December 6, 2002

The Public Forum . . . El Foro Publico

Tiger Woods could make a difference

I can sure understand how frustrating it must be for Tiger Woods as editorialists and commentators pressure him to boycott the Augusta National Golf Club’s Masters tournament because of its failure to welcome women into its ranks. Who wouldn’t want to try to win the Masters three years in a row, something no other golfer has done or even had an opportunity to do?

I would never ask Tiger to relinquish his dreams but I wish he understood that by bypassing the Masters he could do something that would make winning it pale in comparison. He could help us, as a society, pause and reflect on how important it is for us to appreciate and respect women. Our mothers. Our grandmothers. Our daughters. Our granddaughters. Our aunties. Our nieces. Our sisters. Our girlfriends. Our wives.

No one has demanded that Ben Hogan or Arnold Palmer or Jack Nicklaus boycott the Augusta National Golf Club although it excluded blacks from membership and didn’t allow them to even set foot on the course other than as caddies. Well, no one demanded that these golf greats take a stand because society didn’t really give a damn. Who cared?

Tiger could make a difference in this post 9-11 world. Tiger could give women the support they need as they, at the beginning of the 21st Century, continue their struggle for equity in a world dominated by males. Tiger could help us care. Then winning a green coat would become more special than it’s ever been.

Ernie McCray
San Diego

Bush to give big business a blank check

President Bush’s plan to indiscriminately turn over countless government services to for-profit Corporate contractors, and destroy the jobs of 850,000 federal employees in the process, is a serious threat To the well being of our community.

Under the President’s plan, billions of taxpayer dollars are about to be transferred to big business. We’re told that this will be good for taxpayers and Americans who rely on critical federal services. The Enron’s and WorldCom’s of the world, the argument goes, will put their pursuit of profits and political influence aside and provide better services - from Social Security claims to environmental protection — at less cost and more effectively because the care about taxpayers and working families. Please! I wasn’t born yesterday.

The spin-weavers in Washington have craftily packaged the President’s plan. They say that transferring existing programs and untold millions of our tax dollars to big business will give working people the best value for our buck by encouraging competition and reducing the size of government. But the facts paint a very different picture.

The President’s plan explicitly avoids competition. Instead, federal agencies are encouraged to directly transfer existing programs and our tax dollars to corporate contractors without any bidding process. The charade continues with the failure of the Administration to require corporations who already have fat government contracts to compete with the government to see if they really are as good as they claim they are. The “best” value to anyone of this approach escapes me.

The claim that the size of government will be reduced is equally crafty but untrue. You do the math. When a federal employee is simply replaced by a contractor, the size of the workforce doesn’t Change. What does change is who is providing the service and that’s what we should focus on.

Federal employees who live in our communities and are accountable to us are replaced with a faceless corporation, located anywhere in the world, that is accountable only to private shareholders.

We should also consider the impact of privatization on the federal employees who have served this country tirelessly, faithfully and effectively for decades. I am tired of the attacks on these individuals who are our neighbors, our friends and one of our most important public resources. The vast majority of federal employees work hard for a living and they do it so that the quality of our lives can be improved. I trust them to look out for my interest much more than a faceless, possibly foreign, corporation that’s only focused on the bottom-line.

In short, the Bush Administration’s privatization plan gives big business a blank check to do with as they please. In part, this is payback for the millions of dollars in political contributions made during the last election. Corporate welfare prevails while the welfare of our community takes a back seat to business as usual in Washington.

Jenny Salvez
Imperial Beach

Can’t support war on Iraq

We as the Religious Society of Frinds (Quakers), have long had deep concerns over violence in the world, whether on the part of individuals or government, as inconsistent with the spiritual reality in which we seek to live. Our peace testimonies have been reexamined repeatedly over more than three hundred years, and, after again looking at them and at the present situation in the United States and the world, we feel called to make a public statement about the contemplated invasion of Iraq by the United States. We are unable to support the war with Iraq. We support internationally negotiated solutions conducted through the United Nations, Including inspection of Iraqi facilities.

James R. Summers
Presiding Clerk
La Jolla Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends

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