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July 16, 2014     Feather River Bulletin
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lOB Wednesday, July 16, 2014 Bulletin, Record, Progressive, Reporter COMMUNITY] ER.SPECTIVE Current polarization does noc c,00!ange citizens" obligations We Americans are trapped in a political dilemma. We all like representative democracy, but we don't much like the way it's performing. The reason for this dissatisfaction is clear. Polls in recent years detail a polarized nation, divided both ideologically and politically. This is, as the Pew Research Center put it recently, "a defining feature of politics today." In the public's eye, Washington gets most of the blame for this. Yet Congress and the political world around it reflect the rest of the country more than we'd like to believe. Our nation is divided ideologically. It's also segregated politically, with many Americans preferring to associate with and live near people who share their views; gerrymandered districts and closed primaries intensify the effect. JOE HAMILTON DIRECTOR INDIANA UNIVERSffY CENTER ON CONGRESS Our media is more partisan than it used to be. Interest groups -- many of them funded by ordinary Americans who want their voices magnified -- are more engaged than they were a generation ago. And though we deplore negative politics, we respond to it and even encourage our favorite partisans to engage in it. Anyone who becomes president today does so with nearly half the country opposed to him the day he takes office. Moreover, we face a long list of issues where decisive action may be impossible: abortion, gun control, climate change, a host of budgetary and economic problems, the death penalty, tax reform, immigration, drug laws. These issues don't just divide Congress; they divide the nation, with no" clear path forward. Our admired political system, in other words, is not working well. In Pew's survey, the extremes make up just over a third of the American public, but because they're disproportionately active they drive our politics. The larger, more diverse center can't agree on a direction for the country, but its members are united by their distaste for the tone of politics and the unwillingness of politicians to compromise and break the stalemate. We are not getting the politics we want. So how do we resolve our dilemma? There are many procedural steps that can ease the gridlock on Capitol Hill. Among them, the House and Senate could schedule themselves so that they're in session at the same time. Congressional leaders and the president ought to meet at least once a month. Congress needs to work the same five-day week that the rest of us do, and reduce its centralized leadership by empowering committees. Open primaries would help moderate the nation's politics, as would bipartisan redistricting commissions capable of doing away with gerrymandered districts. Increasing voter participation and improving the integrity of our elections would also help. Limiting the Senate filibuster and allowing minority parties in both chambers more of an opportunity to offer amendments would open up debate and forestall endless stalemates. But resolving our dilemma is unlikely to happen quickly. It's hard to see either side in this partisan divide winning or losing decisively in the elections immediately ahead. Even if one party wins both houses in Congress, it's not easy to move when the White House is in the control of another - party. With the need for 60 votes in the Senate, the minority party can always find ways to slow things down. Still, it's worth remembering that American politics is dynamic, not static. Change occurs, sometimes quickly, but more often slowly. We won't forever be this evenly divided, because public opinion will eventually evolve and the system will respond. Which raises my final point. Even when our frustration with division and discord spills over into impatience with the system itself, our obligations as American citizens remain the same. We face complex problems that don't have simple solutions. They demand a willingness to exercise the values of representative democracy: tolerance, mutual respect, accepting ideological differences, working to build consensus. Our core values accept that the differences in opinions among us will continue, but also compel us to find a way through them so the country can move forward. By accepting the challenges that come with living in a representative democracy and renewing our confidence in it, we can lay the groundwork for change. In the end, we . created our political dilemma and are responsible for working our way through it. Lee Hamilton is director of the Center on Congress at Indiana University. He was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for 34 Years. LETTERS, from page 9B Obama for the mess in Iraq," is stereotypical of the radical left wing's distorted revision of history. This strict adherence to repulsive mythology is simply a red herring to avoid taking any responsibility for a failed foreign policy. To consistently cling to talking points about oil and Halliburton, and ignore the horror and evil of a bloodthirsty dictator is pathetic. The writer and his ilk have ignored the fact that back in 1998 after the government of Iraq refused to comply with U.N. resolutions and interfered with U,N. weapons o : inspectors searching for WMDs, President William Jefferson Clinton ordered the bombing of military targets. Also, in October 1998, Clinton signed the Iraq Liberation Act which explicitly called for regime change. The writer should be ashamed for refusing to acknowledge, the mass murderer that was Saddam - Hussein. International Experts estimated 300,000 victims could be in mass graves alone. The mass graves mostly included the remains of Shia Muslims and ethnic Kurds killed for opposing the regime between 1983 and 1991. Hussein may have murdered as many as one million Iraqis. He institutionalized rape; he had rape rooms and professional rapists. He institutionalized torture, routinely: One son was allows to kidnap girls off the streets, rape them and leave them on the streets alone. His other son