Give parents a chance to lead school board
The new planned city school board is stacked against the parents. The education system is divided into three sections: the politicians, the administration and the school board.
There have been many changes over the years in the first two categories but the members of the school board consist of the same type of personalities.
The planned board will contain three educators and only one parent. Why?
At the schools where parents volunteer they have made a difference. The students have made better grades. But the authorities say that they are not good enough to be on the board. Why are they proposing three educators on the board?
In the past when an educator was president in the '70s there was chaos. In the county when an educator was president of the board there was conflict with the administrator.
Educators have an attitude of "we know what is best for the students" and they state this. Well, you be the judge of this.
Each educator has his own theory about education and when you get three, or even two, together you will have conflict not only among themselves but also with the administrator. Do we need more of this to continue into the future?
I say give parents a chance. Allow those parents who have experience in the system, such as PTA members, to prove their ability to do on a citywide basis what they have done at their schools.
Larry E. Shugarman
Members ill served by union leadership
As I observed the Teamsters union strike against Giant Food, I was disappointed, but not surprised, by the illogical and irresponsible behavior of union leadership at the expense of its own dues-paying members.
By failing to properly understand the competitive nature of the industry in which their members work, the union leadership missed a golden opportunity to help move the much maligned "labor movement" closer to a badly needed position of viability.
More importantly, they failed to act in the interests of their own members.
After the poor showings of labor-supported candidates during the last elections -- despite record spending by the unions -- it is hard to understand the mentality of a union that wages a strike against the "unreasonable" management premise of keeping the firm economically competitive.
It appears that the union leadership convinced its members that it was more important to fight for short-term membership interests (i.e., dues payers) than in working with management to retain and improve their current outstanding wages and benefits.
While this kind of short-term thinking may result in a few dollars more for the salaries and political campaigns of union leaders, it hardly serves either the short- or long-term interests of the union's working members, who must depend on the economic success of their organization for current and future wages and benefits.
Since all of the traditional vanguards of labor are now statutorily covered by myriad laws and regulations, what purpose do labor unions serve if not to help management create value in its product or services so that those hard working employees can truly gain what the union's purport to give them?
While the strike risks the wages, benefits and even jobs of the striking union members, it also shows all that is currently wrong with the labor movement.
Robert W. Gast Jr.
The writer is chief financial officer of Maryland Lumber Co.
Mount Vernon goals explained
In a recent letter Arthur Kutcher expressed concern that those involved in the newly-formed Mount Vernon Cultural District might soon be "lily-gilding" the neighborhood, creating an "artistically inferior, historically inaccurate unified look."
The historically authentic, uniquely attractive character of Mount Vernon is above all to be preserved and enhanced. This is at the heart of the published mission statement of those of us involved in forming the cultural district.
But if Mount Vernon were now all that it could and should be, the cultural district would not have been formed. A major thrust of the group's efforts will be the enhancement of safety and security.
Also high on our agenda will be the promotion of Mount Vernon through events like September's successful book festival and through coordinated marketing of the neighborhood as a tourist destination.
These are issues much less of streetscape than of life quality. Even the streetscape agenda should have the added benefit of improving the quality of life in the Mount Vernon area.
Historically appropriate lamping that is attuned to pedestrian traffic is also a major concern of the group, as is a strategy for coordinated sidewalk repair and effective, consistent signage so that those unfamiliar with the Mount Vernon neighborhood will know when they have arrived there.
The writer is director of the Walters Art Gallery.
I couldn't agree more with your Jan. 2 editorial demanding House Speaker Newt Gingrich step aside while the House probe continues its investigation into the speaker's ethical violations.
In 1989, Newt Gingrich led the fight to oust then House Speaker Jim Wright for his ethical violations. Although he was not impeached, Mr. Wright did the right thing and stepped down for the good of the country.
It has been established beyond a shadow of a doubt that Mr. Gingrich deliberately lied to the United States Congress.
But Mr. Gingrich, unlike the president and first lady, hasn't been truthful to the American people or the United States Congress, and he should resign his post, for the good of the nation. His confessed ethical violations cast a pall over the United States Congress.
The speaker's ethical violations obviously don't matter much to his fellow Republicans who re-elected him as speaker, which also doesn't say much about the party's commitment to "family values."
Surely if a party epitomizes "family values," shouldn't it at least practice them?
Medical use of marijuana urged
President Clinton has again been given and taken bad advice. His most famous fiasco was trying to reform medical care on the basis of bad advice.
Then he fouled up when he caved in on gays in the military -- again because of poor advice. Now he is taking the wrong side on the medical use of marijuana.
The two laws in California and Arizona generally authorize the use of marijuana to relieve pain for certain medical conditions. In California, possession of marijuana is now legal on the recommendations of a doctor for the treatment of cancer, AIDS, anorexia, chronic pain, arthritis, migraine headaches and other illnesses.
In Arizona other drugs, such as heroin and LSD, may also be legally used for pain relief with the concurrence of doctors.
The federal government can grant waivers so that certain individuals can use marijuana. But when too many patients with AIDS learned how to beat the bureaucracy, it stopped giving them waivers.
This decision had nothing to do with medical treatment, but with bureaucrats who have the power to stop marijuana's use because it is classified as a bad drug.
All the bureaucrats have to do is classify marijuana as a good drug and there would be no problem. The time has come for the legalization of marijuana for medical uses.
Melvin D. Reuber, M.D.
Pub Date: 1/15/97