News

Dispute over human rights measure in Mountain View

Where some see liberties, others spot liabilities in U.N. declaration

When it comes to basic human rights, there's surely some fundamentals that most can agree on. For instance: Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security. Slavery, in all its forms, is patently illegal. Every person deserves to be treated equally.

As any high school student should know, these freedoms are guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution. Fewer might know these rights are also packaged in the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a 1948 document that outlines these same liberties as a framework for international law.

Yet these indisputable human rights have somehow become a matter of dispute in Mountain View. The U.N. declaration has become Exhibit A in a curious local debate over whether Mountain View should formally declare itself a "human rights city." That title would mean adopting the U.N. declaration as official city policy.

In doing so, Mountain View would be part of what advocates describe as a growing national movement of cities burnishing their commitment to respecting the dignity of all people by adopting the U.N. declaration in its entirety. Yet some City Council members and skeptics have approached the idea with caution, expressing fears that the city could be committing itself wholesale to a foreign set of laws and liabilities.

The idea of a human rights city originated with the city's Human Relations Commission, a seven-member group of volunteers tasked with providing advice on how Mountain View can bolster its social tolerance and inclusiveness. After conducting a series of study sessions earlier this year, the advisory commission voted to bring the idea to the City Council with the recommendation to sign the U.N. human rights declaration into law. The council reviewed the proposal at a July 7 joint study session with the Human Relations Commission.

One of the main backers on the Human Relations Commission, Chairman Lucas Ramirez, explained that becoming a human rights city is more than a symbolic gesture or a "feel good" exercise. He and his colleagues want to use the action as a springboard to promote diversity, outreach and transparency in local government. In that spirit, one idea would be for city staff to analyze the human rights impacts on actions brought before the council, he said.

"We would be voluntarily committing ourselves to advancing those rights," Ramirez explained. "It's an ambitious goal to completely revise the way the city reviews any item before making a decision."

The discussion came before the City Council for the first time last week in a study session in which the idea received a mixed response. Multiple council members admitted some degree of confusion over what they were being asked to approve. Council members Chris Clark and Pat Showalter explained they weren't entirely sure what the ramifications would be if they signed off on the idea. If the city wanted to promote social goals, becoming a human rights city might not be the best way to do it, Clark demurred.

"What are the legal implications of adopting these resolutions?" he asked. "If someone thinks that we passed an ordinance that conflicts with the (U.N. declaration), can they challenge it?"

City staff and experts in attendance gave assurances that the U.N. declaration would be nonbinding and would instead operate as a set of guiding principles. The state and federal constitutions would still take precedence, they said. Nevertheless, Community Resources Manager Kim Castro admitted the full implications hadn't been fully analyzed yet and council members would need to decide what approach they wanted to take.

The proposed action reflects a larger trend of human rights becoming a bigger concern at the local government level as well as in U.S. foreign policy dealings, said William Armaline, human rights director at the San Jose State University Department of Justice Studies. He described the significance of being a human rights city as framing the "context" to guide the city in future decision-making.

"At the local level, when a municipality passes a resolution to become a human rights city, (it is) similarly making a public statement concerning the spirit and intention of the (U.N. declaration)," Armaline wrote in an email. "In itself, such a resolution does not in any way undercut or supersede existing law."

In that regard, Mountain View had some examples to follow. Seven other U.S. cities have already declared themselves human rights cities, including the East Bay city of Richmond, Seattle and Eugene, Ore. In general, most cities have signed the U.N. declaration as a way to project their commitment to serving the community after some type of civil-rights violation spurred a public dialogue.

That kind of event hasn't occurred in Mountain View, Mayor John McAlister pointed out. Since local residents already had their freedoms enshrined in U.S. laws, formally adopting the U.N. declaration seems like a redundant gesture, he said.

"I haven't seen any incident where rights were taken away from anybody," he said. "I think you already have the tools to do what you want, but I haven't heard anything to say this would give us rights that we don't already have."

Other opponents perceived the U.N. declaration as a way to snooker Mountain View into adopting certain social policies.

"Basically, this is the U.N. agenda for socialism," said Councilman John Inks, making it clear he wouldn't be supporting the human rights declaration. He seized on one section of the declaration -- Article 29 -- stipulating that "everyone has duties to the community," as a warning that the document was really a guise to impose a political ideology on Mountain View.

That position was further stoked when local attorney Gary Wesley pointed out that the human rights language in the city's staff report had different wording from the original 1948 U.N. version, including the addition of protections for a person's sexual orientation and immigration status.

City staff later admitted they had mistakenly used the wrong language by including an updated working draft provided by an outside agency. Staff declined to say which agency provided the working draft.

A string of public speakers at the meeting encouraged the council to support the idea. But they and council members wholeheartedly in support of the human rights effort were unable to convince opponents of its merits.

Mountain View has no shortage of issues that involve human right concerns, such as a housing shortage and gentrification, said Councilman Ken Rosenberg. Shelter should also be seen as a human right, he said.

"This is bold; this is something where we take a stand as the government of Mountain View," Rosenberg said. "The idea that we'd put the rights and dignity of our residents forward should mean something. We might over time make better decisions for our citizenry."

