Quoting Ben Boyce correctly
I write this to address the letter to the editor by Fred Petersonin the June 10 issue of the I-T, in which he quoted a comment by Ben Boyce.
Fred, we have never been formally introduced, so let me start.
I am in my 13th year on the City Council and I have never seen you at a meeting or candidate forum. To my knowledge, you have never applied for any of the multiple commission openings. Currently there are two available seats for City of Sonoma residents on the DRC and the Planning Commission. I urge you to apply.
In your letter you quoted something Ben Boyce said on my morning radio show. (Thanks for listening, by the way.) You got the quote partly correct, although Ben did not, as your letter stated, refer to "business owners." He did refer to 'conservative' leadership from both Republicans and Democrats.
And just so you know, I am proud of the conservative support I received for my re-election campaign. Ask folks who listen to my show and know me, and they will tell you that both the show and I are fair and balanced.
I do, however, completely agree that a society is judged by how we treat the disadvantaged, the sick, the hungry, the homeless, the seniors and the children.
And while it is true that Mr. Boyce, as you point out, does not live in the city limits of Sonoma, there are thousands of folks surrounding the city who shop in Sonoma, their friends and relatives stay in our hotels, they go to our restaurants, their kids go to our schools. They hold the key to Sonoma's robust economy in a country where almost all cities are hurting. They pay into our sales tax pool, they provide the labor force for a city universally recognized as one of the top places to live in this country.
Your letter states, the "council majority made it clear that they simply don't care - residency in our city is not a qualification for service on our commissions and committee."
You're right about that. Sonoma has six commissions, committees and boards. Each one has a citizen member who does not live inside the city limits. There is also a Sonoma Valley Citizens Advisory Commission which advises on planning issues and has numerous members who do not live in the city limits.
I have office hours every Tuesday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on the driveway of the Dave Chavoya Horseshoe during the farmers market. Come talk to me. We may have more in common then you think.
And just so the public can have the full context, I am presenting below the verbatim transcript of the Ben Boyce comments you referred to:
"Here we are now, in the fourth year of a national jobs crisis, and what is dominating the discussion in Washington? After 10 years of corporate and upper-income tax-cutting, suddenly deficit reduction is the big deal ... It's finally time to put the cards on the table and tell people what's really happening. We are told that we have no money for pensions, health care, schools, day care for children, but don't touch the upper-income tax cuts which gave away trillions of dollars, and sent us from a surplus to a deficit.
"The root of the revenue problem is that we have a leadership (and this is not just Republicans, it's also conservative Blue Dog Democrats) who have bankrupted the state through tax cuts.
"There's a very simple solution to this problem. Stop borrowing the money from wealthy investors and go back to taxing them for that money. Then we would have the money to run a decent state.
"We don't have a deficit problem, we have a revenue problem.
"It's gotten to the point, I don't know how to say this politely, that an evil mutant gene has gotten into the mindset of the conservative movement, which seems bent on destroying what most people regard as the normal functions of the state: to protect the population, provide for our well-being, and provide insurance for joblessness. It's time that we reclaimed this debate."
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Ken Brown is a member of the Sonoma City Council.