Letters to the editor-05-03-2013

May 3, 2013 

EDUCATION

Funding should rank with Otter's salary

Gov. Otter's mouth uttered these words recently referencing education, "I've always rejected the idea of just throw more money at it, and it will make it better." The governor should put his money where his mouth leads him.

Per-pupil spending in Idaho at $7,106 for 2010 is lower than any state but one, with Connecticut being the highest at $18,667. The governor's salary ranks him 34th in the nation. I would imagine that the governor will reduce his compensation to reflect his statement ... so that his salary ranks 49th in the nation also.

No, the best choice would be to lead our state and fund education so that it is also ranked at least 34th in the nation (near Louisiana's and New Mexico's approximate per-pupil $9,600).

Our nation is well aware that Louisiana is on the cutting edge of public education, and known for "throwing more money" at education.

RICH KAUFMAN, Boise

DIVIDED NATION

Blame both parties

This letter is a response to Jim Franklin's letter to the editor, titled, "GOP ignores facts, embraces fiction." In his letter, Mr. Franklin creates some fiction of his own. He states, "One ideological party is willing to divide the nation." Mr. Franklin implies that the party dividing the nation is the Republican Party.

Only one party is dividing the nation, Mr. Franklin? No. The reality is that both parties are dividing the nation.

I am neither a Democrat nor a Republican, but in my opinion, it is the Democrats who are more divisive. It is they who are pushing for Obamacare, gun control, abortion without restrictions, and making gay marriage legal in all 50 states. These are all divisive issues. Republicans are fighting back. The nation is divided.

Mr. Franklin would have us believe that it is the fault of Republicans, and Republicans only, that the nation is divided. But this is fiction, not fact.

TOM MENINGA, Boise

PUBLIC ART

Article disappointing

Tim Woodward's article about public art in Boise was disappointing. We are all entitled to our opinion and perhaps he would prefer a chain saw bear in front of the Grove Hotel. But public art is about a sense of place and it is about defining a community. It can create a dialogue - it is, after all, public - and opinions will differ.

There are those who are only comfortable with representational works and those who enjoy something that is unique and surprising. The Lincoln Statue and Keepsies are fine, but they could be located anywhere. That is not the case for most of the other pieces, including Dwaine Carver's Boise Chinatown, Amy Westover's Grove Street Illuminated, and the traffic box covers. Karen Bubb and the city work hard to install work that has been carefully considered, and I often hear compliments from visitors about the quality of public art in Boise. It makes them feel good about our city and they are jealous that their own cities don't have public art that compares.

BARBARA ROBINSON, Boise

WOODWARD'S SISTER

A delightful read

Re: Mr. Woodward's March 17 article "Big Sister Left No Small Legacy." I found the article very delightful to read. A tribute from a "brother" to his "sister" - wonderful.

DORIS BYRNE, Boise

MARGARET THATCHER

Iron Lady no angel

People in the United States will read about Margaret Thatcher that says she was a great leader, a friend of Reagan and the United States, and how she defeated Communism.

What you won't read about is how she tortured and killed Irish political prisoners, started a war with Argentina killing thousands, putting half her own country out of work and putting a poll tax on them, calling Nelson Mandela a terrorist and crushing anyone who got in her way - that was Margaret Thatcher. Ask anyone who lived in Europe during her reign. She had no empathy to human suffering.

COLUM MURPHY, Boise

NORTH KOREA

Small man, long shadow

To the man-child dictator of North Korea, I would offer this food for thought: When small men cast long shadows, the sun is about to set. Think about it, little man.

DON LAYNE, Cascade

COWS AND WATER

Don't put livestock on arid, dry lands

In his April 13 letter to the editor, "Remove livestock," Lowery is right on about the domestic livestock and cheatgrass problem. He is also correct in the solution to this problem - remove this livestock from the land by buying up grazing rights and restoring proper fire burns that encourage native plants and discourage weeds.

There is another reason for removing cattle from the land, especially in the arid West and Southwest of the U.S. Cows need water. Lots of water. Cows do not belong on arid, dry lands. The Western Watersheds Project is a conservation group that is working hard to remove cows off our public lands by encouraging the buyout of grazing allotments. Let's let the native plants and animals recover in our various ecosystems.

RON MARQUART, Boise

FAILED GUN BILL

Not all Idahoans agreed

For the record, not all Idahoans agreed with Sens. Risch and Crapo's vote on the gun law. Not by a long shot!

BART HOUMANN, Boise

The following letter is being rerun because the writer's name was omitted.

Thanks for nothing

Thanks, Sens. Risch and Crapo, for your vote against any form of gun control. Let the carnage continue!

DAVID GINAL, Boise

BOMBING

Laws should restrict dangerous weapons

In light of the alleged use of a pressure cooker to bomb the Boston Marathon, the federal government must immediately restrict access to these horrific weapons.

Only federally licensed dealers should be allowed to sell them; there must be no cooking show loopholes or private transfers among friends and family. Potential purchasers should be fingerprinted and undergo a background check.

Anyone who has ever exhibited a hint of belligerence or taken an antidepressant must surrender any cookers in their possession. Existing units must be registered, and retrofitted with biometric devices so only their lawful owners can use them.

