Obama and DOMA; Baseball and Steroid Use; Hastings Law School; California State Budget …

by on June 16, 2009

To the Editor:

Barack Obama’s endorsement of DOMA and “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is unacceptable. And he certainly knows better, but as Malcolm X once said “snakes can be black or white.”

This summer, I will be officiating at the marriages of loving couples who are coming to Connecticut from CA, VA, LA, DC and NY to wed because they can’t marry in their own home states yet… just like Mr. Obama’s own parents. It’s time for marriage equality and fairness in America now.

Joe Mustich
Justice of the Peace
Washington, CT

EDITOR’S NOTE: President Obama has not endorsed DOMA or “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” — although many are concerned that he’s been slow to fulfill a campaign promise to repeal both laws. As for DOMA, his Justice Department is currently opposing a gay couple’s constitutional challenge to the law in court.

To the Editor:

I fully support what Barack Obama’s Justice Department is trying to do (re: DOMA) for the citizens in America. We as Americans have the right to First Amendment no doubt, but there is a law not just any law but the LAW that is the BIBLE. A man and a woman should come join together as one flesh. Not a man and man, or woman to woman. Again, I give my full support.

Frances Reano

To the Editor:

Thank you for this article. I first heard about how the Obama administration handled this case, Friday night on SFGate. It was buried in the Chronicle’s Saturday edition. The article stated that the Obama administration was defending the 1996 law because they felt that same sex marriage was a state issue and that government monies were scarce. Give me a break! We just bailed out Wall Street after they ripped us off, and now Obama says that gays can’t file jointly because the government needs their money.

I was so angry I wrote the Obama administration, MoveOn & Courage Campaign to put pressure on Obama that I noticed what he did. I get the feeling that MoveOn and the Courage Campaign are more concerned with energy, health care and the budget crisis and have put same sex marriage on the back burner. So this article caught my attention that other people are talking about this issue. The article was very in-depth and informed me a lot. Thank you.

This issue has a personal effect for me. I am a straight married man who works as a gardener in Golden Gate Park. In my section, some of my fellow gardeners are gay. During the Presidential Election, I worked very hard to get Obama elected. The day he was elected, Prop 8 passed. It was a very bitter sweet day for me. I was happy that Obama won, but so angry that Prop 8 passed. I felt uncomfortable at work with my gay co-workers. I have the feeling that they thought I was more concerned with Obama then with Prop 8. There may be some truth to that, and that is why I was so angry when Obama defended the 1996 anti same sex marriage law.

I felt very let down by him. I feel that he is pandering to the Christian right. I want him to know that this is a Human Rights issue, and that I noticed how tentative he was. I want to pressure him to do the right thing, and fulfill his campaign promise to repeal this oppressive law. Thank you for taking notice also.

Norman Degelman
San Francisco

To the Editor:

Isn’t the case of Rick Ankiel and Josh Hamilton re: steroid use a really dated story? Neither Ankiel nor Hamilton are having very impressive years, due to injuries. Combined, they have only had ten home runs, and are batting about .240.

These were feel good stories a couple of years ago, and I agree a cloud was over them then. But this is not a relevant story.

Peter Lauterborn

To the Editor:

Steroid use among professional athletes should be of concern to all of us. Like it or not, superstar professional athletes are role models for our young people and celebrating cheaters like Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez sends the wrong message to our young people. If the would-be professional athlete believes that it will give him or her an edge, the temptation is high to use steroids. In fact, steroid use is increasing among high school and college students, especially among minorities. This is not surprising as professional sports — unlike most professions — are where talent can trump color and ethnicity.

Yet, few of these youth realize that only about 1 out of 16,000 will make it to the professional level. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2007 average yearly earnings of these athletes were $71,920. While star athletes earn far more, many athletes earn far less. Actually, 10 percent of athletes earned less than $15,210 a year and a professional athlete\’s career can end in a few years due to injury. Perhaps it is time for drug testing at the high school and college level.

Ralph E. Stone
San Francisco

To the Editor:

Thank You, Randy Shaw, for your attention to this important matter. When the issue was deliberated by the Budget Conference Committee on which I sit, I was able to garner the unanimous support of the other four Senators (two of each party) and the five Assemblymembers to reject the Governor’s proposal to eliminate general fund support for Hastings.

I told the Administration that the meager $7000 they would leave with the college was an inadequate fig leaf to cover their true intent to privatize the institution, California’s oldest law school. I intend to ensure that this rejection will be in the final budget solutions that we deliver to the Governor in the coming weeks. Since we passed in February the 2009-10 budget, these adjustments will not afford the Governor his usual line item veto. He will have to accept or reject its entirety. Though the 10% cut which Hastings will have to sustain is relatively minor compared to a $24 billion deficit, it is far too important not to fight for. Thanks again.

Mark Leno
California State Senate

To the Editor:

“Revenue solutions” is quite a euphemism. Raising taxes is not the solution. The “shrill minority” is against raising taxes because, as they pointed out when taxes were raised earlier this year, people and business will leave the state if you raise them. And the facts have proved them right, as revenues are falling short of projections because people and businesses left rather than pay higher taxes. You cannot increase tax rates on a shrinking base, especially when raising taxes is the cause of the shrinking base. Republicans know cuts, not tax raises, are the solution here.

Frankly, California was spending way too much. California needs this, as it needs to identify which programs are vital and which ones are not.

Government is supposed to provide services that an individual alone cannot do and allow them to live their lives as independent adults. These include (at a high level) services such as infrastructure construction / maintenance, police and fire fighting services, an unbiased court system, and protection from those who would trample on our rights and freedoms.

Both the governments of California and San Francisco forgot this, and instead focused on funding programs that, while the goals may have been admirable, government has no business getting into. And the citizenry has witnessed firsthand how government spending in these programs is inefficient, while those who are in these programs become dependent on the government, worsening their position as their independence is taken away.

And those who back the programs ignore the level of success achieved, and continue to funnel funds into them while neglecting other programs. That is how in San Francisco you have a budget of $6.6 billion for 800,000 people, but have the mayor and President of the Board of Supervisors propose a $300 million bond measure for pothole repair. We need to get back to the basics. I am not advocating an abandoning of those who need care; I am advocating that the government let others more effectively deliver that care.

As for the 2/3 budget rule, instead of addressing the real overspending issues here in California, there has been the response of Democratic leaders in the Assembly and Senate: even though we hold a majority in Sacramento, it’s the Republicans’ fault we are in this mess because the 2/3 Rule means we actually have to listen to what other people think.

These Democratic leaders forget one KEY thing; you have held the majority for YEARS in Sacramento. YOU have set the agenda, YOU have spent billions upon billions that California could not afford, YOU have taxed citizens income in this state more than any other state in the Union, YOU have mandated spending irregardless of tax revenue levels, and YOU actually wanted to spend more.

The 2/3 Rule has allowed Republicans to put a small dent in your misguided policies; if it did not exist, California would be in even worse shape. Case in point: in 2008, while being 8 months late in passing a budget, Insurance Commissioner and REPUBLICAN Steve Poizner cut 10% from his budget.

Not ONE Democratic legislator thought asking Poizner how he accomplished that and if it could be applied to the whole CA budget was a good idea; not ONE Democratic legislator thought it would be a good idea to, for the first time ever, AUDIT the CA budget; not ONE Democratic legislator thought it would be a good idea to cut down on the massive fraud rampant in California’s numerous social programs. Their first and only move was to try to increase taxes on its citizenry and businesses in the middle of a recession, the time when citizens and business need cash the most.

Ed Sheppard
San Francisco Young Republicans

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