The Human Relations Commission will continue to analyze the idea of making Mountain View a human rights city. The council urged the group to study what kind of impacts the decision would bring. The issue is expected to be brought back to the council sometime next year.

Comments

32 people like this
Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jul 19, 2015 at 11:12 pm

The 1948 UN resolution includes socialist entitlements (see articles 22-29) and only some of the so-called "rights" are binding on the United States under treaties ratified by the US Senate. Some activists want cities to endorse broad assertions of human "rights" to legalize otherwise illegal immigrants.


41 people like this
Posted by Jaime Hernandez
a resident of Whisman Station
on Jul 20, 2015 at 2:27 am

This article missed the point entirely. The issue is that Kim Castro slipped into the council packet a forged version of the 1948 UN resolution that had references to gay rights and "sexual expression". These weren't issues in 1948. She almost slipped this by council ... until Gary Wesley called it out. How did this happen? That's the story. The Post had a pretty good article on this attempted slight of hand, but they couldn't find out what happened. Somebody tried to pull a fast one. The Voice should be investigating this. Providing falsified documents to council is a serious matter.


38 people like this
Posted by Alex
a resident of Slater
on Jul 20, 2015 at 3:56 am

This is a clear example of political posturing, which is at best a waste of time and at worst an attempt to railroad us all into a UN-flavored utopia. It's time for the city council to stop playing and start attending to the business at hand. If this resolution passes, I'll be ashamed to admit that this happened in my city.


10 people like this
Posted by Em
a resident of Castro City
on Jul 20, 2015 at 3:57 am

Why is the lede buried in the third graph? Those same high school kids you write about could probably write a less flowery hook.


52 people like this
Posted by Jim Neal
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 20, 2015 at 3:30 pm

Jim Neal is a registered user.

Speaking entirely on my own behalf, I would first like to state that I strongly object to the characterization of those who disapprove of the UDHR as "skeptics" as it is a dismissive term intended to belittle and marginalize those who have valid objections.

Second, I was opposed to this from the very beginning and tried several times to have the issue tabled. I pointed out the fact that the government cannot grant rights, they can only take them away. A right is something that one is entitled to from birth and that any responsible government must act to secure such as the right to live and the right to be free.

We as citizens invest certain powers in our government to ensure that those rights are protected by all necessary means up to and including force (i.e police and military).

No one has a right to housing. Let me be clear about this, no one should be discriminated against for any reason when it comes to housing, but if housing is a right, then the government must provide housing for all those who want it. If they do not, then it cannot be said that it is a right. People should work and earn the money necessary to obtain the housing that they desire and the government, in a caring society should take whatever steps it can to assist people with locating and obtaining the housing people desire when possible, but it is not obligated to do so.

The government also cannot grant dignity to people. No one is dignified by receiving everything they want for free. Dignity comes from within and one's own feelings of self-worth and accomplishment. The thinking that the government bestows dignity upon people by divvying the resources of others and then handing them out to those deemed worthy is exactly the type of wrong-headed thinking that many of the UN articles exemplify.

I have included below the text of an e-mail that I sent to the City Council prior to the meeting. I was unable to attend because I am out of the country until the end of the month and the meeting was scheduled after I had already purchased my tickets:


______________________________________________
Web Link

What is a right?

A right is something that you are entitled to by birth such as the right to life or the right to be free.

In order to be meaningful rights must be enforced. For example, you may have a right to be free, but if you are forced to live as a slave, then what true meaning does that right truly have? Even if most people agreed that slavery was bad, there has to be some mechanism to enforce the right of a person to be free, beginning with laws and up to and including the use of force.



What are Human Rights?

According to the UN Website:

Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, whatever our nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, language, or any other status. We are all equally entitled to our human rights without discrimination. These rights are all interrelated, interdependent and indivisible.


Universal and inalienable

The principle of universality of human rights is the cornerstone of international human rights law. This principle, as first emphasized in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights in 1948, has been reiterated in numerous international human rights conventions, declarations, and resolutions. The 1993 Vienna World Conference on Human Rights, for example, noted that it is the duty of States to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms, regardless of their political, economic and cultural systems.

Human rights are inalienable. They should not be taken away, except in specific situations and according to due process. For example, the right to liberty may be restricted if a person is found guilty of a crime by a court of law.

Interdependent and indivisible

All human rights are indivisible, whether they are civil and political rights, such as the right to life, equality before the law and freedom of expression; economic, social and cultural rights, such as the rights to work, social security and education , or collective rights, such as the rights to development and self-determination, are indivisible, interrelated and interdependent. The improvement of one right facilitates advancement of the others. Likewise, the deprivation of one right adversely affects the others.

Both Rights and Obligations

Human rights entail both rights and obligations. States assume obligations and duties under international law to respect, to protect and to fulfill human rights. The obligation to respect means that States must refrain from interfering with or curtailing the enjoyment of human rights. The obligation to protect requires States to protect individuals and groups against human rights abuses. The obligation to fulfill means that States must take positive action to facilitate the enjoyment of basic human rights. At the individual level, while we are entitled our human rights, we should also respect the human rights of others.

