Letters for October 2, 2014

He probably means ‘Fred’

Re “150 things for 150 years” (cover story, Sept. 18):

Once again, the juveniles that seem to have discovered a new word beginning with an F couldn’t resist using it. Since there were several authors listed, it’s difficult to determine who the head juvenile might be. Nevertheless, it’s sad that the editor keeps insisting that such language is a valid form of expression in a newspaper. I’ve been ridiculed before for finding such language in your newspaper out of place and entirely unnecessary. While I’m somewhat in agreement about the demolition of the Mapes Hotel Casino, I would ask, what did the F word add to the article?

Fred Speckmann


Editor’s note: I’m the head juvenile. And yeah, we get testy whenever someone wants to restrict our right to express ourselves the way we choose. There are many newspapers out there that censor a lot more than the word you find so inappropriate. You’ll often find that willingness to restrict one aspect of the First Amendment indicates a willingness to surrender others. If you don’t find it a valid form of expression in this newspaper, maybe you should find another newspaper. I will, however, point out we’ve allowed you to say pretty much whatever you want without ever telling you how to say it.

Read between the lines

Re “Civic Power” (This week, Sept. 18):

I was all set to be snarky regarding my opinion of the “Civic Power” cartoon, even armed with a quote from the movie Go regarding the unexplainable compulsion to read “The Family Circus” in the old days of comic pages, despite knowing it’s going to suck. But then came your plea for submitters to “Be nice.”

So, I just want to ask: What is the point of this panel? Local contributor, of course. Local political commentary, as well? I know we are a small enough town that our City Council can be a bit Mayberry—OK, a lot—and can easily be the subject for satire and sarcasm, but “Civic Power” lacks both, and is also not funny or entertaining in the least. Yet I am still strangely compelled to read it, just so I can grind my teeth in frustration. If the idea is to just fill a space with something that seems generated at the last second by a middle school civics class, then you nailed it. Sorry, Woody.

Mike Morgan


Tesla helped

Tesla, the governor and the Legislature have created a huge cash-flow problem for Nevada, causing taxpayers to pay for roads, sewage treatment plant expansion, and other infrastructure for one for-profit corporation, with no new revenue streams until 10 or 20 years from now. Meanwhile, the only new revenue stream is at our fingertips at the ballot box: Put a check beside “Yes” on Ballot Measure 3.

Those who were trusting that two-thirds of the state Senate and two-thirds of the Assembly would pass their own education funding bill are now reconsidering the likelihood of that happening. The initiative process, which requires only 50 percent of the vote, appears to be the only politically-feasible way to improve funding for Nevada’s K12 schools.

And those who thought that Nevada can’t afford to ask businesses to pay their fair share are also reconsidering. They watched Republicans and Democrats in both houses vote unanimously to donate $1.3 billion of taxpayers’ money to one private-sector business. It’s now time for businesses to pony up. Recent events are reminding us to vote Yes on ballot Question 3.

Fred Cooper


More entries

Re “150 things for 150 years” (cover story, Sept. 18):

150 things? Jinxed! With Bette Midler and Ken Wahl—loads of old Reno. Vanishing Point—too cool for school and Goldfield, too. The Cal Neva Lodge, second home for the likes of Marilyn Monroe and Frank Sinatra. Lucille Ball owned two condos at Incline. Come on; do your research a little better. An episode of Then Came Bronson. Almost forgot that.

Roberta Shaw


Editor’s note: The article, which was never intended to be exhaustive, was a way of showing how Nevada was seen over the decades through various media—books, radio, movies, etc.—and a hotel isn’t a medium.

We don’t need no education

Re “The ABCs of B2S” (Feature area, July 24):

Having recently become a Renoite, I am having a great time reading your paper’s interesting articles and getting the latest on local events. It’s a great paper for the city.

Being a retired educator, I was quick to jump into a recent piece on the “ABCs of B2S.” Great piece and thoughtfully researched. However, unlike the days of yesteryear, when it was assumed that students were taught good manners and self-control at home, it is apparent to me that a couple of major questions were overlooked.

1. Does my child/teen/student really want to learn new knowledge to exercise their brain power? Information is often challenging to learn and, moreover, keep long term. With the technological boom, answers to questions are but a click away. The internet is our new “brain.” What matters is an individual challenge. Do I want to have the ability to store knowledge and exercise my neurons or do I simply want to run my life from youth to death on base animal drives and whatever consumer habits you were taught at home? Young people, teens and children, thrive today on drama, power and acceptance through material objects. School, albeit important and relevant to the current state of the world, is not essential to be liked, courted and even loved. Dumb people like hanging around other dumb people. Since those numbers are growing, the percentage of inarticulate dumb tablet users is growing exponentially.

2. Is my child/teen/student capable of functioning in an environment that is based on structure and discipline? Parents have to know how their teen is going to behave in situations where self-control is essential. That part of school that helps curtail impulsive and selfish behaviors is an essential part as much as learning history, math or any academic challenge. I used to be so annoyed with my administrators because a student could tell me to “F-off” and even though they were suspended and lost assignments, they were allowed to re-enter my classroom without any kind of apology. Saying “I’m sorry for my behavior” is a way of planting the seed of accountability and empathy for others—again, as necessary as any academic endeavor.

What needs to be done to revolutionize our educational success in Nevada or in America? There is a strange correlation in the educational field between behaviors exhibited in the 3rd grade and 10th grade. Statistically, it appears students who are ill-mannered and unsuccessful in the 3rd grade are the same in the 10th grade. Some educators are lucky because they only teach the upper level kids and smaller special needs classes. These two groups are the shining stars of any school environment. The average, middle level teachers mirror average middle class America. They are shouldered with all the responsibilities of the environment to support the growth, just as middle class America pays the largest amount of taxes to support the country.

My solution to revolutionize education in America is two-fold: 1. Get rid of all testing with the exception of diagnostic for placement. Rely on educators’ professional training and moral duty to critique their students based on what they see for nine months, not a test. 2) If a student is so selfish and impulsive that they don’t want to go to school, then let them leave the environment as soon as possible. … The solution for education is not more money but to get rid of the rabble and have the remaining students and the school enjoy prosperity and a sense of respect by the community.

André Clayman