A. IntroductionPlease find below the ANC’S positions on the proposed amendments adopted by the recently concluded National Constitution Conference (Conference) in Gbarnga.By way of background, the Constitution Reform Commission (CRC), whose members were appointed by the President and charged with the responsibility of overseeing a process that would lead to reforms to our Constitution, presented delegates at the Conference with 25 proposed amendments. The CRC claims that the proposed amendments were the result of consultations it had in all 73 legislative districts of Liberia and the Diaspora.We believe that there are many reasons to question the process the CRC used to come up with the 25 proposed amendments it presented the delegates—whether the process as designed was capable of producing results that broadly reflected the views of Liberians on the key issues they would like to see addressed as part of a constitutional amendment process. There are also many reasons, we believe, to question the way in which the delegates who voted on the proposed amendments were chosen and the way the voting process was conducted in Gbarnga, and we will raise whatever questions we may have separately.For now, though, we want to focus on presenting you our position as a party on each of the proposed amendments presented to the delegates at the Conference in Gbarnga and the rationale for every position we adopt.After each proposed amendment or after each group of related proposed amendments, we then state the ANC’s position and the rationale for our position.One final point: We found most of the proposed amendments to have sound policy rationale and thinking behind them. However, we should caution all of us against the belief that all we need to do to solve a problem is to assert the problem or its solution as a constitutional provision. Merely stating a policy goal as a constitutional provision does not, standing alone, guarantee that we can attain that goal as a society. To achieve it, we must work hard at devising and enacting the right mix of policies and have the political will to stick with them.Our Constitution of 1847 and our current Constitution were not perfect documents but they did a good job in laying out the fundamental rights of Liberians and the duties and obligations their Government owes them. The failures we have suffered as a state and the massive economic and development challenges we still face today are therefore due to no fundamental defect in the Constitutions that have governed us. The setbacks we have suffered and the immense development challenges we face today are simply a result of the failure of Government, not of the Constitution. So while we believe that there may be a need to include in our Constitution the ideas expressed in some of the proposed amendments, it is worth pointing out that doing so is only half of the battle. The greater fight is in getting to power the right Government that can follow through with devising and implementing policies that give life to those principles we hold so dear that we include them amongst the rights and obligations enshrined in our Constitution.B. The Proposed Amendments and the ANC’s Positions/Rationales1. REDUCTION OF THE PRESIDENTIAL TERM OF OFFICE FROM SIX TO FOUR YEARS2. REDUCTION OF THE SENATORIAL TERM OF OFFICE FROM NINE TO SIX YEARS3. REDUCTION OF TERM OF OFFICE OF REPRESENTATIVES FROM SIX TO FOUR YEARSANC’S POSITION & RATIONALE:WE AGREE with all three proposed amendments regarding reductions in terms of office for the President, Senators, and Representatives. The democratic goal of popularly elected government is best served when, as frequently as possible, people can pass on the performance of their elected leaders by subjecting them to the scrutiny of the election process. Terms of office of nine years (for Senators) and six years (for Presidents and Representatives) simply do not provide people the opportunity to frequently review the performance of their elected leaders by way of the election process.4. PRIVATE PROPERTY OWNERSHIP SHOULD INCLUDE MINERAL RESOURCES5. PROPERTY OWNERS ON WHOSE LAND MINERALS OR NATURAL RESOURCES ARE FOUND SHOULD SHARE THE BENEFITS ACCRUED BY GOVERNMENT AND BE PART OF THE NEGOTIATIONSANC’S POSITION & RATIONALE:WE AGREE in principle with Propositions 4 and 5. Subject to the principle expressed in Article 7 of our Constitution that the country’s wealth should be used for the benefit of all of its people, we agree with the general proposition that owners of property containing mineral or other natural resources should in some way directly share with the Government the benefits gained from the exploitation of those resources. The exact formula to determine how to compensate property owners while keeping faith with the directive of the Constitution to use the country’s natural resources for the benefit of all of its people is something that can be decided with the aid of economic and other experts. We are not sure what is meant by that such property owners should be “part of the negotiations.” We do, however, agree with the general notion that a person may assert and seek to protect his or her property interest in any land or real property at any time.6. PERSONS OF NON-NEGRO RACE SHOULD NOT BECOME CITIZENSANC’S POSITION & RATIONALE:WE AGREE. The historic imperative behind the non-negro clause in the citizenship article in the Constitution is still relevant today. There are still reasons for Liberia to keep faithful to her founding mission: to serve as a refuge or haven for Black people fleeing persecution from anywhere in the world or simply looking for a homeland they can call their own.7. DUAL CITIZENSHIP SHOULD NOT BE ACCEPTED IN LIBERIAANC’S POSITION & RATIONALE:WE DISAGREE with the proposed amendment abolishing dual citizenship. In a globalized world where multi-citizenship is increasingly common and necessary for a person to achieve his full potential in whatever society he may find himself, Liberia shortchanges herself and those of her children compelled by various factors to