Forum THE UKIAH DAILY JOURNAL Ukiah Daily (USPS 646420) Dennis Wilson, Publisher K.C. Meadows-E«or Dean AMxtt-Advertising Director Vic Martinez-Production Manager YVonne Bel - Office Manager MtfflbwAuditBUTMU OTHER OPINIONS from around the nation San Jose Mercury News Vote 'Yes' on Prop. 25, campaign finance reform The starting point in considering a campaign finance reform proposition should be California's current limits on campaign contributions and spending: There are none. California's voters have tried for reform. The most recent measure they passed was Proposition 208 in 1996. It's been suspended, pending appeals, by a federal judge. Sponsors of the Proposition 208 campaign, joined by political activist Ron Unz, are trying again, with Proposition 25 on the March 7 ballot. . Proposition 25 is a comprehensive campaign finance reform measure. It includes limits on contributions, voluntary caps on spending, some public financing and aggressive requirements for disclosure. - "It's worth a try.... Complex laws need the refining process of a Legislature. But campaign finance reform is not going to pass the California Legislature. If the voters want it, they will have to pass it themselves. Proposition 208 ran into legal trouble on its contribution limits, which were $250 to a legislative candidate and $500 to a statewide candidate. Proposition 25 sets a much higher limit of $3,000 for a legislative race, based on the current limit in federal races of $1,000, but updated for inflation since 1974, when the $1,000 limit was set. ; -Proposition 25 is written to avoid 208's legal troubles, but Proposition 25 stipulates that if the courts reinstate 208, the 208 limits will take pfece- dence. ... Supposedly, Proposition 25 will introducei»so- called "soft money," contributions to political parties, in California. There is no soft money in California now only because there are no limits on difect contributions. Proposition 25 attempts to control soft money by limiting how much individuals may give to parties and by banning the use of soft money for electronic media advertising. ... .At times, reforming campaign finance seems like stacking sandbags to hold back the Mississippi River. It works for a while, but soon leaks open up arid expand rapidly. And unlike the river, candidates and campaign consultants actively seek to urfdermine the sandbags. •The test is not whether Proposition 25 is leakproof, but whether it will basically hold off the flood. We think it will be better than nothing, which is what Califbrnia has now. I The Vacaville Reporter On Internet voting • ^Studies exploring the feasibility of voting by Internet are less than encouraging, but not so gloomy that state officials should abandon the drive to increase participation in the democratic process. - 'While the technology exists to cast votes and (fount them, there is too much potential for fraud, according to Secretary of State Bill Jones, who this week recommended against immediate implementation of voting over the 'Net. Yes, these are hurdles. But they can be overcome with perseverance. A 100-page Internet voting task force study recommends a four-stage evolutionary process to count votes that minimizes mistakes and fraud. -However, it could take considerable research and development of safeguards before votes can ppint-and-click for their favorite candidates... ' The first step in the right direction is having computer voting stations at traditional polling places. Voters would verify their identity by swip- iflg a digital signature card, which resembles a credit card. This certainly would increase the speed and accuracy of voting and tallying the results. 'Voting at the home personal computer would only be possible, the task force said, if a foolproof way of identifying registered voters is developed. "Given the speed of technological development, this should be a possibility to pursue. As the task force noted, Internet voting would provide access to the voting process for millions of potential voters who do not regularly participate in our elections. And that would improve the democratic system. More about teachers To the Editor: I have no idea who Clarice M. Cyr is and I know I don't want to. Why would someone take all that time to write such a letter? What possible purpose does it serve? I can understand taking issue with decentralized summer school, but where does she get off making it into a personal attack? As usual, the people who write these kind of letters really have no idea what they're talking about. Dr. Brawley's priorities have always been the children. You don't put in as many years as he has i without that being the case. Look at all the people that have come and gone in this district over the years and you'll see what I mean. Why will there be any more teaching positions available just because summer school is decentralized? The number of teachers hired is based on the . number of children attending. Where they attend doesn't matter. The same number of teachers will be required. Ms. Cyr "presumes" things like this throughout her missive. Maybe she should check the facts. But then people who write letters like this never do. They're not really out to fix anything. They just choose to vent and move on. As for teacher's no longer having to cry poverty during the summer, get