Letters to the Editor, 05-12-2013

May 12, 2013 

EAGLE CITY HALL

Send a message:Vote no on bond

I have spent the last 13 years watching and listening to the City Hall debate here in Eagle. It was with great disgust that I watched our City Council decide to circumvent the will of the people and enter into a lease agreement that gave them the fancy space they thought they needed and deserved.

And now they want us to buy the building they had built, the building we didn't want to build or buy in the first place. We said no last November, but the thought that a few people might have gotten a ballot that didn't have the bond measure on it was enough to rationalize putting it before the voters of Eagle. Again.

I urge my fellow Eagle residents to vote no on May 21. Rather than carry the burden of an expense that we had already turned down, why don't we send the bill for our current leased building to Nancy Merrill (who started the ball rolling), Phil Bandy (who kept it rolling) and the other City Council members who approved this mess to begin with? They wanted it? They can pay for it.

SHEILAH KENNEDY, Eagle

City Hall ownership will save thousands

On May 21, the Eagle citizens and voters have an opportunity to vote in favor of owning Eagle City Hall. As an Eagle citizen, I am excited for this opportunity to save our great city over 62 percent per year by turning a lease payment into a mortgage payment. Not only would the city be saving $167,230 annually, the city would own it in 15 years or less.

After the mortgage payments have been satisfied, the city would be in position to save approximately $240,000 per year. The mayor and council members could apply that savings to either lowering our tax rate or invest in the city's infrastructure, parks, pathways or whatever may benefit the citizens of Eagle. Either way, it is a win-win situation. Please head to the voting booths on Tuesday, May 21, and vote in favor of Eagle City Hall bond. To find out where to vote, please visit www.adaweb.net/elections or call Ada County Elections Office at 287-6860. If you would like more information on the bond election, please visit www.owneaglecityhall.co.nf or www.cityofeagle.org.

VICKI LINDGREN, Eagle

U OF I PRESIDENT

Citizens left out of selection process

What does the University of Idaho need from its next cycling of leadership? In a word, service. Service to citizens, students and faculty. All the hype thus far has been about vision, longevity, compensation. Nothing about paying attention to the needs of the state, families and students who pay for the next batch of "leaders."

Service is what truly connects "Land Grant Flagship" leadership to citizen stakeholders. Lack of service is what makes disconnecting so easy for "leaders" looking for their next promotion.

What is service? In terms of research it is responding to state needs. In terms of rising costs, it is holding the line and thinning out administrators. In terms of athletics, it is rebuilding fan loyalty with a sensible football conference - the Big Sky. In terms of programs, it is relevancy to the marketplace. Oh, another thing - involving citizen stakeholders.

Wanna guess how many "regular Joe citizens" were put on the 16 member committee? You guessed right -zero. Wanna guess how many are U of I insiders, protecting turf? How about 12? The others? Big money and a Moscow legislator. Wanna guess what service leadership will mean to the next U of I president?

RUSSELL JOKI, Meridian

RIGHT TO WORK

It's no wonder why wages are low

Idaho is No. 1 in workers making minimum wage, mostly without benefits. We are 49th in individual income and 50th in family income.

This isn't an accident, or just bad luck. It's because of the state's Right to Work laws, specifically designed to keep workers' wages low. And they are working

Since Right to Work was enacted, wages in Idaho have dropped continuously to where they are today. The Department of Commerce is aware of this situation, and trades on it. Part of the pitch used to some foreign companies is that labor in Idaho is cheap and plentiful and that management can do pretty much whatever it wants since union influence has been weakened.

State government spokespeople put the low-wage problem off on "education," conveniently ignoring state policy depressing wages while they shed crocodile tears over our situation.

Higher corporate profits don't automatically improve wages. The experience of the last 20 years of misguided state policy should have taught us that. If they want higher wages, our government leaders must start unwinding Idaho's repressive Right to Work statutes. Until they do, you may assume that their first allegiance is to improving corporate bottom lines, not family incomes.

GEORGE MOSES, Boise

CONGRESS

Passing jobs bill is a positive step

Congress has no moral compass. Lawmakers only enact laws that will benefit the wealthy and themselves, recently transferring funds from airport maintenance funds to cover control tower problems and earlier rolling back insider-trading regulations to benefit themselves.

