Keep the pressure up
Your "Political Notebook" section on Oct. 28 was absolutely correct in stating that Armenian-Americans are accustomed to empty promises from presidential candidates in accurately terming the events of 1915 as genocide. Both President Clinton and President Bush attempted to gain Armenian-American support by saying they would recognize the genocide if elected. However, under pressure from Turkish officials, both immediately changed their positions.
Rep. George Radanovich, R-Mariposa, has not allowed President Bush to get away with it easily. Despite being from the same political party, the congressman has continually opposed the president, vice president and House speaker on this issue.
He has sent a letter drafted by him and his colleague, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Pasadena, to the administration, making sure it understands this issue will not be allowed to go on the back-burner. They have been soliciting the support of other members of Congress to put pressure on the administration as well.
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Sevag Tateosian, Fresno
Up to the parties
I found interesting the column by Editorial Page Editor Jim Boren on negative campaigning (Oct. 29). I see a problem, however.
Let's say you have only two contenders for a particular post, as is often the case. What do you do if they are insulting each other more or less equally? If you vote for neither, you are simply giving your vote away and, in fact, one will be elected regardless of how many people don't vote for either.
If a party affiliation is involved, and each party demands that their candidate keep to the issues, that would do us all a great service. Sometimes the issues are clear and under their facade the candidates agree, but often the party rivalry is so strong, the need to win becomes more important than the wish to be honest and reasonable and run a clean campaign.
It seems to me that the ridiculous partisan conflict we are subjected to has a lot to do with how the candidates act. Until the two major parties inveigh against negative statements, nothing is going to improve.
Gordon Russell, Clovis
'Throw the rascals out'
This is for independents and Republican conservatives, since by now moderates and liberals have already decided the Republicans in Congress must be voted out.
If the sacrifice of our young and dutiful soldiers (now almost 3,000 dead and more than 20,000 wounded), if a war has lasted longer than World War II, a war that's now broken our military to the point we cannot influence other nations' military ambitions, and a war that the Bush administration keeps changing its justification for are not reason enough, then consider that Iraq is costing $7 billion a month, which is being passed on to future generations.
My father-in-law told me years ago to "throw the rascals out." By that he meant that if politicians of any party don't do what is right, replace them with the other party. As he said, when politicians realize that every two or six years they will be replaced if they are not better than those they replaced, they will learn quickly. If he were alive today, he would be throwing the rascal Republicans out.
Alan Yengoyan, Fresno
This is a critical campaign for the Board of Trustees of the Fresno Unified School District. Our district was nearly destroyed by the lack of competent board leadership and single interest influence.
There is no disputing that earlier boards bear the responsibility for the financial and academic shambles of the district. They comprised union-supported members who represented their single interests at the expense of our kids. Four years ago a handful of people stepped up to turn the tide and they have.
The issues in this election are simple: Will we elect independent board members with the proper skills, or will we elect board members who have signed pre-endorsement agreements to appease those groups that almost destroyed our school district?
We must have a board that puts the interests of our kids first. I urge everyone to vote for my former colleagues Luisa Medina and Patricia Barr and two highly qualified newcomers, Julie Hornback and Stafford Parker.
Richard A. Johanson, Fresno
There is an old adage of "follow the money." So, I followed the money and was shocked to learn candidate Calvin Minor has taken more than $60,000 in union money for his campaign for Fresno County sheriff. Many of those unions are the same ones backing Jerry Brown for attorney general.
I checked; his opponent Assistant Sheriff Margaret Mims has only accepted $500 in union money.¹I believe Margaret Mims will not be beholden to special interests. That is an important quality for our sheriff.
I'm supporting Margaret Mims for sheriff. I encourage all Fresno County voters to do the same.
Cedric Reese, Sanger
A lot of money
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger loves to boast that he doesn't believe in raising state taxes. Yet, he constantly pushes the electorate to vote for bond issue after bond issue.
It is high time the voters of California realize that bonds are just taxes that have to be paid back with interest. And folks, the interest on $37 billion worth of bonds is a considerable amount of money.
Jan Fanucchi, Clovis
Keep Nunes on the job
When Devin Nunes ran for Congress, he alone talked about the need to utilize Temperance Flat for new water storage location. Booming home construction, growing industries, fertile agricultural land and our arid environment need this kind of visionary thinking. Nowadays, every politician is on the Temperance Flat bandwagon, as they should be. That's a clear example of Rep. Nunes' leadership.
He has become a leader on improving Highway 99 by making it eligible for special federal funding and has set it on a path to becoming an interstate. He has been on the forefront of addressing health care shortfalls in funding and personnel. He has helped our economy by keeping taxes low. He has fought for fair elections through Proposition 77. His latest piece of legislation is changing the way our country looks to its future energy needs by helping incubate the next generation of energy sources.
It's clear Rep. Nunes has a vision for the future, as well as the energy and passion to get the job done. Send him back to Washington, D.C., this November.
Robert E. Smittcamp, Fresno
Nunes comes through
I have read many letters recently against Rep. Devin Nunes. I am neither a Democrat or Republican, but I do support Rep. Nunes. He has always responded to any inquiries I have made and helped me when I had problems with the Social Security office.
I read that he only helps big farmers or those with fat checkbooks. This is not a fact, as I am a retired senior and do not have money to contribute to politicians. I will vote for Rep. Nunes, as he is there for the common people.
Janet Harvey, Porterville
'Leader we need'
As a Porterville resident, I am proud to be a staunch supporter of Rep. Devin Nunes and look forward to his re-election. He is a breath of fresh air in Congress, where he has given Tulare County a higher profile among our national leaders.
