Letters to the editor - 7-21-13

July 21, 2013 

MERIDIAN SCHOOL BOARD

What drove the Meridian School Board and Superintendent Linda Clark back to the bargaining table?

Let's hope it was the clear thinking of the two new board members. Sensible leadership, both at the policy level and in the superintendent's office, is what was needed, and it's finally emerging. The next move should be to put Clark and the board chair at the bargaining table. The district has been using a "hired gun," attorney Amy White, to bargain with its teachers. While the law permits using someone like White, the intent of the law does not apply to MSD.

According to the law's sponsors, the Idaho School Boards Association, it was needed for districts without experienced board members and superintendents. That hardly applies to MSD. The MSD chair, Ann Ritter, is the president of the Idaho School Boards Association, and Clark holds similar awards among school superintendents.

So why does the MSD use White? Maybe the district has money to spare. Maybe the MSD leadership is unwilling to bargain with teachers. Whatever the reason, it's time for Ritter and Clark to be at the table. That's the job Ritter was elected to do and the job Clark is paid to do.

RUSSELL JOKI, Meridian

REPUBLICANS

Re: GOP Taliban, July 5. The GOP members met in June and conducted the business of a working political body duly elected by Republican voters statewide.

Those partaking in dialogue and debate left with their life and their limbs still intact. All ideas were shown respect for the human spirit and the GOP is all the better for it.

My son soon will step foot on a military transport plane to again walk the soil of turmoil and despair. The fellow Army snipers he will sit shoulder to shoulder with will not share the same life experiences, like the same music, or practice the same religion. However, they will move as one because they have become united in the preservation of themselves and the person next to them; they are committed to each other out of sheer survival.

Fortunately, the opinion writers attacking this body do not face this level of self-sacrifice. The knowledge exchanged within the GOP is a blessing we need to acknowledge, not stifle or ridicule. Our republic is the most intelligently designed governmental system on the planet, and the GOP deliberative process is a grand salute to integrity, freedom and humanity.

MAUREEN HATFIELD, McCall

REP. LABRADOR

The U.S. House of Representatives has not passed a major bill since the ultra-conservatives took over two years ago. This is due to a refusal to compromise. Compromise is the hallmark of a democracy. Without compromise a democracy does not work. The House has not worked for the past two years.

Grover Norquist told us that immigration reform would be good for the country. The economists say that immigration reform will help the economy. Rep. Raul Labrador was asked to work with several other representatives who were responsible for preparing an immigration reform bill. The group agreed to include a provision Mr. Labrador did not like. Instead of trying to work out a compromise, he decided to walk away. Mr. Labrador had an opportunity to get something done for the people of Idaho and he blew it.

DARRELL W. BROCK, Boise

ADLER NSA COLUMN

Reading the commentary by David Adler, it occurred to me that most of the public discussion of the issue of NSA surveillance and disclosures by Edward Snowden is being led by the blind and ignorant. How do I know this? More than a decade with Naval Intelligence, NSA and building complex defense systems.

Both Adler's diagnosis and solution to the FISA court are wrong. He understands neither the technologies nor infrastructure nor complexities involved in the current apparatus being operated by the agency, nor its full ability to shield from the Congress and FISA court exactly what it is being conducted.

Adler's diagnosis and solutions are far off the mark and weak. Lawyers, along with the judges engaged who've never worked in understanding the capabilities, methods, uses and scope of the systems involved, have no ability to actually understand what is going on here. Sorry, but Sen. Jim Risch, no matter his past or current committee postings or experience, is not equipped with the background or understanding to "lead" anything on this subject.

Soon, any capabilities in place will be far outstripped by capabilities about to go online and implications of advances in quantum computing and data storage.

JEFF WRIGHT, Lowman

AFGHANISTAN

Six empires tried to conquer Afghanistan and they all failed. Darius the Great - 516 B.C.; Alexander the Great - 323 B.C.; Genghis Khan - 1206 A.D.; Ottoman Empire - 1533 A.D.; British Empire - 1927 A.D.; Russian Empire - 1987 A.D. The next failure will be the United States of America - 2013, after billions of dollars and thousands of deaths. We have been in Afghanistan for 10 years, and still have no success. This is proof of our leaders' ignorance, or their service to the military-industrial complex, and the bankers who loan the money.

My heart bleeds when I think of the American lives lost in this hopeless cause, and the billions of dollars wasted. We should depart from the Middle East as soon as possible, and let Allah sort out their problems. They have been killing each other for thousands of years, and it has been proved that no one can stop them. It is none of our business.

Afghanistan is not a nation by our definition. It is a collection of warring tribes with no allegiance to any central government. Bring all of our troops home from foreign countries to defend America.

JACK STUART, 86, WWII veteran, Meridian

DUCK RESCUE

This letter is for all people who want to rescue ducklings from water drains. A few days ago, I was looking from the front of my house and saw a duck wandering around the front of some neighbors' houses. I thought she was trying to find her mate. Not so. She had walked over a steel grate and all nine of her babies fell through! A fire truck arrived with three men, but they could not rescue them. So everybody left and I told them I would try to save them. So I made a wooden duck ladder, brought along my trout net and my duck call. I raised the steel grate, made some peep sounds and the ducklings came out of the pipe and swam into the water at the end of the pipe. I reached into the water and scooped all of them up with my net and dumped them on the grass. They were sure happy to see Momma! And Momma was happy to see her babies again. I was happy.

BOB BOWLIN, Boise

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