________________

If with regard to the State, the State is interpreted as only the Federal Government, then these obligations can only be fulfilled by the Federal Government. If State is interpreted as the state in which one lives, such as California or New York, then the same applies to government at the State level. If however the state is interpreted as all levels of government front the federal to the local level, then all levels of government must participate and therefore are obligated by law to fulfill all the requirements heretofore stated.

_________________________________________


If Human Rights have no enforcement mechanism then what good are they? To say that Mountain View is a Human Rights City and to then fail to enforce those rights is meaningless.

There are several items in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that I think would be problematic if this resolution is adopted and implemented such as:

Article 22.

Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.

My understanding of this is that an International Social Security fund would be established whereby the monetary resources of all countries would be redistributed based on the strength of their economies. I do not believe this type of redistribution to be ethical nor moral as each time it has been attempted, it has resulted in massive economic and social failures such as Russia and Nazi Germany.







Article 23.

(1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
(2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
(3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.
(4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.


If one has the right to work and to free choice of employment, then does that not mean that everyone who wants a job is entitled to one, and that if they are unable to find work through their own means, then the State (or in this case city) must not only provide a job, but the job that one chooses for oneself?

If one has the right to just and favorable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, who makes that determination? The State/City? The one seeking the job? If one has a job that does not pay enough, is the State/City obligated to make up the difference between what the job pays and what was determined to be 'just and favorable remuneration'?

If one has the right to join a trade union, does one have a right NOT to join? There are some jobs that require one to join a union.


Article 24.

Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.

Will the State/City determine what is a reasonable limitation of working hours and which holidays must be observed or is it left to the individual? Who determines what is 'reasonable"?


Article 25.

(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
(2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.


Who determines whether or not the standard of living is adequate? Whose responsibility is it to provide food, clothing, housing, and medical care? Who determines the security to be provided in the event of sickness, disability and the other conditions listed? Why is widowhood singled out? Aren't women perfectly capable of caring for themselves or do we believe that the State/City needs to take care of women because they are incapable of doing so? The same applies to motherhood and childhood.


Article 28.

Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.


What does this mean? Who determines what the best social and international order is?


Article 29.

(1) Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.
(2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.
(3) These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.


What duties are being referred to here? The use of the word 'duties' to me, means that one is not free to choose whether or not one wants to perform those duties.

Who determines what the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare are? Whose morality should we follow? That of the Catholic Church? That of Islam? That of the Atheists?

If the rights and freedoms cannot be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations, then does that not override the principals and rights set forth in the Constitution of the United States?


There was a reason that those who created this country placed limits on government. The main reason was so that people could be free to make their own choices without interference. To make their own lives and to be free to succeed or fail. They were smart enough to know that it is impossible to guarantee equality of outcome, which is what I believe this document tries to do; but they wanted to instead guarantee equality of opportunity.

They realized that everyone is different, with different strengths and weaknesses, different abilities and thoughts. It is impractical if not impossible to make everyone exactly the same, and therefore people will achieve different results in life.

In my opinion, adopting this resolution will subject the city to the rules of the United Nations while simultaneously subsuming the Constitution which already guarantees many of the rights outlined by the UDHR. If we are unhappy with the Constitution, the framers created a mechanism called 'Amendments' that can be used to make changes to it. If we can decide to arbitrarily ignore those portions of the Constitution that we do not like, or to subsume it to the laws, rules or customs of others; then we also no longer have the protections that we are guaranteed by it and our rights that are protected by it cease to exist.



Full Definition of SOCIALISM

a way of organizing a society in which major industries are owned and controlled by the government rather than by individual people and companies

1
: any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods
2
a : a system of society or group living in which there is no private property
b : a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state
3
: a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done


If the HRC and the Council insist on adopting this resolution, then it is my belief that they should fully adopt it and outline how the new programs will be created to ensure:

1) That everyone who lives in Mountain View and wants a job will be provided with a job by the City, as well as the wages that the city intends to pay them.
2) Ensures that everyone who wants a home in Mountain View is provided with one by the city.
3) That all the responsibilities that the residents have to the city are clearly outlined and made available to the public
4) That the city create programs for mothers and children, and paid for from the general fund, to provide for their special care and assistance.
_____________________________________________________


I was very pleased to see that some on the Council shared my concerns and I am looking forward to further discussion on the matter.


Jim Neal
Old Mountain View


10 people like this
Posted by @Jim Neal
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Jul 20, 2015 at 3:47 pm

There was a reason I would never vote for you. Your overladen, windy, and ultimately nonsensical post proved (to me, at least) why my decision was a wise one.


26 people like this
Posted by OldMV
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 20, 2015 at 3:56 pm

"The road to Hell is paved with good [and idealistic] intentions. Don't vote for it. We don't need any UN propaganda in MV.


43 people like this
Posted by Bob
a resident of Slater
on Jul 20, 2015 at 4:00 pm

Jim Neal is spot on, and I am proud to have supported him in the reticent election. We don't need an HRC in MV. The HRC has had to justify their purpose for existing by coming up with things like this, a bad solution for a nonexistent problem in MV.


42 people like this
Posted by Reggie
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jul 20, 2015 at 4:05 pm

This whole "human rights city" declaration sounds like the sort of thing I would expect high school student government wannabes to be wasting their time on, not something that a real city with real problems should be attending to.

