OUR READERS' OPINIONS - 03/20/11

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School district survey questioned

After reviewing the recent publication of the Educate, Listen and Plan initiative survey results for Walla Walla School District improvements, I wonder just what substantive value it has contributed to the decision-making process.

Superintendent Miller met nearly 50 times with an apparent large number of potential voters in the district as well as other promotional efforts, so I can understand why the results are being presented with a positive spin. Simply looking at only the 336 survey results, they do indicate overall favorable support for improvements of some kind.

What stands out more to me is the limited number of survey respondents and how they could possibly be considered a positive representation of district voters.

I called the County Elections Office to secure the number of registered voters in the Walla Walla School District but was informed it was a public disclosure inquiry with a written request necessary. In the interest of time, and to address my point, I decided to use data from the $54 million bond proposal that was rejected in 2006. There were 9,842 actual voters in that election.

That means only a meager 3.4 percent of the 2006 voters completed surveys, seeming to be a very small number and disappointment after so much time and effort. Online surveys could be submitted by virtually anyone. Total results included district staff which one could presume would be primarily in favor of major improvements, and a large percentage of respondents. So what does the survey data tell us about the feelings of the total district electorate?

In my opinion, not much!

Past technology and maintenance facility proposals failed approval. They happened anyway!

From whence the funding? The inflated Edison Bond shenanigan left a bitter taste with many. Maintenance and operations ley passage has become a given with voting a waste of time and money. Thankfully thousands were not wasted on a private survey. Many government agencies are being required to cut spending. Others need to!

Wa-Hi may need some improvements, but not replacement. Overcrowding could be relieved by College Place building its own high school. Return Lincoln High students to an acceptable environment on Wa-Hi grounds.

Financial times are not good for many and the taxing climate is stretched. Architects have been hired. It will cost only a little bit more. Right now 52.8 percent of my property tax goes to state and local education. It's just never quite enough!!

Dell Fischer

Walla Walla

Evolution is a hoax

Why is it that the U-B makes room for Steve Luckstead to preach his personal gospel, evolution, in its pages but cannot find room for dissenting opinions? Apparently, its objective is to indoctrinate its readers, not to educate them.

Science is concerned with those things which can be observed, demonstrated, and tested. Evolution, which is a metaphysical philosophy, is not science by definition.

Everything in Mr. Luckstead's column is conjecture based on one's world view. They were scientifically refuted many years ago. Neither archeologists nor anthropologists have located, identified or classified the supposed common simian ancestor of humans and apes. As such, this is philosophy, not science.

In 1992, Professor Marvin Lubenow's seminal study on this issue, "Bones of Contention" was published. In it, he painstakingly discusses every specimen located and exposes the politics behind the field of archeology Mr. Luckstead merely repeats what he was taught in his high-school or undergraduate biology classes.

Ironically, Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion) who is one of evolutions fiercest defenders, is referred to us a "great scientist." He has a doctorate in zoology, but he apparently has not contributed anything of distinction in that field of study.

Rather, he chairs the department of "Atheistic Studies" at Oxford, which is funded by a wealthy alumnus. His only notable ability appears to be storytelling, which sums the scientific viability of the evolutionary principle. At least, he admits his goal is to dethrone God as being nothing more than ancient superstition.

Sir Arthur Keith stated, "Evolution is unproven and unprovable. We only believe in it because we don't want to believe in God." Nobel Award winner for science, George Wald, is famously quoted, "I know that life didn't begin by spontaneous generation and descent through modification. I believe in evolution because I don't want to believe in God."

Study the actual science and not the fairy tales. You will agree with Malcolm Muggeridge, "I believe that evolution will turn out to be one of the great hoaxes of the 20th century."

Guillermo F. Garcia

College Place

K-12 industry has failed

Halt building/remodeling schools. The K-12 industry is a morass, beyond saving. Failed school systems blanket America. UAW, SEIU power-hungry union leaders co-opted K-12 unions for personal goals. To repel them:

Before August 1, 2012, complete these actions:

1. Eliminate the Department of Education.

2. Eliminate all laws, regulations, rules, mandates, contracts, etc. attached to the existing education system.

3. Install a 21st century privatized education program using state-of-the-art technology and organization.

Halt compulsory attendance. Millions of kids wish not and millions more should not be in school. They disrupt, abuse, debase and overburden the system.