adopt the citizenship of another country if, on account of that, she denies them full participation in the life of their country of birth.8. DUAL CURRENCY SHOULD BE ABOLISHED IN LIBERIA; THE LIBERIAN DOLLAR SHOULD NOT BE REJECTED AS TEAR TEARANC’S POSITION & RATIONALE:WE AGREE that the Liberian dollar should under no circumstance be rejected as legal tender in Liberia; we also favor a single currency economy but believe we should first put in place policies that would ensure our economy can survive the transition to a single currency (Liberian Dollar) economy.However, we do not believe that the question of dual currency is something we need to include in our constitution—making it a constitutional matter may tie the hands of future policy makers who may have to change policy on currency issues to deal with particular economic emergencies and may not have the luxury of time to amend the Constitution before effecting a change in policy.9. THE VICE PRESIDENT SHOULD NOT PRESIDE OVER THE SENATE BECAUSE OF THE PRINCIPLE OF SEPARATION OF POWERSANC’S POSITION & RATIONALE:WE DISAGREE. As President of the Senate, the Vice President plays the crucial role of casting the tie-breaking vote when the Senate is split fifty/fifty on an issue. Other than that, the Vice President’s role as President of the Senate is largely ceremonial. He or she takes no part whatsoever in the key law-making function of the Senate.The proposition that Vice President should not serve as President of the Senate because by doing so he violates the “principle of separation of powers” ignores the fact that a complementary and necessary counterweight to the principle of separation of powers is the principle of “checks and balances,” which allows one branch of government a limited role or say in another branch’s exercise of its core functions.For example, making law is a core function of the Legislative Branch. The principle of checks and balances allows the President, however, to check the Legislature’s exercise of its core law-making core function by the use of his or her veto power. That is why when the President vetoes a bill, we do not say he or she is violating the separation of powers principle and infringing on the law making duties of the Legislature.Similarly, it is the core function of the President to appoint cabinet ministers and ambassadors. However, our Constitution by design allows the Senate to check the President’s exercises of his or her appointment powers by requiring that nominees for cabinet and other positions be approved by the Senate. This is why when the Senate rejects a person nominated by the President for a cabinet or other position we do not say the Senate is violating the principle of separation of powers and infringing on the appointment powers of the President.It is for the same reason that it is wrong as a matter of constitutional law to say that the Vice President violates the principle of separation of power when he sits as President of the Senate. The Constitution by design establishes the Vice President as President of the Senate, where he has the very limited role of breaking a tie in the Senate and thus checking the Senate’s ability to create deadlocks that could stymie the functioning of government. This is a design that works well; there is no need to tamper with it.10. THE CHIEF JUSTICE SHOULD BE ELECTEDANC’S POSITION & RATIONALE:WE DISAGREE. Of all of the judges in Liberia, the Chief justice, who is the top judge in the land, should be above politics. Subjecting the Chief Justice or any other justice of the Supreme Court to elections and hence to the political process could have far reaching consequences for the independence of the judiciary. Political calculations are more likely to be factored into the decisions of judges who gain their office by way of elections rather than by appointment. A judge who needs popular support to win an election may rule a certain way in a case not because he or she believes that is what the law requires but because publicly sentiments favor a particular outcome. Election of judges also raises the specter of money, which is so part and parcel of politics, corrupting the judiciary. Elected judges would need money to run campaigns and the independence of judges in cases involving their campaign donors could, fairly or unfairly, be called into question.11. SUPERINTENDENTS, COMMISSIONERS, MAYORS, AND CHIEFS SHOULD BE ELECTEDANC’S POSITION & RATIONALE:WE AGREE. Devolution of power to the local level and providing people the right to directly elect their leaders is the best way to ensure a leadership that is accountable, and thus responsive, to the people.12. RESPECT AND RECOGNITION FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES SHOULD BE ENSHRINED IN THE CONSTITUTION AND EDUCATION AND JOB OPPORTUNITIES ACCORDED THEMANC’S POSITION & RATIONALE:WE AGREE that as a country and a people we must enact and implement policies that accommodate and provide for the disabled, and that we should consider how to give expression in our Constitution to a national commitment to devote special attention to, and accommodate the needs of, the disabled.13. ELECTION COMMISSIONERS SHOULD BE ELECTED AND NOT APPOINTED BY THE PRESIDENTANC’S POSITION & RATIONALE:WE DISAGREE. We appreciate and understand the reasoning behind this proposed amendment, which is to ensure that we have independent and fair election commissioners. However, we believe that electing election commissioners will produce more harm than good and possibly even corrupt the election process. Electing election commissioners effectively means that people (election commissioners) who should be monitoring the election process as neutral parties would themselves be participants in the process. Moreover, election commissioners are likely to run for office under the banners of various parties. We could thus easily have election commissioners who have run on the banner of one party monitoring elections involving candidates from an opposing party. This could certainly create the appearance, if not the