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Regarding the San Diego Union-Tribune’s Aug. 25 editorial, “Last-minute water tax can’t be justified however worthy the cause”: Unsafe drinking water is a Third World problem that cannot be tolerated in California. It is long past time that the Legislature produced a sustainable solution that will ensure a basic right to water that is clean and safe.

Such a solution is at hand. It is a bipartisan plan supported by environmental groups such as Clean Water Action, health groups such as the American Heart Association, and farm groups including the California Rice Commission and the Western Growers Association.

Senate Bill 623 creates a Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund designed to provide emergency relief and a sustainable long-term solution by funding water treatment facilities that these small water systems cannot possible afford on their own. Funding would come from two sources.

Because in many cases the source of contamination is a high concentration of nitrates, an unavoidable byproduct of farming operations, the agricultural community is stepping up to support a fee to cover nitrate-related costs. It is a statewide problem, so the funding structure also includes a statewide solution — a modest fee not to exceed $1 a month on the water bills for residents and businesses.

A recent poll showed that two-thirds of Californians — alarmed by the plight of those without access to a safe water supply — support this approach.

The fact that a million Californians cannot use water from their taps to mix baby formula, make iced tea, brush their teeth or simply to straight-up quench their thirsts ought to be unacceptable.

It is a problem we are morally compelled to solve, and a sensible solution is at hand.

Sen. Bill Monning is a Democratic state senator representing Carmel. Contributing to this piece was Tim Johnson. president and CEO of the California Rice Commission.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Gordon Smith September 2, 2017, 3:44 pm

    I prefer the term “pure” water Rather than “clean” water.

  • Roberta Myers September 2, 2017, 3:55 pm

    Senator Monning’s Bill 623 addressing safe water deficiencies is interesting, and certainly, “It is long past time that the Legislature produced a sustainable solution that will ensure a basic right to water that is clean and safe.” In 2012 State lawmakers passed a measure declaring that “every human being has the right to safe, clean, affordable and accessible water.”

    Our local situation continues to give us increasingly unaffordable water without progress toward a long-term solution. I can only hope that this time (when a measure is on the 2018 ballot to consider a public water buyout) the voting public will see that no progress has occurred since CalAM defeated Measure O in 2014 with a massive investment in slick propaganda. Instead, CalAM stockholders continue to benefit while our rates increase with no end in sight.

    Yes, a buyout may be costly, but it will give our community the control necessary to put us on a path toward a workable long term water policy instead of continued investment in the CalAM shareholders’ Bottom line without progress toward a rational future. THAT is a risk we cannot continue to take!

  • Ron Weitzman September 2, 2017, 4:11 pm

    Senate Bill 623 proposes a tax on drinking water. The purpose of the tax is to fund recycling of storm water to make it drinkable, the justification being that California needs a safe, reliable, and sustainable drinking-water supply for all its citizens. No one can question the laudability of that justification. What is questionable is whether recycling dirty water for drinking is itself justifiable and, even if it were, is a tax the proper way to pay for it? The answer to both of these questions is no.

    Drinking water is vital to the very life claimed as an inalienable right in the Declaration of Independence. We have so far not taxed drinking water or grocery food because they are essential to life. Next, are we going to tax grocery food, along with liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Of course, we aren’t, regardless of the intent or the size of the tax. SB623 is not only a morally bad idea; it is also unAmerican.

    Why do we want to recycle dirty water for drinking in the first place? Locally, the water Pure Water Monterey proposes to recycle for drinking contains not only nitrates but also numerous other pollutants, including highly toxic pesticides from agricultural runoff water. How can we know whether recycling will reduce all these pollutants to a safe level when the state does not even have standards or testing regimens for them all?

    California sits right next to the Pacific Ocean. It is the source of water we should tap when our groundwater becomes inadequate. Over 14,000 desalination plants exist worldwide and have for years produced safe, reliable, and sustainable supplies of drinking water. Recycling may provide a suitable augmentation to groundwater for irrigation but not for drinking water, especially when we have the ocean right next door to tap and particularly especially when public health takes precedence over a recycling ideology extended to a dangerous extreme.

    • Donna Gilmore September 2, 2017, 6:32 pm

      Triple Fukushima nuclear reactor meltdowns continuously dumping lethal radionuclides into the Pacific with no end in site should give one pause about using sea water for drinking water. Not all radionuclides can be filtered out of the water.

