Santa Cruz Good Times

Monday
Feb 08th
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

 

On the Run

Is there hope for California’s salmon?

 

Chinese New Year of the Red Fire Monkey

Monday, Feb. 8, is Aquarius new moon (19 degrees) and Chinese New Year of the Red Fire Monkey (an imaginative, intelligent and vigilant creature). Monkey is bright, quick, lively, quite naughty, clever, inquiring, sensible, and reliable. Monkey loves to help others. Often they are teachers, writers and linguists. They are very talented, like renaissance people. Leonardo Da Vinci was born in the year of Monkey. Monkey contains metal (relation to gold) and water (wisdom, danger). 2016 will be a year of finances. For a return on one’s money, invest in monkey’s ideas. Metal is related to wind (change). Therefore events in 2016 will change very quickly. We must ponder with care before making financial, business and relationship changes. Fortune’s path may not be smooth in 2016. Finances and business as usual will be challenged. Although we develop practical goals, the outcomes are different than hoped for. We must be cautious with investments and business partnership. It is most important to cultivate a balanced and harmonious daily life, seeking ways to release tension, pressure and stress to improve health and calmness. Monkey is lively, flexible, quick-witted, and versatile. Their gentle, honest, enchanting yet resourceful nature results often in everlasting love. Monkeys are freedom loving. Without freedom, Monkey becomes dull, sad and very unhappy. During the Spring and Autumn Period (770 - 476 BC), the Chinese official title of Marquis (noble person) was pronounced ‘Hou,’ the same as the pronunciation of ‘monkey’ in Chinese. Monkey was thereby bestowed with auspicious (favorable, fortunate) meaning. Monkey years are: 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016.  

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of February 5

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

 

Wine and Chocolate

West Cliff Wines gets its game on, plus a brand new chocolate cafe on Center Street

 

How would you stop people from littering?

Teach them from the time that they’re small that it’s not an appropriate behavior. Juliet Jones, Santa Cruz, Claims Adjuster

 

Dancing Creek Winery

New Zinfandel Port is a ruby beauty

 

Venus Spirits

Changing law could mean new opportunity for local spirits