Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California on January 26, 2000 · Page 4
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Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California · Page 4

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Ukiah, California
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Wednesday, January 26, 2000
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Page 4
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4 Forum THE UKIAH DAILY JOUI LOCALLY OPERATED MEMBER aNews Ukiah Daily Dennis K.C. Meadows-Edlor Dean Abbott-A<V«rtWngDlrectw WcMarftiez-Prakicllon Manager Wonne Bel - Office Manager -OTHER OPINIONS •from around the nation The Orange County Register Cajight off guard? After charges emerged of grotesque abuses by pftsbn guards at Corcoran state prison after the 1994 shotting death of inmate Preston Tale, the state's |>ris6n guard union closed ranks and defended the "airdged abusers rather than help root out the system's bad actors. •;.The guards' union, the California Correctional -•Peace Officers Association, continues this indefensible approach today as eight of its officers prepare themselves for an upcoming federal civil-rights -case related to the Corcoran allegations. -After the Tale incident, guards were accused of '•setting up 'blood sport' fights pitting one group of inmates against another and of frequently using •excessive force. In six years, 'Corcoran guards shot .50.inmates, killing seven and wounding 43,' according- to a 998 CNN report, which quoted a guard- turned- whistleblower admitting that guards routinely broke up fist fights by shooting those who were figging. In response, many union members refused to cqoperate with official investigations into prison Abuses. An FBI official ... complained to the San ^"Francisco Chronicle about 'intentional efforts on ^the^art of correctional and other officials to stymie, ^delay and obstruct our inquiry.' £ Now, the latest outrage: The guards union is run- ( '.ning public relations ads on TV in an apparent /attempt to taint the jury that will decide the fate of >,eigftt guards who will stand trial in March. The ;."toughest beat' ads 'are set to run almost exclusive)si y '£- e l K ount y re 8 ion in the Central Valley here ^federal jurors will be selectedrreports^TJie Fresno '«ee,Mn an article/on Monday.?.' ;> ; £>,:•?** 7. -'"***•', v - Although union officials, deny lany-ijonnsfciiftn between the timing and location of the ads and the trial-, the Bee reports that 'during the weeks preceding the recent state trial of four other Corcoran guards in Hanford, the union placed similar ads on local television, prompting a federal prosecutor to question the effort as a possible attempt to taint the jury pool. The eight guards may be innocent. And all guards may indeed have the 'toughest beat' in the state. But that's no excuse for anyone to try to unfairly influence the outcome of a federal trial with a pre-trial public relations blitz. Insurance lesson To the Editor: To those who don't understand insurance - be sure to ask your insurance agent to explain it to you. I took out insurance with an insurance company. I had full coverage. I figured, if I had an accident, my car would be paid for in full without me owing anything on it if it got totaled. Wrong. It doesn't mean fully covered at all. It means your insurance company looks at the blue book, high book and low book prices. They look at your car, how much you have paid for it and how much you owe on it. They look to see how you made your payments on time, or late; what kind of shape the car is in from top to bottom, inside dnd out. They put their heads together and figure out how much they are going to pay, and you pay the balance. How do I know this? Because it just happened to me. We went to my daughter's home for Christmas. On the way home, we got rear-ended. I have to show my proof of insurance; so I did. The other guy said he didn't have insurance at the site of the accident. He had hit another car, and then us. He said he could show he had insurance the next day. I do not think that it is fair that others are driving without insurance while some of us do. There should be a law so that people don't just get insurance to get a car off a lot, or to get a car smog checked and licensed then to drop insurance on it. Once they find out insurance has been dropped, they should take that car off the road. I have to pay my insurance every month and yet, there are people driving without it - that is wrong, and not fair to those of us who do pay. There should be a good law so that this can't happen anymore. Sure, we can sue him - he is working. But if we sue him and if he gets fired, or loses his job - where are we? There should be a good and fair law on this, and all types of insurance's should be explained real good before you get it. Peggy Anderson Ukiah Cronyism at UUSD? San Diego Union-Tribune ; Governor Davis' budget is prudent While emphasizing education, the Davis spending blueprint is almost certain to disappoint those • who were hoping for the kind of resources that would support the school rescue campaign he out; lined in his State of the State address. His proposal would bring school spending to $28.2 billion. Most of the $1.8 billion growth in funding is mandated, however, by Proposition 98, which sets minimum school spending levels. Davis is proposing only $257 million more than what Proposition 98 mandates. And that's precisely why the education lobby is less than enthralled by the governor's spending blueprint. Health-care advocates may be similarly under- whelmed by the $150 million in new money to fund Davis' "aging with dignity" agenda. This initiative follows the flak he took for vetoing Assemblyman Kevin Shelley's nursing-home bill. The governor would provide tax credits for families caring for aged relatives at