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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

My informal poll is to the left of this column.

Ok. We are down to the wire. This Tuesday is the country’s official election day but many of us have already voted. I am going to leave this informal poll up until Tuesday evening.

This may be the most consequential election of our lifetimes.

Who did you vote for? This poll is anonymous. There is no way to trace or figure out who voted which way. You only get to vote once.

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

Before I share my thoughts let me say that I voted and dropped my permanent early ballot off on Thursday at the drop box located in the sub-basement of Glendale’s City Hall.  I waited until Saturday and went online to ballotstatus.maricopa.vote to check my ballot status. I filled in a few questions for identity verification and clicked submit. It immediately verified that my ballot had been received and my vote counted. It couldn’t have been simpler. I urge you, if you have a Permanent Early Ballot that you take a moment to fill it out and drop it off at a secure drop box location.

My remarks are directed at those who have not yet voted or will do so in person on Election Day. Let me preface my comments with this. I first registered to vote during my college years at the time of the Presidency of John F. Kennedy. I, like so many, admired this President and so, I registered as a Democrat and remained so for almost 50 years and actually voted for Obama and his first term. Obama’s performance was so disappointing that it was at that time that I began voting Republican and eventually changed my registration from Democrat to Republican. I proudly voted for Donald J. Trump.

In 9 days this nation will make a decision on who will be our President. It’s been said often and although it seems trite this election will most certainly determine if this nation remains a Republic, “if we can keep it.”

We should not be judging these candidates based on personality but that is not reality and so, we do. It is not personality but policy that drives my decision. Trump is a salesman and has always been so – he’s not a career politician in the true sense of the word. He blusters and he exaggerates but those actions should not be confused as lying. He’s not the perfect person but then again, neither is Biden.

Biden is cognitively declining. I’ve seen it occur before in my parents. He exhibits ‘tells’ that I saw in my parents. I believe he is no more than a Trojan Horse filled with Progressives that will be released moving this country into Socialism should Biden win.

Enough with personalities. Policy issues are far more important. Let’s begin with economic policies. It cannot be denied that prior to COVID this economy was roaring. Trump often points to the stock market’s performance. My 401K rose dramatically under Trump’s administration. Before you discount the stock market’s importance, think about this. Are you a teacher? police officer? fire fighter? Where do you think your pension funds are parked? In the stock market. When the stock market does well that bodes well for the futures of many ordinary Americans.

Trump’s policies of tax cuts and reduction regulation led to the prosperity of many while pulling Afro-Americans, Hispanics, women, etc. off the unemployment rolls in historic, record busting numbers. We saw a real wage growth of 6% for blue collar workers. Countless new, small businesses were created and manufacturing came back to America. In nationwide polling more Americans (56%) still believe that Trump will do a better economic recovery job than Biden.

Biden has said repeatedly that he will only raise taxes on those making more than $400,000 annually but he has also said that on his first day he will eliminate Trump’s tax cuts. Independent, neutral tax policy groups have confirmed that Biden’s elimination of those tax cuts will cost 82% of all American families about $6,500 each. Biden would also reinstate the death tax and raise the capital gains tax.  The passing down of small, family farms would once again be in jeopardy and that 401K when you take money out of it will be taxed far more.

Energy policy is another issue with stark differences. Under the Trump administration America is finally energy independent. The consequence of energy independence drives foreign policy and creates a rationale to keep America out of foreign wars, especially in the Middle East.  Trump supports the use of fossil fuels and fracking and the millions of jobs these policies sustain.

Biden has flip flopped all over. He’s for fracking and then he’s against fracking. Remember that the occupants of the Biden Trojan Horse (Progressives) are adamantly opposed to fossil fuels and support the New Green Deal. Biden, in the final Presidential debate, admitted that he would eliminate all federal subsidies for oil production and fracking. In essence, he is willing to sacrifice our energy independence for a model similar to that of California’s. How’s that working out? Today, one million Californians will once again have their power turned off due to wildfire prevention. The problem with that is wind and solar are incapable of making up the difference in electrical power generation. Hence the blackout.

COVID is another issue that provides differences between the candidates. It’s a choice between optimism and pessimism. Biden said in the final debate that America faces its darkest days ahead. Trump believes that the cure should not be worse than the disease. Truthfully whether Biden or Trump had been in the White House today’s current condition would have been the same. Our fatal mistake, now that America is experiencing a 3rd wave of the virus, is that we should have been protecting the old and the vulnerable and kept the country running. This 3rd wave is due to the fact that the country never built up ‘herd immunity’ and now that so many people are sick of wearing masks (BTW I still wear one) and social distancing not enough of the population has immunity to fight the disease. I suspect this 3rd wave will finally result in the population immunity needed.

