Letters to the editor: 10-30-2013

October 30, 2013 

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Salmon

Once again the federal government’s spinmeisters are at it when it comes to salmon and steelhead recovery. They would want us to believe that the hundreds of millions of dollars they have spent on fixing dams to save our salmon and steelhead is paying back big dividends.

First let’s clear up that all of those hundreds of millions were not spent on saving salmon, they are being spent to save four useless dams in Washington state. Salmon don’t need money, they need a river-like corridor to the ocean, not a hot water slough from Lewiston to the Columbia River. Rocky Barker has it right when it comes to salmon — and he reports it fairly.

Salmon numbers are on the decline. Ask any salmon or steelhead fisherman. This spring’s salmon were half of the 10-year average. Summer salmon the same. Steelhead are as bad, 81,978 compared to 147,890 for the 10-year average.

But we can always trust the spinmeisters from our government to put their spin on one run of fish — fall salmon.

I, for one, will trust Rocky for accurate salmon info, not the Obama folks.

MITCH SANCHOTENA, Middleton

STEM

Bill Roberts recently reported in the Idaho Statesman (Oct. 8) about the University of Idaho’s research regarding STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), mentioning parental limitations, attitudes and influence.

AAUW (the American Association of University Women) is proactive about boosting math and science confidence and preparing students for higher education. For example, AAUW has supported the College of Western Idaho in its one-day “STEM Out! Expanding Your Horizons Conference.” This past spring, over 70 girls in grades 6 to 9 participated, met female role models, and engaged in challenging hands-on activities.

AAUW, which has been empowering women and girls since 1881, supports programs such as STEM events. We’ve learned they are a necessary component to help students pursue degrees that lead to science, technology, engineering, or math careers.

Written by Catherine Hill, Ph.D., Christianne Corbett, and Andresse St. Rose, Ed.D., AAUW’s book “Why So Few?” addresses the roles environment and other factors affect interest and achievements in STEM careers. We know STEM activities are critical to prepare our students for competitive technological and related careers in the global economy and applaud the Idaho Statesman for raising awareness about the need.

KATHY SCOTT AND LEE HIPSHER, president, AAUW Boise Area Branch

Airline fees

Air piracy: Anyone who has flown out of Boise recently will understand the piracy — 25 to 60 percent higher air fares, less selection of direct flights and destinations.

Let me list some recent fees: Checked baggage, more leg room, blankets, under-seat pets, food and beverage, earphones, games and movies.

Latest gimmick: They are going to be charging for overhead bin space. When the airlines introduced baggage fees, it forced people on a budget to carry more things aboard to avoid the expensive checked bag fee. Now there is not enough room in the overhead bins and the pirates have found themselves in a demand-exceeds-supply situation and have devised another way of extorting more funds from the hapless traveler.

There has been a major story in Boise recently about mergers and consolidation of our hospital systems. I only have this to say. My personal experience — less competition has never resulted in anything good for the buying public. The airlines spin doctors promised that the mergers were going to spawn more wonderful things for the public. Tell me just one.

ROCKY ROTHARMEL, Boise

Wasted food

In response to “Food stamp cuts” letter from Michelle Ward on Oct. 15:

As an owner of rental properties, you would not like to see all of the food that people put in the Dumpster or leave when they are moving. The food from the food banks is thrown away because they do not like the milk that you can put on the shelf. We have hundreds of pounds of food thrown out yearly. They want big tomatoes, not small ones.

Sometimes those who are given much do not care. Not always, but there are a percentage. If you want to be realistic, we could furnish many households with what is thrown away — not only in food, but clothes, furniture, kitchenware, etc. It is very sad, since I furnished my first home with orange crates and miscellaneous hand-me-downs. It is amazing what a sturdy cardboard box with a cloth over it can look like.

NANCY SAVAGE, Boise

Bicycles

A few days ago I was riding with my son-in-law when an adult bicyclist came off a side road onto a busy roadway without stopping. We didn’t come near hitting him, but had to apply the brakes for him.

I am a retired police officer and in my day we held training sessions for the bicyclist (young and adult). They were expected to obey the traffic rules, stop for stop signs and red lights, same as cars. They were expected to hand signal their right or left turns, or even slow down (same as car drivers before turn signals and brake lights came on cars).

Do these people on bicycles know this? I assume the same is expected of them today.

We are experiencing way too many accidents with bicycles and car/trucks. It will be a big difference if they are expected to obey all traffic laws — same as a driver of a car/truck.

May we experience safer travel when in a car or on a bicycle. Obey all rules of the roadway you are on.

VICTOR BARFUSS, Boise

Why was Victor Haskell killed while riding his bicycle west on State Street the night of Sept. 26? Yes, he should have had a light and, yes, the motorist should have seen him. Nonetheless, his death was avoidable.

Both sides of State at 30th were under construction that night. Traffic cones closed off 30th Street flush with the right lane, leaving no room for a bike and a car in the same space. The sidewalk was torn up, taking away that option for Haskell, and all of 30th blocked for 100 yards to the north.

ACHD needs to plan construction with Boise’s 7,000 bicyclists and its pedestrians in mind. Utilize flashing lights and post warning signals. Plan a path around or through construction for pedestrians and cyclists as is typically done downtown. In spite of his death, this intersection remains as dangerous today as it was four weeks ago. Unless construction practices change, more deaths will inevitably follow.

JERRY BRADY, Boise

Greg Collett

I read Dan Popkey’s column concerning Greg Collett, who wants to represent the fine people of Canyon County in the Idaho Legislature. If Mr. Collett’s opinions are as stated, then I am flabbergasted that he has the gall to be running. His comments and positions on the role of government are completely at odds with his own behavior. “Hypocrite” is an understatement. He reminds me of a little kid, who when confronted by his inconsistency and selfishness, puckers up and says, “I’m going to do exactly what I want and nobody can make me do anything else.” I’d hate to encounter his 10 kids when they mature and seek to emulate him.

WILLIAM BONNER, Meridian

Common Core

State Superintendent Tom Luna has stated many times that Common Core is a state-led effort with no federal footprint and we can quit any time. In March 2013, Mr. Luna wrote to Michael Petrilli, VP of Fordham Institute, a D.C. education policy think tank heavily invested in Common Core, for some clarification.

Mr. Petrilli wrote: “Idaho raised the bar when it adopted Common Core and you would be unwise to lower it again. ... Calling for a do-over would waste millions of man hours already invested — and potentially cost the state of Idaho more money than proceeding with Common Core.”

This innovation is the product of a huge amount of investment from other states, private foundations and private companies, which have produced Common Core-aligned textbooks, e-books, professional development and more. (Who profits? Bill Gates principally, having already invested billions in Common Core.)

Petrilli concludes: “There are trade-offs and risks associated with adopting Common Core. To be sure, you had decent math standards in place before Common Core (ID scored a B, CC an A-) came along. And by all means, the federal government has been heavy-handed with this reform and deserves to be chastened.”

State-led? No federal footprint? Really?

MILA WOOD, Middleton

Politicians

Four words to solve the problems with politicians: all incumbents left behind. After a few elections maybe they will learn what “We The People” really means.

CLIFF & PAM WHEATON, Garden City

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