Thank goodness there are still some sensible members on the council who understand the proper role of government.


25 people like this
Posted by Cogito
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 20, 2015 at 4:57 pm

I remember commenting about this issue before, the only other time I've written a comment about a Voice article. I also remember Mr. Ramirez of the HRC was kind enough to respond to that previous comment.

With respect to Mr. Ramirez, the HRC, and the supporters of the adoption of the Human Rights city designation, I would ask the council to reject the proposal as I have concerns about just to what Mountain View would be committing itself.

Certainly, the debate over this issue demonstrates that there are resident concerns about the policies the City will have to consider adopting, some of which may cost taxpayer resources or affect quality of life, and begs the question whether a critical mass of residents would support having the UN human rights policies guide local policies. Mountain View is not Berkeley, after all, and there is something unfair about imposing a set of rules on its residents if a substantial majority wouldn't agree to them.

I actually consider myself to be moderately left of center politically and I'm sure I personally would agree with most of the guidelines, but I don't want the city to take on any quasi-regulatory guiding principles that even supporters declare are *NOT* meant to be purely symbolic. Instead, I'd like to see pros and cons of policies that affect the city and its residents be debated vigorously on individual bases, and not be passed "because human rights city."

As a final comment to Mr. Noakes, the author of this article: Whether intended or not, the tone of your writing drips with sarcasm toward the dissenters of the adoption of the designation. My hunch is that you know on some level that the ideals of what are considered human rights aren't being debated, but rather the effect of adoption of the designation. This is hardly a case of some tin-foil hat wearing crackpots standing against the overwhelming tide of history. As you noted, there have been only 7 U.S. cities to adopt the designation. It is not your role a journalist to dismiss this as some "curious local debate" when I'm certain you know there's more to it than that.


36 people like this
Posted by psr
a resident of The Crossings
on Jul 20, 2015 at 10:29 pm

Once again, I whole-heartedly support Jim Neal's statements regarding this foolish and sneaky attempt to get Mountain View to back more of the poorly considered bloviating of the UN, which serves to do nothing more than undermine the ability of the city to follow US law.

We have a stellar example to the north of what buying into this reckless behavior can result in when adopted. San Francisco loves to think of itself as so "progressive", so they deemed themselves a "sanctuary city". The result of this ignorance is the death of an innocent girl at the hands of the "protected class" of illegal aliens. If the criminal who took her life had been properly prosecuted and removed from the US in accordance with US law, she would still be alive. This is not the only case of a criminal alien taking the life of someone, simply because they were allowed to stay in this country, even though they should have been deported. I'm sure that an enormous lawsuit against the city for wrongful death is coming and I hope that the family is successful.

Do we REALLY think that sending Mountain View down the same path is what we should be doing? Wouldn't it be far better to support the laws of THIS country? Why should the city put itself in the position of following a document that is supportive of an agenda that has not been sanctioned by our legislative bodies, according to OUR laws? At the very least, this NOT something that we should put in the hands of the city council, especially since they have recently proven that they can't be trusted to carry out the will of the people with something so simple as the use of the streets running through our city.


37 people like this
Posted by Common sense
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 21, 2015 at 10:37 am

Good job, Jim Neal.

Seems it wasn't enough that a few people wanted to push a pet utopian charter (a longer, more sophisticated variation on "From each according to ability, to each according to need," but from a similar perspective).

No. What has elevated this episode from minor to memorable absurdity was the substitution of a carelessly edited (in places, it's actually illiterate) wishful "update" of the 1948 UN declaration, covering 2015 social issues. How could any "City staff" FAIL to notice 2015-era, politically-correct wording in a "1948" document? It's like when Vice President Biden declared, seriously, that after the 1929 stock-market crash "President Roosevelt" went "on television" to reassure the public. [Roosevelt wasn't president in 1929. Television was then decades in the future. How is it possible to get anywhere near high office while being so grossly historically ignorant?]

And yes, the DAILY POST both scooped this story and covered it far better, interviewing the principals and quoting from the weird revisionist document at length.


11 people like this
Posted by Embarrassed
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 21, 2015 at 1:01 pm

On behalf of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, I would like to apologize for the heartless comments from two of our neighbors above. This type of McCarthy era "Better Dead Than Red" thinking is fortunately not representative of our community. I'm glad that the council is making decisions that upset these types of people. It is proof positive they are on the right track!


27 people like this
Posted by Bob
a resident of Slater
on Jul 21, 2015 at 2:39 pm

@Embarrassed,
"If you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything", which you apparently have. No no need to apologize for your neighbors. Do you represent the Peoples Republic of Old Mountain View?


16 people like this
Posted by Steve
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 21, 2015 at 11:51 pm

Simply put, the United Nations is an utterly absurd institution. Consider for a moment that countries such as Saudi Arabia, Russia, China, and Pakistan - to name a few - are members of the UNHRC; It's beyond laughable. Quite frankly it's incomprehensible that anyone would seriously advocate that this city adopt anything from such a patently ridiculous organization.


30 people like this
Posted by Jim Neal
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 22, 2015 at 3:54 am

Jim Neal is a registered user.

I want to express my thanks to those of you who have spoken out to support me and to offer your own thoughtful comments on this matter. I think that this issue is far too important to be taken lightly or dismissed out of hand as some seem to want to do.

