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The Daily Sentinel from Grand Junction, Colorado • Page 4
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The Daily Sentinel from Grand Junction, Colorado • Page 4

Grand Junction, Colorado
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Commentary 4A The Daif SenLnei VSednesda), April 27,2005 TOE DAILY Sentinel Geocj Ortaoek, Editor and Publisher Daunts M. Henefc Wanagpg Editor Bud WtasJow, Operations Director Bok Sltbenuget, Editorial Page Editor Tl Hsrty, City Editor fceHAVIoRAL PPDB.LeM S- YeATL- OLP WITH BeH AVI ORAL PRoB-ers Editorials APPROPRIATE EXCESSIVE ip Letters that eliminate the perception of cronyism or any other practice that leads to the type of exchanges going on between President Tim Foster and individuals who sincerely believe the process to secure the best people for all positions is flawed. DARIF.L CLARK Grand Junction Republicans should hot be the only ones eligible for jobs Editor The April 19 editorial Political poppycock at Mesa State College was a jaw dropper. It is impossible for me to believe that anyone would take such a position. Quite frankly I have noted better thinking in college and even some high-school publications.

What does the editor believe? Is it that somehow, because a person is the member of a particular political party, he or she is entitled to special consideration in hiring? Why dont we just post a sign outside the college human resource offices stating, Democrats and dogs need not apply, especially Democrats? Less offensive perhaps, but equally accurate, the sign might read Position Reserved for Republicans. Why dont we make party membership part of the criteria for preference in hiring people for public-service jobs? Some have. It is illegal, but what the heck, that doesnt matter as long as they are Republican Party members in good standing. Is it not interesting that elected officials of the Republican Party, those preaching to others about the greatness of free enterprise, always make sure that they and their family members have places at the public trough? That is absolutely astounding. ROBERT I.

LAITRES Delta Everyone benefited by the college, and students particularly have a legitimate interest in the quality of people employed to serve them. Devotion to student welfare surpasses all other considerations. The editorial writer said, The plain fact is Foster has every right to surround himself with people with whom he shares a strong comfort level. He also said, And no one should be surprised if he tends to favor people who share a similar political philosophy or outlook with him. If this is the prevailing view of the Board of Trustees and the general public, heaven help the students since they will be ill-served, if not in the current instance, certainly in the future.

As a retired school superintendent I believe political affiliation has no place in the hiring practices of colleges, universities or public schools. Rather than seeking people to achieve a certain comfort level, educational leaders should surround themselves with the best and the brightest professionals who can be attracted to provide quality leadership for their institutions and the students they serve. If applicants for positions in any educational institution.receive special consideration because of political or other extraneous factors, students and all who believe they are the reason the institution exists should be outraged and react to such appointments accordingly Boards of trustees serve students best by focusing attention on what is most educationally productive for them. Trustees, above all others, must resist anything that negatively affects the morale of teachers, other staff members and students. The controversy surrounding the position for director of development is likely to have people wondering if there is fairness in employment practices at Mesa State.

If there is public bewilderment, college trustees have a duty to develop and enforce policies Mesa State funding will suffer if cronies pad college payroll Editor. The April 19 editorial gave unbridled support to Mesa State College President Tim Fosters right to surround himself with whomever he anoints. On the surface, the president can hire whomever he desires. The problem lies with the expenditure of public funds to give political patronage jobs to experience-challenged individuals. I am a Republican and am offended that Mesa State has become the employer of choice for current and former Republican politicians.

I am not a Democrat seeing a nefarious plot" (as the editorial suggested). Rather I am a Republican seeing a sham. Mesa State continues to complain of funding difficulties. I believe these complaints are valid. Faculty, staff and athletics all are underpaid or underfunded.

The credibility of the president suffers when asking for additional funds from the community while padding the payroll with cronies. The president has broached the possibility of seeking university status. I have a suggested name: Pork Barrel University DOUG BRIGGS Grand Junction Politics should play no part in hiring practices of college Editor: I would be interested in knowing if the background of the person who wrote Political poppycock at Mesa State College qualified him as an educational expert. The writer attempts to make a case that criticisms of hiring practices are political. Front Range water fight bears West Slope scrutiny Theres a water war raging on the southern edge of Colorados Front Range, pitting people in the regions two largest cities, Pueblo and Colorado Springs, against each other over a plan to enlarge Pueblo Reservoir and Turquoise Lake.

