Email letters, October 16, 2013
Neither party feels much need to follow Constitution
Is Colorado the Capital of Upside Down World? We have anti-smoking ads that point out how harmful and dangerous cigarettes are, yet we pass a law that encourages the consumption of marijuana cigarettes. Our laws encourage users and producers of mind-numbing drugs to come to Colorado, and encourage hunters and producers of guns, ammo and accessories to stay away or move away. Personally, I’d feel much safer living next door to a gun-owner then to a user of mind-altering drugs, but that’s just me. I suppose others would feel just the opposite.
I hear President Obama blames the shutdown of the government on the House Republicans. By refusing to negotiate unless 100 percent of their demands are met, the House Republicans are in essence “holding a gun to my head,” says Obama.
But I also see that Republicans have been negotiating like there’s no tomorrow (or more accurately, negotiating away tomorrow by capitulating to Obama) and have passed eight bills, which Obama is ignoring until 100 percent of his demands are met. I understand this is called “blackmailing Obama.”
Since our nation is not 100 percent in favor of Obama’s agenda, I suppose it makes sense for him to try to punish everyone. When he punishes his fellow socialists, it doesn’t make them angry with him, but instead they become angry with those who feel we should obey the U.S. Constitution rather than Obama. Unfortunately, neither the Democrat nor the Republican leadership feels much need to follow the Constitution.
Mikolai has ably guided D51 through tough financial times
We wish to acknowledge and support the recent endorsements of school board candidates, John Williams and Tom Parrish, by The Daily Sentinel and the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce. We agree with their assessments of the talents and expertise that these two candidates will bring to the school board, if they are elected.
We wish, however, to urge voters to consider carefully the proven leadership that candidate Greg Mikolai has to offer at this critical time for our local public schools. Of the two candidates running for District E, only Mikolai has had to balance serious financial constraints with government mandates, while serving the needs of a very diverse student population and at the same time, improving student performance and outcomes in a public K-12 school setting.
As described in detail by outgoing school board member, Leslie Kiesler, in a guest editorial that ran Sunday, Oct. 13 in The Daily Sentinel, District 51 continues to be a leader statewide in the struggle to meet these often competing objectives.
It has only been through collaborative efforts among teachers, administrators and the community, and with the effective and visionary leadership of Greg Mikolai, that these goals have been and will continue to be met.
Over the last few years, when District 51 had to cut $30 million from the budget, it put people’s livelihoods and children’s education at stake. Due in large part to Mikolai’s excellent leadership as school board president, and the cooperation of other board members, the board was able to keep the cuts as far away from students as possible.
Although much progress has been made, the financial and educational challenges faced by School District 51 have not ended. This is a time to build on recent successes and
support the growth and maturation of creative efforts recently implemented and embraced by teachers, parents, administrators and students. It is not a time to change leadership.
Mikolai has demonstrated he is a strong leader who analyzes every issue thoroughly and makes informed decisions. On behalf of the members of Strong Schools, Strong Communities, we urge you to re-elect him.
Fix country’s problems by voting
I keep reading letters from people on who’s to blame for the shape that the United States of America is in.
Part of it is my fault for not forcing out the people that are dragging this great country down. The other blame goes to the people that can’t get past their party affiliations and vote for people better suited for running this country.
So, if you want to blame someone, then look closely and see who’s done what before saying it’s all this party or the other party. There’s only one way to fix this country’s problems and that is to be informed and VOTE. If you don’t vote, then sit back and enjoy the ride, because right now we’re in the bar-ditch.
City, county, district need money, but businesses unwelcome
Every day I read in the paper or hear in the news, that Mesa County, the city and School District 51 need more money.
At one time we had the refinery west of town, the power plant east of Palisade and Grand Junction Steel Fab. In the last few years, some oil companies have been trying to develop oil shale and some gas companies have been drilling for gas. These companies helped put money in and gave jobs to people.
But our government has driven these businesses out, along with the money paid in wages taxes etc. So, now the county, city and school district want the people to dig deeper for the revenue they run off. This criterion fits all government.
I heard in the new that the federal administration in place now has no intention to develop our own oil; they said we need to raise gasoline to $7 to $8 a gallon in line with Europe. Government needs to rethink where the money is really earned in the first place.