reality, of bias by election commissioners who will be perceived as partisans and unfair, something that could undermine public confidence in our election process.We believe that we can achieve the goal of having independent and fair election commissioners without subjecting them to partisan and divisive elections. We can do so, for example, by limiting the President’s powers to appoint all of the election commissioners. The President may appoint two of the five election commissioners; the two opposition parties that achieved the next highest number of votes in the preceding election could each appoint one commissioner each and the other commissioner could be appointed by civil society groups. Also we could require that all election commissioners should not be registered members of any political party. We can also maintain the requirement that election commissioners are appointed for fixed 5 year terms during which they cannot be removed by the President or anyone else, except for proven criminal or unethical conduct. Importantly, we can do all of this without even amending the Constitution. Article 89 of the Constitution provides for the establishment of the Elections Commission as an autonomous agency of Government. Nothing in Article 89 gives the President the power to appoint election commissioners. Instead, Article 89 expressly provides that “The Legislature shall enact laws for the governance” of the Commission. Accordingly, it is the Legislature that passed a statute granting the President the power to appoint all election commissioners and the Chairperson of the Elections Commissions. The same Legislature can pass a statute repealing the old statute and limiting the President’s powers to appoint election commissioners.14. CONCESSION NEGOTIATIONS SHOULD INCLUDE THE LOCAL AUTHORITIES AND CITIZENS OF THE LOCALITY IN WHICH THE NATURAL OR MINERAL RESOURCE IS SITUATEDANC’S POSITION & RATIONALE:As we have stated above in response to Propositions 4 & 5 and as we state below in response to Proposition 17, we believe that subject to the general principle expressed in Article 7 of the Constitution that the Country’s natural resources should be exploited and used for the benefit of all Liberians, the Government should share with the owners of property on which minerals or other natural resources are found the gains derived from the exploitation of those resources. As we have also stated, we agree with the general notion that a person may assert and seek to protect his or her property interest in any land or real property at any time and the Government should take those interests into account when negotiating any agreement involving the exploitation of land or mineral resources. We should, however, give serious thoughts to striking the right balance between the extent to which we want to constitutionally protect people’s property rights by having them as parties to all negotiations with investors, and the extent to which we may scare off potential investors wary of the burdens and legal complexities and uncertainties that result from having to negotiate with multiple individuals or entities, with each having potentially competing or conflicting interests, before entering agreements with Liberia.15. CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS SHOULD PRIORITIZE THE PARTICIPATION OF LIBERIANS IN ECONOMIC ACTIVITIES AS REFLECTED IN ARTICLE 7ANC’S POSITION & RATIONALE:Article 7 of our Constitution provides that:“The Republic shall, consistent with the principles of individual freedom and social justice enshrined in this Constitution, manage the national economy and the natural resources of Liberia in such manner as shall ensure the maximum feasible participation of Liberian citizens under conditions of equality as to advance the general welfare of the Liberian people and the economic development of Liberia.”The ANC agrees that as a Country we should consider how to include provisions in the Constitution that give Article 7 teeth particularly when it comes to Liberianizing our economy,16. CHILDREN’S RIGHTS SHOULD BE REVISITED SO THAT IT DOES NOT INTERFERE WITH PARENTAL DUTY TO DISCIPLINE THEIR CHILDRENANC’S POSITION & RATIONALE:We do not understand what this Proposition means and thus cannot state a position on it at this time.17. TRADITIONAL PEOPLE SHOULD OWN THEIR OWN LAND AND BE A PARTY TO ANY NEGOTIATIONS WITH INVESTORS OR CONCESSIONAIRES ON SAID LANDANC’S POSITION & RATIONALE:We agree that “traditional people” should have ownership rights to lands they have occupied through the years. As we stated in our position on Propositions 4 & 5, subject to the principle expressed in Article 7 of the Constitution that the country’s wealth should be used for the benefit of all of its people, we agree with the general proposition that owners of property containing mineral or other natural resources should share the benefits gained from the exploitation of those resources by the government. We are not sure what is meant by that such property owners should be “part of the negotiations” or “party to any negotiations.” We do however agree with the general notion that a person may assert and seek to protect his or her property interest in any land or real property at any time and the Government should take those interests into account when negotiating any agreement involving the exploitation of land or mineral resources. However, as we have said before, we should give serious thoughts to striking the right balance between the extent to which we want to constitutionally protect people’s property rights by having them as parties to all negotiations with investors, and the extent to which we may scare off potential investors wary of the burdens and legal complexities and uncertainties that result from having to negotiate with multiple individuals or entities, with each having potentially competing or conflicting interests, before entering agreements with Liberia.18. THE CONSTITUTION SHOULD ENSURE WOMEN’S PARTICIPATION IN GOVERNANCE AND NATIONAL AFFAIRSANC’S POSITION & RATIONALE:WE