And, while the one-time potential threat to the Western Slope from this battle has been alleviated, the issue is still one that bears watching because it involves the Frying Pan-Arkansas Project that includes Ruedi Reservoir on the Western Slope. Its not difficult to appreciate why The Pueblo Chief-; tain newspaper is leading the opposition to taking more water out of the Arkansas River and sending it through a giant new pipeline to serve growth in Colorado Springs. Although both cities are in the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District, which contracts with the federal government to provide irrigatioh and municipal water from the Fry-Ark project, the Arkansas River runs through Pueblo. Watching more of that water go to feed the fast-grow-; ing city to the north, while residents throughout the district would have to bear much of the cost, is not i something that enthuses many residents of Pueblo, not to mention the farmers all the way to the Kansas border who depend on the Arkansas to irrigate their crops. The plan to expand the reservoirs will require con-; gressional approval.

But it may also require a local vote. The latest salvo in the conflict, fired Tuesday on the Chieftains editorial page, demands that the conservancy district put the issue of expanding the reservoirs to a vote of district residents. The newspaper noted that 3rd District Rep. John Salazar has included a requirement for such a vote in federal legislation he is drafting that would authorize feasibility studies for the reservoir enlargements. The expansion project is known as the Preferred Storage Options Plan, or PSOP, and it involves not only the Southeastern Water Conservancy District, but the U.S.

Bureau of Reclamation, which operates the reservoirs, and more than a dozen entities that would get additional 1 water from the project, including some in Pueblo. Colo-; rado Springs would be, by far, the largest beneficiary Last year, Western Slope water officials opposed the project because they feared wording in the legislation would make it possible for the cities of Colorado Springs and Aurora to facilitate more transmountain diversions i of Western Slope water through the Fry-Ark project. Since then, separate agreements worked out with the 1 cities and the Bureau of Reclamation have largely elimi-; nated those fears. Both sides are working hard to gain congressional support for their position. Chieftain Publisher Bob Raw- lings has gone so far as to hire Washington, D.C., lobby- ists to fight PSOP in Congress.

It is an all-too-familiar conflict in Colorado, in which political power and money are employed to attempt to move water from a smaller community to a larger one. Grand Junction residents have reason to be grateful that, in this instance, it doesnt involve a fight between "the Front Range and the Western Slope. 4 So long, Syrians 4 A fter nearly three decades of occupation, Lebanon said good-bye Tuesday to the last Syrian soldiers and intelligence officials on Lebanese soil. It was a stunning victory for independence-minded Lebanese and an unexpected reversal of fortunes for Syrian strongman Bashar Assad, who had vowed to maintain a longterm presence in Lebanon. Syrias domination began to quickly unravel follow- ing the February assassination of Rafik Hariri, a for- mer Lebanese prime minister, which triggered a wave of anti-Syrian demonstrations.

Now Lebanese are plan- ning national elections. The changes in Lebanon likely wouldnt have oc-Z curred without Saddam Husseins removal from power in Iraq, since Hussein and Assad were Baathist allies. The rapid change in Lebanon is a welcome harbinger for the possibility of democracy further taking root in a i troubled region. The proof in the pension and Chile is better same period of time would be in relatively good shape, too, because their projected pension would amount to more than 90 percent of their salaries. By contrast.

Social Security replaces less than 60 percent of your salary and thats only if you were a low-income worker. Typical recipients get back less than half of their salaries. The biggest problem in Chile is that many workers dont contribute regularly to their pensions because theyre unemployed or working off the books. But if you contribute for at least 20 years, Chile guarantees you a minimum pension that, relative to the median salary, is actually more generous than the median Social Security check. After comparing our relative payments to our pension systems (because salaries are higher in America, I had contributed more), we extrapolated what would have happened if Id put my money into Pablos mutual fund instead of the Social Security trust fund.

We came up with three projections for my old age, each one offering a pension that, like Social Securitys, would be indexed to compensate for inflation: (1) Retire in 10 years, at age 62, with an annual pension of $55,000. That would be more than triple the $18,000 1 can expect from Social Security at that age. (2) Retire at age 65 with an annual pension of $70,000. That would be almost triple the TIERNEY SANTIAGO, Chile I made a pilgrimage to Santiago seeking to resolve the Social Security debate with a simple question: What would Pablo Serra do? I wanted to compare our pensions to see the results of an accidental experiment that began in 1961, when he and I were friends in second grade at a school in Chile. He remained in Chile and became the test subject; I returned to America as the control group.