  • Helga Fellay September 2, 2017, 4:31 pm

    I am totally for pure water, but there is one sentence in the above that gave me pause. The sentence has two parts to it: (1) “Because in many cases the source of contamination is a high concentration of nitrates, an unavoidable BYPRODUCT OF FARMING OPERATIONS” and (2) “a modest fee not to exceed $1 a month on the water bills for RESIDENTS and businesses.” (emphasis added is mine)

    These two don’t go together. The impure water is caused from contamination by farming operations, yet the fee to correct the problem will be passed on to residents. Shouldn’t Big Ag be held accountable for toxic contamination of the water it and its operation are causing? Why should residents have to fund this? Why make a big deal about $1 a month, you might ask. It’s that there are so many other “small fees” as well as not so small fees added to our already outrageous monthly bills, for one. But mainly it is the principle of the matter. Those that cause the damage should be held accountable for cleaning it up, not the people who didn’t cause it, but are adversely affected by it. I realize that holding corporations accountable is not the American way, not under our current system, but it is the right thing to do.

  • Eric Petersen September 2, 2017, 5:10 pm

    There are some — including some politicians and some newspaper owners/publishers/editors — who would quite happily take the United States of America back to the Third World.

  • Bill Hood September 2, 2017, 5:29 pm

    Senator Monning – exactly where are the 1 MM Californians who can’t use their tap water for all the things you indicated. I would have thought that such a significant environmental and social issue would have come to the fore a long time ago, and that there would have been major coverage of this by the media, social activists, elected officials in affected areas, and just plain good and concerned people. Am I missing something here?

    • Natalie Gray September 2, 2017, 8:20 pm

      There are different communities all over the state who do not have access to clean drinking water for one reason or another. Davenport is one, there are several towns in the Sierras, that I can’t remember, and so on. So, to answer your question, they are significant to the small towns but get lost in the news cycle. I have seen reports of quite a few California towns without clean drinking water, especially in the last few years.

    • bill monning September 2, 2017, 8:25 pm

      In response to Bill Hood’s query and for the interest of other readers. The crisis in California is not well known or reported upon. The estimate is well over 1 million Californians in over 300 communities. Many in the Central Valley but covering small, disadvantaged communities from the Oregon border to the Mexico border. Contaminants include nitrates (ag fertilizers, dairy, livestock) AND naturally occurring contaminants including Chrom 6, arsenic, uranium, lead, etc… Small water districts do not have the resources to remediate, connect to a clean/safe/pure water system, or to operate and maintain a clean system.. In our region, these communities include but are not limited to Watsonville (Chrom 6-naturally occurring) which needs a $25M treatment plant. The city of about 50,000 residents has a median income of less than $20,000/year..well under the federal poverty level. In short, poor communities and water districts don’t have the means to provide clean, safe, drinking water. The settlement agreement achieved in SB 623 contemplates contributions from agriculture based on proportional payment for ag related contamination and looks to all Californians, above 200% of poverty, to pay no more than 95 cents per month to fund this public health crisis. More Californians are aware of Flint, Michigan lead poisoning than of the 1.5-2 million Californians. No one wants to pay additional fees. The question is whether there is a moral obligation and/or commitment for Californians to pull together to support one another? Please see the California Water Foundation website at http://waterfdn.org/ to read more about the problem and proposed solutions. This legislation has won the support of the Environmental Defense Fund, the California League of Conservation Voters, virtually ALL environmental justice organizations formed in poor communities across the state, a broad array of agricultural associations including dairy, rice, walnut, citrus, vegetables, strawberries, etc etc. In a poll asking if the respondent would willingly pay up $1/month to help solve this problem, over 70% responded yes. Would you? If not, what’s the solution? Thanks for everyone’s interest and anticipated support.

      • Helga Fellay September 2, 2017, 10:02 pm

        After reading “The settlement agreement achieved in SB 623 contemplates contributions from agriculture based on proportional payment for ag related contamination and looks to all Californians, above 200% of poverty, to pay no more than 95 cents per month to fund this public health crisis” I was going to withdraw my criticism above, but then I wondered what the word “contemplate” actually means, and my thesaurus tells me is means anticipate, meditate, consider, watch, imagine, envisage, picture, think about. All my life I have been imagining and envisioning and thinking about a lot of wonderful things coming my way, which unfortunately never came. Is it possible for SB 623 to do more than just think about, envision and imagine that Big Ag will voluntarily make proportional payment for ag related contamination? Like a contractual obligation, or whatever teeth one can put into a Senate Bill? The amazing power of words to persuade and obfuscate.