I was disappointed that this story failed to note that this issue was not a slam dunk in the H.R.C, nor was it a unanimous vote by any means. Although there was a significant amount of debate, so far, I have not heard any arguments that allay my concerns regarding the impact that all these new "rights" will have on the city or its residents.

It is also unfortunate that those who disagree with me have elected to engage in the anonymous, vicious, and unfounded personal attacks that I have come to expect from those who are incapable of putting forth cogent arguments, or who seek to distract others from the topic at hand, or who simply want to suppress the free expression and exchange of ideas.

I always use my own name when writing my opinions here because I think it is important for people to know who the opinions are coming from, and thereby be better informed as to the weight that opinion will have upon their own. I would be "embarrassed" to claim to speak on the behalf of an entire group of people, and yet not have the courage to use my real name.

I am open to discussing this issue with anyone whether they agree with me or not. If anyone has any valid counter-arguments or answers to the questions that I posed in my earlier post, I would love to hear them. I think that preserving everyone's rights is important, but we need to be clear on the difference between rights that can only be safeguarded by the government and the necessities of life that people need to provide for themselves (with or without limited government assistance).


Jim Neal
Old Mountain View


10 people like this
Posted by Senior Veteran
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 22, 2015 at 7:15 am

Did John Inks really say or imply this?
as a warning that the document was really a guise to impose a political ideology on Mountain View.

How amazing since he and fellow libertarians have been trying to impose their political ideology on this city for years!

I asked him one time is he wanted to get rid of the great "Socialistic" institution: Mountain View Public Library. His answer was basically yes, libraries should be private.

Luckily others on the council have kept him in check.


9 people like this
Posted by Senior Veteran
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 22, 2015 at 7:31 am

For Jim Neal:

You said: I pointed out the fact that the government cannot grant rights, they can only take them away. A right is something that one is entitled to from birth and that any responsible government must act to secure such as the right to live and the right to be free.

I think this is one of those political philosophies that works better on paper than reality.

In our very recent history, the people of California voted to take away Marriage Equality in the form of Prop 8. As President Jefferson said, beware the tyranny of the majority! Remember prior to the vote gays had the right to get married. As far as I know this is the first time in US history that rights were taken away by a popular vote.

It took the US government - Supreme Court -to finally grant Marriage Equality.

I further suggest you look at maybe the worst Supreme Court decision ever: Dred Scott. It took a civil war and the US government passing the 14th amendment to undo this travesty.

Since the original writing of the constitution, the US government has opened up civil rights to more and more people.

Otherwise, only white men who owned property would be voting today.


12 people like this
Posted by Steve
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 22, 2015 at 7:40 am

@senior veteran: Most cultural institutions (museums, symphonies, theater groups etc) in the United States are run by non-profits or foundations. Why should the library be any different?


21 people like this
Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jul 22, 2015 at 10:07 am

At some point, before you sign a contract, you might want to read it. Read not just the parts you like but the whole thing. Someone's "rights" may be your burdens, your income, your house and may be even at the expense of your life. Although it was only a "study session" on July 7 with no final vote planned, the Councilmembers had received letters warning that the devil was in the details. Yet, some Councilmembers had not even read Article 2 of the 30-article 1948 UN resolution. The version of Article 2 given to the City Council had been altered obviously. So were other provisions. Why? Because someone who read the resolution did not like some of the language. If you read it, you should have plenty of questions and concerns. Moreover, for some activists, talk of rights possessed by 7 billion "humans" will advance their agenda of legalizing persons in the United States illegally and inviting more unregulated immigration. Wake up Mountain View. There are thousands of cities in the USA. Don't let Mountain View become the 8th sucker to sign a contract or proclamation never read or understood.


21 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 22, 2015 at 11:06 am

John Inks and the others are correct in pointing out that the UN declaration should NEVER be signed. I'm very glad that John Inks speaks for reason on the council and that astute citizens identified the article's alterations.


7 people like this
Posted by senior Veteran
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 22, 2015 at 12:36 pm

@steve,

There are two problems with using non- profits for libraries:
All it would take for the richest citizens donating to the library to decide they did not like certain types of books, and ban them from the library.

Do you really think that a person associated with a religious organization would allow book critical to that organization? Library boards in small towns have enough trouble with this issue. Can you imagine a person constantly threatening to withhold support if he doesn't get his way?

Second, look at how much corruption that has been associated with non-profits, rivals and government corruption.

Do you also want to do away with the Department of Energy? That's a favorite institution to attack- but most people don't even know what the department does.

And being a veteran, I do believe in the common good or as the constitution says:
We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Sounds more socialistic than libertarian! Yes it really says promote the general welfare.


22 people like this
Posted by USA
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 22, 2015 at 2:12 pm

USA is a registered user.

Thanks, Jim. A life time of entitlements have left us with a twisted sense of rights and a disconnect between rights and responsibilities. It is good to revisit first principles.



5 people like this
Posted by Senior Veteran
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 22, 2015 at 4:09 pm

@USA
For me as a veteran, the worst twisted sense of entitlement I see is the way people expect to live in a safe country, and yet refuse to join the military or send sons and daughters to the military. Let someone else fight.

