Save money to build school rather than pass bond
All the testimonies supporting the school bond don't change the cost.
According to the College Place School superintendent (who was called last week) the interest on the bond is $24.5 million. That is at least one-half the bond or more.
None of that interest goes to the students. It goes to the lenders.
Why should the public be encumbered with that unproductive debt? It is important that money taken from the public be used for the cause for which it was intended (the building, not interest). The cost is too great! All the testimonies given don't change the bottom line.
We may need a new grade school, but this huge building proposal is too great. Let's focus on one school at a time. Rogers School was built for about $6 million, a fraction of the cost proposed for the bond.
Why not get an escrow account, put money into it and get interest, save until there is enough to build and then build. Borrowing is what has gotten all of us in the predicament our whole country is in - strapped with debt.
Home owners will be taking on this responsibility. Those who rent will feel it too with increased rental rates.
Maybe we should take a look at our educational policies and focus on academics more and less on the buildings and extracurricular offerings that are making education so expensive.
It isn't the facility that promises achievement, but the teaching. Many educated people had very poor facilities, but still excelled. Let's go at a little slower pace and pay as we go in our building and upgrading endeavors.
John L. Waterbrook
Policy needs to cover cellphone use at school
In response to Rosealma Moore. How can you say "... seems to me those who have been subjected to this filth are not obeying school rules"? That doesn't make any sense.
What if you don't have a cellphone? Many students don't. What if your teacher has a seating plan, and you sit where you are told? What if you are too dumbfounded after just leaving fifth grade to even comprehend what your seatmates are looking at?
Think about that as a grandmother, or any parent or guardian.
Middle school students are just kids. They need direction. Yes, some are rule followers and have their phones off during the day. But many are not, and they are surfing the Internet whenever they choose.
This is not the fault of the teacher, as there is no clear policy on cellphones in middle school for teachers/principals to take action on.
With technology changing as fast as it is, we as parents have to work with the school district to come up with new policies to make sure all of our kids are safe and don't feel threatened at school.
But I give you this to ponder, If my son or daughter took a Playboy magazine to school and was sharing it around in class, he/she would be out on their ear. No questions asked.
City project threatens passage of school bond
Of course the dedicated faculty, administration, and students of the College Place School District deserve upgraded facilities. It is long overdue.
A smaller College Place high school would offer students a much better opportunity to succeed by not falling through the cracks, as so often happens in a large high school.
However, my basic question and concern since we moved to College Place in 1988 has been: "Does one hand know what the other is doing?"
My wife and I attended the public meetings and school tours offered by the school board and bond planning committee. The first question/concern I expressed at every opportunity was: Are school officials/planners working with city of College Place officials/planners to ensure the school improvement bond is the top priority and that the city will not come up with additional needs requiring another bond for some other improvements in the near future that will increase the tax burden of residents even further?
School representatives assured me they have kept the city well informed as the planning developed for the school improvements and for presentation of the bond to the voters. They were unaware of new projects being contemplated by city officials that were going to be presented to the voters for approval in the near future.
My basic question was answered on March 27 when the Union-Bulletin printed the article "CP to vote on street bond," which explained that a $7 million bond for a major road construction project will be presented to voters on Aug. 2.
Does one hand know what the other is doing? Obviously not.
Our personal property tax will have doubled in the past 20 years with the addition of this new school bond. The new road project will increase our taxes another $100 to $150 per year.
This is a result of the mentality of city planners/officials that everything is a priority. When will it end?
We simply can't afford to do everything and especially not at the same time. It is hard to believe the city would put the school bond in jeopardy like this.
I am willing to vote yes for schools, and no for other projects that can wait until the city can actually afford them!
Tim L. Johnson
Students' efforts to help illegal immigrants naive
April Fool's Day can be serious. The naive quest of Whitman College students to deliver food and water to illegal immigrants on the Mexico/America border is mindboggling.
They are learning to apply Band-Aids to a rotting corpse. Parents paying more than $50,000 per year for tuition and other expenses must be thrilled.
Their "Everyone should have a basic right to live" has been proclaimed and violated billions of times.
"Every night, almost one-sixth of the world's population goes to bed hungry. And every year, about 1 million children die from severe acute malnutrition," said Tom Arnold, CEO, Concern Worldwide.
"Everybody - as a basic human right - has a right to food. The right to food is as basic as life itself."
Civilization's horrific problems are not solved working from bottom up. Cures start from the top but when it is rotten productive change is impossible. Our current government is living proof.
The love of money is the root of all evil (when enough is never enough) and when coupled with abnormal lust for power over others, a monster results. Power obsession evolves from schoolyard bully to leadership of a gang, cartel, province to a nation.
World domination is their final goal. This is the height for education.
Whitman offers this course, a three-month trip through Western states in a converted horse trailer. My amigos pick fruit and vegetables this way for a living.