He understands the challenges we face here in the Valley and charts a legislative course that reflects the common sense, hardworking values of its residents. The bottom line is: He gets things done. Highway 99, water storage, cleaner air, outstanding constituent services, a strong economy and a plan for our energy future are all hallmarks of his short but remarkable time in office.
He is the kind of leader we need in Washington. Vote for Rep. Devin Nunes on Nov. 7.
Gary Reed, Porterville
My grandfather started our family farm nearly 60 years ago, just south of Fresno. Like most family businesses we have had our good years, and those that were not so good. We have seen many politicians come and go -- one stands out. Valley Assemblywoman Nicole Parra has been an effective voice for Valley families in Sacramento.
Nicole has worked to ensure our agricultural economy can survive, which has earned her the endorsement of the California Farm Bureau. She has worked hard to protect important programs that benefit Valley families and farmers. Nicole Parra has had to stand against her own party many times to support the Valley, and her work has made a real difference.
Valley families deserve better than the misleading and absolute lies that we see in our mailboxes and televisions from Nicole's opposition. Nicole Parra is tough, she is effective and her work has made a lasting difference for the people of our Valley. Let's re-elect our Assemblywoman, Nicole Parra, and keep her working for us.
Suzanne Rogers, Kingsburg
I think it is an awfully big coincidence that gas prices have been going down right before the election. I am sure the oil companies could give us all sorts of reasons for this amazing phenomenon, but I think it probably has something to do with a proposition on November's ballot that could help our environment by creating cleaner energy.
The oil companies are spending millions of dollars on the anti-Proposition 87 campaign. I hope the voters of California are able to see through what the oil companies are doing and think about the long-term benefits of Proposition 87 for all Californians.
Katie Clark, Fresno
Keep the money here
The benefits of Proposition 87 go far beyond social, health, national security and environmental reasons, although those should be overwhelming reasons to vote "yes."
Fiscally, this is a slam-dunk proposition. People are cautious of this proposition due to misleading ads sponsored by big oil companies. Oil prices are set globally, not regionally, and California establishing a right to impose a justifiable tax on oil production will not raise local prices.
In fact, being given the right to choose between oil and alternatives, like ethanol, will force fuel markets to become more competitive. And the production of ethanol can be done here in the U.S., using not only corn but even agricultural waste.
Instead of pouring billions into the Middle East for our energy, isn't it time to invest in our own country? Let's help our Californian farmers and keep our options open. Brazil has been able to save $69 billion that would be spent on importing oil and has kept it in the country, helping revitalize the economy. Let's keep our money here, and vote "yes" on Proposition 87.
Alison Butler, Bass Lake
'Already paying taxes'
Measure R, to establish a half-cent sales tax to improve the Tulare County's roads, also includes widening and improving intersections on Highways 99, 190, 198 and 65. These are state highways. Aren't we already paying gasoline taxes to cover these highways?
I realize we need to improve county streets and highways, but why do we want to tax ourselves for something we are already paying taxes for? Has anyone thought of how many hundreds of millions of dollars it would take to widen the highway from the Kern County line to Highway 198? How much in eminent-domain dollars would it take to widen Spruce to four lanes from Highway 65 to 198?
Robert Inabinette, Springville
I have been following the Fresno School Board race. I don't understand why it becomes a problem when church pastors endorse candidates, but I was enlightened to see Pastors Jim Franklin and G.L. Johnson endorse John Lester for Fresno School Board.
That was a bold move for them in an age where people seem to resist church people speaking out regarding state issues. I will stand with them in their support of John Lester.
Mark Diliberto, Fresno
'Good enough for me'
Character counts. Isn't that what we are often reminding our kids these days?
Fresnans know all too well the travails of our school district. We have the potential to turn this school district around and make it a district that is strong, well-performing and even admired.
One of the most important things that we can do individually is to look at the candidates closely and vote for whomever we can best trust to bring real improvement. Often it is very difficult to discern who is truly going to make a difference. Who has the leadership, vision and values to fix what's broken?
I was stunned to see in a recent Bee article that Pastor G.L. Johnson from People's Church and Pastor Jim Franklin from Cornerstone Church both support John Lester for school board. I say if he is good enough for them, I am sure he will be. After all, character counts.
James Rowland, Fresno
Unless people are willing to vote for obscene, punitive taxes on their own particular "vices" -- alcohol, junk food, pornography -- they should not, with a feeling of "self-righteousness," impose them upon others. Vote "no" on Proposition 86.
Jerry Hightower, Fresno
Yes on Prop. 1C
Our communities do not have adequate shelters to meet the demands of the homeless, whether indigent or victims such as those with mental disabilities. The problem is multidimensional and needs to be treated with multiple strategies. But the first step is to stabilize the homeless by giving them a decent shelter.
The housing market is so out-of-control in California that the state must help some low-income residents. Proposition 1C would provide $2.85 billon for battered-women's shelters, low-income senior housing, home ownership and assistance for the disabled, veterans and working families.
Many cities struggle to find answers; we are no exception. We see public officials and community leaders working to find solutions for affordable and accessible housing. They are undertaking the "10 X 10 Housing Plan" (10,000 homes by 2010) -- ambitious but very possible. If we get the additional funds to improve our shelters, housing stock and build affordable and accessible housing for first-time home buyers, life will be better in Fresno. Vote "yes" on Proposition 1C.
Jose Luis Barraza, Co-Chair, Housing Partnership for the Disabled, Fresno
Vote! Republicans who did not vote in 1992 and 1996 have no room to complain about Bill Clinton. Democrats who did not vote in 2000 and 2004 have no room to complain about George W. Bush. Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote!
Bob Breshears, Sanger