All week I’ve been trying to decide what was best to write about. I gear my column toward Baby Boomers, who, for the most part, were wiped out by the recession in the hopes that what I’m experiencing can be a glimmer of hope for those whose journey may mirror my own. In my next column I will write about the consequences of life. People our age are dying, like Ray Manzarek of the Doors who just died this week. But, life goes on no matter what our contributions to society are.I continue to work part time but have decided to take early retirement. There are those that would want me to feel guilty for living off the teat of government. I don’t look at it that way. The money that I contributed to Social Security all these years was supposed to go into a lock box of sorts and be there for me when I chose to retire. It’s not my fault that, over the years, our Congress decided to rob the Social Security funds. Besides giving the fund IOU’s, the Social Security Department apparently decided to give Social Security funds to people, that in my opinion, didn’t contribute. When I go to the Social Security office and see a few older folks like me waiting to be seen and the rest of the place is filled with immigrants and kids running around, I just scratch my head and say “what are all these young immigrants doing in here”?
I am a rare bird. I am a conservative columnist. Luckily I have the support of the owners of this paper. Believe me, being a conservative writer has its drawbacks. For the most part I’ve learned that although liberals campaign for free speech, if my free speech doesn’t jive with their ideology, they want to shut me up. I could give you some real horror stories of my experiences with the left but for now, watching what is going on in Washington with all the scandals is some small justification for some of my previous columns.
Because I write about my experience living part time in Mexico, in the past I’ve been excoriated by the left for writing about the government’s bungled attempts to shut down the Second Amendment through the Fast & Furious debacle. The investigation of Fast & Furious was shut down by a Presidential Executive Order giving immunity to Attorney General Eric Holder. President Obama wrote that executive order allowing all the evidence in that case to be locked down from our own Darrell Issa’s Oversight Committee in the House of Representatives. But, with these new scandals involving Benghazi, the Associated Press and the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups, the President can no longer justify writing executive orders barring Congress from investigating these latest scandals.
Other conservatives like me have known what was going on in the government but have been marginalized by the mainstream press or personally attacked by readers who have been blinded by the charisma of President Obama. I lived through the Nixon debacle when Nixon was caught on tape saying he wanted to use the IRS to go after his enemies. But, that’s as far as his involvement with the IRS went. He only talked about it. This administration actually acted upon an enemies list and encouraged the IRS to do their bidding. The President has not yet been implicated but his Chief of Staff knew about it nearly two years ago. This whole mess will be very interesting to watch since I too have been targeted as well.
Being a real estate developer, before being wiped out by the recession, I have experienced being targeted and “slow walked.” Anyone wishing to obtain approvals and permits to build a housing subdivision in this County are taken through the mill dealing with all the governmental agencies including Fish & Game at the State level and Fish & Wildlife at the Federal level. “Green” entities seem to just fly through the process with their projects, but a “black hat” developer can expect everything including the kitchen sink thrown at them.
I was involved in a project that was on 110 acres in Vista. We started the approval process for 47 homes on approximately 40 percent of the property leaving the remainder of the property for the bugs and birds. It was a beautiful design with environmental concerns addressed thoroughly. We commenced the project in 2001. The environmental agencies had us change the design of the project seven times. By the time we received approval in 2011 (yes, 10 years and many hundreds of thousands of dollars in studies later), we were scolded by the County Board of Supervisors. They said that our project was just another bland subdivision.
Our initial design had meandering single loaded streets with tons of open area for the endangered birds. But, one of our earliest design changes was demanded by the environmental agencies. They reasoned their changes by saying “the birds will have to fly over houses to get from one habitat to the other.” I kid you not. The environmental agency had us redesign the subdivision because the birds were going to have to fly. I thought that was what birds do. Nonetheless, being targeted is no fun so I totally empathize with the groups targeted by the IRS as well as the journalists in the AP and Fox News cases for having their phone records seized.
We baby boomers need to be concerned about the kind of country our kids and grandkids will live in. We need to take a chance and speak up when injustices are being done. Life is too short, but it doesn’t mean we have to shut up when we know something is wrong. We want our peace but not at the cost of losing freedoms that our forefathers fought so hard to keep in place just for us.