There are certainly more stark differences between the policies of the two Presidential candidates but I want to focus on one that especially bothers me as a local, elected official and that is the Affirmatively Affordable Fair Housing Act (AAFHA). President Obama signed an Executive Order establishing this act in 2013 and Trump, via Executive Order in 2018, rescinded it. Thankfully, during its 5 years of existence it was a policy that was never aggressively pushed. In essence, it federally mandated local jurisdictions to implement a plan to create more affordable housing within their communities. If they did not do so their Community Development Bloc Grants (CDBG) and Surface Transportation Bloc Grants (STBG) would be denied. Biden has stated that he would reinstate this policy. This policy would eliminate local control over zoning. A vacant parcel near your home zoned for residential development could end up being developed with a low income affordable housing project on it instead. This act, if implemented, would do more to destroy the fabric of many communities than anything in recent memory.

I know that half of my audience is Democrat and obviously, the other half is Republican but there are still many undecided voters, anywhere from 2% to 6% of the electorate. You, the undecided voter, may very well determine who our President will be. I urge you to put aside your like or dislike based on personality. You must decide based upon policy and what kind of future you would like for you, your family and the country. Even more importantly you have the obligation and the right to vote…something citizens in many countries cannot do freely.  It’s up to you. We still have a Republic but can we keep it?

© Joyce Clark, 2020         

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

In this blog I reference the Democrat/Biden platform on police. Here are a few direct quotes from the platform:

  • “reimagine public safety for the benefit of our people and the character of our country.”
  • “Democrats believe we must ensure real accountability for individual and systemic misconduct in our police departments, prevent law enforcement from becoming unnecessarily entangled in the everyday lives of Americans, and reimagine policing for the benefit and safety of the American people. ”
  • “Democrats will establish strict national standards governing the use of force, including permitting deadly force only when necessary and a last resort to prevent an imminent threat to life. We will require immediate application of these standards to all federal law enforcement agencies and condition federal grants on their adoption at the state and local level.”
  • “Democrats support lowering the intent standard for federally prosecuting law enforcement officials for civil rights violations. We will also act to ensure that victims of federal, state, or local law enforcement abuses of power can seek justice through civil litigation by reining in the doctrine of qualified immunity. ”

What do they mean by “reimagine?” According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary it is, “to form a new conception of” or “to think about again especially in order to change.” A few synonyms are redefine, correct, and revise.

I think we get the message and that is to change or revise policing as we currently know it within the United States.

Also note the use of federal financial blackmail once again. If a local police department does not accept their proscriptions regarding the use of deadly force, they will withhold federal grants to police departments, state, county and city. They also proposed “reimagining” the doctrine of qualified immunity for law enforcement personnel. Would you become an officer if you knew you could be civilly sued? Not me.

Presidential candidate Biden is having a hard time with this concept. Originally, during the Democrat debates he, as did the other candidates, voiced full throated support of defunding the police. Since then, he has walked back his original statement and he now argues that some funding for police should be redirected to social services like mental health, and calls for a $300M investment into a community policing programs. Neither the Democrat platform nor Biden has further defined what he actually intends.

On April 1, 2019, New York State enacted bail reform that eliminated cash bail for almost 90% of arrests and resulted in a 30% drop in the statewide jail population. The measure took effect on January 1, 2020, and the backlash from law enforcement, local newspapers, elected officials in opposition, the bail bond industry, and even the general public was strong, swift, and immediate. After 3 months, Governor Andrew Cuomo and the legislature approved roll backs to the law. Minimally they added additional crime categories that would be subject to cash bail.

Public safety, and you, the individual, is the loser in this equation because of the spike in crime, particularly from released defendants with pending charges. The New York legislation failed to empower judges with the discretion to restrict the liberty of criminal defendants who pose a threat to public safety or danger to the community. Judges lost the ability to have the discretion to detain people known to be dangerous and had the potential to be a risk to the general public.

 Lately, how many times have you seen a news story where a violent offender was released on cashless bail and committed another rape or murder? All too often. Here are some disturbing statistics compiled by the federal Department of Justice with regard to recidivism. Recidivism is related to a person who has served a sentence, is released and commits the same or similar crime upon release. Violent offenders recidivated at a higher rate than non-violent offenders. Over 60 percent (63.8%) of violent offenders recidivated by being rearrested for a new crime or for a violation of supervision conditions. Released prisoners with the highest rearrest rates were:

  • robbers (70.2%)
  • burglars (74.0%)
  • larcenists (74.6%)
  • motor vehicle thieves (78.8%)
  • those in prisonfor possessing or selling stolen property (77.4%)
  • those in prisonfor possessing, using or selling illegal weapons (70.2%)

Did you know that Domestic Violence (DV) calls are one of the most dangerous for an officer? Glendale’s policy is that the first responding officer must wait for backup before making contact at the call. I have been on police “ride-alongs” where it has taken 4 or more officers to subdue a person on drugs. Often, those on drugs have lost all sense of reality and are incredibly strong. It, too, is a very dangerous call for a single officer.

Can you picture in a “reimagined” police department a social worker answering either of these calls? I can’t.  These kinds of calls are just too volatile and dangerous. Yet, this is just one of the scenarios being proposed by the Democrats and Biden.