      • david fairhurst September 2, 2017, 10:54 pm

        The crisis in Flint was caused by lame government policies and behavior, just as this “crisis” is in California. The small independent Mal Paso in Carmel, in spite of the State’s overly burdensome regulations, still produces quality water (yet limited and pricey) for it’s clients. Many other small water companies are crushed by the State of KAFKAfornia with excessive costs and regulations and I don’t mean the practical ones that would ensure water quality. Some independent water companies are lucky they have the financial ability to pay off the State and build the required new (and very costly) systems, while most others can not and they end up “waterless”.
        Maybe the idea of locally controlled water and locally elected water boards truly answerable to the people they would serve is the best answer. I don’t see how creating more inaccessible and unaccountable State controlled “redistribution” of wealth and sewer water is going to help us.
        Say what ever happened to the Delta Canal that was going to transport excess Northern water to us here in the parched south? We spent billions on it and got what, less than a lizard can spit?

        • Peter Kwiek September 3, 2017, 1:37 am

          I think there are small rural Water District boards such as the San Lucas Water District that are accountable and answerable to the people they serve. But local democratic control alone cannot create a water supply without big bucks. Those of us who enjoy the fruits of farmworkers’ labor (and who doesn’t?) should pony up and provide them guaranteed long term water supply. In short, I’m afraid more socialism is needed, Mr. Fairhurst.

          • david fairhurst September 3, 2017, 2:50 pm

            ah….the old…. our current socialism isn’t working, we need more of it to make it work.
            Strange, I was told all the water in San Lucas was fine and to vote down “fracking” to “protect” that water. Maybe we should have worked a “deal” with the San Ardo oil producer to provide a water pipeline from a potable source to San Lucas in exchange for “fracking”.

      • john moore September 3, 2017, 7:47 am

        The answer is to eliminate six figure pensions for govt. workers and apply that tax money to infrastructure including water.

        • Phillip Crawford September 3, 2017, 3:57 pm

          California State Senators don’t receive pensions.

  • Bob Siegfried September 2, 2017, 5:49 pm

    I suspect the bill has taken the form of a tax on water because that is a more easily digestible concept than simply raising taxes in the state. California politicians need to rationalize the state’s tax system.

    Second, this proposed tax is another subsidy to agriculture to the extent that the small water systems are located in agricultural areas, as many are. California’s use of poorly paid agricultural labor has produced numerous communities that cannot afford to operate and maintain public water and sewage systems. The communities’ inability to do so is every bit as much an externality of California’s ag as is nitrate pollution from fertilization.

    • Peter Kwiek September 2, 2017, 8:16 pm

      For one example, take a look at the Farmworker community of San Lucas in the Southern Salinas Valley. They’ve been on bottled water orders off and on for several years because their water supply wells have been contaminated with nitrates. There is essentially no available groundwater source there. The quality is terrible. The best available source is probably a pipeline from King City but that would be more expensive for a very poor community than Peninsula folks would ever dream of tolerating.

    • Dan Turner September 2, 2017, 9:26 pm

      I completely agree that the basic problem is with our tax structure which makes it impossible to raise the money needed for this sort of infrastructure where it should be raised – from a progressive, steeply graduated income tax. Over the past 35 years income taxes have been slashed for wealthy people and much less, or slightly, or not at all for the rest of us. This has resulted in great inequality of wealth and income and has, also, resulted in government on all levels – federal, state and local – not having enough money to pay for basic services or to fund expensive infrastructure projects. This result in various fees going through the roof and the only way to fund this necessary water purification for rural areas is by doing things like placing a fee on our water bills.
      Although the corporate tax rate has not been lowered (at least at the federal level) taxes paid by corporations have decreased greatly over the past 50 years as a result of numerous loopholes and subsidies placed in state and federal tax, and other, laws. This has had the effect of lowering the share of state revenue from corporations in California from about 30% in 1960 to about 10% in 2010.
      When tax reform is mentioned nowadays, it is in the context of continuing to lower taxes on the ultra wealthy and on big, profitable corporations still further. We need to move in the exact opposite direction if we are ever going to make any progress on repairing our old, decomposing infrastructure and moving forward with new infrastructure projects that will enable business to be profitable and people to be safe and comfortable as we move into the future.

  • john moore September 2, 2017, 5:54 pm

    Mr. Monning: Your local constituents are suffering a clear and present danger to its potable water source. You are not the only villain, but the crisis occurred on your watch. Yes, we have the dumb-a..ed mayors water group, county counsel. MBWMD to recognize for their contribution to the local crisis, but take care of this burning crisis before attempting a shot at immortality.

