Power of the pledge
Re "Anti-tax bloc of Republicans threatens the nation's stability," Column, July 27
Once again, columnist Michael Hiltzik is spot on. We have a group of Republican ideologues in Congress who have apparently abandoned their oath of office in order to keep their pledge to Grover Norquist, a man who holds no formal office and who has publicly stated that his goal is to shrink government to "the size where we can drown it in the bathtub."
We live in a time of high unemployment. Wages have either flat-lined or shrunk for nearly everyone except the wealthiest. Norquist has built a lucrative business model mau-mauing the rich and powerful into dismantling America. This nation deserves better.
Kudos to Hiltzik.
Does this mean that this pledge overrides the constitutional oath these Republicans took when taking office?
What about if there's a state of war that requires immediate revenues to protect our country's interests? Is there a provision in this pledge that addresses this possibility or other national emergencies?
Or what about the mere fact that there may be a conflict of interest here? Beware of any pledge made to one man and/or a particular organization; it may prove to be disastrous.
Re "Perils of taking the pledge," July 26
Our elected officials take an oath to defend the Constitution, which was written for "we the people" and not special-interest groups.
We the people consist of white, black, brown, rich, poor, gay, straight, Protestant, Catholic, Muslim and everything in between.
Who elected Norquist to be the keeper of the pledges, much less to enforce them?
It's time for those we elect to do what is good for everyone and not just a radical few.
Thank you for your article about these pledges being required of political candidates. This is a very serious threat to the democratic process.
I want my representatives to go to Washington or Sacramento with an open mind, good judgment and the willingness to do the business of governing. I want them to research issues and to communicate with colleagues and with constituents.
I want honest evaluation and sincere intentions to do what is right for the most people.
I want representatives who have the ability to stand up to power and think independently. I want a list of candidates who have the courage not to sign a pledge.
When I was running for the California Assembly in 1996, I was invited for an interview with a right-wing Orange County PAC. The lady doing the interview asked me to sign a "no-tax pledge" before the PAC would make a donation to my campaign.
I replied that in a state prone to earthquakes, fires and floods, a legislative candidate would have to be "some kind of nut" to sign that type of pledge.
She said: "Trust me, I won't have any trouble finding Republicans who will sign our pledge." She didn't, and the candidate won.
The pressure gets worse all the time, and the result is gridlock in Sacramento and in Washington.
A Republican Pledge of Allegiance:
I pledge allegiance to
and to the Tea Party for
which he stands.
One faction, under Him,
With money for the rich
and little for all others
A Cal State's pricey president
Re "The $400,000 man," Editorial, July 24
The Times misses the point: ethics. In an age of irrational politics and suspect ethics in Sacramento, we look to better behavior from our Cal State trustees.
They are, after all, stewards of the California dream for many: a chance to get a solid education and advance to the taxpaying professional class.
The public needs this skilled workforce of nurses, police, firefighters, engineers, scientists, creative thinkers and artists for the well-being of the state.
The $100,000 increase for San Diego State University President Elliot Hirshman that The Times dismisses as the mere equivalent of 16 scholarships is still 16 children who will not be supported in their education at a time of severe fiscal distress for many. It is the salary for several full-time faculty, or it would pay for multiple courses.
The board is failing the citizens of California with this type of behavior.
Rancho Palos Verdes
If "the new president of San Diego State University makes $100,000 more than his predecessor" but may be "a star at raising private donations and is expected to bring in far more money than the pay differential," then why not pay him $300,000 together with a performance bonus based on a percentage of the additional private donations he brings in? The additional money collected after the bonus could then be used to offset tuition increases.
Re "State college system said to be on decline," July 21
For as long as I can remember, large compensation has been justified as the means of attracting the very best people available to administer the Cal State universities.