This article was posted on Sunday, Apr 29, 2012

Dear AOA:
I had missed a few issues of the monthly magazine after moving to Arizona.  This may have been due to our unsecured street mail box.  When I realized that I had not been getting the magazine, I called AOA and spoke to Shelly.  I explained what had happened and also provided her with our new P.O. Box for mailing.
She offered to try and scrounge up the three back issues which I was missing and I received these shortly afterward and she also got my subscription correctly routed after that.
I am often quite critical these days of poor customer service from not only our government agencies, but large private businesses as well.  This is why Shelly’s efficient help and pleasant phone demeanor is especially appreciated.  She is a credit to your organization.    Sincerely, Robert M.

Dear AOA:
Your publication, AOA News and Buyers Guide, has become an advocate of rightwing causes and complaints, with slanted articles and one sided blurbs. For instance, your sidebar of statistics on the percentage of taxes paid by the rich leaves out the fact that citizens in the top 1% income bracket earn 34% of all income and that the top 1% own 43% of all wealth in this country. You also say that 40% of the adult population pays nothing. This couldn’t be further from the truth. When you include state and local taxes the lowest 20% of earners pay about 16% of their income.
It’s easy to cherry pick your statistics to make a one-sided argument but it doesn’t give the true picture. Although I own a number of rental units, until your publication becomes fair and balanced, I would never join your organization.    Daniel B.

Dear Dan:
I read with great interest your article on Is Democracy Killing Us?  The answer is not that simple, but I will give you my opinion as to why we are in a decline as a truly free country.
When Woodrow Wilson came out of academia to become President of the United States, it gave him a platform to introduce progressive politics into the mainstream of America.  Around that time, Russia killed off the Czar and the nation which had never known democracy went communist.
The reason I lump those together is the fact that communists in this county wanted to overthrow the US government by force and the progressives wanted to implant their form of democracy by peaceful means.  (Progressives are really soft communists, but have many of the same principles that the communist manifesto has).  They promise everything to the mass of people but ultimately deliver nothing that can be sustained in the long term.  The so-called Obama health care plan is a prime example.
There have been many Presidents as well as politicians on both sides of the isle that, for want of a better way of saying it, introduced programs that in any conformed or were even authorized by the U.S. Constitution.  Lyndon Johnson’s war on poverty was introduced and passed while the country was fully engaged in Vietnam.  The eye of the people was diverted by him while the war raged and former colleagues in the house and senate took advantage of the unrest in this country to pass legislation to create the war on poverty, which has been a complete failure, but money we don’t have is continually spent and dispersed by the poverty pimps.
Our system of constitutional government has been marginalized by many in academia as well as politicians from city, state and federal agencies.   The town I live in is a prime example of the city creating services for just about everything that elderly people need including a chaplain to minister to the needs of residents.
Democracy is killing us because the constitution has already been shoveled into the history books as outdated.   The only elements of society that still have full constitutional rights are criminals.  The rest of us can go pound salt. Don’t try to cut a tree down without someone getting their collective nose out of joint.  (This is only a point I am trying to make).
We have lost our way particularly when the Supreme Court, over the years, upholds old opinions by previous courts that uphold laws that clearly have no Constitutional merit, but are dismissed because the law is settled.  A good example is abortion.  There is nothing in the Constitution that gives the judges the right to come to that opinion.  By the way, I believe abortions should be a State’s rights issue and I personally don’t care if a woman wants an abortion or not.  The most recent example of over reach will be the same sex marriage issue.  It is unfortunately one of those issues that historically will make it a travesty to family unity.  That’s my opinion, but it has nothing to do with equal rights.  Anyway, we have lost our moral compass and I don’t think it will be replaced anytime soon.
When Benjamin Franklin came out of the meeting which determined what kind of government we will have, a woman asked him, What kind of government will we have? and he told her that it will be a republic if we can keep it.  He knew even then that only people of good moral standing would be able to sustain that form of government.     Sincerely,  Larry R.

Dear AOA:
I saw the below article in the  L.A. Times.  And these are the guys who are considering a rent control freeze for apartment owners….
Angered by reports of lavish, taxpayer-funded restaurant meals and a high-priced payout for the fired executive director of Los Angeles’ housing authority, city leaders on Tuesday pushed for more direct, local control of the beleaguered agency.
During a lengthy hearing, two other council members ” Richard Alarcon and Jose Huizar ” called for city staff to explore how the council could seize more power over the housing agency. Under a hybrid governing structure, Perry said the council should be able to review expense reimbursement practices ” the focus of recent critical reports by City Controller Wendy Greuel and KCET-TV ” as well as a $1.2-million payout to Rudy Montiel, who was fired last spring as the housing authority’s top executive.
Greuel released an audit Tuesday that she said showed “out of control spending and fraudulent activity” at the authority.  “Housing authority officials say the practice of dining in expensive restaurants has ended.” They also said many of the most expensive tabs were run up recognizing tenants and large groups of employees.
In summer 2010, housing authority board members and more than 20 public housing residents dined at McCormick & Schmick’s as part of an “etiquette training” graduation ceremony, according to officials. That meal cost $2,000. Two months earlier, the agency held a $2,233 luncheon at Harold & Belle’s restaurant to honor 50 employees as Four Star Performers.
Sincerely, Michael S.

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