    We have paid and paid for pure water, but the state legislature, governor and govt. employees have recklessly created over a trillion dollars of pension debt, and have spent our taxes to create tens of thousands of actuarial millionaire govt. retirees. Just 1% of that debt that you and yours created and defend is over 100 Billion dollars, enough to solve water and infrastructure needs for decades.

    A little common sense, please.

    • john moore September 3, 2017, 7:45 am

      I meant to say 10%, not “1%.”

      • Ron Chesshire September 3, 2017, 1:51 pm

        John, see my comment below. $40 billion to get us to 2027. Therefore $100 billion would last longer but at whose expense. Measures have been taken to help alleviate the Calif. Pension situation but they won’t be felt for awhile. It seems you’re advocating for further cuts? This needs to be assessed just like what do we do with Soc. Sec. and us Baby Boomers. Eventually, it won’t be a problem but there are those out there that continue to demand cuts. Then we over correct and peoples lives are lost in the shuffle (adjustment).

        There is no short term fix for a long term problem. There are adjustments to be made over a period of time to cause the least amount of disruption. There are those out there that are openly advocating for the elimination of pensions. There are those out there that want to get their hands on the money that fuels Pensions and Soc. Sec.. I hope there are enough workers out there who have the common sense to not let the greedy bastards get it.

  • david fairhurst September 2, 2017, 5:58 pm

    Brought to you by the same consortium that wanted a “sweet” liquid tax, only a penny per ounce, yep a extra $1.28 per gallon of orange or apple juice. What was the intended purpose for that? I remember it being some kind a punishment because of some people’s of obesity.
    I can tell you whose thirst for taxes that are never quenched……the “Progressives” of KAFKAfornia.
    And now, low and behold another proposal for squeezing that last bit of liquid from the public turnip and demanding even more golden eggs from the few people that keep producing them .
    ANOTHER WATER TAX? “you won’t even notice it on your bill” says comrade Bill. He may be right. My bill is already 87% for taxes and fees, 13% for actual water, so what is another 2% in taxes?. Where were you Bill to protect us when the PUD and the State (you and your cohorts run) gave Cal-Am permission to add another $10 (plus) a month to our bills and charge us today for water we didn’t use in 2015? And now you want another “a modest fee” from the little people to finance your “Big AG” “contributors” and what is basically somebody’s else’ F#@K Up?
    Always the threats that if we don’t give up that last Shekel to the State they won’t fix the problems they created in the first place. This time threatening us with the very essence of life, OUR water.
    Strange but I remember growing up under the old “Conservative” governments of this State being able to drink clean water (and it was tested) from the tap (granted, with fluorine added for teeth) but since the administration of “environmentalist” Gray Davis our water problems have gotten much worse. And now Bill’s plan to hydrate us with a murky Bill of even more taxes to fill our drinking glasses with “treated” sewer water doesn’t quench my thirst in the belief of their administration or plans for my well-being.
    Yum, the future, a glass of Bill Monning’s sewer water with a wedge of soylent green. I personally find this Bill both too undrinkable and unpalatable for me to stomach.

    • Ron Chesshire September 3, 2017, 11:56 am

      Mr. Fairhurst, not all contamination is derived from agricultural activity but it is a major source of the problem. Before you go into convulsions please prepare yourself then read pgs, 21-23 of the report on the link in my earlier message (below). $40 Billion!!! How do you propose this be funded? I assure you regardless of your proposal, the Little People (all of us) will pay, one way or the other. That’s because we live in a democratic system with a capitalistic economic structure. Cost is either handed down to the taxpayer or the consumer. There is no escape until we die. Therefore, open your wallet and rejoice in the fact that we will be sharing in this endeavor together, for the betterment of all, now, and into the future. To ignore it is just passing the buck and that was done plenty during those old “Conservative” administrations.