Assign education responsibility to children and/or legal guardians. Those accepting ignorance have that right.

Offer two-day SAT-based examinations four times yearly selected from several iterations. Use English only and revise yearly. To pass requires 80 percent-plus scores in all subjects. Passing earns a diploma regardless of age or source of education. This is the simplest, just, effective, efficient, reliable and responsible education plan possible;

Approved virtual, parochial, charter, home, correspondence, performing-public schools and others yet to come can compete. Auction off failed public schools. Exceptional administrators, teachers and specialists can join bidders and re-enter the game.

Ignorance ever has and shall civilization's greatest threat. It creates poverty and denies progress. Universal education is the cure.

Civilization's entire knowledge inhabits the atmosphere, available to every person. We must connect them.

This is education's destiny. It will straighten the path for motivated students to finish education requirements quickly and move to greater heights. It invites dropouts and those who skipped school entirely to re-enter the quest for education. America in a decade will dominate brain power and the productivity it brings. The world will benefit immensely.

Extra-curricular efforts such as arts, entertainment, sports, etc. are independent from scholarly efforts. Separate facilities, resources, people and funding must be arranged. Business and other enterprise benefitting from these activities must contribute. Volunteers and community institutions such theater, YMCA, YWCA, AAU, Little Leagues, Pop Warner football, etc. will form the backbone.

Imagine a 1,000-person cadre of brilliant, most effective teachers lecturing by Internet to learners everywhere using U.N.-type language conversion. All activities such as lab experiments shall be done digitally without blowing up facilities. Digital world entrepreneurship will explode. No more books. Kindle plus Internet rules.

Afghan women, kids in slums or deserts or isolated brain-washing camps, everybody will be free to learn.

William L. Kelly

Walla Walla

Does a world view matter?

God's gift of six senses we can check if we have a vertical world view or just a horizontal view by internalizing the Creator's Word: By reading it, hearing it, if it smells good it probably is, seeing it in a healing that cannot be explained, feeling trust in an absolute honest handshake, tasting it in breaking bread and the quenching of our thirst at the table to remember the one who invited us in to sup with him.

With our sixth sense of intuition, we move and have our being in Him who is transcendent and greater than our selves.

The prognosis of our six senses in checking our vital vertical relationship against our horizontal relationship as to whom we fear, hate or just don't care for reflects our world view. If we have any doubt of the truth of these feelings for knowing what our world view is.

Satan is ever present to tell us that in a million years, chances are you would have forgotten about a worldwide flood and an ark that saved. This is exactly why a full scale Noah's Ark is being built out of wood that can be visited in 2014 found in a northern Kentucky theme park near the world's largest Creation Museum as a reminder that future generations remember our history of grace.

Now that you are informed as were those in Noah's day, feel called to go aboard because your intuitive sixth sense in a positive world view based upon biblical authority motivates and energizes our living out the best yet to be.

A biblical historical world view that states man, animals and fowl were saved from destruction about 4,000 years ago from a catastrophic worldwide flood. Such a flood was promised never to occur again and we should believe in God's Word for a coming judgment and the need for another Ark. My world view is that Jesus Christ is that Ark to trust in.

Phillip Monfort

Waitsburg

Rotten walnuts a danger to dogs

This letter is to alert fellow dog owners to a toxic hazard that may exist in any yard in our area. This toxicity is especially dangerous to small dogs. Knowledge about it is not widespread.

On a recent weekend, not for the first time, we heard our 4-year-old, nine-pound chihuahua-dachshund mix crunching a rotted English walnut. We promptly took it away from her but not before she had swallowed a portion of it, as had her 12-pound Dachshund boyfriend.

Within an hour, she vomited twice, then began panting and shaking all over. After another hour, her shaking had not lessened so we took her to pet emergency where she was admitted and given Valium and phenobarbital.