home, raise the pay of care-givers, strengthen state scrutiny of nursing homes, and help shore up reputable homes teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. His plan to crack down on Medi-Cal fraud should play well on both sides of the aisle. That various scam artists were able to bilk the health care system of an estimated $1 billion last year underscores the need for greater efforts to ensure that only the truly needy receive this aid. Those who fault Davis for his incrementalist budget forget that California governors seldom put forth bold spending proposals. Rather, they tend to proceed within the context of economic cross-currents. The hallmark of this governor's tenure thus far has been prudence, a term he repeated several times while unveiling the budget. To the Editor: It didn't take long for the new superintendent of Ukiah Unified School District to fly his true colors of support. His decision to decentralize the summer school program demonstrates that his priorities are not, I personally feel, the children of this area, but the support of many of his cronies in the teaching profession. . ~ W.°Ji, man X teaching positions will be available, if the^ummer school jprpgram js decentralized? I ' 'pre^ntf thefe will^M|fig^|teaching positions ^available than in the past. "What a bopn to those teachers who will no longer have to cry poverty for lack of work during the summer months. A month and a half of additional work (mostly play) and salary should bolster their already handsome benefit package with the district. Without a doubt, most readers of this letter can easily detect that I feel the majority of teachers in this school district do not deserve the salaries they already receive. Proof in the pudding, examine the placement of district children in comparison to those from other districts. Do the children from this school district read at the norm for their particular grade levels? Do the children from this school district write at the norm for their particular grade levels? Are their math skills up to par? Why do the children of this district place so low in such com- parisons? Bottom line, the teachers are why. I believe the majority of teachers in this district fail miserably in their efforts. Please note, I said "majority of teachers." There are a small handful of dedicated, professional teachers within this school district that provide an exemplary education to their students. And to those few teachers, I extend a heartfelt thank you on behalf of the young children that you have truly taught and inspired. (As for the rest, I invite you to take up your pens, pencils, and crayons in hand and respond to these comments. I'm sure there will be many!) Also, from a layman's point of view, I cannot rationalize how staffing and maintaining several school sites in comparison to one central school site can be an economical operation. Surely the costs for additional staffing at each school site and the costs for day-to-day operations at each school site would far outweigh the costs of staffing and maintaining a central school site. Comments were made that transportation costs would be basically eliminated. But, are transporta- f tion costs that exorbitant? ' ;"'' /! ' v " ' " The stfrhmer &hool programs : fr6m the past,' although a joke jftregards to educational benefits; have served this school district as expected. Except there was a minimal number of teaching positions available. Now, the available funds for the summer school program will support so many more teachers. Hallelujah! I feel there is certainly shame in this decision by Gary Brawley to decentralize the summer school program in this district. And, I feel his remarks to explain this decision are questionable at best. I wonder how many more decisions of this caliber will emanate from that office? Without a doubt, most readers of this letter can easily detect that I also have very little respect for Gary Brawley, as a head administrator for this school district. I have quietly watched Gary Brawley for years climb the ladder within this district. From teacher to principal at Redwood Valley School to principal at Nokpmis Elementary School to a position within the district office and now to Superintendent; and, I feel Gary Brawley is a classic example of the old adage: it's not what you know, but who you know. I guess it pays off to walk in the right social and political circles. (Again, I invite Gary Brawley, his legions of friends, and blind supporters to take up your pens, pencils, and crayons in hand and respond to these comments. I'm sure there will be many!) In closing I reiterate, I strongly believe the children of this school district will suffer the greatest injustice of all. They will have to endure the results of those decisions made by a Superintendent, whose priority, I believe, is not the education of children, but the passing out of favors and support of his cronies. Clarice M.Cyr Redwood Valley Veteran reunion planned To the Editor: Veterans who served in the China, Burma, Jndja Theater of Operations in World War II are invited to a National Reunion, Aug. 20-27, 2000, at the Adams Mark Hotel in Houston, Texas. This will be the 53rd Annual Reunion of the China-Burma- India Veterans Association, which has about 7,000 national members. If you are a CBI veteran, please send your name, address, and phone number to Melvin D. McMullen, 120 West 49th Street, San Bernardino, Calif. 