Bill weakens school districts

Dear Editor:

Last summer Assembly Member Joan Buchanan was the swing vote that kept SB 1530 from possibly becoming law. SB 1530 would have given some measure of local control to school districts when it became necessary to dismiss teachers and administrators for certain sex and drug crimes.

At the time of Buchanan's vote, she stated that the bill was "intellectually dishonest." She went on to state that she was going to work on a bill that would have a positive impact in this area; a bill that presumably would be an improvement over SB 1530. Almost a year later, she has now introduced AB 375 -- a bill that would make an already difficult process even more difficult, and which does nothing to provide for local school district control.

But now, Buchanan can say she did something. Unfortunately, that "something" will be to make it even harder for districts to dismiss teachers and administrators.

If SB 1530 was "intellectually dishonest," then what is AB 375? The first clue should be that for all intents and purposes, Buchanan co-authored it with the California Teachers' Association. Until there is a bill that returns local control in this critical area, there will be no substantive change in a district's ability to dismiss unsatisfactory teachers and administrators.

Buchanan says she supports local control, but just not in this area. She has stated that she can't trust local districts and their local unions to protect the due process rights of their employees. Really?!

Rick Rogers

Superintendent, Oakley Union Elementary School District

Antioch needs more police

Dear Editor:

Antioch must increase the number of police officers and community service officers to address the crime negatively impacting our quality of life. Code enforcement activity must also be increased to address blight.

Antioch needs a steady stream of revenue and I submit that since all businesses pay a license fee in order to do business in Antioch, non-owner occupied rental property dwellings should be included in this fee paying structure.

Rental property owners are running a business and it makes sense the city should collect a license fee from them. Rentals are at 99 percent occupancy rate and this would be a reliable, steady stream of revenue that would provide an estimated $2.5 million per year based on a fee of $20 per unit, per month on approximately 11,000 rental units in this city.

Antioch voters: For a steady stream of funds for the city of Antioch, please support the initiative for a business license fee on non-owner occupied rental properties. This fee will be an investment toward a safer, better quality of life for all Antioch residents, businesses and visitors.

Marie Livingston

Antioch

Landlords should be accountable

Dear Editor:

I recently had two unusual experiences.

First, I went to the Antioch Police Crime Prevention meeting on May 20. I went to express concern for our Minta Lane neighborhood, and one house in particular that is causing concern. It has been vacant for a while and not taken care of properly. Homeless people have lived there on and off, and the weeds around the house were out of control. I was pleased to have so much help in this matter.

Michael Gadams, one of the crime commissioners on the board, sent me an email the very next day stating that he had contacted the owner and expressed concern that the house was a problem. Within two days the weeds were cut down. Boards have been placed over the door to prevent squatters from gaining entrance, and the owner is planning to fix up the house and rent it. Hopefully, the landlord will insist that his tenants keep up the property.

My next experience came on May 24. I was taking my dog for her usual morning walk when two pit bulls came running after us on Putnam. I took off running and a wonderful lady named Monique immediately pulled her car over to allow my dog and me to get in. She drove us home and I was very thankful for her generous help in this situation.

My point is that is was nice to see something positive. We have so many neglected homes in our town, and it definitely reflects on what people think about Antioch. Landlords need to be held accountable and property owners should care about how their homes affect the rest of their neighborhood.

We have good people in our town like Monique who stopped to help me and my dog. We also have people who volunteer their time to help our town by being involved in the crime commission, like Michael Gadams. Let's try to emphasize the positive. Get involved. Join neighborhood watch, get to know your neighbors, and contact code enforcement for problem houses.

Show that you care about Antioch. Let's get rid of blight!

Dotty Graham

Antioch

IRS staffers were doing their job

Dear Editor:

Who knew what and when really makes no difference with the IRS issue.

The real issue is that some low-level workers are doing the job Republican lawmakers refuse to do -- catch tax cheats!

Congress has cut the IRS budget to the bone, which means fewer people to do more. It stands to reason that when they see a request for a tax exemption it would catch their eye, whether it is a legitimate request or one of the so-called social-welfare programs or PACs used for nothing other than politics, which would disqualify them for tax relief.

Even some of the right-wing paramilitary groups are using the word "patriot" in their names, so why should they be exempt from paying taxes.

The IRS was doing its job. I suggest members of Congress get back to their job of legislating and spend less time trying to hang President Obama.

Johnny Strawther

Antioch

Remembering those who died

Dear Editor:

My flag still waves high and another Memorial Day has passed.

I watched the pomp and listened to honors given the men of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard who lost their lives winning the fight over tyranny during World War II.

However, I heard no mention of those without whom all those mentioned above would not have had anything with which to fight -- the merchant seamen. None of these seamen was carried off a plane in a flag-covered casket as bands played, cannons boomed, rifles fired and taps played.

They're lying at the bottom of the sea on which they sailed to bring supplies and the ugly tools of war into battle. We often hear references to "Rosie the Riveter," but never a word about those who lost their lives sailing the ships Rosie helped build.

Except for the Marines, more of these seafaring men were lost per capita than any other branch of the service.

Now that the long weekend of celebration is over, it would be nice if some of us would devote a moment to those brave men in their watery graves still giving a thumbs up to the ships passing overhead.

Maybe one day these forgotten veterans will be included in the accolades given all the others on the many occasions brave fighting men are showered with their much-deserved praise.

David Garcia

Bethel Island

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