Santa Cruz Good Times

Friday
Jul 03rd
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Congressman Sam Farr

SamFarrNewThe president recently repeated his campaign pledge to repeal the Pentagon’s “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” policy that bars openly gay men and women from serving in the military. Do you agree?

The “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” policy is wrong, plain and simple. And it’s wrong for a lot of reasons.

Let’s start with some practical issues. We may be wrapping up our misguided occupation of Iraq, but at the same time we’re increasing our armed presence in Afghanistan. I remain opposed to our presence in those countries, but I find it curious to reject soldiers during wartime for their sexual orientation.

Even worse, from a strategic standpoint, are the kinds of soldiers being discriminated against. The Pentagon has trouble attracting enough Arabic and Farsi translators, but even so we’ve seen dozens of gay translators with vital language skills let go.

It’s not a stretch to say this policy has national security implications.

It is true that we’ve seen fewer soldiers drummed out of the military for being gay since the 9/11 terrorist attacks (by two-thirds, some reports claim). But to me, that merely suggests the Pentagon is happy to single out gay soldiers during peacetime but more reluctant during wartime. To say that violates fundamental American values of fairness and equality is an understatement.

And then there’s the moral issues. Since the law was implemented in 1993, more than 13,000 volunteer soldiers—volunteers sworn to protect our country—have been kicked out of the military. That’s 13,000 people who were told that their service isn’t wanted because they’re gay.

A white commander wouldn’t ground a pilot because she’s black. An Asian general couldn’t court martial an officer because she’s a woman. Even the Surgeon General can’t punish a Navy cook because he smokes.

But gay soldiers have been classified as inferior and are fair game for punitive action. That’s wrong.

When the president announced his renewed push to repeal this wrong-headed law, I described the policy as repugnant. I wish I could find harsher words.

There’s support from the public for repeal, support from current and former military brass and movement in both houses of Congress. I hope we can quickly correct this 17-year-old problem once and for all.

We just passed the one-year anniversary of the stimulus bill. What’s the status report?

Before health insurance reform took over the airwaves, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (better known as the economic stimulus bill) filled the headlines.

The bill still attracts a fair number of critics, but I believe—and experts from across the political spectrum agree—that the stimulus saved our economy. And it continues to form the foundation of our economic recovery.

I’ve explained in this space before the trauma our economy has experienced. We continue to see repercussions from that shock through high unemployment rates and depleted bank accounts.

It’s always hard to prove a negative, but experts agree that without the stimulus, we’d be in far worse shape than we are today. Unemployment around 10 percent is dangerously high, but economists suggest that that number could be more than double without the stimulus.

In addition to billions of dollars devoted to construction projects, the stimulus also tossed a lifeline to millions of families. Whether through food assistance, health care subsidies or much-needed unemployment benefits, the stimulus kept many families from a far worse fate.

Santa Cruz has received in the ballpark of $90 million from the stimulus so far in project funds, benefits and tax cuts. The Making Work Pay tax credit alone injected around $30 million into the local economy. We’ve seen projects funded ranging from public housing renovation and a $4.7 million business incubator at the Salz Tannery to salaries for nine police officers and a host of energy-efficiency projects. And some of our most at-risk populations—recipients of Social Security, Supplemental Security Income and VA benefits—received one-time payments to help cover rising costs.

We continue to see opposition to this bill, but we’ve also seen more than 100 Republican members of Congress celebrate stimulus projects in their home towns—soon after bad-mouthing the bill as a waste of money, I must add.

The stimulus wasn’t a cure-all, but it helped reverse many bad policies from the previous administration and it is helping to stabilize our economy. By any measure, I call that a success.

Comments (3)Add Comment
...
written by Ben Tarsitano, March 05, 2010
Hey Sam Farr,

You finished high school in 1968......at the height of the draff.....Viet Nam....which branch of the military did you serve in???????
November 2010
written by InfantryMom, March 05, 2010
You're time is short Sam Farr. It's not rocket science to see through the mind set of a "do-gooder". Come November you'll have a lot of time to see a psychotherapist.
...
written by Donald Darst, March 02, 2010
I was and am, therefore, a Marine. As was recently explained before Congress. We are brothers from the first day of training and, brothers do not have sex with their brothers. For the Marines, it's that simple. But, then again, we're the first boots on the ground and have been the most relied upon fighting force in the history of mankind. Go spend your time and our tax money on some other issue.
The Marines will not alter their position, and you can thank us for your right to keep making the same mistakes in Congress on a regular basis.

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

The Boards Are Back in Town

More than a century after a famed trio of Hawaiian princes first surfed in Santa Cruz, their redwood olo surfboards are returning to the Museum of Art & History

 

We Hold These Truths to Be Self-Evident

Saturday, July 4, is the 239th birthday of the United States, commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence (the U.S. astrology chart has Aquarius moon—freedom for its people, by its people). Cancer, a liberating and initiating sign, is the “gate” where Spirit enters matter. Cancer receives and distributes Ray 3 (Divine Intelligence) and Ray 7 (new rules, new rhythms, new free nation under God). Cancer represents an intelligent freethinking humanity that can and must create right economics for the world. This means a policy of sharing, an opportunity for the U.S. when Venus (money, resources, possessions, etc.) retrogrades July and August in Leo (the heart of the matter). The United States has a unique spiritual task for the world: to lead humanity within and toward the light, accomplished by its people who must first awaken to this task, learn discrimination and be directed by the soul to assume the Herculean task of spiritual world leadership. Let us review the first words of our Constitution: “We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution for the United States of America.” Let us form that union together. The following is a review of the spiritual tasks for each sign. Read all the signs. They all apply to everyone.  

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of July 3

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Lunch is Packed

Picnic basket lunches from Your Place, plus smoked chili peppers, and new owners at Camellia Tea House

 

What would you like the Supreme Court to rule on next?

Raising the minimum wage so that those that are in poverty now can have a higher standard of life. Greanna Smith, Soquel, Nanny

 

Bruzzone Family Vineyards

Bruzzone Family Vineyards is a small operation run by Berna and John Bruzzone. Starting out a few years ago making only Chardonnay, they eventually planted Pinot Noir on their extensive property and now make this varietal as well.

 

Ty’s Eatery

Pop-up hooks up with Santa Cruz Food Lounge for healthy comfort food