92407-3202, so we can send information about the reunion. Please tell us also the name of your CBI unit and locations where you serve(J overseas. • If you cannot attend the National Reunion, wfc would still like to hear from you. Mel vinD. McMullen, Jr. Vice-Commander-West China-Burma-India Veterans Association San Bernardino George W. sticking to message, but saying little AITSTfW TAVOP __ V«., i™ i _£_^_r'_ _ . - *^ ^"^ 1 ^- j ------"-^-~™"™»'TaaiiuiMiJiiaau!H« The Daily Journal welcomes letters to the editor. Only letters that include a legible signature, return address and phone number will be considered. Shorter, concise letters will be given preference and names will not be withheld for any reason. All letters are subject to editing. Fax to 468-3544, mail to Letters to the Editor, P.O. Box 749, Ukiah, 95482 or e-mail them to udj@pacif- ic.net. E-mail letters should also include hometown and a phone number. " """'" "r^r—irnnmrapTr lip lilln limn The Ukiah Daily Journal's email address is: udj@pacific.net. AUSTIN, Texas ~ You know how refreshing i is when someone in politics just up and tells the fla truth? I hope she doesn't get fired for it, but Mindy Tucker, a spokeswoman for the Bush campaign did so after George W. got "off-message" and was forced to talk about the abortion issue for the Iowa caucuses. He doesn't like to talk about the abortion issue. "We have a message a day," said Ms. Tucker, "and we want to stick to it. We are not going to have one big, fat news conference on our schedule where everyone can come ask questions about what you think is the news of the day." I like that. There it is, as they, used to say during an unfortunate war. I can see where campaign strategists would assume the media have no function other than to relay a candidate's message of the day, like a giant bullhorn. ("Message: I care," Big George Bush once said, cutting right to the chase.) But this does raise, once more, the delicate matter of W. Bush's ability to function outside "the bubble" so carefully created by KarlRove & Co. Karen Hughes, Bush's guardian and press secretary, then attacked the mild-mannered Cokie Roberts for being "disrespectful" to Bush on a Sunday chat show. Said disrespect consisted of trying, several times, to get Bush to answer the question: "Did you ever support higher taxes?" He kept replying that he had cut taxes, which doesn't actually answer the question. As it happens, I think Bush is within his rights to answer that he never supported a tax increase, but it's one of those deals that requires some context. What Bush did ~ alas, he did not succeed ~ was support a tax shift that would indeed have put new taxes on some folks. Among those folks were the state's lawyers, doctors and CPAs, so you can imagine the lobby muscle that went into defeating that idea. But the tax shift -- closing many of the egregious loopholes that have been lobbied into the Molly Ivins is a syndicated columnist. Molly Ivins state sales tax over the years, while giving some relief to average citizens - would not have produced a single additional nickel in revenue for the state. I don't think it's fair to say it was a tax increase, as the state wouldn't have gotten any more money out of it. It was actually an effort to make the tax structure in this state fairer, and I'm sorry that Bush didn't have the clout or the leadership to get it passed. (It was defeated by the lobby and the Republicans.) Of Qourse, it wasn't Bush's idea to begin with. It actually came from a select committee of powerful chairmen in the Democratic House, but he did get on board. Now, Bush could have explained that to Ms Roberts, who is not exactly a hardball interviewer, )ut instead he stayed "on message" ("I cut taxes"), which is one of the worrisome things about his campaign. One consistently gets the impression hat Bush is not thinking or explaining, but parrot- ng what he has been told is the right answer. It was sort of painful to hear him try to address questions he didn't have a canned answer for Should the Cuban boy Elian Gonzalez be given cit- zenship by Congress? Bush hadn't thought about t. This move has been mooted for two weeks now. When Hughes was asked if reporters would be ble to question Bush in a formal setting (rather han trying to get him to answer as he goes in and ut of diners and cafes), she replied: "Are you here to cover the campaign? Then you'll be here to cover what Gov. Bush is doing next weak. He'll be campaigning next week." : What made Bush's handlers so unhappy with the press is he was pushed into actually saying some? thing about abortion - to wit, "Roe v. Wade was a reach, overstepped constitutional bounds as far a$ I'm concerned" and "usurped the right of legislatures." He has long been in favor of a constitution: al amendment to outlaw abortions, but he doesn'jt like to talk about it. He also said he would oppose RU-486, the abortion pill, even if it is approved by the Food and Drug Administration. > In a typical Bush straddle, Bush did not attend the Saturday night "Family, Faith and Freedom',' rally at which the three social conservatives in the Republican race appeared. Bush sent a surrogate, J>en. John Ashcroft of Missouri, in the same kind of maneuver that we have seen him pull so many times in Texas to avoid being identified with thfc Christian right while pulling their votes. ' Those who saw Bush during the news confer!- ence when he was pressed on abortion, or during the Sunday chat show interview, now know how he clings to the message of the day. He doesn't seenji to be able to handle anything he doesn't have a standard answer for. I recommend that he stick to his patented non-answers. "Whatever's fair." "Whatever's right." Tm all right on that." "I'm for a balanced approach." Meanwhile, among the D's, the conventional wisdom is that Al Gore has come roaring back rom his early missteps and is now more effectivj: n his full attack-Chihuahua mode. He is going fter Bill Bradley for votes cast 20 years ago and is heerfully distorting Bradley's proposals. Bradley teeps not deigning to respond, which has never been u clever strategy. '. The fact that Gore is a slushing debater should worry those supporting W. Bush. If I were a wlui un-win-in-Novewher Republican, my money smy wouldn't be on Bush.

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