Letters for July 1, 2010

Letter of the week

Mayor and Matsui? No comparison.

Re “Green teamwork” by Jeff vonKaenel (SN&R Greenlight, June 24):

U.S. Rep. Doris Matsui has a League of Conservation Voters score of 100 percent, helping pass legislation greening our schools, protecting our water and retrofitting existing buildings. Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson hired a public speaker he happened to meet at a conference three months before to deliver a message that he would not know how to give by himself.

There is no level comparison between Rep. Matsui and the mayor.

The vision is already here, incubated in numerous progressive community organizations. It’s time to remove the green necktie, roll up sleeves and make policy changes that affect real people. Let the city council and regulatory agencies do their jobs and stop forming committees that just end up consuming the rhetoric for their own political gain.

Ian Merker

Bridge won’t hurt quality of life

Re “A bridge too near” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Bites, June 24):

I don’t see any threat of diminishing the quality of life for Land Park residents.

I live in Pocket and I frequently visit and commute around the area, and I think an addition of a bridge would bring greater opportunities for Sacramento and Land Park. This isn’t a Jane Jacobs issue, but residents are making too big of an issue about it. We’re not physically destroying anything and building something on top.

And it’s not like the bridge is for cars. I like the idea from [Craig] Powell [about] allowing only bikers and pedestrians to cross, and absolutely no cars.


Taxes roll downhill

Re “Tax Big Oil” by Seth Sandronsky (SN&R Frontlines, June 24):

Before you add more taxes to any corporations, including the oil companies, just remember: They don’t pay taxes. They only collect taxes from the consumers (taxpayers), and pass the money on to the state.

Jim Vrobel
via e-mail

Testing is not for dummies

Re “Crash test dummies” by Matthew W. Urner (SN&R Essay, June 24):

First of all, I want to say that Matthew W. Urner’s heart is in the right place. As an educator for 11 years, my students and I must participate in standardized testing each spring. For most teachers and students, testing can cause anxiety and even malaise.

However, the curriculum on these tests is based on the adopted California state learning standards, not material submitted by textbook publishers.

I feel overall that these tests accurately measure whether a student has mastered those standards. I don’t consider it “teaching to the test,” but rather teaching the grade-level standards that happen to be contained in the textbook, and that will be assessed on standardized tests.

Furthermore, I feel that I would be doing my students a disservice if I did not give them the skills to pass a multiple-choice test, as testing is a reality for all students as they continue through high school, college and their occupation.

I do agree that it is very important to produce well-rounded students, and I work very hard to incorporate all subjects, not just math and reading. Students need opportunities for collaboration, creativity and critical thinking every day. Although these skills cannot necessarily be measured by a standardized test, they are equally as important as grade-level content mastery. For now, the only way to measure this mastery is through standardized testing.

Jen Ekelund

Worried about methyl iodide

Re “Strawberry fields forever” (SN&R Editorial, June 24):

Thank you so much for your editorial against methyl iodide.

As a rural resident who has watched my neighbors, especially their kids, get sick from methyl bromide/chloropicrin fumigations, we are all terrified that this fumigant is getting shoved into our neighborhoods without one concern about our health and safety. Your courage to print the truth (follow the money!) is greatly appreciated by my entire community in Santa Barbara County.

Debby DeWeese
via e-mail

Agitate to save teachers

Re “Pink slip yearbook” by Cosmo Garvin, Rachel Leibrock and Nick Miller (SN&R Feature, June 17):

Many teachers and teacher’s aides have been given a pink slip. It is too bad that California doesn’t put education as one of its priorities.

There is a need to recruit minorities in general. It is the students who really suffer the most. Their parents pay taxes to receive the best education for their children, and if the district cannot provide it, what can they do? They say there is no money … where does the money go to?

Teachers have to buy their own supplies to make things better. Some schools have three vice principals. Is that really necessary?

There are teachers and aides who really care, and these are the jobs we need to save. If your son or daughter had a favorite teacher, then write to your local school district and tell them. Let’s save those who care!

Bandi E. Fong

Truth about teachers

Re “Pink slip yearbook” by Cosmo Garvin, Rachel Leibrock and Nick Miller (SN&R Feature, June 17) and “Save the jobs” by Jeff vonKaenal (SN&R Greenlight, June 17):

Thank you for these two articles regarding our public servants. What different rhetoric than is generally bandied about.

The most appalling attitude—one I was not aware existed—was contained in the “Pink slip” article. That there are parents and others who believe teachers are part-time employees with cushy jobs was shocking to me. As the sister of three teachers, I know how hard they work and about the commitment it takes to help children learn. What a daunting task to stay focused on teaching while encountering this negative attitude and with the prospect of unemployment looming.

To all those teachers who received pink slips as a parting gift for a year (or years) of challenging difficult work, my hope is that you will be welcomed back soon to a more fiscally stable school system.

Doris Fodge

Programs for timed-out teens

Re “Timed-out teens” by Seth Sandronsky (SN&R Frontlines, June 17):

This article is ill-informed. While the issue is real and decently described, the author shows little understanding of the system and its services. Scapegoating the government is convenient, but it’s lazy.

Do yourself the favor of researching the Independent Living Program in our state. Interview a county ILP coordinator. Find out what they really do to work with the kids in their community. Your article would have been more meaningful and honest if you’d done more homework.

David Gregory
Citrus Heights