About 1% of the population in the US is handling all the military. Many are minorities looking for a way out of poverty. So USA, I hope you are a veteran, or right now encouraging your family members to join up. And if that is not possible, I'll see you over at the VA Hospital thanking the veterans who have kept the country safe.

Jim Neal, John Inks, Steve how about you two? I know the draft dodger on the city council will never do anything for veterans. Prove me wrong!


14 people like this
Posted by Steve
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 22, 2015 at 4:38 pm

@Senior Veteran: First of all, I would like to thank you for your service. It is thanks to service members like yourself that this is the most free country on the face of this planet, and one which offers the opportunity to anyone who is willing to apply themselves to become as successful as they wish to be. I say this as an immigrant and a minority who was fortunate enough to be allowed to emigrate to this country.

I would also like to add that I am neither a Libertarian, Democrat, or Republican.

Having said that, here is why I don't think your arguments hold water: What you basically saying in your first point is that rich and powerful people or entities can lobby a non-profit in such a way as to cause it to behave in a certain way. You do realize that this is exactly what happens with government officials?

The non-profit model has demonstrated tremendous success across the US. As I said just about all museums, symphonies etc are based on this model, and there is hardly any imposition of religious or non-religious viewpoints in most of these institutions. For example, I don't think you will find the American Museum of Natural History in New York not putting on a dinosaur exhibition because of pressure from religious groups, or the Metropolitan Museum of Art not displaying religious art because Atheists object.

To your second point. Let's just assume that your point is valid, and that non-profit corruption rivals that of government corruption (which I don't agree is the case). There is a huge difference and that is that the government has effectively infinite resources and the unique ability to use coercive power, including force to impose its will.

I don't know specifically if the Department of Energy or other government entities should be paired down or eliminated, it sure would be a great idea if we actually did a full audit of our government and figured out where we could be more efficient. But that is just not going to happen because there are just too many special interests that are lining our government officials pockets. Don't you find it the least bit strange that our elected representative can go into Congress with limited assets and exit as a multi-millionaires? How is that possible on a congressional salary?

I do know the DoE doesn't have a very good history of making investments, and I also know the both it and the DoD are two of the worst polluters in our country, but then again environmental rules don't apply to the government do they?

Finally, I think you're making a huge big step from the preamble to the Constitution to Socialism. There is certainly no indication that the writings of the "founding fathers" advocated a collectivist society

Are you advocating for Socialism?


5 people like this
Posted by Senior Veteran
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 22, 2015 at 9:25 pm

@steve

Are you saying the constitution is Socialism?

This is what I wrote-

I do believe in the common good or as the constitution says:
We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Also I stand by me statements, Non-profits are subject to corruption and undue pressure from donors, as well as being very political. Just pointing out all the reasons we should not turn over libraries to a non-profit. By the way do you know the only organization that keeps non-profits in- line? It's the IRS

DOD and energy department? Please state your sources.

Are you saying we should get rid of DOD?

Of course I find it amazing that politicians line their pockets. What I find more amazing is low voter turn out. We get the government we deserve.

What I would like to get rid of is selfish libertarians and antigovernment types who refuse to realize how much good the government does and can do if we the citizens ave vigilant.

People get outraged at food stamps, but when Billionaires pay 12% in taxes there is no outrage..

Don't thank me for your service you just sound selfish to me, like I said go volunteer at the VA hospital. Those veterans gave to the country and now it's your turn to give a little.

Yes I believe everyone has an obligation to the community, as long as some are sent to fight wars, those who do not serve should be doing something!





23 people like this
Posted by Jim Neal
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 23, 2015 at 3:09 am

Jim Neal is a registered user.

What I said about rights is not a "political philosophy". If our rights consist only of those things that the government allows us to do, then those "rights" will be forever at the whims of the political climate of the time or to those in in power. The very issues cited regarding Marriage Equality and the Dred Scott decision prove my point! If the government fails to protect the rights of the people as they are charged to do, then it is the responsibility of the people to change that government (through elections of course).

Also, I covered the fact that there are ways to change the Constitution through the "Amendment" process as the framers knew that it was not a perfect document and would need changes over time to deal with changing situations. However, they also made the process difficult because they wanted to ensure that the final decision on any changes rested with the people, which is why any amendment requires ratification by 3/4 of the states and a super-majority of the house and senate. A method NOT included however was to have the Constitution superseded by foreign or international law or resolutions.

As far as the government (in the form of The Supreme Court) 'granting" the right of marriage equality, that is an erroneous statement. The Supreme Court (ostensibly) cannot create rights, they can only act to safeguard the rights of the people protected by the Constitution. Note that the 9th Amendment to the Constitution states:

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

This was done expressly to emphasize that the Federal Government was to be limited to its enumerated powers (which unfortunately is largely ignored today).

With regard to the preamble to Bill of Rights:

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.


