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Letters to the editor – July 22, 2016

Posted: July 22nd, 2016 | Featured, Letters to the editor, Opinion | No Comments

Trustee areas won’t change district governance

Re: “Voting by trustee areas will shake up board elections” [Volume 6, Issue 4, bit.ly/29ZfoIy]

The San Diego County Board of Education and the State Board of Education recently approved the Grossmont Union High School District’s proposal to elect its members by area rather than “at large” as had been the custom. The District is now in compliance with the California Voting Rights Act, thereby improving opportunities for residents of minority neighborhoods to achieve board representation. Most districts throughout California have implemented “area” elections or will soon do so.

The question is: “Does election of trustees from single-member districts change the form of school district governance?”

The short answer is: “No.” Public school districts are “trustee” forms of government. They are not “representative” forms of government like the State Legislature or Congress.

Residents, parents and students living in the District need not be concerned that the establishment of individual “areas” or “seats” will necessarily lead to a Balkanization of the District.

A trustee is not responsible only to the students, parents, taxpayers and constituents who reside in the single-member district to which the trustee was elected, but is responsible to every student, parent, taxpayer and constituent of the entire school district.

Unfortunately, the concept of single-member districts promotes the idea among some voters of “geographic representation”. Such voters tend to think of the trustee which they elected as their representative on the board and, if not careful, the trustee may fall prey to that notion as well.

I know that I speak for each of my colleagues when I say that we will continue to be the trustees for the entire school system, including all of its geography, all of its campuses, all of its facilities, all of its students and parents, and all of the District’s taxpayers, voters and constituents.

—Grossmont Unified High School District board member Jim Stieringer, La Mesa

Solutions won’t work without culprits

Re: “Let’s not have another tragedy pass by without serious action” [Volume 6, Issue 6, bit.ly/29E4jKN]

My jaw dropped as I read Representative Davis’ editorial “Let’s not have another tragedy pass by without serious action.” Not once in the article did she express outrage at the perpetrators of the horrific act — radical Muslims fighting a war on western civilization. Because she is unwilling to focus on, much less identify the culprits, her suggested solutions will have a limited impact in reducing the number of murders committed by radical Islamists.

Yes, better background checks might make a difference and if there are ways to improve them, I’m all for it. Yes, reinstating the assault weapons ban might make a difference — although it had no positive impact when it was in effect the first time. Bad people seem to get weapons regardless of laws — consider the gun violence in Chicago. Too, remember that most murders committed by radical Muslims worldwide, have been by suicide bombers. It is especially difficult to understand why an Equality Act would make even a small difference to those who committed the murders in Orlando, or Santa Barbara, or at the military base in Texas, or in Paris, or in Brussels, or in the many other places they have been carried out.

Gays have won their big civil rights battle in this country. The right to legally marry is the law of our land. It is the laws of Sharia and the practices of radical Islam – throwing gays off buildings or stoning or drowning them — that need changing. While all murders are horrible, the majority of radical Muslim murders, both here in the United States and many other places in the world, have not been perpetrated against gays in particular but against liberal-minded Western civilization in general.

I just don’t understand why Representative Davis chooses to ignore radical Islam as the source of the problem. Until she and our other leaders are willing to do so, their “solutions” to reducing the barbarity will continue to be mostly the feel good type suggested in the editorial rather than strong and directed actions that will have a meaningful impact on reducing the scourge of radical Islam, here in the United States and worldwide.

—Russell Buckley, La Mesa

La Mesa City business?

Re: “Classic car shows return this summer” [Volume 6, Issue 6, bit.ly/29CA33o] 

The City of La Mesa wants to take on additional, non-municipality business. Specifically, the abbreviated summer car shows and an “authentic” German-style Oktoberfest. The city has an extra $30,000 to hire an out-of-town expert to promote bratwurst and sauerkraut this fall? El Cajon already does an excellent job at their German Club facility. Should the city venture into businesses outside their municipal responsibilities? What does the city know about for-profit enterprise and is it an appropriate endeavor, when they should be sticking to their own knitting?

While “chaperoning” the recent $6 million Village facelift, upwards to a dozen businesses failed in the Village because the city gave too little attention to their operating and customer needs during the construction. The surviving businesses still owe the city (i.e. us) $50,000 for the last Oktoberfest. Does this new venture mean that the hobbyists, supplementing their income by selling their wares in street tents, will be abandoned for an “authentic” German theme?

Let’s take the city’s “estimated” $150,000 Oktoberfest and apply it toward real-city business. Even if fire and police are included in this figure, it’s still a distraction from their intended purpose. La Mesa needs to clean up Collier Park, fix potholes, sweep the basketball court, maintain the facilities on Memorial Drive for more civic functions and construct a full-service library as promised.

Oh, and about that eyesore, weed-infested-looking intersection at Grossmont Boulevard and Jackson Drive, the city needs to clean it up, maybe with a welcome sign before going into the business of selling hot dogs and beer.

La Mesans enjoy our quaint, small-town atmosphere. Besides, we do not want to encourage an onslaught of weekend thrill-seeking, rabble-rousing, out-of-towners to our hidden garden spot. If we get starry-eyed like our big neighbors to the west (i.e. San Diego), soon we’ll be courting the Chargers and their ilk. The city has enough on its municipal plate without getting into questionable business for profit. Let’s not lose our charming little city for uncertain greed and leave the non-municipal business to savvy entrepreneurs.

—Carlos and Lorenza Miller, La Mesa

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