By the time we finished college, both of our countries pension systems were going broke. Chile responded by pioneering a system of private accounts in 1981. America rescued its traditional system in the early 1980s by cutting benefits and raising taxes. As it happened, our countries have required our employers to set aside roughly the same portion of our income, a little over 12 percent. I visited Pablo, who grew up to become an economist, at his office at the University of Chile and showed him my most recent information from the Social Security Administration.

Pablo called up his account on his computer and studied the projected retirement options for him. JOHN I very happy with my account, Pablo $25,000 pension promised by Social Security said to me after comparing our pensions. He starting a year later, at age 66. was kind enough not to gloat. When I envi- (3) Retire at age 65 with an annual pension ously suggested that he could expect not of $53,000 and a one-time cash payment of only a much heftier pension than mine, but $223,000.

also enough cash to buy himself a vacation You may suspect that Pablo has prospered home at the shore or in the country he reas-only because hes a sophisticated investor, sured me that it would pay for only a modest but he simply put his money into one of the place. most popular mutual funds. He has. more Im trying to look at the bright side. May-money in it than most Chileans because be my Social Security check will cover the his salary is above average, but lower-paid airfare to visit him.

workers who contributed to that fund for the The New York Times Technos is triumphing over Eros in nations sex-education curricula the history of unseemly trends, surely the current battle among adults over, the intricacies of teen sex ranks near the top. Just reading the words teen sex sends me rocketing through wormholes of ennui. I really. Cant they just go outside and play? Not just the kids, but the grown-ups who refuse to leave them alone. Perhaps this is just the wife in me talking, but surely no one thinks about sex as constantly as sex educators assume kids do.

When it comes to the riveting issue of how we should teach kids to practice sex safely, or not at all, or some combo thereof it seems its the adults who are consumed with sex, projecting their own obsession onto children, who have been denied the right not to know. What was for other generations a mysterious and wondrous thing is now the equivalent of learning to change a tire in drivers ed. Only bureaucrats could manage to make sex boring. The latest addition to our nations growing cognitive dissonance is a new study from Yale and Columbia universities that produced this nugget: Kids who pledge abstinence are more likely to have unsafe sex (when they finally give into the relentless societal pressure to canoodle). Researchers report following 12,000 students in grades 7 through 12 for six years.

They found that when those who had promised sexual abstinence did fall from grace, they were more likely not to use condoms than other kids. Ta-dum. Get it? If you want your kids to practice safe sex, better keep them away from those wacky abstinence programs. Perhaps giving up abstinence for a roll in the hay is like abdicating Atkins and scarfing several supersized orders of fries. Whatever the other confounding factors, the message seems clear abstinence bad, condoms good.

The subtext, of course, is that Americas children cant control themselves they must have sex, and therefore, they have to learn the nitty-gritty of the down dirty One does not have to be a hung-up, sexually repressed prude to feel nauseated by the triumph of Technos over Eros. Is not having sex ever an option for some who may prefer an actual human relationship that leads to long-term commitment, perhaps marriage, wherein sex is an expression of spiritual intimacy rather than a mechanical engineering feat involving anatomical widgetry? The Yale-Colufnbia study, published in the April issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health, has been released as Congress is reauthorizing absti-nence-until-marriage block grants to states under welfare reform. Abstinence educators swear by their programs, which teach the emotional, psychological and spiritual merits of postponing sex. You know, like parents used to do. In fact, a vast majority of parents (90 percent) approve of teaching kids to wait to have sex at least until they get through high school, according to a recent Zogby poll.

But some .75 percent also think that schools should teach both abstinence and contraception. Abstinence-only programs mention condoms only in terms of failure rates. Those who find abstinence education woefully inadequate, given assumptions that kids cant get through a day without sexual release, prefer the comprehensive sex-ed curricula, which focus on contraception and protection against disease. Though abstinence is mentioned as an option, emphasis is on how-to, not how-not-to. Permit me to paraphrase Goethe: Treat a child the way he can and ought to be, and he will become as he can and should be.

Recognizing that theres nothing new under the sun and that sex is both pleasurable and a necessary human drive could we nevertheless stop panting long enough to ask whether any of this is sane? When was it decided that children need to be fluent in And why is it governments job to teach it? There are a hundred different arguments both for and against sex ed in school, but undergirding all the studies, curricula and rhetoric is another assumption that deserves closer scrutiny That is, parents cant do a proper job of teaching their children values, morals and what we used to call the Birds the Bees, and government bureaucrats are the last word on human intimacy. Our children should fire us for dereliction of duty Tribune Media Services Inc..

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