High-capacity cookers should immediately be banned. Serial numbers should be microstamped in numerous locations on new and existing units so police can trace their owners if shards are left at a crime scene.

The U.S. Constitution does not protect the right of citizens to own a pressure cooker, so only right-wing extremists would think these modest proposals are unreasonable. After all, if they save just one life, wouldn't they be worth it?

Sound ludicrous? Every item above is a current or proposed law for firearms.

As the marathon bombing demonstrated yet again, however, a madman can use anything to wreak havoc.

MICHAEL HUEBSCHMANN, Meridian

ENERGY

Hydrogen conversion can help save millions

For future generations, the cost for gasoline has gone up more than 30 times in 100 years. If that tells us anything, what can we expect over the next 100 years?

There is a way to save millions of gallons of diesel every day, by converting locomotives to use hydrogen.

To pay the way, the locomotives would pull a 175,000-gallon water tank car with a hydrogen generator on board to generate 10 gallons of fuel every minute.

An additional electric generator for the entire electrical power to generate hydrogen for three locomotives will be needed. The railroads will be saving $50,000 per day in fuel costs with every train traveling east and west, every 24 hours.

There will be thousands of jobs converting the current locomotives to hydrogen. With the hydrogen-powered locomotives, we will save 25 million gallons of oil every day. This will also improve air quality. It's a start. There can be other places to save. Let's find them.

JACK MCCOLLUM AND SUSAN MAXWELL RYAN, Boise

BOISE MARKET

Lack of organization produces a mess

Well, I got my first chance this year to attend the Boise market on Saturday, April 20. What a joke!

The first thing is the $2 parking fee, and then the market is split into two sections three blocks apart. Whoever is the brain trust for this mess should be forced to walk back and forth between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. so they can get the flavor of the event.

I have been going to the market from its inception and was very proud to see Boise step up to a great venue and a true downtown event.

Well, that's now a thing of the past, and now we have just another mess!

The poorly managed event will now be history for the poor folks that are split off from the main booths on 9th Street.

Why is it that when something good comes along, someone comes out of the woodwork to mess it up? Well, at least they did a good job of messing up this one. I hope they will step up and claim the glory.

DON HIATT, Boise

GOVERNMENT ROLE

Justice is top priority

This time of year 'Tax and Spend' comprise most of the issues of today's government, but the rightful purpose of Government is to establish justice, which is to protect the innocent and be a terror to evil.

Good government should provide for courts where justice is the order of the day, not a place where procedure is more important than what is right and the pockets of the lawyers and judges are padded with money. Those guilty of capital crimes like murders, child molesters and kidnappers should be timely executed, lesser crimes are to be repaid to those they stole from, not to be housed in perpetual prisons.

The proper role of government is not to be our caregiver, nursemaids, employer, teacher, mother or big brother. Those so-called programs that operate outside the scope of justice fail to honor God while empowering state and federal governments to legalize theft and institutionalize crime. We must change our focus from tax and spend to justice or we will end up like all the other nations of history - just history.

STEVE TANNER, Bonners Ferry

BIRTH CERTIFICATES

Give a name to aborted babies

On Nov. 10, 1976, Rachael Ann was born. She only touched a few lives during the three days of her life, but she was no less loved than any other daughter. Although she only lived a few days, the state recognized her existence as a person by issuing her a birth certificate.

Since our courts will not allow us to stop abortion, I would like to see legislation requiring birth and death certificates for aborted babies. A birth certificate would allow us to acknowledge that a human life, a person, had existed on this earth, however brief that may be.

If you feel that these lives should be acknowledged, cherished and remembered, please write or call your legislative representatives and let them know.

FRANKLIN PLANTZ, Bonners Ferry

HIGHWAY 95

Dangerous road

Tragically, the Feb. 25 snow on the Palouse brought yet another traffic-related death on Highway 95's Reisenauer Hill south of Moscow, further emphasizing the critical need to correct this section of road. How do we do this? ITD Thorncreek to Moscow DEIS alternatives C-3 and W-4 will turn this stretch of highway into a four-lane divided highway, bring it up to Federal Highway Administration safety standards, and eliminate the safety problems.

However the ITD preferred alternative E-2 will abandon this stretch of highway, and Latah County will inherit the problem. There are no provisions for making it safe. The problems will remain albeit with less traffic at least initially, assuming rampant residential development isn't immediate. However as many have pointed out, local residents, children on school buses, and "drunks" will use this dangerous section of road almost exclusively since there will be little other access to the E-2 option of the new Highway 95.

Inexplicably, despite the best efforts of many local residents to convince them otherwise, Latah County Commissioners voted unanimously to endorse E-2 with no reservations. Citizens must take care of this lethal problem themselves, once and for all. Urge ITD to reject alternative E-2 for this project (http://us95thorncreek.com/schedule-2/comment-period).

AL POPLAWSKY, Moscow

TEACHERS COME LAST

Goedde, ISBA shows true colors

It is actually a good thing that Sen. Goedde and the Idaho School Board Association have reintroduced the teacher contract portions of the Students Come First legislation.