AGREE. Despite the command of Article 11(c) that all people, including women, should enjoy the equal protection of the law, we believe that because of cultural and other reasons, women have been at a historic disadvantage when it comes to fully participating in national governance. We are thus open to seeing how our Constitution can compensate for or prevent the effects of cultural practices that have so disadvantaged women and thus ensure the fullest participation of women in national affairs and governance.19. THE CONSTITUTION AND ALL LEGAL DOCUMENTS SHOULD CARRY THE PRONOUNS “HE/SHE”ANC’S POSITION & RATIONALE:WE AGREE. It is simply time to promote gender equity in every way possible.20. AGE OF MARRIAGE FOR GIRLS SHOULD BE AT LEAST 18 YEARANC’S POSITION & RATIONALE:The policy objective behind this proposition, which is to prevent the early marriage of girls in their preteen or early teen years in certain segments of our society, is laudable. To the extent we cannot achieve this same objective by passing statutes, we may consider appropriate amendment to the Constitution. In order to avoid the appearance, if not the reality, of discriminating on the basis of sex or gender, any statute or amendment to this effect, should also speak to the age of marriage for boys.21. WOMEN SHOULD HAVE ACCESS TO EDUCATION EQUAL ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL OPPORTUNITIES (EMPLOYMENT AND EDUCATION)ANC’S POSITION & RATIONALE:As stated above in response to Proposition 18, we are aware that despite the command of the equal protection clause of Article 11(c) of the Constitution, which effectively guarantees equal opportunity for all irrespective of gender, women, by virtue of our culture and tradition, have been at a historic disadvantage when it comes to equality of opportunity. We thus agree that as a country and a people we should do all in our powers to grant women equal access to economic and social opportunities by first enacting and implementing appropriate policies and, where necessary, by constitutional prescriptions.22. THE CONSTITUTION SHOULD GUARANTEE INHERITANCE RIGHTS FOR TRADITIONAL WOMENANC’S POSITION & RATIONALE:WE AGREE. Too many women are robbed of their property rights, including rights to property improved and developed by the sweat of their brow, because of the operation of traditional inheritance practices in various segments of our society. Anything we can do, including appropriate amendments to the Constitution, to prevent this travesty is most welcomed buy us.23. PEOPLE IN PROLONGED CO-HABITATION SHOULD ENJOY MARITAL STATUSANC’S POSITION & RATIONALE:We understand that the reasoning behind this proposition is to prevent the all too frequent circumstance where one party to a relationship (usually a woman) who, after investing all of her time, energy and resources to the material development of the other party to the relationship, is abandoned by the other party without any legal recourse. We agree that to the extent there are laws now on the books that deal with this problem, i.e. recognizing so-called “civil” or “common law” marriages, they need to be rigidly enforced. If there are no such laws, we should work to enact them. Amending the Constitution may be considered as a last resort, but we should be wary of turning the Constitution into a legal code.24. LIBERIA SHOULD BE A CHRISTIAN NATIONANC’S POSITION & RATIONALE:WE DISAGREE. We understand and appreciate the historic role Christianity played in the founding of our country. We are aware of the role Christian churches continue to play in the development for our country through the provision of education and health care to people all over Liberia. However, we strongly believe that including language in our Constitution that “Liberia should be a Christian Nation” is destructive of our body politic as it would suggest that Christians occupy a special status in our Country vis-a-vis people of other faiths and religions. This would violate the equal protection clause of Article 11 as well as the separation of religion and state clause of our current Constitution of Article 14. Moreover, we only need to look at other countries, including ones in Africa, that are torn apart by sectarian strife, to appreciate what can happen when we throw the very incendiary device of religious division onto the already highly combustible mix of social problems we face today. Also, simply because there may be majority support for designating Liberia a “Christian Nation” in the Constitution does not make it the right thing to do. One of the basic tenets of a constitutional democracy is that there are certain rights so sacred that they should not be subjected to the whims and caprices of a prevailing majority. We thus carve out those rights, which include the right to freedom of religion, and put them in the Constitution where they are supposed to be beyond the reach of any majority. The fact that one may be able to muster the two thirds vote required by Article 91 to amend the Constitution in a referendum and trample on those rights simply means that we have a tyranny of the majority, which is as dangerous as the tyranny of a single dictator.Imagine it this way: what if, by virtue of demographic and other changes, today’s minority becomes tomorrow’s majority and wants to use its majority power to amend the Constitution to essentially designate its religion as the official religion of Liberia. How would members of today’s majority feel?25. CUSTOMARY LAWS SHOULD BE MADE CONSTITUTIONALANC’S POSITION & RATIONALE:We understand the thinking behind this Proposition, which is to harmonize customary laws with civil law, or laws based on western tradition. We agree with this goal in principle. However, we must keep in mind that there are certain customary laws that simply cannot comport with the basic precepts and principles that undergird or Constitution. Accordingly, where there is no conflict between a particular customary law and the Constitution, we have no objections to that customary law being “made constitutional.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