real. Do you really think six extra weeks of work at summer school salaries is going to make a great deal of difference in anyone's net worth? Then you have the nerve to call it mostly play. When was the last time you set foot in a summer school program. The word "never" comes to mind. People like you are always bad mouthing the school system when you haven't set foot in a school in recent history. Come and spend nine months there and you may have a clue what you're talking about. You say that the bottom line for lack of student achievement is the teachers. Sure, right, I hear that every day. Usually from some so-called parent who is complaining because Johnny may be retained. Never mind that the so-called parent never made sure homework was done, let them stay up till midnight, was never home, or even bothered to send them to school in clean clothes. I experience this every single day. Education too often takes a back seat these days for many reasons: single-parent families, both parents working, etc. This is no longer the exception in the classroom. It is the norm. The best teacher in the world is swimming upstream when it comes to obstacles like these. . The irony of this is that.I teach second grade., That means that half of a class of seven year olds^ has already experienced a broken horneand/or has""" both parents working. The majority of their life is spent in the care of someone besides their parents. And you have the audacity to say that bottom line it's the teachers. There are days when I think it's a wonder I've taught them anything at all! I'm too busy making sure they've got something to eat, get caught up on the homework they should have done at home, wiping their tears because they're upset about something that happened at home, or waking them up because they're too sleepy to pay attention. You say there are a small handful of dedicated teachers. Well, I can tell you by the cars in the parking lot at 7 a.m. and the ones still there at 5 p.m. (and many Saturdays as well) that there's a lot more than a handful. Most teachers are dedicated to the job. If they weren't they wouldn't be doing it. I can assure you there not here for the money or the "handsome benefit package" you describe. I could get the same thing in many other lines of work and not be working this hard. I guarantee you. You have no idea the amount of money most teachers spend out of their own pocket, not to mention the amount of personal, unpaid time they put in. Once again, you're spouting off without any facts. If you think the children of this district are suffering so much, do something about it. Volunteer your time, attend school board meetings, PTA meetings, etc. But no, people like you never do that. You hide behind the "letters to the editor" column and smile gleefully while you lambast the people that are truly out there in the trenches. So Ms. Cyr, I invite you to put your money where your mouth is. Show up and do something. If you're not part of the solution then you're part of the problem, right. Here's an open invitation. Stop by room 17 at Frank Zeek School any day of the week between 8:40 a.m. and 3:20 p.m. You can be the teacher and show me how it's done. Attend the next school board meeting and express your opinion about summer school. Come out from under your rock and leave your crayons and pencil at home. Show us undedicated, money-grubbing teachers how it's done. Nan Carder Frank Zeek School Ukiah Message to hit and run .,''.,. Tor the Editor:, ^j,^ I would like to*acldresslhe person who was driving a black vehicle (you left black paint on my son's car) Sunday night, Jan. 23, in the parking lot of Wright Stuff Pizza and Shooter's - the one who crashed into a red 1976 Datsun 610 sedan. You mashed in the rear passenger door with such an impact that it may not be repairable. Replacement parts for this vehicle are near obsolete. And you didn't bother to acknowledge with a note who you were. Just hit and run. My guess is that you were probably drunk. I owned this vehicle for about 12 years before my son bought the car from me a couple of years ago. This vehicle has never been wrecked until now. My son works hard for his money, attends college part-time and is a responsible person, which you, of course, are not. He was at work at Wright Stuff Pizza that night. I haven't the money to fix the car and neither does my son. If you are reading this, assuming you have the intelligence to read a paper, or if you are a friend or acquaintance of the person who did this, please inform them if they want to make this right and become a responsible person, they can either pay for repairs to the door, or find a replacement door for this vehicle (insurance will not pay for repairs for the damage you did), and that they act more responsibly toward other people's property in a parking lot so as not to wreck someone's vehicle, that they have worked hard for. * i . My phone number is listed in the phone book' if you should want to pay for the repairs, or if you should find a replacement door, Susan Hempsmyer Redwood Valley The Wall is coming To the Editor: Last spring you published a letter we wrote asking the community for donations to help bring the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Moving Wall to Ukiah. We stated at that time when we knew when the