recorded the punishment of a soccer team by having the soles of their feet caned for losing a match. There are many of us conservatives who have little faith that leftists like the weekly letter writer will fight for America. War is too dirty; things get broken and someone might get hurt. Defense is not pulling the blankets over our heads and hoping the bad guys will go away. Pacifists have never protected anyone. Michael K. Powers La Crescenta Watching extremists I have learned with great relief that Attorney General Eric Holder has revitalized a high-level domestic terror task force committee. In a statement regarding the re-establishment of the committee, he said, "We must concern ourselves with the continued danger we face from individuals within our own borders who may be motivated by a variety of other causes from anti-government animus to racial prejudice." In April, nee-Nazi and former Klan leader Frazier Glenn Miller murdered three people in an anti-Semitic shooting rampage in Kansas. Miller had once attempted to assassinate Morris Dees, founder and leader of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Just a few weeks ago, anti-government extremists assassinated two police officers and a civilian in Las Vegas in an attempt to "start the revolution." Days later, a "sovereign citizen" attacked an Atlanta courthouse with guns and explosives, apparently intent on taking hostages. At this point, the "revolution" has not taken hold, but there are close to a thousand groups with various memberships across the nation with arsenals at the ready. Knowing that authorities will be watching these groups, who have the right to their opinions but not to violence and not to treason, is at least a bit reassuring. Salvatore Catalano Taylorsville Water sale risks There are several factors to consider in the proposed sale of Round Valley water. And I think it's incumbent, especially on those of us who believe climate change is real, who shake our heads sadly at those in denial for counts as using it. I happen to think our board members are great people whose goodness and trust was exploited. But whatever our differences about past acts, or even future plans, there should be unanimity that the IVCSD workers in recent years received a very raw deal, They endured poor safety conditions, inadequate insurance, lost extra hours of work and overtime -- with no hope of any reimbursement. They made these sacrifices because they were told, and they believed, that we were so poor that there 'was no money'. No one has suffered as much and swallowing fraudulent conservative disinformation, that we be open and honest about the risk involved. We have no idea what future precipitation patterns will be. It would be nice if a warmer Pacific generated monsoons that partially made up for the diminishing snowpack. But permanent drought conditions could be our fate. Still it would seem given the present circumstances -- the value our water has spiked to -- that it's a gamble worth taking. People need to know "that once we make the deal we will be restricted to only fill up to spill level until the Oroville reservoir spills. This is balanced by the possible threat that by not using Round Valley water, we might lose our rights; and selling Water as directly as the district workers. We owe them. It appears self-evident that we need another fulltime employee and another intern. The sale of the water appears to be a way to accomplish this without hitting the ratepayers. Eric Lund Indian Valley Don't miss this opportunity I was elated to read in the July 9 edition of this paper that the "CHP commissioner to hear sheriffs joint-facility ideas." It is very interesting to note that CHP Commissioner Farrow's change of heart- after previously rejecting this idea -- was based upon Jim Judd's (candidate for District 5 Supervisor) leadership and taking-the- bull-by-the-horns personal letter dated May 5, 2014, to the commissioner to "strongly suggest and implore you to reconsider your decision." This letter -- and outcome -- could just as easily have been written by the leadership of our current board of supervisors. It was not. To me this suggests a strategic lack of commitment on the part of our board. We have seen a continuous cut in the funding of the office of the sheriff and a failure to fill sheriff authorized positions. This lack of board leadership in the face of AB109 and clear warnings from the sheriff and District Attorney Hollister (also see Mr. Hollister's warnings in his article "Criminal Case uiJiiafe" in t]e same July 9 edition) is appalling. It is time for our county leaders to make public safety a high priority which it clearly has not heretofore. Others in the county who have demonstrated a commitment to the county and demonstrated leadership, such as Mr. Judd, should be invited to the table when the sheriff sits down with Commissioner Farrow. By moving this joint-facility idea forward and giving it the proper priority it deserves will be an important first step in a long while to show that public safety really does matter in Plumas County. Let's not let this opportunity pass us by. Craig Simmons Clio Hawk Angel "Hawk" s a non-neutered Brown male Shepherd. He is looking for a new home where he can run and play. Will be a good doggie with a little time and love "Angel" is a spayed female, Queensland tri color and about 3 years old. Shy but very very sweet. Pick me! Pick me! kdo)l cat and euillaielheado)lion fceon Ihc2n(Icat[ Our office hours are Monday; Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 8am-5pm. Saturday viewing is by appointment only. Office hours are subject to change due to staffing; calling prior to visiting shelter is recommended. All potential adopters must complete an adoption consultation form and be approved prior to adoption. Adoption fees are $10.00 for dogs and cats, license fee for dogs is $15.00 per year. AMERICAN VALLEY ANIMAL HOSPITAL We carry a wide selection of pet food and Flea & Tick products 283-4500 Alta & Lee Rd. Quincy Plumas County Animal Shelter 201 N Mill Creek Road, Quincy, :A 95971 For More Information or to View More Pets, Visit Us at www.petrmder.com J t ' !