What’s not to like?

OK, so now we have three Democrats who want to challenge U.S. Rep. Elton Gallegly because they don’t like the direction the country is going in. Let’s see. Since May 2003, the economy has added millions of new jobs. The unemployment rate is down to 5 percent — lower than the average for the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. More Americans now own their homes and minority home ownership is near record highs. Real disposable income is up and consumers are confident. New orders for durable goods have risen sharply and shipments of manufactured goods are up. Over the past four and a half years, productivity has grown at its fastest rate since the 1960s and small businesses are thriving.

What’s not to like?

Clark Johnson, Fillmore

Know-nothing Democrats

I just saw another letter from another know-nothing Democrat about how Congressman Elton Gallegly and the nation’s Republican Congress have been cutting veteran benefits. Only Democrats can look at a $20 billion increase in the Veterans Administration budget over five years and call it a cut.

Joyce Altaffer, Simi Valley

Sunny days ahead

In a major victory for renewable energy and the people of California the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) voted to pass the most sweeping and comprehensive solar legislation in the history of the United States. The state of California will become the major player in the global solar market with recent passage of the California Solar Initiative (CSI).

The CSI will provide 3.2 billion dollars in funding for installing solar systems on homes and businesses. This program has the goal of installing a total of 3,000 megawatts of electric generation on a million roofs around the state. This 3.2 billion investment is calculated to produce over 10 billion in savings for California energy users, and is a stellar example of excellent long term public policy. Governor Schwarzenegger and the CPUC deserve our thanks for helping California to become a global leader in clean, domestically made, renewable, solar electric energy.

Michael Lind, Ojai

Stop Pombo

For more than 30 years the Endangered Species Act has been successful at preventing the extinction of species such as bald eagles, grizzly bears and manatees. In fact, only nine out of 1,800 animals listed as endangered under the act have been declared extinct, making it one of the most successful pieces of legislation ever.

However, under the guise of reform, Rep. Pombo (R-CA) recently pushed legislation through the House of Representatives that could actually lead to more wildlife extinctions and undermine our national commitment to protecting endangered plants and animals. Rep. Pombo’s bill, H.R. 3824, is a series of loopholes that encourage oil companies, large-scale developers, mining corporations, and even the federal government to dodge their responsibility and engage in reckless, poorly-planned projects that harm our nation’s land and wildlife.

The Pombo bill chips away at protections for species and habitat to the point where the Act loses all significance. Such changes would jeopardize some of our earth’s most endangered inhabitants and threatens our natural heritage: our wildlife.

So we must ask our Senators Feinstein and Boxer to stop the Pombo bill in the Senate. The Endangered Species Act has been too successful in saving rare plants and animals from extinction to be gutted by one Congressman’s shortsighted bill.

Andrew Adams, Riverside