Wall would be in Ukiah that we would let the community know. We have recently learned that the Memorial will be in Ukiah at Todd Grove Park, Oct. 29, through Nov. 5. We have yet to determine what day or times ceremonies will take place. We will announce that information as we have it. Donations to help bring the Wall to Ukiah are needed and can be; made at 'any Savings Bank of Mendocino branch. We are strictly a non-profit committee. Linda D. Phelps-Wilson, Ken Wilson, Lucy French, Fred Keplinger, Gary Miles, Jack Etter The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Moving Wall Committee Ukiah More about the sign To the Editor: Does anyone remember what East Gobbi Street looked like before the Mountains purchased the property, cleaned it up and planted the vineyard?' It was an eye sore. Now it looks so lovely (regarding the sign on the barn). Why were they allowed to paint it if there was any doubt as to whether if should be there or not? Wasn't it djs-, cussed before it was painted? To be doing a lot of us a favor, something should be done about the traffic on East Gobbi, aka the speedway, when the cars and trucks come over that hill, they race on down Gobbi with little concenras to who may be crossing on the other side. That seems more important than a very nice sign on a very nice bam in a lovely vineyard. Let's get our priorities in order. . .. R. Bellinger. Ukiah The important things in life 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 fur 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 udj9pacific.net. Email letters should also include hometown and a phone number. The Ukiah Daily Journal's email address is: email@example.com. One of the many joys and wonders of parenthood is that, at some point you find yourself, a college graduate and someone who could once debate politics and internal affairs, gazing into the eyes of your precious little child and saying, in a positive- but not pushy-manner, "Is the pee-pee coming yet?" Pee-pee? Please. I've lived a long time and seen a lot of things, and still, STILL, I'm not all that comfortable using the word "pee-pee." "What about, 'Is the URINE coming yet'?'" a friend suggested. "That'd be fine if this were an episode of ER," I said. Everything is supposed to be easier the second time, and I've been through this before. When my son Jack was going through this process, I developed an Inspector Clousseau-type twitch just watching the potty videos. Particularly the one where all sorts of nice farm animals defecate, while the way-too-cheerful-to-be-normal announcer brightly describes the action. "Look! There's Mr. Horsey making a nice b.m. Good boy, Mr. Horsey! Good b.m.!" he exclaims. "Do you kids at home think that YOU could make a nice b.m.? And there's the little white goat making some wee-wee! Good wee-wee little Miss Goat!" This can't be normal. My daughter Skyler, naturally, adores this video, Lindsey Stokes is a syndicated columnist. Lindsey Stokes often quoting from it in mixed company. "What a pretty, little dress," someone said to her the other day. "Horses make b.m.," she replied. No more video. No more books. What's the worst that can happen? That she can't go to preschool because she isn't potty-trained? That the subsequent lack of socialization will hinder her development? That she'll turn into an angry, resentful young adult who rebels at society and winds up on cheap afternoon talk shows? Yikes. Back to the potty-training. According to the literature, and I'm using the word "literature" in the loosest possible sense, you have to potty-train your child in a very POSITIVE manner, or he or she will turn into an angry, resentful young adult who rebels at society and winds up on cheap afternoon talk shows. Perhaps, I thought, she'll be influenced by peer pressure. Her friend Colin, for instance, is at that exciting stage of potty-training when he wears underwear so that he can, basically, pee all over the floor. < "Not on da floor, Cowin," Skyler commented as she watched the Hoover Dam break loose. "You sa'post to use da poddy seat." But she was grinnfng and flushed with delight. "Big mess, big mess," she said joyfully. And for a moment, I thought she might put on tap shoes and do a little Gene Kelly "Singin 1 in the Rain" dance. Jack, now six-years-old, has stepped forward. "I'll try to teach her, Mom," he says, solemnly? ready to shoulder some serious responsibility. • So off the two of them march to the bathroqmV partners in crime, for what, inevitably, turns out- to be a symphony of exaggerated, punctuated, Dolby, stereo grunts, followed by peals of hysterical laughter. "What's going on in here, you two?" I ask, peeking around the corner. They'll be fully dressed, Sitting on the floor, playing with matchbox cars. The sound effects are to keep The Mom at bay. "Look, Skyler, here's your very own potty seat," I said recently, in a very positive way, you know, like I was introducing Jay Leno. "Mommy would like you to sit on the potty seat when you have to, uh, go poo-poo or pee-pee!" 1 smiled like I was in the Rose Parade. "It'll be fun!' It 11 be exciting! It'll be a very positive experience! r "Me watch you first, Momma." "Right. Okay. I have a better idea. Why don't we go watch a video about barnyard animals..."
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