As they stood in the sun-splashed parking lot outside of St. Peter’s Claver Catholic Church in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County Saturday morning, John B. S. Davies, III, his brother Israel C. Davies and family reflected on the moment, their late father John B.S. Davies, II was with them. There, alongside, were government officials, including Foreign Minister Augustine K. Ngafuan, Senate Pro-Tempore Milton Gbehzohngar Findley, Montserrado County Rep. Bill Twehway, Grand Bassa Rep. Gabriel Smith, Gender Minister Madam Julia Duncan Cassell and Liberia Water &Sewer Managing Director Charles Allen, amongst others. Also sympathizing with the bereaved family were business executives including businessman turns politician Benoni Urey, Fomba Trawally, Sam Gibson, Kola Adeleke of Ecobank, Henry Saamoi of International Bank, Milton Weeks of the Liberia Bankers’ Association and of course, Dr. D. Edwood Dunn and Daily Observer publisher Kenneth Y. Best, all having emerged for the heartfelt funeral for Mr. John B. S. Davies, II, who succumbed to death on Saturday, May 3, 2014, aged 67. The late John B. S. Davies, II was former leader of LAMCO workers and former organist at the St. Peter’s Claver Catholic Church. “Most of us,” Senator Milton Findley said, “probably didn’t know him [John] because he was a very quiet man.” Paying his tribute on behalf of the Bassa legislative caucus, Sen. Findley recalled how the late John Davies, II raised his children to make positive contributions to the Liberian society. “Such a man, he said, is never recognized in our society and this is very wrong. I can say this for sure, about 80 percent of the people in this church didn’t know the late Mr. Davies, but know his children—and this is how this man positively impacted our country and communities.” He recalled how Mr. Davies’ children including John B. S. Davies, II, Israel Davies and others, are using their various places of work to make positive contributions to the development of Liberia. Earlier, Grand Bassa County Rep. Gabriel Smith acknowledged he has attended many funerals in Grand Bassa, “but this funeral is different. It is different because this man was able to adequately prepare his children while he was living, and for this I can cry on his funeral. He educated them [children] well and so they are men and women on their own,” Rep. Smith said. The deceased’s wife, Mrs. Esther Kear Davies, who wept endlessly, in her tribute, expressed the hope that her husband gave his life to God before his death.“Why, why…..my life is incomplete without you, John……” she said in tears. His son, John B.S. Davies, III reflected on some of the rigid trainings his late father meted against them. “If they bought raw palm nut and you chop some of that raw palm nut, you won’t eat soup because palm butter was my father’s favorite soup,” he said. John told his father to rest in peace even though he left too soon and abruptly.“You never showed us any sign, father, but we accept it. All we can say, RIP,” John Davies, III said. In his funeral message, the Parish Priest of St. Peter’s Claver, Rev. Fr. Hamilton Quayeson reminded the church that the world is a transitory place.“It is left with us to live well if we come on the world stage,” he said. Father Quayeson also reminded the church that what they do with their lives is what matters to God. “Let us reexamine our lives and repent so that we can properly serve our living God,” he decreed as he urged the church to stop complaining and begin to give thanks to God.“God,” the Catholic prelate said, “isn’t a magician and so we must focus on the spiritual dimension of our lives so that God will be able to give us our needs.” Father Quayeson told the bereaved family not to weep as their late father’s life is saved. “He was a man of God during his earthly stay and so he created for himself a place in God’s kingdom,” he added. Several other individuals, communities and institutions also paid tribute. They included, the Liberian Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Liberia Bankers’ Association (LBA), the Liberia Chamber of Commerce, the Ministry of Finance, the Trumpet of Praise Church, Lone Star Cell/MTN, the Central Bank of Liberia, the National Elections Commission and the New Georgia Gulf Community, amongst many others. The deceased leaves to mourn his wife, Mrs. Esther Kear Davies, 14 children including John B. S. Davies, III, president & CEO of the Liberian Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI), Israel C. Davies Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs, Roosevelt Davies, Alice Kear Zeyou, Miss Sylvia Davies, Miss Jocelyne S. Davies, Mr. S. Wilberforce Davies, Theresa Davies, Miss Augusta Davies, Elisha Kofa Davies, Mr. Mark K. Davies, Miss Jacqueline Juah Davies, S. Edward T. Davies and Grace W. Davies.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
There is broad agreement among liberals, conservatives, editorial writers and academics that the voting public would benefit significantly through a change in the way we draw our political boundaries. Currently, some legislative districts are so gerrymandered they appear to be Rorschach tests on LSD. Both Republicans and Democrats have mouthed platitudes about redistricting but, here too, there are sticking points. First, any redistricting plan must be drawn by somebody, which raises Plato’s famous inquiry, who “guards the guards?” (Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?) Or, more precisely, how do we create a truly independent commission to oversee the line drawing process? Second, would such a plan also redraw California’s congressional district lines or just the boundaries of California’s legislative districts? Impasse on these two issues allows all the pols in Sacramento to say they support reapportionment reform without really meaning it. Finally, overlaying all of this is the issue of an early presidential primary. Camps within both parties see varying degrees of advantages and disadvantages to having California’s primary in February. Thus, the analytical types are asking would this help Hillary or Obama? Would McCain or Giuliani benefit? But shouldn’t the question be, does this benefit California? Is it critical that California become “relevant” in the primary process, or are we relevant enough because of our size? Moreover, how early is too early for a presidential primary? All this jockeying does accomplish one thing: It highlights that, once elected, politicians tend to be more concerned with the politics of self preservation rather than the real problems facing the state. Jon Coupal is president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. Contact him through the organization’s Web site, www.hjta.org.