Leonard Pitts; homelessness; climate change

Gun News

Peter Mattisson: Leonard Pitts: More to know on race and guns

Ken Stickney’s Letter To The Editor in Sunday’s edition misstated both the Leonard Pitts commentary and Carol Anderson’s book on the Second Amendment.

Pitts and Anderson talked about why the Second Amendment was included in the amendments to the Constitution. Pitts said that the South refused to join the Union unless they had the right to keep guns. Anderson said that “It [Second Amendment] was the result of Madison’s determination to salve Patrick Henry’s obsession about Virginia’s vulnerability to slave revolts, seduce enough anti-federalists to get the Constitution ratified and stifle the demonstrated willingness of the South to scuttle the U.S. if slavery were not protected.” [The Second, page 32] Professor Anderson amply footnotes her book.

The tradition of militias was hardly embraced by the colonists. Madison did not include the rights of the Second Amendment in his first discussion of rights in the House of Representatives and it was not in the constitutions of two-thirds of the states. Where there were militias, Black people were excluded. Anderson demonstrates that militias were not good at fighting foreign armies nor at suppressing armed rebellions (Shay’s Rebellion). What they were good at was putting down unarmed slave rebellions and in keeping slaves from fleeing into Spanish controlled territories.

As for the National Rifle Association, it may have allowed Black gun organizations but, when it really mattered, when Black people were being killed by police just for carrying a gun, they kept a low profile.

The rights guaranteed without significant regulation under the Second Amendment have led to way too many guns in circulation and to types of guns that shouldn’t be so easily available to the public. It has led to the loss of too many innocent lives who have no rights when balanced against the rights of the Second Amendment.

Peter Mattisson


Jerry Greene: Homelessness: City is spinning its wheels

I recently communicated with city staff to find out what solutions they have to homelessness and ad hoc camping along the creek. They sent me a link to the City Homelessness Strategy document with some cool pics of homeless people. At page 30 they really get down to the nuts and bolts of their plan with their Dynamic Community Plan for a Homelessness Strategy:

“Homelessness Strategy goals include initiatives planned or in progress to achieve the strategy vision. As a living document, Homelessness Strategy initiatives will be added or modified as efforts are evaluated and new ideas and opportunities arise to reach goals. Local and regional evaluation plans are in development to measure the success of these efforts, as baseline data is collected and metrics are established. The Homelessness Strategy is a partnership with local and regional organizations and the community overall, with a vision of transparency and continuous quality improvement through joint assessment of outcomes and community needs.”

Help me out here. What about that is dynamic, strategic, an initiative for an actual plan? Their plan is to evaluate and modify efforts with new ideas to reach goals? As opposed to what; not evaluating, and modifying, and creating new ideas to reach goals? Here is my suggestion to City Council: Can we try and inspire city staff to not spend so much time spinning their wheels?

This relates to my prior report that Parks and Rec staff can’t get motivated to stain four wood picnic tables that are not a“wise use of money,” meanwhile spending millions on new staff offices that, per Parks and Rec, have “highly vetted broad community support.” You want to actually generate broad community support? Stop spinning your wheels and producing fancy looking documents masquerading as plans that are not actually plans.

Parks/Reservoir staff also apologizes that they “do not have the capacity to explore, develop and implement a real-time reservation system for the 2021 season. ” Sure, they don’t have the capacity to have a real-time reservation system [like the golf course has], because they don’t even have the capacity to dedicate an hour of staff time per year to stain picnic tables.

Maybe less time producing cool-looking documents that advocate for shared visions of transparency, transformative and inclusive ideas, and continuous quality improvement through joint assessment of outcomes and community needs … and more time just doing stuff with street level results?

Jerry Greene


Rainer Malzbender: Climate change: Our metaphorical condo is falling

“I don’t want things to change”. These words were uttered by a neighbor at a recent meeting to discuss the future of our neighborhood. Clinging to this sentiment twists many conservatives into contortions of logic regarding climate change. It’s still possible, with blinders on, to cherry pick data and find bogus websites supporting a supposed “independent thinking” stance denying the facts of climate change, but with each year’s record temperatures, rising CO2 levels, melting sea ice and glaciers, bleaching reefs, stronger storms and more destructive wildfires it’s getting harder to remain on the fringes of science.

You may think you know better than the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the vast majority of climate scientists, and the U.S. military, but science ultimately doesn’t care. I’m afraid the 1960s mantra of “Question Authority” has been taken to extremes and is now the leitmotif of Q-conspiracists, anti-vaxxers, and climate deniers, not just aging hippies.

Facts: The climate is warming, our oceans have become 30% more acidic, the consequences will be dire, and human activity is the principal cause. Our metaphorical condominium building is collapsing, too, just slowly enough that saying, “we’re not in a crisis”, is not yet viewed as the absolutely insane statement it is.

Rainer Malzbender


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