      • david fairhurst September 3, 2017, 2:39 pm

        I believe that I do understand both Ron and Peter’s concerns. And their points are well taken. No one wants to see anyone go without something as basic and necessary for life as potable water. Hence my observation of the continuing pattern of “threats” by a government that purports to serve “the people” yet demands even more money (perhaps some of it might even go towards the problem) to provide what should be a BASIC service of government and not some specialty or extra upgraded and additionally taxed service.
        My overall point with this and so much other, is that the State of KAFKAfornia already takes so much in “taxes” (plus fees, “sin” taxes, bonds, licencing, permits. lotteries and much more) that we are already in the top 5 highest overall taxed States (Forbes) and poorly spends those funds. My complaint is HOW those funds are spent. Strange how other States without the “wealth” or resources of California seem to manage their citizens money so much more effectively. Since the end of those “conservative” administrations the budget of California has effectively been:
        1. spend to benefit your political cronies.
        2. spend to buy excessive government pensions maintaining a vote block for the “entrenched”.
        3. spend to create a huge government payroll, who in government would complain about being overpaid? Heck, I wish I had a nice government pension check paying 98% of my past salary.
        4. spend to expand a bloated prison system. (and a mismanaged educational one too).
        5. spend then with hold services under threat until more taxes can be instigated.
        6. spend and throw money at a problem and “hope” that some of it might do some good after it gets filtered down thru all the other “costs” (I read corruption).
        7. spend on countless “studies”/”feel good” programs that benefit only those in those programs.
        There were things I disagreed with that were done under those “conservative” administrations:
        a. mental health care slashed under Reagan (still not “fixed” under decades of “left” control)
        b. community collage accessibility and costs (seems like all those extra tuition fees went to administrators and collage presidents) (and still not “fixed’ under decades of “left” control too).
        I just don’t want to buy the State more brand new Ferrari’s for them to crash while I’m buying the Nation’s most expensive taxed gas to fill both their tanks and my 1999 Ford. I have to live within my means and budget for the important things first, why can’t the State?
        I would ask, how much is enough? Apparently my effective current “water tax” of 87% of the total bill (or an actual tax rate of 865%) isn’t enough and hardly a “modest” tax rate.
        I wonder how much could be raised if everybody that worked for the State took a 10% reduction in their salaries and their pensions? just a thought, after all those of us not in government aren’t making the money we used too.

        • Phillip Crawford September 4, 2017, 6:40 am

          California’s state legislators do not receive pensions. So, your reference to “excessive government pensions” is off the mark.

  • Ron Chesshire September 3, 2017, 9:49 am

    Here folks, bury yourselves in this report from the SWRCB in 2013. Looks as if the State has compromised on the proposed funding options which are on pgs. 108-9. Happy Labor Day.
    Ron Chesshire – CEO, Monterey/Santa Cruz Counties Building and Construction Trades Council
    http://www.swrcb.ca.gov/gama/ab2222/docs/ab2222.pdf

    • Ron Chesshire September 3, 2017, 10:01 am

      I stand with Senator Monning, if we don’t take care of it, who does? This is a problem we need to resolve, for ourselves and those future Californians who come after us.

  • Dennis Mar September 3, 2017, 5:49 pm

    On the lighter side Royal, the archives of your little blog must be kept online. As Sen. Monning’s posting and its responses only further demonstrates, the Monterey Bay Partisan has become a serious outlet (also see NY Times, Wash. Post, WSJ…) for significant commentary. People may be referencing the Partisan’s items. 🙂

  • bill monning September 3, 2017, 9:05 pm

    Friends, many seemed unfamiliar with the statewide (and regional) crisis of contaminated water systems. I appreciated those who shared some further insight to local water challenges. I was disappointed to see a writer to another publication take the position: “Let the people of Kettlemen City pay to fix their own water problems…” or words to that effect. That IS the problem. Poor communities cannot generate the resources through monthly water bills to secure sustainable solutions. In fact, we have met community members who pay for water they can’t drink or bathe or cook with as they still get monthly water bills and then spend $40/week to buy bottled water. Our solution DOES require all Californians to help out. For a better sense of the problem and solutions, please take the time to check out this website of the Community Water Center and review the sections on the problem and solutions for clean drinking water: http://www.communitywatercenter.org/ Maybe we can focus some of this Labor Day to including those who have worked all their lives and do not have access to clean, safe, affordable drinking water. Thank you…