I am happy to report she recovered and is now well. Our dachshund only experienced some foamy vomiting and couldn't eat his supper.

My wife and I believed the ingestion of the rotted walnut just before onset of the symptoms needed investigation so she went to the Internet and in a short time located numerous discussions of the poisonous potential of rotting walnuts.

We learned that "moist, old, moldy walnuts" when eaten could cause a poisoning of a dog with manifestations of "uncontrollable shaking resembling the quivering of metaldehyde poisoning from eating snail bait powder or pellets." Treatment suggested was "induce vomiting, muscle relaxants, charcoal and tranquilizers."

So pet owners, please be aware of this problem. Grey squirrels and English walnut trees abound. Squirrels love to bury (store) their nuts in your yard. Be vigilant. It could happen to your dog and it can be lethal.

Thomas H. Reed

Walla Walla

Let's look again at civil servants

How many like job civil servants are doing?

Well, I'm glad to hear from a civil servant in response to my letter of Feb. 28 ("A few thought on the civil servants union").

I hoped writing it I would stir some civil debate (pun intended). I know my words were harsh, but you should have seen the rewrites.

First, let me make clear, I did not include emergency service employees or teachers. They are by and large hard-working people. I commend our troops as they fight in endless wars that few Americans share in sacrifice.

I saw a recent poll that placed me in the one-quarter of Americans who believe civil servants are overpaid. The other quarter believe they are paid fairly, and the remaining third thought they were underpaid. So, I know I'm in a minority.

I would like to see a metaphoric show of hands. How many of us really like the job our civil servants are doing? I have seen with my own eyes the work they do, and have listened to many stories of the civil servants work habits. I really don't think I need to share any here right now, we all have heard them for years.

Since I got a response from a civil servant, how about answering the questions that I expressed in my letter? How many holidays, sick days and vacation days do civil servants get off? And, when he says he makes 30 percent less than his counter parts in private industry, did he included a reduction for time off? Maybe he could share how much in benefits his compensation was?

Just to be clear, I never said in my letter that civil servants were the root of all the problems this country faces. And, as to his suggestion of all civil servants striking to show me, in particular, his value to me. I say, so what if it takes five weeks to get a response back from his office, rather than four weeks, it's still too long.

I know my letter was harsh, as this one is as well, but did anybody miss the backhanded compliment I finished with?

If so I'll say for the record, I've written twice in the last 12 months about our local governments announcing cuts to services, at the same time opening discussions on where to spend more.

In the last case the articles were actually touching. Go back and read the paper I was commenting on.

Charles Cory Spencer

Walla Walla

Too much talk, not enough action

Talk, talk, talk, no action! Talk about ways to cut the budget. Why such immediate fingering at Social Security when it is owed $6 trillion by the government.

Why is the government in the housing business, namely Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac? In the "old days" a mortgage was a contract between a bank and a buyer - period! How about eliminating that agency?

How about having a moratorium on space "maneuvers" except for security mankind has survived for centuries without knowing if here are things out there on Mars, Jupiter, etc. that don't really concern us.

To save the cost of overtime for bus travel, vehicle maintenance and fuel, how about all educational institutions (grade schools, high schools and college) eliminate one out-of-town sports event a year.

It sounds small, but put it all together across the nation and it would be a substantial amount of fuel.

There probably are so many "programs" we don't even know about in the vein of grants and lobbyists. If you have comparable examples, please bring forth and let's get people thinking into get politicians to "thinking and doing" instead of their one-track talking.

When I was a small child, I listened to men talking. What I gathered from their conversations was about the Birch Society and that China would overtake us.

I don't know what the Birch Society was about or what happened to it, but the China thing is food for thought.

They say a government last about 200 hundred years. In our 235 years, I can name at last 10 wars we have been involved in.

Where has it gotten us but in "debt" and grasping for "fuel" which was spent on those wars and those Asians will still be fighting as they have for centuries.

If we weren't so involved in their affairs, we could be peacefully buying their oil.

Betty Tate

Walla Walla

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