Legislature is the problem

That the California Legislature is involved at all is precisely the problem with dismissing teachers.

Hiring and firing teachers should be left to the administrators of the individual schools. Why should politicians, who are bought and paid for by teachers unions, have anything to say about it? How did "tenure" come about?

What idiot thought of a rule whereby an employee's position was secure merely by reaching two years? It was the unions that thought of it. They had to devise some way to keep their leftist activist teachers entrenched in academia, even though they had long been discovered to be inadequate, if not totally inept. The welfare and education of the students be damned.

This is the same reason why the PTA and parents, in general, have been run out of schools almost entirely.

The big bullies on the playground, the unions, declared war on parents many years ago and have succeeded in eliminating any chance someone might be around to offer constructive criticism.

The answer is to get government out of our schools.

Jay Todesco

Concord

School control must be given to locals

This regards California Gov. Jerry Brown wanting local control for school districts.

Morgan Hill Superintendent Wesley Smith is completely right, California schools deserve more. Local control of funding for schools would be a huge step forward.


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Clearly, our current system of funding is not effective and our school districts have very little control over their resources and, therefore, performance. It is embarrassing that our schools are ranked 48th in education funding.

By giving the power back to the people and holding our local school board members accountable, we can finally take steps forward.

Moving more authority, accountability and responsibility down to the local level is an immediate necessity to improving our schools. Another necessity is to reform Proposition 13.

By removing corporations from Proposition 13 and making them pay their fair share of property taxes, we can restore $2 billion of funding to California. This, along with increasing local control, will transform our schools.

Erica Bleicher

San Francisco

Amnesty proposals are not reforms

I'll say this nicely: How can our federal representatives call current immigration proposals reform? Just as health care reform should have been called: The Make Sure That Middlemen Get Paid Act, any legislation that includes amnesty is not reform from the perspective of the citizenry. It might be called: The Betrayal of Them That Pay You While The World Watches Act.

Whatever is done has to be done in such a way that people stop coming here. Amnesty will be taken more as a welcoming thing to those who still plan the trip.

Illegal immigration is an issue because branches of the federal government didn't adequately to address it during the Reagan amnesty or at any time after that. If our elected federal representatives finally want to lead by example and get more votes, then they should start replacing appointees and staff members with those who are already here illegally. Keep it a federal issue. If they are not willing to do that then they should rethink their stance on amnesty because it will affect the general population the same way.

No doubt most of those who come here illegally are honest and are hardworking, but in my opinion their dreams, like mine, don't include picking strawberries for the next 50 years. Their dreams may include getting my job and make no mistake, your jobs too. It's human nature.

Have a national referendum and count the ballots with an open hand.

Scott L. Martin

Concord

Leave responsible gun owners alone

A recent column titled "Urban violence committed with unregistered guns real problem" illustrates the absurdity of the current crop of "gun control" laws being proposed.

The writer notes, "The issue is not with responsible gun owners." So why do the responsible gun owners need to register their guns?

His example is the murder of Hadiya Pendleton, who attended President Barack Obama's inauguration. Michael Ward confessed to shooting her by mistake because he thought she was in a rival gang.

Ward had been convicted of a "gun related offense" in 2011, was sentenced to two years, and was on probation. Given that he was a convicted criminal in possession of a handgun who shot into a crowd and killed a person, how will the registration of the firearm make any difference?

How about making the original "gun offense" a mandatory 25-year sentence and leave the responsible gun owners alone?

We have enough gun laws on the books, the existing laws need to be enforced before new ones are legislated.

Bernard Flusche

Newark

Government is not cure-all for society

Before 1960, the purchase of a handgun or rifle would have been made without need of registration and that handgun or rifle would have been mailed to the purchaser. There were rifle/gun clubs in schools. Even in New York students would ride the subway with their rifles in full sight.

Our current culture is lacking a cohesive family core; has become an amoral society with easy access to violence in our home via TV, computers, iPads as well as electronic games.

A return to respect for others and one's self, an ethical society and the value of life is something that cannot be legislated or ordered.

The idea that the government is the cure all and fix all for everyone is inconceivable.

D.C. Rentz

Walnut Creek

Overhaul nation's welfare system

Billions of dollars could be saved if our welfare system could be overhauled eliminating fraud, waste and abuse. The truly needy could still be cared for.

I have a friend whose grandson dated a young woman with a child -- no previous marriage -- no father in sight. Eventually, they began living together and had a child of their own. They will not marry because she would no longer receive money from the government to raise her two children.

The grandmother is appalled by this. The parents do not like it, but these are adults, and this seems to be the mind-set of much of this generations.

I am curious as to what last names their children use when enrolling in school? I have never met them, but I do know one is of school age now.

I believe there are many, many similar stories.

Pauline Walton

Lafayette

Got great service from Mitchoff staff

I contacted Supervisor Karen Mitchoff to resolve an issue with county services. I did not speak with the supervisor directly, but the competent staff (Lisa and Mara) promptly resolved the issue: case closed!

Thank you, Supervisor Mitchoff. My district is well-represented.

Susan Belec

Concord

Medical marijuana is an obvious scam

Everybody knows by now that medical marijuana is a scam.

Tents are set up in a park, these characters line up, and in 10 minutes they come out with a doctor's certificate. It's mainly for this reason that the majority of the citizens of California said no to the legalization of marijuana two years ago.

Marijuana is illegal under federal law. I certainly hope that the feds indict San Leandro city officials who implement the ordinance. Their main argument for it is revenue. If that's a valid reason, then why not legalize robbery? There are many cities that ban clinics and growers, including Hayward, Fremont and Emeryville.

But San Leandro city officials choose Oakland as their model. There were 131 murders in Oakland last year.

Leo T. West

San Leandro

A Superior Court judge who gets it

It's been more than 10 years since I last wrote to the paper commenting on a news article or a personality in our community.

I am taking this occasion to offer praise for the conduct and the judiciousness of one of our Superior Court judges -- Steven Austin. I have practiced as a lawyer in our county for 45 years and in that time have had professional relations with many, many local judges.

The other day I had a legal matter assigned to Austin's department. I had an opportunity to observe as he dealt with a variety of matters on his calendar. Rarely have I witnessed the professionalism and courteous conduct with which he dealt with lawyers and more importantly nonlawyers representing themselves. One appearing before him feels comfortable and definitely not intimidated by his judicial robe and his manner.

That is how it should be.

Steve Miller

Pleasant Hill

Gun proposals don't provide the answers

I strongly disagree with President Barack Obama's gun control proposals. They don't do anything to abolish laws that prevent school teachers or school administrators from having a gun to deal with a tragedy such as the Newtown massacre.

Proposals to track large amounts of ammunition with only minimal chances of stopping a serial killer threatens the livelihood of small business owners and their employees. Proposals to limit magazine capacity would seriously and dangerously hamper the efforts of a law-abiding citizens to deal with an attacker who doesn't respect the gun control laws.

We don't need to do something about violence in "gun free zones." We need to do the right thing, that is to face a situation as it is -- not a grab bag of gun control measures.

William Ellis

Walnut Creek