Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Political Discussion and Debate Forum Breaks Records

By Michael Lerew
[Previously published in the June edition of the Newsletter of the Southern California Republican Women and Men.]
Greetings, politically active, involved and interested readers! Last month we had a lively discussion during our club's open issues forum. Having a good attendance of some forty people helps, I think! In considering how to present the forum report this time, I thought it might be useful to set down the questions that were discussed. This might be useful to those who perhaps have never attended one of our meetings, and wonder what we are all about!
During the forum portion of our club meeting, the moderator (yours truly, or some other brave soul, if I am not there--as will be the case in June) poses questions on issues of local, state or national interest, which have to do with politics in some way. If you would like to comment, raise your hand, and you will be called on, and have three minutes. No one else may interject or interrupt while you are speaking. If someone wishes to pose a question to you based on your comment, then your reply may be as much as two minutes. In the interest of decorum, there is no direct back-and-forth allowed between those who wish to speak--everybody has to wait for their turn and be recognized. After eight years of being moderator, I can attest to the wisdom of this policy. It has a certain calming influence if talk gets heated!
If you would prefer to listen and not speak, that is fine. That is the preference of many of the folks who attend our meetings.
Now, the topics from last time:
In a little over a week, the California primary election will take place. Are there any races which you find especially interesting? Are there any on which you would like to comment?
An issue much in the news is that of problems with the Veterans Administration hospitals. Any comments on this? (We heard from people who had good experiences, and not-so-good. I would say more people mentioned good experiences than otherwise).
Since our last meeting, Toyota announced they would leave the South Bay for Texas, costing California 3,000 jobs. Comments?
At a recent debate of candidates for supervisors, seeking to replace Zev Yaroslavsky, several of the Democrats running said that the most important issue facing the county is to improve the troubled child welfare department. Do you agree?
Another big issue facing the county is whether to build a new, modern jail, with much better facilities for handling the large number of mentally ill inmates. The cost estimates for this project are as high as two billion dollars. What do you think about this?
Those were our main topics of discussion in May. Sometimes we focus much more on state or national issues, but last time it happened that we had plenty to talk about on local issues! Also, if there is a particular topic you would like to hear discussed, you can let me know, and I will try to make sure it comes up. Some of our members are especially interested in: public education issues, including budgets; veterans issues; right to life issues; Second Amendment issues; increasing Republican turnout in elections; races for elective office in the City of Los Angeles; races in other parts of L.A. County; and we have had the privilege of having candidates for statewide office, also, attend and speak to us about their races.
I know that it is inspiring to me, to hear someone in that big room in the restaurant stand up and speak with passion about why they are seeking an elected office. It is a very tough and often thankless and expensive effort, and I admire all those who have the strength and courage to do it! The Founding Fathers of our country would be proud of all you candidates. Getting to meet and know such bright and interesting people is one of the benefits of coming to our meetings!
Michael Lerew is a Vice President and former President of SCRW&M.
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