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! OUR elected leaders are generating a great deal of buzz now in the state Capitol – but very little of it has to do with issues that concern ordinary Californians. Throughout the shallow (whoops, I meant hallowed) halls of the statehouse, whispers and political jockeying are abounding on three issues relating to raw political power: Term limits, the early presidential primary and reapportionment. Let’s start with the indisputable truth that politicians hate term limits. While reasonable people can disagree over the efficacy of term limits, elected officials have their careers at stake and publicly or privately (depending on their perception of where their constituents might be) complain bitterly about not being able to stay in office for as long as they wish. Arguments in favor of term limits are compelling – starting with the fact that incumbents have huge advantages over challengers. (For purposes of full disclosure, this writer argued the case before the California Supreme Court in defense of Proposition 140, California’s term-limit measure, when it was challenged by Willie Brown and others.) It has been argued that Proposition 140 is flawed because it results in an endless game of musical chairs in the California Legislature, and legislators have little time to acquire any expertise in various subject matters. This may be true, at least in part. So one answer has been to change term limits so that a legislator may spend up to 12 years in one house or the other. Currently, legislators are limited to three two-years terms in the Assembly and two four-year terms in the Senate. But there is a sticking point. If the term-limit rules are changed, will current legislators get to start all over again? In other words, will they get a “fresh clock,” or will their existing terms count against them? A word of advice for denizens of the Capitol: If voters perceive that an alteration of the existing term-limit restrictions is designed to perpetuate any political careers, that measure is doomed to failure at the polls – by a large margin. So how do politicians entice voters to change term limits at all, even if they don’t “restart” the clock? The idea is to couple a change in term limits to something that is viewed as good for government and nonpartisan, such as redistricting.
VICTORIA, B.C. – Following two of the worst wildfire seasons in the province’s history, PreparedBC is releasing a new Wildfire Preparedness Guide.According to the Government, the guide contains useful information that will help British Columbians better protect themselves and their homes, and understand what to do if a wildfire approaches their community.Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, says this guide will help to reduce stress and anxiety during a wildfire emergency situation.- Advertisement -“The first step in managing any kind of emergency is to be as prepared as possible. This guide will arm British Columbians with helpful information on how to stay safe in the event of a wildfire, and how to help reduce the stress and anxiety that an emergency situation may cause.”The guide focuses specifically on what residents can do to prepare themselves before, during and after a wildfire, including:developing a household plan;assembling a grab-and-go bag for all family members and pets;learning about the local government’s emergency response plan; andtips on how to handle wildfire smoke, wildfire-related stress and how to FireSmart a property.For more information on the Wildfire Preparedness Guide, you can visit gov.bc.ca/PreparedBC.Advertisement
1 Raheem Sterling celebrates his goal against Tottenham Tottenham’s troubles against the Premier League big boys continued as they were humbled 3-0 by Liverpool at White Hart Lane.Spurs picked up just one point from their matches against Arsenal, Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea last season, and that poor form continued in north London.Mario Balotelli, making his Reds debut, had an early chance to open the scoring but saw his strong header saved by Hugo Lloris, and then pushed the rebound wide of the post.But Liverpool were to open the scoring, in the eighth minute, when Raheem Sterling tucked home Jordan Henderson’s superb cross across the front of goal.Emmanuel Adebayor had the chance to equalise, moments later, but his lob over Simon Mignolet landed on top of the goal, rather than in it.Balotelli was handed another opportunity to open his account, with Hugo Lloris floundering outside of his box, but the Italian couldn’t direct his shot towards goal.Tottenham came back into the game during the latter stages of the half. Nacer Chadli had a superb chance to score, but was foiled by Simon Mignolet, who parried his close range shot to safety.Liverpool doubled their lead on 49 minutes when Steven Gerrard coolly slotted home a penalty awarded for Eric Dier’s light challenge on Joe Allen.It was another Spurs star though who was at fault for Liverpool’s third. Andros Townsend’s first touch after coming on gave the ball straight to Alberto Moreno, who stormed half the length of the field and unleashed an unstoppable drive past Lloris to wrap up the match.The result sees Liverpool move up to fifth in the Premier League table, while Tottenham drop to sixth.
