Thursday, May 25, 2000
Alternative to Expense After reading your article on charter schools ("In Chartered Territory," 5/18-24), I want to comment on your coverage of the Waldorf School in Monterey. Your readers may be interested to know that the Waldorf School has been thriving on the Monterey Peninsula since 1986. The school has kindergarten through eighth grade and many of its students have gone on to excel in Monterey''s public and private high schools.
As a parent of a Waldorf kindergarten student, I have been thankful and impressed by the school community and their continued dedication to making Monterey''s Waldorf-inspired charter school an exceptional learning environment for my child. The school is continuing to grow, and plans are being made to add a high school. This is a wonderful opportunity for those parents who are looking for an alternative to public education and yet cannot afford expensive private schools.
One fact may have created Monterey Peninsula Unified School District''s financial crisis ("Poor Little Rich District," 5/11-17): The MPUSD board has been sitting without a finance committee for some years. I do not expect lay boards, especially nonprofit boards, to be experts in finance, nor do I even expect it of finance officers. But a sound finance committee brings credentialed, professional "checks and balances" to ALL decisions, notably the budget process, and can recommend creating or updating policies and procedures to adhere to state and federal law. With regular renewal of such members, finance committees provide modern, professional standards of practice about audit, control, treasury, pensions and benefits, asset planning and even (gasp!) electronic data processing.
MPUSD bylaws provide a finance committee, so why not do it? MPUSD directors could have reviewed the 10+ properties on the asset list--including a few million dollars of frontage on Pacific Street in downtown Monterey, among others--to find the necessary funds.
But the real reasons we did not have a finance committee are probably (and usually) far more human: They sound like a lot more work, we might not understand them, and somebody with power said, "We don''t need one."
In the Weekly''s issue of May 4-10, there was a long article basically attacking the Monterey County Herald ("Covering Violence to Death").
As a Salinas resident, I must thank the Herald from the bottom of my heart for its reality and truthfulness in journalism. The Monterey County Herald is slapping the face of Salinas, as well as the Salinas Californian by allowing its journalists to print the ugly truths regarding the city of Salinas. The truth is: Our sons of Salinas are being murdered every day, if not every other day. The Salinas Californian, wishing not to rock the boat or offend our long-time Salinas residents, has made its reporters accessories to murder.
The Salinas Valley has been living in a fantasized, dreamed-up existence. The Herald has shown that we are living in a nightmare. There are streets, many of them in Salinas, that I would not let my dog walk through, even in the daytime.
Do our young men of Salinas mean so little to us? Are we afraid to report and print the truth? Wake up Salinas! There is an elephant trampling our city and we refuse to look at it!
Paulette Anne Dittinger,
Gun Control & Racism
Would the "Million Mom March" allow itself to perpetuate racism? Unlikely. Yet Rosie O''Donnell''s recent statements about gun control suggest that she does not know about its racist roots.
The first gun control programs in America were enacted to help slave masters control their black slaves. Many such laws were born of fear of slave uprisings: laws to ban firearms, to require licensing and registration of firearms, and to impose high taxes on guns and ammunition. To possess a firearm in some states, black people had to get approval from either their master, the police or a judge.
Many people don''t realize the dark history of the federal Gun Control Act of 1968. That act was a response not to political assassinations as sometimes claimed, but to the race riots that took place in the 1960s.
The "Million Mom March," in using the symbol of motherhood to push media-biased sensationalism, is sickening. Elderly people, women, minorities, and the rest of us should not be disarmed and at the mercy of criminals.