    • Bill Hood September 4, 2017, 4:33 pm

      Senator Monning – thanks for your earlier response to my questions. I did not submit them because I did not believe what you had said about so many Californians who do not have access to potable water. Rather, I wanted to emphasize the fact that, and you have confirmed it, the conditions affecting that many fellow state citizens have received little media coverage, and more sadly, the elected officials who represent those persons have not taken aggressive positions in order to correct the problems.
      Someone who has posted a comment on your initial posting referred to a serious problem in Monterey County, and you countered by citing the problems in Watsonville. The Monterey County issue was San Lucas in south county. I happened to be in attendance at a supervisor’s meeting in Salinas about 3 years ago, as I recall, to give my comments (of course, confined to only 3 minutes, on another issue. During that meeting, some persons who live in San Lucas appeared before the Board and made a presentation about the declining quality of their potable water sources, and ask the Supervisors to take action to help them. Two things struck me: the Supervisor representing south county did not come forward to speak on their behalf and to propose to the Board a solution. In fact, the initiative came from the affected citizens themselves, and not from those who are elected to protect and promote the best interests of their constituents. It should have been the other way around. After all, having a serious quality issue with potable water can be a life-endangering problem.
      I am not always on the Monterey Peninsula, but I follow the media and keep in touch with many personal contacts on almost a daily basis when I am away. I do not recall the Watsonville City Council committing itself to helping those in need; likewise, I don’t personally have any recoillection that up until now, that the Legislature and local elected officials have banded together to recognize and commit themselves to become intimately involved in this state-wide issue in order to fashion a fair, reasonable and effective solution to the problem.
      Then there is the media. In Monterey and Santa Cruz counties, there are not large newspapers with significant staffs and editorial personnel. In my experience, there was a time that the Herald had several very good investigative journalists. Those are no more. Speaking of the Herald only, it still has some excellent reporters, but when they write articles (and I’ll refer to water-related matters), the articles are good with respect to summarizing what has been said or done, but never including a deeper analysis as to the pros and cons of the actions or statements, or even any conclusions as to the impacts on others as a result. Why is that? It may be that the newspapers run on very tight budgets and don’t want to unnecessarily anger their big advertisers by taking public positions that are against them in editorials or by undertaking investigations to see if there is some nefarious actions on the part of those persons near and dear to them. Of course, I have no direct evidence as to whether that is the reason, but coincidences are pretty available to at least raise the question.
      Then there is the case of the environmentalists and even the do-gooders who seem to have been mostly quiet on this issue. How many lawsuits have been initiated again public or private entities because of the water issues you describe? Not many that I know of. Once again, money trumps even morality in many ways – the good guys just don’t have the means and the access to have their concerns raised to the consciousness of the entire state.
      Along with your Bill (which I have not read) that has a moral basis, but, as you are hearing, not following on too many glad ears, I think that there are some changes to be made regarding water issues in the state. A couple of years ago, I sent you and Mark Stone a letter outlining a number of changes that should be made to correct flaws in the CPUC process which have resulted in unfair and unsupported decisions that have significantly impacted many ratepayers in the state. I received a brief letter from Stone in response, but nothing else. I received nothing from you.
      I know that several bills that in some ways would make changes to the CPUC (but not significant enough) went to Gov. Brown who promptly vetoed them. It is time for the Legislature to take a detailed analysis of the CPUC – the needed changes are fairly obvious and would enhance the agency’s legislative-imposed responsibility to treat utilities and ratepayers equally in all respects.
      You could be a major actor in helping those whom you represent on the Monterey Peninsula if you would take the initiative to achieve equality.
      Thank you.

  • bill leone September 3, 2017, 10:54 pm

    The ideology that government agencies are inherently incompetent must be strangled in its crib.
    There is an average of over 700 Private businesses going bankrupt every week in the US. If you’ve ever worked for a large corporation, you know they not only make stupid mistakes, but they also kill American citizens (either directly or indirectly): cigarette companies peddle addictive, carcinogenic products, & the auto industry (VW) deliberately sells cars that belch toxic fumes…to name just a few. In contrast, NASA (a government agency) was/is able to land a man on the moon & explore the outer reaches of our solar system. Keep in mind WE are the government….unless we are too lazy to participate.
    Dr. Turner’s point is also relevant here: income inequality & the ideology that supports it is making it impossible for local, state & federal governments to solve serious, common, life-threatening problems; problems they have been able to solve in the past. It is causing more & more people to suffer & die needlessly, in order to enrich the very few, very wealthy. Moreover, it is becoming more evident with each passing year, income inequality, intersecting with a growing population & narrowing access to dwindling natural resources, is eroding the fabric of American Democracy (Read: Capitalism In the Twenty First Century).

    • Dan Turner September 3, 2017, 11:59 pm

      Doctor. Golly, it’s been so long I almost forgot. Thanks, Bill!

  • bill leone September 4, 2017, 12:14 pm

    Give credit where credit is due.

  • Ron Weitzman September 4, 2017, 10:21 pm

    Dennis, I applaud your optimism, but these comments justify some pessimism, too: that ideology is immune to argument.