Anne Marie Whalley: Wanted: honesty in governance

An attendee raises her hand to ask Congressman Steve Knight a question during a town hall at the Rancho Santa Susana Community Center in Simi Valley on April 18. Katharine Lotze/The Signal
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I attended the Steve Knight town hall meeting held recently at Canyon High School, and I was very surprised by the attitude of most people in attendance. Some questions asked were of importance, and it would have been nice to hear the answers of our representative.

The congressman was willing to speak, but the crowd cut him off systematically. That was too bad because we could have learned more from him if the disrupters had not been there.

Disappointed by the majority of people who went there only to disrupt, I went home and searched for answers on my laptop to the few questions asked.

Out of politeness, I have been taught not to interrupt someone who was speaking. I was really intrigued by the impolite attitude of many people in attendance.

When we are good listeners, we are able to learn more. After all, we are all free to be Republican, Democrat, Libertarian or other. Does that mean that we must agree 100 percent with all the ideologies of the parties? Each of us is allowed to develop his or her own ideas and philosophies; that is the beauty of our democracy.

Numerous people seem to think only one party way; all other parties are stupid and wrong entirely. If I take the example of our recent duly elected president of our United States of America, the Democratic Party seems to have only one focus, and that is to impeach Donald Trump.

That seems counterproductive, disruptive and disrespectful to our country and our fellow voting citizens.

The term “civil society” comes to mind and is mostly used to proudly describe our diverse national society in the United States.

In theory, the best answers for everyone in this nation require “civil” discourse between all, cooperation, and working together to acquire the best answers to solve the nation’s challenges in the most timely manner. Sound Utopian? Yes; but why not come as close as we can?

One such opportunity is Measure H, a sales tax hike approved by voters in March and funded by a vote of the Board of Supervisors this week. The taxpayers are looking for effective solutions and programs to greatly reduce homeless problems. Bottom line is we wish to be proud and trust that our government can develop and succeed before moving on to future costly problems requiring more taxation. Is it too much to ask?

I recently saw Gov. Jerry Brown on a video with a big smile criticizing the “other party” and blessing the Democratic Party for a vote on new gas and auto taxes to remedy the needs of our infrastructure repairs in California.

He said the money will be used only for that purpose. I read Senate Bill 1 and saw some disparities between what Brown said (with a big smile) and what was written in the bill. We have heard this many times over decades, using the same excuses, and good results have been minimal.

It seems that our gasoline costs are among the very highest in this nation. We look for relief, not higher costs.

Before the bill passed, I read that some elected officials were promised money from the project to their districts if they voted for the bill.

We expect transparency, not secret backroom deals.

To the California Democratic Party I have three questions:

1. How can we offer free health care to all residents of the state –legal and illegal, according to Senate Bill 562 – when it is a federal offense to be illegally in the United States of America?

2. How can Gov. Brown pursue the Paris Climate Accord with China when our president has just declared that we will not continue to be part of it due to economic reasons? Since the United States would contribute the greatest amount of money, and most other countries very little, and some of the greatest polluters have exemptions to the reduction rules but we don’t, it puts our country – one more time – under unfair financial disadvantages.

3. The third question is this: assuming a climate deal with China, how is the state going to pay to encourage research and development of new technologies for renewable energy – in addition to supplying free health care? Would it be possible that China will partner with California in developing “green” technology?

Whom will it ultimately enrich – China or California? As I have not yet seen a report on what went on with the governor at his China meeting, I am just wondering.

Lastly, I expect transparency, cooperation, honesty, and loyalty to the people of California from all our elected officials. After all, we the hard-working, honest citizens are the ones who end up paying for all free and costly federal, state, county and municipal tax programs – and for our governance.

Anne Marie Whalley, an American citizen born in France, immigrated to the U.S. 26 years ago. She is a Canyon Country resident and a proud wife, mother and grandmother.

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