Letters to the editor: 01-06-2014

January 6, 2014 

Education

This is in response to Tom Luna’s opinion letter in which he has again shown himself to have little credibility:

He says we have a good education system compared to other states and cites as evidence a high graduation rate. Idaho is consistently rated as among the two to three worst-performing states educationally in the United States.

Anyone can get high graduation rates by setting their standards low enough. As a teacher, it seems all we care about is seat time and credits and have very little concern about whether or not learning is occurring.

Luna himself points out that our kids do poorly in college, typically starting out in remedial math and English because they are unprepared. Luna, who said we have great teachers, is the same person who a short time ago tried to deny teachers any input into the educational system with his so called “reforms” until voters soundly rejected them.

Luna finished by saying he wants us to join the effort. He should have included in his letter what his proposals are that he wants us to join. Given his poor record, we need more substance because he doesn’t deserve blind trust.

DUWAYNE KRAUSE, Caldwell

I found it ironic that Breanna Carmack’s letter regarding student quotes on political beliefs and behaviors (“An uneducated populace is easy to control; such control is exactly contrary to the ideal of America.”) and John Duncan’s letter regarding the Nampa school levy (“I do not have children attending any learning centers in the Valley. If you want to raise taxes, do so at the expense of those who have kids.”) both appeared in the Dec. 25 Letters to the Editor, with Carmack’s letter opening the column and Duncan’s closing it. I sincerely hope the former point of view is more common in the Boise area, but I fear that more people think about their pocketbook than about their country.

LARRY D. FARRELL, Pocatello

Gas prices

On Dec. 26, the Statesman ran “Another View” column by a Lawrence McQuillan regarding the apparent rip-off of Idaho drivers by the federal gas tax of 18.4 cents per gallon. McQuillan’s assertions seemed to suggest that Idaho drivers were subsidizing silly expenditures for bike paths in Napa Valley, Calif., and worse (things like mass transit, etc.).

However, the single most important fact he left out of his opinion piece is that Idaho, as a state, is a net importer of federal tax dollars — not a net exporter of said dollars. This means that Idaho gets more federal tax dollars back into state coffers each year than it sends to Washington, D.C. If McQuillan wants to complain about how California drivers’ federal gas taxes are spent in his state, I suggest he contact his state and congressional representatives and leave the pages of our paper open to opinions that actually affect Idahoans.

JAMES HERN, Boise

Terrain park

I have an idea for the Ada County commissioners. How about offering to sell the 34 acres to Gateway Parks so it can build the new terrain park in Eagle? This would put the property back on the property tax rolls where it belongs.

MATTHEW HOWARTH, Eagle

Offensive comic

The New Year’s Day Pearls Before Swine comic strip managed to combine stereotypes and cliches about gays with toilet humor. “Straight flush” would have been sufficiently punny (pun intended) given the poker context, but as it was, it was ham-handed and just wasn’t funny. Not just because it was offensive to gays — it just didn’t work as humor, period. Where was your sense of humor and your editorial oversight regarding these prejudiced lead word balloons?

KENNETH FREEMAN, Boise

Crescent Rim

In response to the letter about roundabout and traffic dividers on Crescent Rim, I would like to add some information regarding these structures.

When the Crescent Rim condo project was built starting in 2005, there was neighborhood concern about increased traffic on neighborhood streets because of this high-density condo in this traditionally single-family residential neighborhood, and the developer pledged $100,000 to install traffic calming structures.

Apparently what was built is the highly decorated roundabout below the depot which does nothing to slow traffic on Crescent or in the neighborhood, and the traffic dividers at Crescent and Morris Hill, which is far removed from the condo, and new stop signs at Crescent and Peasley, which do slow and control traffic.

News reports indicated the structures cost $130,000, with the city paying $30,000 and condo developer $100,000 and, except for the stop signs, do nothing to slow traffic in the neighborhood.

Why this traffic control effort turned into an ineffective “art project” is a question that needs to be investigated and answered. Anyone have any ideas or information?

GERALD K. KING, Boise

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