Mountain Views News Saturday, November 13, 2010
11 OPINION MountainViews-News Saturday, November 13, 2010 STUART Tolchin..........On LIFE Mountain Views News Publisher/ Editor Susan Henderson City Editor Dean Lee Sales Patricia Colonello 626-355-2737 626-818-2698 Art Director Allison Kirkham Production Assistant Richard Garcia Photography Jacqueline Truong Lina Johnson Contributors Teresa Baxter Pat Birdsall Bob Eklund Howard Hays Paul Carpenter Stuart Tolchin Kim Clymer-Kelley Christopher Nyerges Peter Dills Hail Hamilton Rich Johnson Chris Bertrand Mary Carney La Quetta Shamblee Glenn Lambdin Greg Wellborn Ralph McKnight Trish Collins Pat Ostrye Editorial Cartoonist Ann Cleaves Webmaster John Aveny LETTER TO THE EDITOR The impact of election 2010 goes far deeper than which party controls the House or the Senate. The incivility and tone of the 2010 campaign reached a disturbingly new low in American politics. Not only was this evident in the advertising, but we also saw it in candidate debates and forums and in the public discourse. Voters were overwhelmed by millions of dollars in negative ads but didn’t know who paid for many of them. This election demonstrated the critical need to improve our governmental structures. Because of the failure of Congress to act, there are no disclosure requirements governing the huge amounts of money that the Supreme Court recently turned loose in American politics. Voters don’t know if their elected officials are in Washington to serve the public interest or the special interests. Congress must pass the DISCLOSE Act which would restore transparency to U.S. elections by requiring disclosure of corporate and union spending in candidate elections. “Our democracy belongs to people -- not special interests,” says Elisabeth MacNamara, president of the National League of Women Voters. “The League of Women Voters strongly urges Senators to support quick action to enact the DISCLOSE Act this year.” Voters, not money, should be at the center of our democracy. The challenges we face together in our towns and in our nation, will require our continued vigilance. As a leader of the Pasadena Area League of Women Voters, I work year-round to safeguard democracy and improve civility at all levels of government. As the League's work continues, I invite others in the community to commit to civic improvement by joining the League. Together we can keep our community strong, healthy, and vibrant. Further information is available on the internet: www.lwvpasadenaarea.org The League office at 1353 N. Hill Ave., Pasadena, is open weekdays 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Information also is available by calling 626- 798-0965 during those same hours. Sincerely, Yvonne Pine, President League of Women Voters Pasadena Area HOW TO SAVE THE WORLD I think I may have learned something new this weekend. I have always been unsure as to how to evaluate the quality of experiences. How do I know if something is good or bad? Was watching a movie or reading a book really a good use of time? Well, after this weekend I think I am a little closer to being able to answer these questions. On Friday night my wife and I saw the Clint Eastwood movie entitled ‘Hereafter’. The movie begins with a long segment which dramatizes the experience of being caught in a tsunami. For me the sequence was extraordinary. It does not involve explosions or obvious special effects. Instead I am presented with a beautiful, peaceful scene of an ocean resort. Far away I glimpse a huge wave forming which keeps coming towards me but remains at a distance. I see destruction but it is still far away; but the wave keeps coming and it is frightening. I see a woman and a child notice the approaching wave and experience the wave from their point of view. The woman takes the child’s hand and they both run from the relentlessly oncoming water. They run; desperately they run harder and harder and it feels as if I am them. Really now I am not watching; but instead I am also running from the wave. I cannot get away and the water overtakes the woman and the child and me and we are no longer able to hold on to the little girl. Eventually we escape the water and I watch as a kind of CPR is performed upon the woman who eventually breathes again. I feel as if I, too, have experienced the tsunami and I am changed. As I watch the rest of the film I am aware that something within me is different. I think of all the tragedies going on that I usually read about but do not feel. Now I feel the pain of loss and suffering. I am more vulnerable, less secure but somehow more alive. One of the themes of the movies is how the woman in the film is changed by the experience. She can no longer lead her life in the same way and she continues to anguish over the welfare of the lost little girl. What was important before now seems insignificant and she begins to lead a different kind of life. On Saturday morning I am directed by a friend to a video dealing with attempts at creating what amounts to a virtual boy in cyberspace. This virtual person is an individual created by its interaction with the viewer. Early in the video the virtual boy encounters a snail. He asks the viewer if it is okay to step on the snail and crush it. I am instructed that my answer to this question will be all important in forming the moral sense of the virtual boy and will strongly influence the type of person he will become. He can be told that hurting other living creatures is not acceptable or he can be told to go ahead and crush the snail. He can even be told to make up his own mind and that no one really is watching what he does. The video explains that the ultimate decision will affect what amounts to the brain structure of this virtual boy although the consequences cannot be exactly predicted; but the interactions together with the modeling presented by significant others such as me are the creator of this new person. Seeing this video had a startling effect upon me. Much like viewing ‘Hereafter’ I realized I was affected by viewing the video. I had always wondered what happens to all the beautiful and joyful toddlers that I see being attended to by their not so beautiful and definitely not joyful parents. The video helped me to understand that what happens to the toddlers is something called life. It is the interaction with significant others and the models presented to these vulnerable little people which impact strongly upon who they will become. It should not be a surprise that so many of us turn out to be very similar to our parents. Actually, each of us impacts upon everyone with whom we come into contact. In this way EACH OF US