Many people misinterpret "promote the general welfare" as "provide welfare. If that were the case, the Federal Government would have had a welfare department from the very beginning. Here is the true background of that phrase:

n one letter, Thomas Jefferson asserted that “The laying of taxes is the power, and the general welfare the purpose for which the power is to be exercised. They Congress are not to lay taxes ad libitum for any purpose they please; but only to pay the debts or provide for the welfare of the Union. In like manner, they are not to do anything they please to provide for the general welfare, but only to lay taxes for that purpose.
In 1824 Chief Justice John Marshall described in obiter dictum a further limit on the General Welfare Clause in Gibbons v. Ogden: "Congress is authorized to lay and collect taxes, &c. to pay the debts and provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States. ... Congress is not empowered to tax for those purposes which are within the exclusive province of the States."

So as you can see, the "General Welfare" was in regard to the United States as an entity and not as a supplier of funds to individuals.

I have to admit, I am very confused about what joining the military has to do with the UDHR discussion, but that being said I am very proud to say that my father was in the Air Force and I also proudly served in the Air Force and my ex-wife worked (and still works for) the VA so I understand Veterans issues quite well. Unlike many other Government functions that were added later, "Providing for the Common Defense" is actually one of the aforementioned enumerated powers of the Federal Government.

As for the rest of the ad hominem personal attacks on myself and others, I think they speak volumes by themselves.



Jim Neal
Old Mountain View



9 people like this
Posted by the_punnisher
a resident of Whisman Station
on Jul 23, 2015 at 5:12 pm

the_punnisher is a registered user.


I'll repeat my post because this is the same topic with a new name:

Having had to defend MARX and MARXISM in my formal debate class final exam, I just have some recommendations before the City of Mountain View makes a possible FATAL choice:

Read " Animal Farm " by George Orwell. Read " 1984 " by the same author. That " 1984 " book was written in 1948 which was why the title was given to that book. We are actually seeing examples of the " reasons to re-educate " here NOW.

TANSTAAFL: WHO PAYS? That is the problem & the Iron Lady said it best:


"The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money."

― Margaret Thatcher

Many Socialist countries have confiscated the rich people's wealth stating
" You do not DESERVE this money, your State will do a better job spending it equally to EVERYBODY ". So what will happen to your wealthy neighbor, your wealthy neighborhoods? Smart people are leaving the US now and taking their ideas and money elsewhere.

Some more data:

Web Link

That data is eight years old!

Is MV going to secede from the Union? Tax Google ( and other businesses ) out of existence? Give every person Fast, Free Internet ( Googlenet is verrry sloooow ). How about phone service? Everyone gets FREE PV Systems on their roofs! Free and plentiful water!

"In a higher phase of communist society, after the enslaving subordination of the individual to the division of labor, and therewith also the antithesis between mental and physical labor, has vanished; after labor has become not only a means of life but life's prime want; after the productive forces have also increased with the all-around development of the individual, and all the springs of co-operative wealth flow more abundantly—only then can the narrow horizon of bourgeois right be crossed in its entirety and society inscribe on its banners: From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs! "

-Karl Marx ( not Groucho )


Think hard and long before signing your future away.

UPDATE: The $15 minimum wage in select cities is already affecting small ( mom & pop ) business. Many are either dropping the " brick and mortar " storefronts or asking users to " join a club " and pay monthly dues. ( kinda like a business subscription that a certain type of media is trying )

More Update: Cities trying SHARIA LAW BANKING for Muslims. ( An OPEN type of Socialist behavior ).


7 people like this
Posted by OldMV
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 23, 2015 at 5:30 pm

"The road to Hell is paved with good [and ignorantly idealistic] intentions. Don't vote for it. We don't need any Communistic UN propaganda in MV, nor do we need any supporters of UN propaganda. Let them move to SF where they belong.


3 people like this
Posted by Senior Veteran
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 23, 2015 at 9:18 pm

@Jim

There is so much wrong with what you are saying I am still working on a response. But there is one letter above that needs addressing first and I hope you will also speak out about this issue.

@the_punnisher wrote

More Update: Cities trying SHARIA LAW BANKING for Muslims. ( An OPEN type of Socialist behavior ).

This is just not TRUE, but facts will never replace the paranoia, and craziness of ideas like this.

Web Link

You ask why I bring up being a veteran, because I would not have any credibility without being a veteran. I've already been accused of promoting socialism. I just want to promote tolerance for everyone.

I also think you are playing work games with "grant." Here is the google definition:

grant
ɡrant/
verb
1.
agree to give or allow (something requested) to.
"a letter granting them permission to smoke"
synonyms: allow, accord, permit, afford, vouchsafe
"he granted them leave of absence"
antonyms: refuse
give (a right, power, property, etc.) formally or legally to.
"the amendment that granted women the right to vote"
synonyms: give, award, bestow on, confer on, present with, provide with, endow with, supply with
"he granted them $20,000"
2.
agree or admit to (someone) that (something) is true.
"he hasn't made much progress, I'll grant you that"
synonyms: admit, accept, concede, yield, allow, appreciate, recognize, acknowledge, confess; agree

Hopefully later, I will have fuller answers for some of the other things you have said for instance:

There is no mention of the Marines nor Air Force in the enumerated powers- shall we eliminate those services?

Oh wait that's covered under the Necessary and Proper Clause.


13 people like this
Posted by Steve
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 23, 2015 at 9:46 pm

@ Senior Veteran,

I thought we were having a reasonable discussion, I don’t understand why you have to personally attack me by calling me selfish, and suggesting that I should give a little. You have no idea what I do, or what I give, so I think your attacks are unfounded and unfair.

