I was taken aback by two things relating to the George Floyd murder. First, there has to a recognition that the officers involved exceeded the bounds of appropriate police behavior. But second, we seem to have lost our ability to have a civil discussion about a real issue. I am pretty sure that Senator Tim Scott's bill on police reforms was not perfect. I am equally sure the alternative which Senator Kamala Harris was not either - but in olden days the two sides would have had a substantive debate on the floor of the Senate about the alternative approaches. But 45 members chose to throw the discussion into the fray in November ignoring the immense benefit that such a public discussion could have on having all of us think about the issues here. It is not hard to wonder why Congress is held in low esteem.
Also, yesterday I spent part of my afternoon with a Zoom call for the Common Sense Party - its leader is Tom Campbell - who combines brains and ethics. Tom was a superb member of the California Senate and then a member of Congress. Most of his politics closely align with mine (he is socially liberal and fiscally conservative) but he also spends a lot of time trying to think out the right solution for a variety of issues. Normally, in order to qualify for status a party needs about 65,000 signatures and the party was well on its way to getting those pre-Covid. Tom told the group that they had filed against the Secretary of State to waive the requirements. If the suit is successful the party could begin as soon as this fall. WIth the way term limits work over the next couple of years it could offer a set of candidates in the 2022 elections and beyond. I think Californians are not big fans of either the Dems nor the quickly declining GOP. (Turns out that a fast growing party in the state is the American Independent Party - which is a remnant of an earlier conservative party but evidently a lot of Californians (a bit more than 550,000 voters) think by registering with them they are declaring their independence. If you are a Californian you might want to check out their site. - https://cacommonsense.org/
But enough of that discussion. This week, I completed a chapter for the book I have discussed and am presenting it below. It is now one of 28 chapters completed. The book will be divided into three sections - one on family; one on ideas that drive me; and one on questions of interest to either me or our daughter. So here is a sneak peak at one of the efforts I have been doing for the last few months:
One of OHP’s sons, Harry M. Archer (1868-1954), was a physician, who after a short career as a medical examiner for a New York Life insurance company, became the chief medical officer for the Fire Department of New York. Harry, was my grandmother’s dad. When I first became interested in finding out about my family, I wrote to the then mayor of New York, Ed Koch, who I had known slightly in Congress, and he sent me back a magazine about Harry Archer, which detailed his career with the NYFD 2 years after his death. My grandmother’s mother (Helen Louise) died relatively young suffering an embolism in a department store. Harry went on to marry a woman named Emily June who most of the family did not like. She had been a secretary to Harry. She evidently treated Nana, my grandmother poorly. Emily June was horrid. She was reported to have had the habit of donning her fur coat, jumping into her red sports car to collect rents from the tenants in the tenements that they owned. She evidently reveled in evicting people who could not pay.
Grace (Nana), my grandmother, grew up in luxury. When Harry died he donated his home in Manhattan to the NYFD. It is still used as a fire station today. When we were in NY for cousin Claude’s wedding we went by and visited the site. Technically, that house would revert to our family if the NYFD ever decided to decommission the fire station.