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Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor,

Since we face tough choices in the 2008 presidential and congressional elections, this is about government leadership.

If strong leadership ” ability to influence, motivate, and enable others to contribute ” is vital for success in all organizations, what about government? Here are some points to ponder.



Question: With congressional performance rated at an all-time low, is the government or our free enterprise system responsible for our thriving economy?

With federal health care a major concern, evaluate Washington bureaucracy’s management skills regarding social security, Medicare, and government school programs. Since our current privately funded health-care system is the best in the world, why not simply implement measures to further improve it, rather than invent an unproven socialistic federally funded program under risky management at our, the taxpayers’, expense?



Pondering congressional leadership, a coach with a 2-18 record might expect to be replaced. With acceptance at 11 percent, can we impeach the entire Congress and start over?

No more generalities, let’s get specific about leadership and management skills:

What is Nancy Pelosi’s most significant achievement since taking over leadership of the Senate? Name one.

Can we trust House Leader Harry Reid? On the House floor he stated, “As you know, one reason that we have the fires burning in Southern California is global warming.” Then he denied having said it. Senility or dishonesty?

How can we judge the House and Senate Minority Leaders when they haven’t said or done anything noteworthy? By the way, who are they?

Now let’s ponder all presidential candidates without mentioning names.

Who is (1) best qualified in terms of proven executive performance including individual achievement, management experience and demonstrated leadership skills (2) most committed to assuring the security of our nation (3) likely to earn national and international respect as President of the United States and Commander in Chief of our armed forces and (4) finally, referring to the old adage ” Who would you absolutely trust as your comrade in a foxhole?

God Bless America, and … ponder on!

Richard Doran

Parachute

Dear Editor,

Please let me give my support to Betty Moreno. How refreshing to find someone accepting of cultural differences and remembering that people are people. We are all in this together, and she seems to be one sane voice in the darkness of hatred.

I work with many Latino families, and find them warm and caring. We are not Latino families, Anglo families, Irish families; we are families, trying to care for the ones we love.

Instead of condemning the Latino population, would it not better if we all worked together?

Christine Sullivan

Glenwood Springs

Dear Editor,

For as along as I can remember I have been passionate about education. My mother was a teacher, and I followed in her footsteps. I retired from Garfield Re-2 in 2004 with 30 years in public education. I made a promise to myself to return to the district someday as a volunteer. The idea to run for the Garfield Re-2 board of education seemed only logical. I can’t think of a better way to continue a career than with public service, serving the communities that have given me so much.

I taught at Rifle Middle School for 23 years. I was actively engaged in the education process through involvement in every district committee imaginable (strategic planning, budget, accountability, hiring, scheduling and leadership; being an active parent/teacher volunteer (sports and PTAC)) and the most important job of all ” being an advocate for kids.

I have lived in this area for 27 years and have survived the boom and bust cycles this area has experienced. Owning a local business has given me the necessary skills to manage and understand the complex issues facing the district such as finances, state laws and regulations, salaries, and overall growth. I understand the dynamics facing our communities: high cost of living, teacher retention, changing demographics, new demands regarding standards based learning, and preparing our kids for a global economy.

I am currently a member of the Rifle Chamber of Commerce board of directors, which has provided me the opportunity to experience the meaning of community service firsthand. One of my goals as an Re-2 board member would be to enhance the relationship between the business community and the district. Additional goals would include: strengthening the communication between the community and the board, hiring and retaining effective administrators and teachers, creating a more powerful and exciting learning environment, and ensuring all students are empowered and given the necessary skills to leave the district as productive young adults.

I would love the opportunity to give all the children in Re-2 the best possible learning environment to prepare them for a great future.

Chris Pearson

candidate for Garfield Re-2

school board District C

Dear Editor,

As a parent who’s served on several Re-1 school and district accountability committees, I take exception to the school board candidates who are suggesting the current board has ignored parents’ concerns. I’ve found the board ” and most administrators and teachers ” very open to ideas and suggestions.