Douglas County school board reduced staff, pay insidiously
Recently I spoke with two retired high school teachers from Douglas County Schools and was greatly enlightened. When tea party Republicans took control of the Douglas County board of education, teachers were not fired or given pink slips. The staff and salary reduction was done in an insidious way. First, the board refused to negotiate any ongoing master contract with the teachers’ organization. The salary schedule was eliminated, and a free-market-based pay system was initiated.
What does this new pay system look like? In the Douglas County school district a teacher’s salary is determined by whether or not the subject being taught is considered essential or nonessential. Math, science and physics are considered to be essential. A new math teacher out of college receives $3,000 to $4,000 more than a four-year English teacher whose subject is considered to be nonessential. Social Studies teachers are considered to be a dime a dozen as well.
Some teachers have not received a pay increase in four years to even cover cost of living increases. Salary amounts are set arbitrarily and capriciously, and no teacher input is allowed whatsoever. This situation has caused teachers to leave in droves and it is NOT typical teacher turn over as Sluder and others assert. Of course, the DCBOE can righteously claim that no firing was done, that teachers are leaving of their own accord.
Also, the Douglas County board of education in its pursuit of “excellence” has lowered high school graduation requirements. Students are not required to take as many hours as in the past in order to graduate. Typically, students have two free hours per day to roam without any class time or instruction. Many Douglas County parents are rightly upset because they envision their sons and daughters will have difficulty being admitted to colleges without the required high school courses.
Jeff Leany was heard to say, “… there is not a single thing we’re doing (in School District 51) to be proud of.” I ask Leany, “Is this what we in School District 51 want to emulate?
Candidates’ acceptance of money from Denver billionaire is troubling
I have spent most of my life here. No issue raises the hackles of Western Slope people more than the Eastern Slope people messing with us: our water, our funding our politics.
I was very suspicious when I learned a billionaire from Denver, Ed McVaney, was the biggest contributor to the campaigns of John Sluder, Michael Lowenstein and Pat Kanda campaigns for School District 51. Why would someone from the Eastern Slope meddle with a school board election in Mesa County?
I’m not bothered that MVEA and was a big contributor to Tom Parrish’s and Greg Mikolai’s campaigns. If teachers want to
support them, it makes sense for the teachers’ organization to contribute. Those teachers live and work here. They understand the strengths and weaknesses of our local school district.
What business does a billionaire from Denver have in our local election? Unless, of course, he hopes to “do
business” here. Unless, of course, he’s hoping buy our school board and then be able to expand the charter schools he owns. I say Western Slope issues need to be resolved by Western Slope people!
Can we really trust candidates who can’t raise enough funds locally and have to get funds from someone living on the Eastern Slope? Sluder, Lowenstein and Kanda have walked into a hornet’s nest by accepting McVaney’s money.
Americans now in an era of redistribution
While reading the letters and articles in the paper this morning, a couple of issues crossed my mind. Why are any of our public lands closed during this “shutdown,” and how divided are we as a country?
First of all, the apparent “shutdown” and “imminent default” we are facing has given our government officials an opportunity to close down federally controlled lands and monuments in an effort to “make as hard as possible on the people.” Why aren’t we taking this opportunity for the states to take our lands back and permanently remove the need for federally “managed” lands? Why aren’t our state representatives, along with our federal representatives, introducing legislation to return control of our public lands to the states and people? If you are not convinced how our federal government is going dictate to you how our lands will or will not be used in the future, you are sadly misinformed.
Secondly, not since the Civil War has this country been so divided. Just before the Civil War, the Whigs and Democrats in Congress were not in favor of abolishing slavery. The Republican Party replaced the Whigs in 4-5 years, but not until there was violence on the floors of Congress. Of coarse, slavery was abolished after the Wigs were replaced. Are we reliving history now? Are we seeing a new party emerge to replace the Republicans? Let’s all hope we are not going to see another Appomattox Court House in the process.
We are in an era of redistribution. Americans have to make the decision whether we are going to be another Third World socialist country or continue to be the leader of the free world. Let’s be sure to not redistribute our basic freedoms in the process.