Bernadette PorterA nurse consultant from Raphoe has been awarded an MBE for her trailblazing work for patients with multiple sclerosis.Bernadette Porter who has been awarded an honorary award for services to nursing, has pioneered projects to help thousands of patients at The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London.She was the first nurse in the NHS to be appointed a multiple sclerosis nurse consultant in 2003. Bernadette, who has worked at the NHNN for nearly 25 years, said: “It was such a surprise for me to receive an award – and such an honour!“I feel very humbled and continually feel inspired by the people I meet who face a challenging disease like MS and live their life with such dignity.”“Around 3,000 people a year use the MS service at UCLH and it’s important to put patients at the centre of all we do. I try to really listen to what patients say about our services, to ensure they fulfil their needs.”She developed and spearheaded the use of new technology to give patients with neurological disability more control over their own lives and the care they receive. This is now due to be adopted elsewhere in the NHS. It included: a telephone triage/advice line staffed by specialist nurses; email advice service for GPs wishing to contact a consultant neurosurgeon and a video clinic linking the neurology team with the patient and local clinical team in the patient’s community.The original ‘NeuroResponse’ pilot in 2009 was supported by UCLH and the Young Foundation, a centre for social innovation.Bernadette said: “It has linked up people with MS with expert clinicians and patients tell us it has improved their quality of life by giving them the confidence to manage their condition.”Bernadette also paid tribute to her ‘excellent colleagues.’“I feel privileged to work with them,” she added. The Raphoe native, daughter of the late Joe and Kathleen Porter, trained in Dublin’s Richmond Hospital before moving to work in London in the late 1980s.Bernadette also won recognition at the British Journal of Nursing Awards 2011. She was chosen by a panel of respected judges as one of the top three nurses for clinical excellence and innovation in nursing.DONEGAL NURSE GETS MBE FOR TRAILBLAZING WORK was last modified: June 18th, 2013 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:Bernadette PorterMBE
When he turned l8, she asked him to be her personal assistant, making appointments, accompanying her places and generally seeing that her best interests were served. That was in l970 and he continued to work for her until she died, in l980, at the age of 87. Speculation and rumor about her promiscuity were untrue, he said, although she did nothing to discourage them. If it was good for the box office, she’d go along with it to a degree. “She never took her clothes off for a movie scene, though. She didn’t believe in that,” he said. “As for her spoken innuendos, it wasn’t so much what she said, as the way she said it.” She wrote most of her own material, he said. “She wrote a novel, plays, made a record album and was in the process of writing another book when she died,” he said. Her charitable contributions were mainly to the Catholic Church and the Salvation Army, he said, and she was always helping people who were down-and-out “to find jobs or in other ways.” “It was necessary for her to have bodyguards to protect her because she got threats. Most people just wrote into that what they wanted to. That’s what triggered all the snide comments about the young men that surrounded her,” said Malachosky. Her only family when she died was a nephew. “I am fortunate to have 250 of her gowns, many of her hats, some jewelry and some special pieces of furniture,” said Malachosky. It was a part of his life that he cherishes, Malachosky said. “She was truly an interesting and beautiful woman,” he said. Menus for the week at the senior life nutrition sites in Lancaster and Palmdale have been announced. All meals include bread, margarine andcoffee, tea or milk, for a suggested donation of $2. Monday: Cheeseburger or fish sandwich, macaroni salad, pork and beans,condiments, tapioca pudding. Tuesday: Chicken with mushroom sauce, wild rice, soup, Normandy vegetables, Caesar salad, orange. Wednesday: Roast beef, mashed potatoes, spinach, tomato rice soup, marinated salad, chocolate cake. Thursday: Great Northern beans with ham, cornbread, juice, parslied carrots, creamy coleslaw, Jell-O with fruit. Friday: Tamale pie, Spanish rice, green beans, tossed salad, apple juice, pears. This column disseminates news of interest to seniors of all ages. Bettie Rencoret may be contacted at (661) 943-2998, or messages may be left at the Antelope Valley Bureau Daily News offices, (661) 267-5742. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! QUARTZ HILL – Curvaceous cinema star Mae West was the subject and actor Paul Newman’s Painted Turtle Camp for chronically ill youngsters was the beneficiary when four dozen local seniors packed into a chartered bus recently, destination Simi Valley. The luncheon event was a Sierra Cahuenga District No. 15, California Federation of Women’s Clubs, fundraiser coordinated by the Quartz Hill Woman’s Club and featuring Lancaster’s Tim Malachosky, who was West’s personal assistant for 10 years before her death in 1980. Most people over the age of 60 (some even younger) still remember West as the curvy, blond sex symbol who conjured up erotic fantasies with her trademark invitation: “Why doncha come up an’ see me sometime?” Malachosky, now a skin-care consultant at a Lancaster salon, met the star when he was a Santa Monica high school student. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE‘Mame,’ ‘Hello, Dolly!’ composer Jerry Herman dies at 88 He wrote her a fan letter after he saw her featured in a big magazine spread. Two weeks later she responded by phone and invited him to come to her house. “I couldn’t believe it was really her,” he said. “I answered ‘Yeah, right!,’ until she said, ‘I really am Mae West, dear.’ Then I realized I wasn’t dreaming.” The teen worried that he wouldn’t be able to find her house “and about a dozen other things, too.” When he arrived, Malachosky said, “She had all these people over and she was sitting behind a glass partition. Everyone would go in, stay awhile and then they’d leave,” he said. “When I went in I was very nervous but she put me at ease, just by being down to earth and telling me she was happy to see me.” They talked a while, he said, and she asked him about his interests. She made him feel important and they became friends.