That’s been especially true for board member Bruce Wampler. When I and other parents voiced concerns about the district’s gifted and talented programs last year, Bruce met with us and advised us how to work more effectively with the district. Ultimately, our suggestions were incorporated into new district policies. As a result, advanced kids now are getting better counseling and support, and have an easier time getting into higher-level classes.

Bruce understands that board members should be advisors and policymakers ” not hands-on managers getting directly involved in personnel decisions. He also has represented the entire district’s interests, not just his own Glenwood Springs area.

Public schools face many challenges these days. Change comes all too slowly, and it’s easy to get frustrated and critical. But we are making progress here, and we’ll be more likely to continue that by re-electing experienced, hard-working board members like Bruce Wampler.

Russ Arensman

Glenwood Springs

Dear Editor,

Bruce Wampler’s recent ad in his campaign for another term on the RFSD school board questions challenger Bill Lamont’s statement that the district is losing students. Bruce misses the point.

As a member of Advocate for Carbondale Education (ACE), I was involved in reviewing these numbers. It is not a question of whether the district is growing. The population of the district is growing, so it is natural that the enrollment in the district is also growing. Bill’s point is that the number of students residing within the district’s boundaries that attend public schools outside the district is large and increasing. The district is losing students ” based on the official Colorado State Department of Education figures.

The number of students whose parents reside in the RFSD who are attending public schools outside the district were: 590 students in 2006; 564 students in 2005; 452 students in 2004; 436 students in 2003.

These figures do not include the students who are going to private schools such as St. Stephen’s, Waldorf, Alpine Christian Academy or the Ross Montessori school (190 students). Not only do we lose the students, we lose the participation of their parents, the funding that comes with each student, and the sense of community that comes along with a shared experience.

So when Bill says we are losing students and finances and teachers and programs, he is right on the money!

Tom Fisher

Carbondale

Dear Editor,

I unequivocally support Bill Lamont for the Re-1 School District board. Bill’s professional expertise and experience bring an important skill set to the board. His 42 years in the public sector focusing on comprehensive planning and managing growth and developing affordable housing for both Boulder and Denver are readily apparent when he discusses his visions for the Re-1 school district.

Running a school district as large and diverse as Re-1 requires a board member to be multi-faceted with budget, policy development and issue management. It requires a visionary board member to participate with the administration, staff, students and parents. The ability to partner with the host community where our schools reside will help the district become a strong community member.

Bill’s tireless work to create a special district and obtain a dedicated funding source for our libraries was an unprecedented undertaking. His success in bringing together Garfield County along with six towns and their individual council members proves Bill has what it takes to change the status quo to forward momentum. I believe we can expect the same results for our schools and children’s benefit. Bill has a successful track record, and deserves our support.

Please join me in voting for Bill Lamont for the Re-1 school district board.

Mike McCallum

Glenwood Springs

Dear Editor,

Thank you for the opportunity to serve on the Roaring Fork school board for the last 10 months.

I would like to endorse both Bruce Wampler and Brad Zeigel for the Roaring Fork School District school board election. I have spent countless hours with these colleagues discussing pertinent issues, planning for the future of our district, and collaborating with an entire community who want the best for our kids.

In the last few years, under their leadership, amazing things have happened throughout the RFSD. There has been a deep and committed focus on critical issues, which resulted in positioning our district for proactive rather than reactive educational reform. This attention has resulted in stabilizing of our finances, a board-led community effort to provide safe and appropriate buildings for our entire district, and the adoption of a standards-based education plan, which we continue to refine as we clarify the critical content and processes needed for achievement in our schools.

Just last year, within this strong infrastructure, new leadership was hired into position to attend to the “next vision” for our future. The district office, the board and our schools have made it their focus to support incredible opportunities for our kids through a vibrant Accountability Plan, which includes individualized planning, school and business collaborations, intercultural relationship building, innovative teacher support programs, and the list goes on.

