Santa Cruz Good Times

Thursday
Apr 24th
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

 

Best of Santa Cruz County 2014

The 2014 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll Come on in, and have a look around. There’s a lot to see—hundreds of winners selected by thousands of GT readers across Santa Cruz County. So if some of this looks familiar, it’s probably because you helped make it happen. But there are always new things to discover, too—you could go to a different winner or runner-up every day in the Food and Drink category alone, and you’d be booked just about until next year’s Best of Santa Cruz County issue comes out.

 

Something Essential Disappears

Lunar and solar eclipses follow one another. Lunar eclipses occur at full moons, and solar eclipses at new moons. Two weeks ago at the full moon we had the blood red moon—a total lunar eclipse (the next one is Oct. 8). On Monday night, April 28 (new moon), as the Sun, Moon and Earth align, a solar eclipse (Sun obscured) occurs. Eclipses signify something irrevocably is changed in our world. The Sun is our essential life force. Monday’s new moon, 9 degrees Taurus, is also an annular solar eclipse when the Moon moves centrally in front of the Sun, yet does not cover the Sun completely. The Sun's outer edges, still visible, form a “ring of fire” around the Moon.

 

Sugar: The New Tobacco?

Proposed bill would require warning labels on sugary drinks Will soda and other saccharine libations soon come with a health warning? They will if it’s up to our state senator, Bill Monning (D-Carmel). On Feb. 27, Monning proposed first-of-its-kind legislation that would require a consumer warning label be placed on sugar-sweetened beverages sold in California. SB 1000, also known as the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act, was proposed to provide vital information to consumers about the harmful effects of consuming sugary drinks, such as sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, and sweetened teas.

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of April 17

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Tomorrow's Good Times Today
Upcoming arts & events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Palate-Stretching 101

A wine education with Soif’s experts As a veteran of many weekend wine “seminars” at Soif, I have to confess that I’ve never known less (going in) and learned more (coming out) than I did last week at the Spanish Wine Tasting with ace rep Brian Greenwood. These are classy, casual events and it’s hard to imagine having this much flavor fun anywhere for $20.

 

Martin Ranch Winery

Sauvignon Blanc 2011 One of my favorite wines is Sauvignon Blanc, and this one made by Martin Ranch is particularly lovely. Bright, crisp and refreshing, it’s perfect to pair with fish and shellfish—and good for picnics as it has an easy screw-cap bottle. There’s nothing worse than setting down your blanket, pulling out your sandwiches—and then realizing you don’t have a corkscrew.

 

Foodie File: Red Apple Cafe

Breakfast takes center stage at Gracia Krakauer's Red Apple Cafe Before they moved to Aptos, Gracia and her husband Dan Krakauer would visit friends in Santa Cruz County and eat at the Red Apple Café all the time. Then they moved up here from Santa Monica five years ago, and bought the Aptos location (there’s a separate one in Watsonville) from the family who owned it for two decades.

 

How would you feel about a tech industry boom in Santa Cruz?

I feel like it would ruin the small old-town feeling of Santa Cruz. It wouldn’t be the same Surf City kind of vacation town that it is. Antoinette BennettSanta Cruz | Construction Management