LENNON: DELIGHTED WITH VICTORY AT ABERDEENFROM NEIL DOHERTY: CELTIC avoided another potential banana skin in their bid to stay in control of the SPL by beating Aberdeen 2-0 at Pittodrie.Yet another young player from the increasingly extensive Celtic scouting system – Tunisian Lassad Nouioui – opened the scoring when he stroked into an empty net in the 73rd minute, having only come on for Kris Commons four minutes earlier.Charlie Mulgrew added a second against his former club three minutes later. It was a good day for a Rangers-less SPL as almost 19,000 fans turned up for the early kick-off.But a cracker on the field it wasn’t as the home side tried to contain Celtic.With Hibs losing the Hoops are back on top of the SPL as manager Neil Lennon hopes his Bhoys can be Lisbon Lions again with the Champions League trip to Benfica midweek.Celtic manager Neil Lennon has described his side’s upcoming Champions League trip to Benfica as the hardest match of the group. “This game will be the toughest of our group, they will be very motivated to beat us,” said Lennon, who rates next week’s game as tougher than the match against Barcelona.“We’re going to come up against a very motivated team at home, who are very impressive at home and who are going very well domestically.“If we can get through midweek with a draw or a win that would be marvellous.”Celtic are second behind Barcelona in Group G on seven points but are three points ahead of the Portugese side who took a point in their first encounter at Parkhead.“No-one would have expected us to beat Barcelona, it was a fantastic night, but it’s gone, it’s history,” said Neil. “I said to the guys, I’ll take you out in 20 years for a pint and we’ll talk about it, but it’s gone now and we want to qualify and that’s our whole focus.“I want to qualify now, it would mean so much to the club.“In the last 16 you just never know where it will take you.”Lennon was happy with the result today – following lost points in that last three domestic matches. “I put a powerful team out today because I felt we had to be physical,” he said.“I thought we had control of the game today for long periods, without quality at the end of it, but we got there.“It’s a huge three points for us. We looked a good team and it sets us up nicely for Tuesday.”And he was delighted with Tunisian Lassad Nouioui who has been riddled with injuries since joining the Hoops in the summer.“We really like the look of him,” said Neil.“He’s been unfortunate that he missed the pre-season and he’s just been picking up wee niggly injuries.“We’re trying to drip-feed him into the squad and that will have done his confidence the world of good.”THE HOOPS REPORT: LENNON DELIGHT AS CELTIC BEAT DONS 2-0 was last modified: November 17th, 2012 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:THE HOOPS REPORT: LENNON DELIGHT AS CELTIC BEAT DONS 2-0
A MERCHANDISING company based in Co Donegal could lose 100 workers after losing a major contract with Tesco – 50 of the jobs here in the county.Rock Shopfitting Services in Muff – which employs people from both sides of the Border – says it has lost out to a larger French company.MD Martin McCafferty said today that he feared the jobs losses as a result. “They don’t want to deal with local companies any more,” said Mr McCafferty.“Our merchandising side of the business is being hit. It will hit 50 jobs in Donegal and 50 in Derry.“They are being replaced by a new global company.”He said that Tesco had claimed they were too expensive – even though he says they know their services are cheaper. In a statement the company’s workers said on a new support Facebook page: “We have created this page to represent us and to highlight our plight over discrimination that threatens our work, lives and jobs.“If you support us then you support local firms doing local work and contributing to the local economy…you support families and communities.”The Facebook page is herehttps://www.facebook.com/pages/Petition-against-discrimination-of-Local-Firms-by-Tesco-PLC/148028802072592 FIFTY DONEGAL JOBS UNDER THREAT FROM TESCO AXE was last modified: August 27th, 2013 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:jobs losttesco
A CO Donegal plans to splash out on a new car and pay off some bills after scooping €49,200 on the Winning Streak TV Gameshow at the weekendThomas Monaghan from Lettercran, Pettigo, won the cash on Saturday evening.He is pictured here at the presentation of winning cheques were from left: Gerri Maye, Gameshow host; Thomas Monaghan, winning participant;Nigel Scully,Head of Sales, The National Lottery; Fidelma O’Riordan, The National The selling agent from Gallaghers Post Office, Main Street, Pettigo, Co. Donegal and Marty Whelan, Gameshow host. Thomas was born and bred in Donegal and his late wife was from Co. Tyrone. They lived in New York for 25 years and returned home to Donegal in 1979.They had one son who is also called Thomas. He is retired for the NY Police Department.Thomas drove a bus in New York for 23 years and retired in 1978. He buys several Scratch Cards every week.Thomas says he would like to change his car and pay some bills. DONEGAL MAN PLANS NEW CAR AFTER WINNING STREAK BONANZA was last modified: April 16th, 2012 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)