By Irving Leemon, Contributing Columnist
We are very lucky and fortunate to be living in the USA and in California. We currently have freedoms that most of the world can only dream of. We can publish our opinions without fear of censorship or recriminations beyond other people disagreeing with us in print, or in other forms of communication. The only exceptions are eminent threats to people’s lives and their property and threats to the constitution and to our way of life. There is a price that we have to pay to keep our freedoms and idealized life (when compared to the rest of the world). That price is for citizens to be ever vigilant against threats to our government and freedoms.
That is to keep informed of the ongoing political situation and to vote. If we don’t vote we are abrogating our right to complain about higher taxes, politicians bought by special interests, poor, or non-existent public services and laws that we think are unfair. Examples of problems that we can correct by voting people out of office and voting in more responsive people into office include: the LAUSD school board for being unable to effectively educate their students and control the school system; the LA City Council for micromanaging departments that they approve paying high salaries for other people to manage; mismanage millions of tax dollars and not provide the quality and quantity of services that we should have. Other examples include: trying to shove responsibility for maintenance of sidewalks onto property owners after generations of having that responsibility for itself; spending of tax money and approving the guaranteeing of loans to pay for construction of facilities that millionaires, if not billionaires, will profit from. On the state and federal levels, the building of a high-speed train from nowhere to nowhere with the promise to extend it after it proves an economic disaster. The list can go on for pages, but you get the message,
LET’S GET CONTROL OF OUR GOVERNMENT BY BEING INFORMED AND VOTING!
Even in these tough times California is still a cash cow for politicians running for national office. During election season (which is getting longer all the time) they come here to raise money for their campaigns. I’m thinking that’s the reason California has been allowed to be one of the leading states in passing laws about such things as auto emissions and other environmental controls. How long this will last I don’t know, what with the super PACs, they may not have to depend on our moneyed residents as much. As long as the Supreme Court gives large corporations and their boards superior rights to individuals, they will out-spend the politicians and their other backers in the press and “snail mail.” As we all know, the more money spent on election campaigns, the more likely a candidate is to be elected. The only way to stop the corporations from making the successfully elected politicians more in debt to the corporations’ boards than to the electorate is to find a way to stop them from spending the enormous amounts of money on the candidates of their choosing. The problem is that the corporations do not report to their stockholders who or what their super-PACs are backing. The CEOs and boards of the corporations control the super- PACs without accountability to anyone, or as far as I know, to anything. Agree? Disagree? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.