CREATES THE FUTURE by affecting everyone else’s development along with our own. Perhaps our greatest contribution to the world is a continuing attempt to live and model an aware life. A life lived consistent with our own values while understanding that often our values change as we experience more of life. That’s how we save the world, by allowing ourselves to still be moved and to gain new understanding. Maybe we don’t have to be overtaken by a tsunami but we cannot allow ourselves to hide in a shell and refuse to experience the sufferings and joys of others. At least that’s what I think I learned this weekend. Mountain Views News has been adjudicated as a newspaper of General Circulation for the County of Los Angeles in Court Case number GS004724: for the City of Sierra Madre; in Court Case GS005940 and for the City of Monrovia in Court Case No. GS006989 and is published every Saturday at 55 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., No. 302, Sierra Madre, California, 91024. All contents are copyrighted and may not be reproduced without the express written consent of the publisher. All rights reserved. All submissions to this newspaper become the property of the Mountain Views News and may be published in part or whole. Opinions and views expressed by the writers printed in this paper do not necessarily express the views and opinions of the publisher or staff of the Mountain Views News. Mountain Views News is wholly owned by Grace Lorraine Publications, Inc. and reserves the right to refuse publication of advertisements and other materials submitted for publication. Letters to the editor and correspondence should be sent to: Mountain Views News 80 W. Sierra Madre Bl. #327 Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024 Phone: 626-355-2737 Fax: 626-609-3285 email: email@example.com My Turn HAIL Hamilton Regardless of Prop 19 Loss, Legalization is Now Mainstream I’ll admit I was disappointed with the loss of Proposition 19. But it’s not the first time, and I’m sure it won’t be the last time, I’ve watched helpless as voters have voted against their best interests. Yet despite losing this time, a page in history has turned -- drug policy reform is an issue whose time has come, and time is on the side of reformers. Prop 19, the marijuana legalization “Tax and Regulate” initiative, has been a roller coaster ride for drug policy reformers since it was introduced. In May polls showed Prop 19 in the lead, but not by much and with support under 50%. For the next four months, the numbers did something we didn’t expect; opposition to the measure steadily decreased. One pollster said in early October, “If I was in Las Vegas and I was a betting man, I’d bet on Prop 19 to win, but I’d only bet money I could afford to lose.” A number of high rollers took that bet last month, adding big bucks to what had been a mostly low-profile grassroots campaign. The last few weeks have seen support for Prop 19 steadily fall in most polls, a phenomenon common to any controversial ballot measure. Voters might support the general concept of an initiative -- west coast support for marijuana legalization polled 58% in the final week of the campaign -- but some inevitably develop doubts about a given initiative at a given time, especially as opponents raise questions, and when uncertain voters tend to pull the “no” lever. The reason Prop 19 was defeated was not opposition in principal to legalization, it was the last minute scare campaign beginning just after President Obama’s speech condemning the proposition. Perhaps the defeat was inevitable. But last-minute anti-Prop 19 donations funding an ad blitz, and the less than expected voter turnout, turned the tide of what had seemed like a winner into a loser. One late poll, while showing the initiative behind, also found voters who don’t usually turn out for midterm elections coming out for Prop 19. Unfortunately projections that the marijuana vote could change election day demographics didn’t pan out. Voter turnout, though relatively high for a midterm election, was not enough to overcome the controversy generated by Prop 19. Losing, though, in a sense Prop 19 has really won. A partial listing of mainstream organizations that have publicly called for marijuana legalization for the first time by endorsing Prop 19, shows that legalization can no longer be dismissed as from the fringe: California NAACP LULAC of California Latino Voters League National Black Police Association National Latino Officers Association SEIU of California UFCW Western States Council ILWU Northern California District Council California Young Democrats Those are only some of the larger ones. Current and former politicians in California endorsed Prop 19, from the local level up through Congress. Founders of Facebook, Gmail and PayPal, together with millions of individuals, made financial contributions to the campaign. Widespread positive coverage including editorials in the likes of Newsweek and the New York Times (not to mention the MountainViews News) have made the point, too. While we didn't bring in enough votes this election to pass Prop 19, we are proud of the tremendous wave of support we received. There are millions of people in California and across the country who are prepared to help finish the job they started here when we come back to the polls stronger than ever in 2012. The fact that 3,412,387 Californians voted to legalize marijuana is a tremendous victory. We have broken the glass ceiling. Prop 19 has changed the terms of the debate. The fight for drug reform and marijuana legalization continues. In the coming months, reformers will publish and distribute periodic updates on marijuana policy, introducing some of our most vital partner organizations, and providing opportunities for online and offline advocacy so you can stay active and engaged in this movement. So please stay tuned. We didn't get the result we wanted this time around, but it's clearer than ever to me that it's no longer a matter of if we'll end marijuana prohibition -- it's simply a matter of when. Editor’s Note: The Mountain Views News did not endorse Proposition 19. What DO You Think? We’d like to hear from you! Contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or www.facebook.com/mountainviewsnews Mountain Views News Mission Statement The traditions of the community newspaper and the concerns of our readers are this newspaper’s top priorities. We support a prosperous community of well- informed citizens. We hold in high regard the values of the exceptional quality of life in our community, including the magnificence of our natural resources. Integrity will be our guide.