Letters for November 26, 2009
Chico’s schools dilemma
Re “The $6 million question” (Cover story, by Leslie Layton, Nov. 19):
I’m grateful to Leslie Layton and the CN&R for making sense of the whole CUSD mess. I’m grateful to the CUSD for giving my kids a decent education. I’m even pretty sympathetic about the well-intentioned wrong moves that got us into this fix. And I’m sad and frustrated that we’re in this fix with no good way out.
Sheesh—what crazy priorities this country has.
Let’s not blame the “evil” district administrators for all of the problems. Teachers work a 185-day contract, and the top 125 teachers in the district have an average annual pay of $81,616. The highest is $98,636, and the lowest is $74,144. The median teacher pay is $79,735. The total outlay for these teachers is $10,202,102 annually.
In contrast, the median income for men in Chico is $35,548, versus $26,173 for women.
While teachers enjoy more than twice the median pay in Chico and per-student funding from all sources of revenue ranks in the top five, the quality of education in California ranks 48th in the nation.
A simple answer to a complex set of problems: Dump the unions and collective bargaining, dump tenure, pay teachers for the quality of the products delivered, fire them when necessary, and provide incentives for innovation and success.
I see the teacher-bashing has begun. It’s been suggested that we pay the teachers less and expect more. Isn’t the old saying “You get what you pay for”? I believe that’s always been true. I know for a fact that professionals in the construction industry without benefit of college educations make more than $100,000 annually, yet we expect professionals, teachers, with that valuable college degree to work for less than that?
I think the public has forgotten that, if you want good schools, you will have to pay for them, and that means taxing yourselves to do the job. Aren’t the children worth it?
Let’s hear it for KZFR
Re “KZFR’s rockin’ some new digs” (Newslines, by Shannon Rooney, Nov. 19):
It is so nice to see a story about our beloved KZFR 90.1 FM community radio station. Shelly Mariposa, Rick Anderson and Mojohito Richerson von Tchudi are instrumental in the continuing growth and visibility of public radio for the North State. Each plays a vital role in its success. Thanks for running this article and for supporting KZFR.
Sucker-punched by a story
Re “State of the park” (Newslines, by Robert Speer, Nov. 12):
Not often am I so shaken by a story that I weep and am affected for days. I opened the issue expecting to read about Lassen Park and its much-needed maintenance overhaul, and instead I was sucker-punched by the story’s lead-in.
I knew about the horrible accident that took the boy’s life and severely injured his sister. I felt truly awful about it when it happened. However, as a mother of young children, the details included in the article made me weep and clutch my young ones close. The inclusion of the child’s last words were too much for any feeling person to bear.
I don’t believe that it was necessary to include those devastating moments. It felt to me like a cheap shot and pandering to the rubber neckers you seem to think that your readers are.
Re “Tracking the big ones” (Cover story, by Shannon Rooney, Nov. 12):
As an avid animal-rights activist relatively new to the area, I was appalled by the fact that the only organization used to defend wildlife was a farm animal rescue organization; an organization that has nothing to do with hunting!
The author of this piece could have used any other organization that comes out publicly about hunting, such as In Defense of Animals, based in the Bay Area. The quotations from Farm Sanctuary representatives gave the piece even less merit, and it was hard to take seriously.
I’m so glad you have brought attention to this horrific game hunting that so many emasculated men have participated in. I find it disgusting that human beings get pleasure out of slaughtering these wild beautiful animals so they can mount the carcass on their wall. These psuedo “righteous kill” hunters prey upon third-world countries who can’t even get their basic needs met, offering money in exchange for slaughtering these magnificent, intelligent, beautiful animals.
We, like many of our friends and family, are so disappointed that you would feature a huge article with photos of lions, etc., killed by [Jim Ledgerwood]. It has turned us off to an otherwise good paper that could have good, uplifting, front-page stories about helping pets, children, people and promoting welfare with spaying and neutering education. Is the CN&R trying to get a charge out of people lately with its stories?
We applaud organizations such as Farm Sanctuary and PETA, as well as those human beings who do not find the need to justify putting killed animals on walls, as Jim Ledgerwood did. We hope he develops into a kinder human being. Compassion and understanding in daily living are the true way of life for all.
Porter’s ‘feeble premise’
Re “Mayhem” (From the Edge, by Anthony Porter, Nov. 12):
Mr. Porter overstretched every point in order to make his sullen case that it’s the military that’s the cultish, mass-murdering machine, while Major Hasan, an outlier within the military, must be somehow better—or at least a victim. Anyone who’s been in the military knows that the people in it have all kinds of views and that the military’s demand for mental conformity is no greater than at many or most corporations. Calling the military a “cult” and building his column on that feeble premise was a blunder.
In all probability Porter was stuck for a way to conclude his sorry effort and figured throwing Hasan’s family under the bus was his best option. Actually, even if readers could contain their rage at his pillorying our military, which has suffered quite enough, is there any sane American who doesn’t regard Hasan’s mass murder as a deplorable and despicable act?
Hasan’s family, undoubtedly Muslim, is quite reasonably worried some lunatic will attempt to right matters by killing them. It’s a sad commentary on Porter that he felt his concluding remark about Hasan’s family deserved print.
Who’s the real coward?
Re “Coward” (From the Edge, by Anthony Peyton Porter, Nov. 19):
Most American soldiers I know or have known, myself included, have faced combat bravely when we’ve had to. Most people who have done something “heroic” will tell you they simply did what they had to do and what they thought was right. However bravely I acted during my military service, I consider the fact that I allowed myself to be put into a combat situation an act of cowardice. Let me explain.
My first memories are of the Ten Commandments and the teachings of Jesus Christ. The commandment says, “Thou shalt not kill.” Jesus said there was one law to follow above all other, “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” Well, it seems to me that going to another country and killing its citizens goes against the basic principles of our moral foundations. I killed when I knew it was wrong. I did it bravely. However, by doing what I knew to be wrong at the urging of other humans, I was a coward.
Mr. Porter’s reader chose to react with anger and indignation. Mr. Porter responded with wit and a challenge. I would tell them both that until we start highlighting our commonalities as human beings rather than fighting over our differences of opinion, the average person will continue to do the easy thing by going along with the crowd and reducing our human interactions to a series of hard-fought battles where everyone loses.