It is now clear that these provisions have nothing to do with students coming first or with student learning, but were intended to punish teachers. In fact, students are not mentioned anywhere in the new legislation.

It is interesting that the online learning component, which is the only part of last year's package that actually might have a direct impact on student learning, is left out completely.

I also find it interesting that the ISBA pushed for these provisions. As a high school teacher in Idaho, our school district depended on its teachers to get out the information about how the Students Come First legislation was not good for students.

Congratulations to Sen. Goedde and the ISBA for finally showing their true intentions this session. Since we all like catchy nicknames, they can call these bills "Teachers Come Last."

NICKY HOFFMAN, Osburn

SPACE

The final frontier

I was recently cleaning out my desk at work due to a transition into a new building and I came across an Idaho Statesman article titled "From Flash Gordon to NASA" (Life Section Nov. 4, 2007) which my mother had sent me.

My name is Richard Koelsch (born and raised in Mountain Home) and I just wanted to share with you that Idahoans are continuing to press the bounds of space exploration much like Gary Bennett (from the Statesman article) did years ago.

I work as an engineer for Lockheed Martin on NASA's Orion Multipurpose Crew Vehicle at NASA's Johnson Space Center. Orion will be the spacecraft that will eventually take astronauts beyond low Earth orbit and next year the country will embark on a new era of space exploration with Exploration Flight Test 1 (EFT-1). EFT-1 is an uncrewed mission planned for September of 2014 and this test will see Orion travel farther into space than any human spacecraft has gone in more than 40 years.

After re-reading that article from a couple years back I thought it was worth sharing that Idahoans are still contributing to the lofty goal of space exploration.

RICHARD KOELSCH, League City, TX

CONGRESS

Progress stalled with many factions

Is Congress going to be part of the problem or part of the solution in resolving our economic crisis?

It occurred to me this week that the gridlock in Congress can be overcome but only by breaking from the radical idealism of their party caucus with cooperation from some of those of the other party. It appears to me that both Democrat and Republican members of Congress are beginning to break into two groups: those that are near the center - right or left - and those at the extremes - right or left.

It will take the near center participants - right and left - to find common ground and pass bills that resolve the current economic crisis. It will take our president to sign these compromise bills into law. Is Congress willing to be part of the solution so our country can move forward? I hope so.

ROBERT GEHRKE, Pocatello

LAND GRABS

New rebellion is upon us

The state motto for Utah is "Industry." Hence, it is no surprise they want to bring a lawsuit against the federal government for control of some of America's most scenic heritage. Utah covets 22-million acres of public wildlands located within the state. The oil and gas industry is salivating.

Enter Idaho, whose state motto implies "Forever." The Idaho Legislature wants to perpetuate the ravaging of our national forests and rangelands that mimics Utah's land grab. Idaho wants 15-million acres of federally owned land located within the state. The timber and ranching industry is drooling.

Utah and Idaho are two peas in a pod. They got one hand out in front looking for federal handouts, while the other hand is behind their back giving the feds the finger. The return of the Sagebrush Rebellion is upon us. Indeed, America's heritage and public wildlands are under threat from western states and the corporations they serve.

If it were up to me, I'd charge Idaho Gov. Butch Otter and Utah Gov. Gary Herbert with treason. Bring the troops home, and instead put them on the steps of these two state capitals. The real enemies are in our backyard.

BRETT HAVERSTICK, Moscow

LEGISLATURE

Term limits may be answer to woes

I'm always filled with dread when the Idaho Legislature is in session because I'm sure it will muck things up. Even though senators and representatives are put there to do "the people's work," I'm not sure who "the people" are when I look at legislation that has been passed. Looks to me like the Farm Bureau, corporations, and big business get all the benefits.

At the Farm Bureau's request, it will be harder for citizens to put initiatives on the ballot; the state is making another run at taking over management of federal lands so they can rape it and sell it off; taxes have been cut (again) for corporations and businesses; there is no funding for schools; the state sponsored insurance plan is incomplete; and oversize trucks will be using our highways, endangering locals and ripping up the roads with no funding to make repairs.

The "work" of the Legislature is impossible for the lay person to track, let alone respond to. I vote for not sending politicians to the capital for a couple of years and see if things don't get a little better. We'd save some money, too.

SUSAN WESTERVELT, Deary

FAILED GUN BILL

Risch ignores what people want

I was very saddened by the vote of Sen. Risch against comprehensive background checks for gun sales.

When an elected official chooses to ignore the desires of 90 percent of the citizens who put them in office it questions what they will do next. Is there now any reason to believe they will seriously represent the majority of their constituents when the next vote comes to the floor of the U.S. Senate? Do the rights of gun owners supersede the right of the citizenry to feel safe? Do more guns sold with sketchy documentation make us safer? These senators have sold their souls and have forgotten so quickly those young New England souls who lost their lives just a short time ago.

There is only one thing left to do. Send Sen. Risch a message that he can give no excuse or political spin for such a vote. Vote him out the next time he is up for election and send the NRA a message that their reign of terror is over.

TIM MACKEY, retired elementary teacher, Lancaster, Pa.

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