Furthermore, I absolutely am not saying that the Constitution is socialist. Quite the opposite. I stated that I highly doubted that the founders of this country had a collectivist society in mind. In fact it was *you* who suggested that the the constitution was socialistic. Of course you conveniently neglected to include the the last line of your comment in your response. Let me refresh your memory: “Sounds more socialistic than libertarian! Yes it really says promote the general welfare.” I answered your question. You didn’t answer mine: Are you advocating for socialism?

Sources for DoD and Energy department being polluters. Just Google “Federal government polluter”. I assure you that there will be enough material to keep you busy reading for quite a while

Please tell me you see the irony in pointing out that the IRS is ensuring that non-profits are “kept inline”. My goodness talk about an organization that has been used by politicians (from both the left and right) for decades as a hammer against their opponents - it’s almost a sport. Besides, have you seen the absolutely scandalous interest rates and absurd penalties that the IRS charges average citizens for making the simplest of mistakes? Or what about the criminal use of asset forfeiture laws to confiscate the property of innocent people? Google is your friend, try doing some searches - you’ll find it enlightening.

You also admit that you find it amazing that politicians line their pockets. Thus you admit there is corruption at the highest levels of our government. These same politicians have over the past half century driven this country into massive debt: over 17 trillion and almost 100 trillion if you add in unfunded mandates - that is promises that have been made but for which there is simply no money. Debt matters - just ask Greece. No matter who has been in power - Democrat or Republican, the slope of the curve has ultimately been the same. Yes there have been blips here and there, but the fundamental trajectory has remained the same. How can anyone with any common sense advocate more of the same? Isn’t that the definition of insanity?

You said something very interesting about folks not understanding “…how much good the government does and can do if we the citizens ave vigilant.” Yes of course government is necessary and can do good, but isn’t being vigilant pointing out the failings of the government and trying to correct them? Isn’t being vigilant trying to find inefficiencies and fixing them? Isn’t being vigilant shining light on the corruption? Being vigilant does not equal sticking ones head in the sand and thinking that all the promises that are being made to us can be fulfilled. Sadly, we as a people have been anything but vigilant and that’s why we have such an inefficient, cumbersome and expensive government at the federal, state, and local levels. Consider for example that at the federal level we have over 47 jobs programs run by nine different agencies - not my numbers the GAOs numbers - or that within our own state there are about 500 state agencies, departments and commissions. And what about the many government anti-poverty programs? Over 22 trillion dollars spend since the mid-sixties and the poverty rate has remained essentially the same (15%) - yet we keep doing the same thing over and over and over again. Please don’t say that it would be much worse if these programs were not in place, it is equally possible that it could have been much better. The point being that it is impossible to prove a negative. In fact the poverty rate declined most from 1950 (32%) to the late 1960s - before major programs created by LBJ kicked in (17% in 1965), and have since stagnated. That’s just a fact, and that’s census bureau data.

Finally, what exactly do you mean by getting rid of “libertarian and antigovernment” types? Are you suggesting that perhaps they should be sent to re-education camps or the gulag - or perhaps something worse? Don’t you hear yourself? You are basically suggesting that if someone doesn’t agree with what the government is doing, or how it is doing it, they should be “gotten rid of”. Seriously where does that line of thinking end?


20 people like this
Posted by Common sense
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 24, 2015 at 9:58 am

Jim Neal posted some long comments here, but mostly because he quoted from the US Constitution, Jefferson, etc.

"Senior Veteran," in contrast, is just long -- even while writing statements like

"@Jim There is so much wrong with what you are saying I am still working on a response" and "Hopefully later, I will have fuller answers for some of the other things you have said..."

The post from which I quoted those two sentences was already two screenfulls. Please! Leave it. We get that you disagree with these people, without elaborating yet further, at even greater length. Few if any will read it anyway.

"Vigorous writing is concise." (Strunk & White)


7 people like this
Posted by OldMV
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 24, 2015 at 5:06 pm

Mountain View does not need this Communist "manifesto" passed by the UN in 1948. It especially does not any language by added by unscrupulous special interests lawyers about the so-called rights of illegal immigrants and the LGBTQ community. This could result in all sorts of legal problems for MV from "social advocacy" lawyers and lawsuits. The MV City Council must reject this ultra-lib power play decisively to protect its citizens and their legal rights under CA and US rule of law.


6 people like this
Posted by Proof Positive
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 25, 2015 at 12:33 am

The disgusting responses above prove the city is doing the right thing about signing on. Hopefully, this will drive the few remaining right-wing racist and anti-Semites from our neighborhoods.


12 people like this
Posted by Jim Neal
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 25, 2015 at 10:45 am

Jim Neal is a registered user.

As usual, unsubstantiated charges of racism and antisemitism are loosely thrown about in order to attempt to discredit those with valid concerns. Since I am Black, I find those comments to be amusing but unhelpful. Why is it that the name calling and personal attacks originate overwhelmingly from one side? I am still hoping that I will read more thoughtful input from those that are in favor so I can make sure that I have all the relevant data. Thus far though I haven't seen any new facts.


Jim Neal
Old Mountain View


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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