The current board is made up of intelligent, thoughtful, and analytical thinkers. It has been my pleasure to work with Bruce, Brad, Michael and Bob as we struggled deep into the night searching for the best possible opportunities for our communities and each of our kids.

This team speaks with deep understanding and attention to the complexities of our work, and I fully support their ability to attend to our questions and issues while offering a deeper understanding of the systemic approach needed to make level-headed and collaborative decisions.

Bruce and Brad are ethical, honest and intelligent board members, and together, they work for solutions by supporting a cooperative and thoughtful process. Let’s keep it moving.

Thank you again for the privilege of working for you.

Sonja Linman

Glenwood Springs

Dear Editor,

In my eight years on the RFSD school board, it was my experience that it took about two years for a new member to become comfortable with the role and issues such as budgets, policy, personnel, affordable housing and intergovernmental relationships. Throw in a couple of bond issues and a mill levy override or two, and you’ve really got a steep learning curve.

While I was serving on the board, we appointed Bruce Wampler to fill a vacancy left by a retiring member. I worked closely with Bruce Wampler to bring him up to speed on current issues. He proved to be a quick study, always curious, thorough, accessible and willing to be present for the duties expected of a community representative. He was respectful of his fellow board members, and lacked an agenda other than one that put kids first. I appreciated his thoughtfulness above all, and although he was elected from Glenwood Springs, he consistently had a district perspective.

The dynamics of a board are the biggest single issue in its ability to move ahead in any direction. Sometimes people run for the school board with personal agendas. With luck, those agendas get set aside and a more global perspective takes root. If not, personal issues can become divisive, crippling weapons that stand in the way of any forward progress or decision-making.

Sometimes change is good. However, looking back over my years of public service, I can honestly say that our most productive times were with an experienced board that had a clear understanding of school finance and the volatile issues facing public education.

My vote this year will be to return both Bruce Wampler and Brad Zeigel to their seats. I ask you to do the same on Nov. 6.

Robin Garvik, former president

Roaring Fork School District Re-1 board of education

Dear Editor,

In the past few weeks, there has been some chatter (in regards to the recent council race) about baby boomers being old and ready for a nursing home. Just to clarify for those who don’t understand the term, a baby boomer is someone who was born between 1946 and 1964. I’m sure boomers who are in their mid-40s aren’t quite looking to purchase a walker and move into a retirement home just yet.

Stephanie Keister

Glenwood Springs

Dear Editor,

With only a few days left to consider the candidates and issues in the Roaring Fork School District board of education election, I urge everyone to do his or her homework and vote. Sometimes school board elections do not create much public interest. This one is different.

I am a retired Roaring Fork School District teacher. I taught for almost 30 years at Roaring Fork High School in Carbondale, and I volunteer at Crystal River Elementary School. Education has remained my passion. I hope you will cast your ballots for Debbie Bruell and Bill Lamont.

For years I have watched Debbie and Bill serve selflessly in many capacities to help our schools, teachers, and children. I agree wholeheartedly with the issues they both consider important: improved district and administrative response to individual and community concerns, retention of good teachers, appropriate academic excellence and challenge for all students, and real accountability.

I recognize that a school board member serves not only his or her district, but the entire school district as well. Glenwood and Basalt may not have experienced the issues that Carbondale has in the last few years. But things can change quickly, and Bill and Debbie will be able to use the experience they have gained in addressing our local problems to help the district as a whole. They are both student and community-oriented and respect those values in everyone. Take a look at Bill’s suggestion to analyze the benefits of cooperating and combining services in the three attendance centers. They also understand that being pro-active is one of the solutions to the seemingly endless examples of reacting when a crisis arises.

We have many wonderful teachers, students, and programs in the RFSD. But we also have many serious areas of concern. These are not just “perceptions” by a cranky minority. Bill and Debbie will be honest, creative, hard-working, and approachable representatives for both Carbondale and the district. They will help us keep our kids in our community, our teachers in our schools, and the focus on what is important in education.

Bonnie Cretti

Carbondale


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