printed letters May 29, 2012
As a member of the Mesa Valley Education Association’s Negotiations Team, I would like to correct some inaccuracies reported in the May 23 Daily Sentinel article titled, “Parents unhappy with budget proposals.”
It reported, “School Board members Jeff Leany and Ann Tisue said they want people to know reductions that had an impact on classrooms were not part of the board’s plans until employee pay increases were added to the mix.”
The article also quoted Leany as saying, “We did not go into the classroom with anything (before that) and we did get an extra class day out of negotiations.” This implies that the district was somehow blindsided by MVEA’s position that it was time to begin honoring the salary schedule again. Nothing could be further from the truth.
MVEA meets throughout the year with the board and district administration and is consistent in its message: The salary schedules that the district publicly posts to attract educators to the valley and retain them need to be honored. Teachers carried the burden of financial shortfalls for two years by voluntarily freezing their wages, but they cannot do it indefinitely.
When Superintendent Steve Schultz suggested to the board on March 27 that, due to the news from the state’s Joint Budget Committee, the board should withdraw the extreme measures of a four-day week and the closing of a school from budget cut consideration, it was with full knowledge of MVEA’s position.
The board and he were well aware that further cuts would be needed and, during pre-negotiation meetings and at public board meetings, concern was expressed about the shortsightedness of that decision.
Leany’s comment is a shameless attempt to shift blame. The last thing the MVEA wants is to lose teachers and support staff. It was not the greed of teachers that created this mess as Leany implies. The district had two wonderful options — closing buildings and moving to a 4-day school week.
The board’s decision to ignore these cost-savings measures was stupefying to the negotiations team and does not reflect our thinking of what is best for kids.
DARREN A. COOK
MVEA Negotiations Team
Candidate’s remarks on rock reveal his ignorance of history
I can’t believe what I read in Wednesday’s Sentinel, that a candidate for county commissioner can be so ill-informed and make such a stupid remark about his feelings of being offended, as a Jew and homosexual, by John Otto’s “mystery rock.”
The carving is, and has been, a symbol of peace in ancient Greece, India, Persia and Japan and for several Native American tribes for hundreds or thousands of years. It was the Nazis who reversed the arms, making them point to the left. It was the Nazis who were anti-Semitic.
As an American citizen with a small touch of American Indian blood, I am the one offended by this man’s ignorance and his agenda as probably another Democrat trying to make waves or gain notoriety. (And no, I am not a Republican).
BOYD M. HOLT
Sentinel chose the sensational over more relevant discourse
What a shame that Gary Harmon took the opportunity of his coverage of the forum with Mesa County commissioner candidates to provide sensationalism rather than information in the page 3A article on May 23, “Candidate: Otto rock hurtful to Jews.”
Yes, candidate Dave Edwards did react negatively to the John Otto rock and did share his discomfort with the attendees.
Like many folks who don’t know its history, Edwards is apparently unaware that the equilateral cross with broken arms predated even Christ by thousands of years before it was misappropriated by Hitler.
John Otto would have been exposed to its worldwide popularity in the early 20th century after Heinrich Schliemann reported a version was found during his excavations at Troy.
However, Harmon failed to inform us about some more election relevant discourse. Most particularly shocking was a startling list of federal stimulus programs that would have brought funding into the county, but of which our current commissioners, perhaps federally averse or just clueless, failed to take advantage.
I wish Harmon had spent some time interviewing the candidate who mentioned these. There was also some interesting discussion related to the current commissioners’ answer to the problems of the Clifton community. They decided simply to starve the east end of the Grand Valley rather than fund needed services.
This included a comment by one candidate that could have used some follow-up about how the past county administrations have created these conditions by permitting so much high density housing there.
Please, Daily Sentinel, provide less sensationalism and more useful content.