Global awareness trips to sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia - with ensured safety - to study macro problems firsthand while exercising highest order thinking to develop practical solutions and detailed implementation plans, costs, unintended consequences, etc. would produce graduates the world desperately needs.
Sixteen million men/women of the Greatest Generation received that opportunity. After my 1943 high school graduation Uncle Sam furnished an all-expenses paid tour in the Pacific Theater - 1943-46. Most G.I.s got tours to Earth's four corners.
It spanned teenage anxiety of what's next? We learned we were all equal - just dirt - matured rapidly, made friendships quickly, adapted to life's harshest realities and learned its lessons. We entered as kids and graduated as seasoned adults, wiser way beyond our years.
Since the draft disappeared kids face those awkward years trying to "find themselves." I don't envy you.
Skipping ultra-hard courses slashes job opportunities and rewards of producing tangible solutions to most difficult problems.
What are your aspirations? Set them very high. Skip easy. Have a great life.
William L. Kelly
Obama nailed for same things others have done
I don't like to see any flash of "insight" reduced to a soggy ciggy butt, but facts are facts. It was Dwight Eisenhower who first introduced the Telepromter to presidential speechifying. Every president since has used it as well. Every single one.
Why is it that Obama alone gets contempt for it?
Every president since FDR has had speech writers on staff. Every one.
Obama's, since you wondered, is named Jon Favreau, but he says the president is the key writer.
"He knows better what he wants to say and is the best writer in the room," Favreau said.
I would remind you that, unlike Kennedy, Obama has written two best-selling books without a ghostwriter.
Apparently nothing about the intellectual wattage of the C student Dubya ever caused Mr. Baker to try looking up Bush's Harvard papers. Had he done so he'd have found that they too were sealed. I have no idea why this is, but it's no conspiracy hatched by obamacans.
Finally an opinion: I am an actor; take my word for it, all presidents are actors, some are just more convicing (Ike, Kennedy, Reagan) than others (Johnson, Nixon).
At a White House reception in the late '30s FDR said, sotto voce, to Orson Wells, "Orson, you and I are the two best actors in America." He was probably right.
Raise for police chief shows city needs new leaders
It was recently published in the U-B that the retiring police chief was going to receive a more than $800 per month increase in salary.
Make no mistake about it, Chuck Fulton is a fine individual who has served this community for more than 40 years, and I wish him well in his retirement.
However, the actions of the city to approve a pay increase (by the way, didn't all city managers receive a 7.1 percent increase just a few months ago?) when the economy has been tanking for three-plus years is questionable. Do they not know there are many individuals in this community unemployed and struggling to get by? Do they not see the many houses sitting empty?
Is Chuck Fulton wrong in accepting an increase in his retirement pay? No. Be honest, we would all take it!
My question is about the actions of the city managers. Are they out of touch or just too egotistical to be concerned about spending the taxpayers' money? (Full disclosure, I too am a government employee, though I have taken a 5.2 percent decrease in salary.)
Are the city managers practicing Obama economics in spending money they don't have? It is time for a change.
Evidence is clear: Earth is warming
While it is true that temperature and the extent of ice cover have varied over the Earth's history, Steve Singleton (Dec. 18) fails to recognize that global average surface temperature is rising at an unprecedented rate.
NASA recently concluded, "The global average surface temperature in 2011 was the ninth warmest since 1880 ... The finding continues a trend in which nine of the 10 warmest years in the modern meteorological record have occurred since the year 2000."
NASA climate data also reports that the global average surface temperature has increased by 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit since 1880.
While it is easy to "cherry-pick" limited data to deny current climate change, a large majority of climate evidence indicates that global average surface temperatures have been rising at an alarming rate and that CO2 levels have historically been, and are today, directly correlated to global average surface temperature.
The general scientific consensus is that the global average surface temperature is surging due in large part to human greenhouse gas emissions.
Mr. Singleton claims anthropogenic climate change is "an international extortion attempt by certain nations, organizations and individuals to milk hundreds of billions of dollars from U.S. and other taxpayers."
In reality, the effects of climate change are costing taxpayers a lot of money. One of the results of climate change is an increase in severe weather. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently reported that 2011 set a record for the highest number of natural disasters that caused over a billion dollars in damage.
In all, there were 14 disasters that ranged "from extreme drought, heat waves and floods to unprecedented tornado outbreaks, hurricanes, wildfires and winter storms." This record highlights a growing trend. Extreme weather will become a more intense and frequent reality as the temperatures of the atmosphere and ocean increase.
Anthropogenic climate change exists and its economic impacts will be enormous. We cannot afford to ignore the climate; it is one of the many natural systems that help to sustain life on Earth.
If you would like to look at the data for yourself, here is a good place to start: climate.nasa.gov/.