Austerity and the sequester are not the answer and are taking their toll on the middle class. Cancer patients are being turned away from clinics, children are being cut from Head Start programs and millions of seniors are losing what could possibly be their only meal from Meals on Wheels.

This Congress is not capable of solving the simplest problems, only creating them.

How difficult would it be to require background checks for all gun purchases and enacting stiffer penalties for those who sell guns to the mentally ill and criminals? We should not hold our guns in higher esteem than our children. Many of us have moral convictions and we are not going away.

Many of the country's problems could be solved if Congress would pass the president's jobs bill, getting people, including returning vets, back to work and paying taxes.

We are not going away and we will not forget.

HAZEL STEVENS, Caldwell

RISCH AND GUNS

Senator has reason to enjoy his job

I would like to thank our senators for their worthless yes votes on gun control. Here's my theory: As a group, some of us will vote yes on all of the amendments, but there will never be enough yes votes for any amendment to pass. That way it will look like all of us are for some sort of better control. That will help us come re-election time. How will you vote?

In an article in the May 6 Statesman, Sen. Risch states that he is "very content" in his job. I can understand that when he further states, "There is nothing happening when we're back there." I do not know what his salary is, but it is too much for doing nothing.

As far as expanded background checks go, I do not see a problem. I took a weapon to a sporting goods store in hopes of selling it. It did not sell. To retrieve my own weapon, I was required to fill out a background check. Enough said.

ROBERT J. MOFFAT, Meridian

OPEN CARRY

Laws don't protect shoppers from guns

Recently, I went to pick up some groceries from a store that is near my home. I noticed a woman standing at the bakeshop with a gun attached to her belt.

I talked to the store manager and asked about their policy. He said the policy was to follow state laws. Well, I checked into that when I got home and state law says that "People can legally carry openly on private property unless the owner does not allow it."

I don't know this woman. I have no idea if she is mentally fit to have a deadly weapon within easy reach, and I definitely wonder about the mental stability of anyone who feels the need for that while shopping.

It's time for the normal folk to stand up to this nonsense. If you see somebody walking into an establishment with a gun, walk out. But before you do, let the management know why you are leaving. Support establishments that protect their customers and let the ones that don't know what you think. It's time for us to speak up.

JEAN JEFFRIES, Meridian

EDUCATION

Common Core foes didn't deserve barbs

Regarding the task force on education improvement:

Many people signed up to speak at the last forum held throughout the state on April 25 in Boise. Legislative committee members present were introduced, goals were outlined and then public input was begun.

I was very upset to hear some members of this "impartial" committee, which is researching and formulating options for Gov. Butch Otter, making fun of the citizens who spoke against Common Core.

The arrogance and small-mindedness of these people leads me to believe the fix is in regarding Common Core and public input is superfluous - just like the ramming down our throats of Ottercare without public support. Is this education reform discussion a repeat of that railroading?

The voters and taxpayers no longer have any credible input in the decision-making process of their state government?

The callous treatment Idaho citizens, who took time out of their personal lives to share their opinions with this body, were subjected to by committee members and friends was appalling and inexcusable. These committee members sitting in the back of the auditorium (east side) should be replaced for snickering and mocking the very citizens to whom they look for paychecks by citizens who can maintain an open mind.

SUSAN FRICKEY, Boise

Time for reflection

The article about Willow Jarvis featured on the front page of the Idaho Statesman should give parents and critics of Idaho schools pause to reflect.

Despite the state's school ranking, forcing educators to teach for testing, having uneducable and behavior problem students in the general classrooms demanding time at the expense of the majority of students and parents who defend the wrongdoings of the children, some students like Miss Jarvis excel.

Parents of school-age children would be wise to examine why. Possibly she is exceptionally bright or maybe she developed to her full potential.

Either way examine the environment of various subcultures in the country whose children do exceptionally well. They have a strong family that supports and emphasizes the importance of education and the courage to demand excellence from their children.

Perhaps rather than blaming teachers, reflect on the conditions under which they are legally mandated to teach. Then examine your attitudes about eduction and how much energy you give your children, help them and limit their outside activities and demand excellence and don't rely on the education system. If you want a hand in the education success of your children, look to the end of your own arm.

JAMES MARTINEK, Garden City

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