I love the men and women of the Glendale police department. I do not want to defund them or “reimagine” their jobs. I grew up respecting the police. To this day, when I see a police unit on the road, I slow down and check my speedometer to make sure I am not speeding. Police officers have one of the most difficult jobs in our society. They keep you and your family safe. They ensure that our kids can go out and play in our neighborhoods. They ensure that you can drive on a city street safely without the threat of being pulled out of your vehicle by an unruly mob. They ensure that you can dine on a restaurant’s patio without fear of your table being over turned. They deserve our respect and admiration for being willing to do a job from which most of us would run away.

 I am providing you with yet another Democrat/Biden platform. It is up to you, the voter, to educate yourselves and then to decide what your bottom line values are. Do they align with the Democrat/Biden solution to policing in our country?

It is an issue that affects us all whether we have ever had contact with law enforcement or not.  Police are truly the “thin blue line” between order and chaos. That’s my world and the one I wish to preserve.

© Joyce Clark, 2020         

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

The AFFH rule is known as Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing and was enacted by the Obama administration in 2015. It was rescinded in the Trump administration in 2018 but it will be resurrected again under a Biden administration.  It requires municipal jurisdictions that receive Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) from the federal department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to file a report identifying barriers to fair housing and set goals for overcoming them. Failure to file the report, called an Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH), could result in HUD withholding that jurisdiction’s block-grant money.

It requires every municipality with a population of 50,000 or greater to file such a report if it wants to continue to receive CDBG funding. This federal mandate would include not just Phoenix, Tucson and Mesa but Glendale, Chandler, Tempe and virtually every city in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area.

Glendale is a suburban community. Envision that vacant parcel of land in your neighborhood that has been zoned for single family residential homes becoming identified as an Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing site now to be changed not just for multi-family residential apartments but with the stipulation that the majority of the units be devoted to Section 8 housing. This action would destroy the fabric of many neighborhoods.

Lately I have been researching how certain commercial/retail uses situated in low-income areas affect those portions of communities. Here is just some of what I have learned.

Fact: Where there is a density of low income housing there follows a proliferation of pawn shops, loan stores, bars and package liquor stores. One has only to look at the square mile in Glendale whose boundaries are Camelback Road to Bethany Home Road, 59th Avenue to 67th Avenue. It is the densest square mile in terms of population in Glendale. This square mile not only has 1300 single family affordably priced homes but also 10 apartment complexes ringing this square mile. All offer extremely affordable rental units. There are far too many bars, package stores and loan shops in this area.

Fact: Many large urban areas such as Chicago and Baltimore use “restricted zoning.” This means these cities have recognized that where there is a proliferation of the above cited uses, crime and violence increase by 22%. They have proactively placed a variety of restrictions on the number of these kinds of uses that can be placed within certain areas of their communities.

What if Biden wins this November? While the AFFH did not in any way tie CDBG money to the elimination of single-family zoning, a number of Democratic candidates for President proposed to do just that in their housing plans, including Democrat Presidential candidate Biden.

Under the “executive orders” section of the Democratic/Biden platform, Biden would “Implement the Obama-Biden Administration’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule (AFFH) requiring communities receiving certain federal funding to proactively examine housing patterns and identify and address policies that have discriminatory protections.” In other words, develop and implement a plan that replaces single family housing with affordable multi-family housing or lose your federal grants.

An enormous amount of federal dollars, namely Community Development Block Grants (CDGB) and Surface Transportation Block Grants (STBG) go into virtually every community in the United States. By holding the possible loss of federal funding over the heads of cities and towns, the Biden administration would seek to change zoning laws throughout the country in order to mandate low income housing be transferred from urban to suburban areas.

In addition, the Biden platform says they will, “expand the number of affordable housing units on the market… We commit to providing Section 8 housing support for every eligible family.”

What does that mean exactly? In a nutshell, it means that the rules would require every single American city or town to add Section 8 also known as “low income housing” in every community. The issuance of vouchers for Section 8 housing would be available to all in the low to moderate income bracket. The expansion of Section 8 vouchers and the mandate to build more low income housing (apartments) for all cities and towns in receipt of federal funding would destroy suburban areas within our communities as we know them.

I have been reading all 80 pages of the Democrat Party platform and there are many elements that are troubling. Over the next month or two I will highlight other platform issues of the party for your consideration.

As a local elected official for many years, I believe this one initiative alone is enough to destroy your neighborhood and mine. I have worked for years to support low income housing in locations within our city that continue to ensure our city’s diversity and vibrancy. This policy is like taking a sledge hammer to pound a thumb tack into a wall. The thumb tack will be successfully in the wall but the wall will most certainly be damaged in the process.

I would suggest that you, the voter, educate yourself on the policies each candidate stands behind. Forget the personalities. Concentrate on what each party wants to do to make you and your family’s life better. If you think this policy will make you and your family’s life better then it becomes a building block in your assessment with regard to your final vote. If it does not, then perhaps you should look at the opposing party’s policies on this issue.

Election season is a clown carnival filled with drama and hyperbole. Local elections are often dirty but don’t hold a candle to national elections. Try to ignore the noise. Take the time to find out where the candidate wants to take our country…and you.

© Joyce Clark, 2020         

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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