‘Sensational/entertaining' news leaves questions
Lou Dobbs of Fox News recently stated, "The American people want their news to be sensational and entertaining."
This seems to be the approach of some other news networks as well. Each trying to outdo the other.
The result is a lot of sensationalism and entertainment and not much that's newsworthy.
One example is the controversy over the desecration of the American flag in Florida. Banalities become reasons to express outrage and draw rather dubious conclusions.
One wonders if that's the purpose of sensational and entertaining news. Is it to erase reality by stating what might have been if certain things had happened, or what will happen if...? Is it to define patriotism as love of country over respect for others?
Is it to manipulate us by fear and anger? Is it to cause tension and divisiveness? Is it to close our minds to the real ways our culture is declining?
Or is it just to entertain our hopelessness?
Sadly for us, the American people's desire for sensational and entertaining news has become too large. And God's good news, too small.
Susan J. Day
Approving CP bond gives residents a choices
I appreciate the Union Bulletin editorial urging College Place voters to vote. It was well written, to the point, and exactly what I would want to say.
The most important concept I would like to stress is this bond proposal would give College Place School District parents an option. A choice. What a wonderful thing, this power of agency.
We will have taxes for schools. It will happen regardless of whether this bond passes or not. You can choose where you want your tax dollars to go. Eventually we will be paying here, in our home district, or in our neighboring district, without a say on how much we have to pay.
I appreciate our neighbors for allowing us to school our children with them, but I think it is time for us to take care of our own. Some students will want to open enroll in a larger school, and some students will thrive in a smaller environment.
But what an opportunity for the citizens of College Place to open a magnet school. The beauty of it is we will have a choice!
I urge you to vote. Return you ballots. Don't let them get lost on the kitchen counter. There is a drop box by City Hall on College Avenue; you don't even have to put a stamp on it. Just vote. You matter. Your vote matters.
CP high school not answer for educating children
I believe our kids need the best education possible for a reasonable cost. However, in my opinion, the projected costs are considerably understated and therefore are not reasonable.
The stated bond levy of $2.70 per $1,000 of assessed value collects about $2,427,500 per year based on College Place School District's total assessed valuation of about $900 million.
The $38.5 million construction bond at 2.5 percent interest requires a yearly payment of $2,449,884. The underfunded amount is about $22,000 per year.
Since inflation is about 3 percent per year, I don't believe the bonds will ever sell at 2.5 percent. A 3.5 percent interest rate is more likely. This would result in a levy rate of nearly $3 instead of the stated $2.70.
Further the $10.5 million in interest at 2.5 percent or the likely $15 million at 3.5 percent does not contribute to any kids' education.
Also look at the costs for the many proposed sports facilities at Sager-Meadow Brook. Are sports only what a high school is all about? How many future jobs will these sports activities generate for the students?
No wonder industry is indicating there are not enough qualified people to fill industrial and technical jobs.
The district's vested-interest people are doing a true "used car salesman" job of selling us their high school. Look out for what they are not telling us.
Do they bring up the costs for administrators, teachers, operations, sports and buses for all of the extracurricular activities for a high school? How about a big raise for the principal? Look at what he is paid now!
If the district was concerned only about our kids' education, they would have asked for a bond only to replace Davis School. Bringing up the high school proves the direct monetary beneficiaries are more concerned with their egos than the education of your children.
Past expenditures of shuffling the administration staff offices are also a big indication of who is benefiting. It is not our students.
Further, the district has not even proved itself effective in educating junior high students. Compare the relatively poor student scores as indicated on the Washington State Report website: reportcard.ospi with other districts. How much more will these scores sag if the district takes on the responsibilities and problems of a high school?
I don't believe a College Place high school is the best solution for our kids' education.
Allen J. Aplass
Budget cuts to family planning are shortsighted
I am very concerned about the current state budget proposal, which cuts $3 million from the Department of Health's family planning budget.
As a health-care provider, I see firsthand the needs of women and men in our community, many of whom rely on family planning programs from the state to meet their contraceptive and other reproductive health needs.
The proposed cuts would have a devastating effect on all providers of such care, and would have an even more devastating effect on the people who need care.
The best estimates indicate the proposed cut would eliminate services for at least 12,500 Washington women. It would also generate state costs for every unintended pregnancy, which estimates put at more than $12 million.
We can spend $3 million on prevention, or we can deal with $12 million in state costs in the next year. This doesn't seem to be a difficult decision: pay a little now, or pay a lot later.
I understand the need and desire to cut costs, but this is not the way to do it. In fact, this will cost us more almost immediately, and will cost even more down the line. We need our legislators to stand firm, to protect those who rely on state programs for their health, and to save us all money by maintaining current levels of funding for family planning.
Valerie Potter, RN