbent first-term mayor Rahm Emanuel received 45 percent of the vote, 5 percent short of 50 percent-plus-one-vote needed to avoid a runoff. Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, of the Cook County Board of Commissioners, received 35 percent of the vote, much to thesurprise of everyone. It wasn't supposed fo happen " this way. Garcia was unknown in Chicago politics. The two face off one on one at the ballot box April 7. Rahm Emanuel is Jewish and grew up in a Chicago suburb. For a time he was an investment banker and served three terms as a congressman. He was chief of staff for the Obama administration until he was elected mayor four years ago. Jesus "Chuy" Garcia is an immigrant from Mexico. His father worked in the fields and after securing permanent resident status moved his family to a working-class neighborhood in Chicago. Emanuers $15 million bankroll came from 100 donors whose names remain unknown. For the runoff election he still has $7 million left. Emanuel has a tough-guy, abrasive, in-your-face management style not pleasing to the public at large. In 2012 teachers went on strike for the first time in 20 years. He further lost trust when he closed 50 schools with low enrollment. The schools were mostly in black and Mexican neighborhoods. There is the feeling he is out of touch. Garcia grew up in the mosaic of working-class neighborhoods and is in touch with their concerns. Concerns about education of their children, better jobs and more of them with better pay. He has their trust because he is one of them and their experiences have been his. Lots of money is being spent in the final days before the election. The Garcia campaign is beIng outspent 12 to 1. The message is getting out by shoe-leather express. No big names coming to town to help. James I. Overstreet Quincy Pizza is good for your faith If Jesus Christ were walking the earth today in Indiana, Democrats would he signed it. crucify him, again. He was, Discrimination is going on against abortion, but not against the groups homosexuality and half the many on the Left are platform of the Democratic claiming. Here's the bottom National Party, That's why: . tree: Many people who : ; liberals hate the Bible, the support abortion or who Constitution and people of faith. It's too high a standard for them to achieve alone or as a group. Most Democrats are burdened with depraved thinking, yet they realize they can't fight God face to face and win. History is against them but, like children, they keep testing society to see if they can be accepted with all their questionable habits. Democrats haven't the support same-sex marriage don't just want those rights for themselves. They want society at large to approvef their fallacious actions.. The truth, you can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig. Liberals demandyou see the lipstick, not the pig. They are willing to impose manmade law so you will accept them. Democrats will fight any law or faith that undermines homosexuality. Religious guts to stand before the Lord freedoms are needed and argue for abortion rights and homosexuality. "Normal" Christians have rights and religious freedoms from government too ... and the "selective" indignation on the left is beyond hypocritical. Nonbelievers should have protested former president Bill Clinton (1993) if they didn't like the federal law; because people of faith are being persecuted. In the end, Democrats will have to choose, before the Kingdom of God. For now, we can only abide by our own faith to see us through their rants. Forgive them their trespasses, for they are stuck on stupid. Trent Saxton Lake Davis Contact your elected officials PLUMAS COUNTY SUPERVISORS - 520 Main Street, Room 309, Quincy, CA 95971; (530) 283-6170; FAX: (530) 283-6288; E-Mail: pcbs@countyofplumas.com. Individual supervisors can also be e-mailed from links on the county website, countyofplumas.com PRESIDENT - Burack Obama, the White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW Washington, D.C. 20500. (202)456-1414. Fax: 202-456-2461. E-mail: whitehouse.gov/contact/ U.S. SENATOR- Oianne Feinstein (D), 331 Hart Senate Office Bldg., Washington, D.C. 20510. (202) 224.3841; FAX: 202-228-3954;TTY/TDD: (202) 224-2501. District Office: One Post Street, Suite 2450, San Francisco, CA 94104; Phone: (4 ! 5) 393-0707; Fax: (415) 393-0710. Website:. feinstein.senate.gov. U.S. SENATOR- Barbara Boxer (D). District Office: 5011 St., Suite 7-600, Sacramento, CA 95814. (916) 448-2787; FAX (916) 448-2563.112 Hart Bldg., Washington, D.C. 20510. (202) 224-3553. FAX (202) 228-0454. U.S. REPRESENTATIVE, 1ST DIST. - Doug LaMalfa. 506 Cannon HOB, Washington, D.C. 20515. (202) 225-3076. www.LaMalfa.House.gov.; Facebook.comfRepLaMalfa; twitter: @RepLaMalfa. DISTRICT OFFICE: 1453 Downer St., Suite #A, Oroville, CA 95965, (530) 534-7100, FAX (530) 534-7800. STATE SENATOR, 1st DIST. - Ted Gaines. State Capitol, Room 3070, Sacramento, CA 95814. (916) 651-4001, FAX: (916) 324-2680. E1 Dorado Hills Constituent Service Center: 4359 Town Center Boulevard, Suite 112, El Dorado Hills, CA 95762. (916) 933-7213, FAX (916) 933-7234; Redding Constituent Service Center: 1670 Market St., Suite 244, Redding, C A 96001, (530) 225- 3142, FAX (530) 225-3143. STATE ASSEMBLYMAN, IST DIST. - Brian Dahle, State Capitol, Suite 2158, Sacramento, CA 94249-00001, (916) 319-2001; FAX (916) 319-2103. District Office, 280 Hemsted Dr., Ste. #110, Redding, CA 96002; (530) 223-6300, FAX (530) 223-6737. GOVERNOR - Jerry Brown, office of the Governor, State Capitol, Suite 1173, Sacramento, CA 95814. Website: gov.ca.gov/(916) 445-2841. FAX: (916) 558-3160.