Applauds faculty for strong stand

It's time to applaud the no-confidence vote given to Hercules Middle High School Principal Jennifer Bender by high school faculty in February. Consensus sends a mighty message.

I helped open the school in 2000 and saw it make strong strides in academics and promotion of worthy programs, while earning the respect of the community. West Contra Costa schools Superintendent Bruce Harter hailed the campus as "the jewel of the district."

Unfortunately, during Bender's tenure, Hercules High has become a troubled, embarrassing site. When teachers cannot receive the required support, cooperation and trust, problems will multiply.

An especially vexing point in the Times' Feb. 28 no-confidence article was the highly suspect transfer of English teacher Janet Headington. This extraordinary educator ran the most popular elective in the curriculum -- Teacher Cadet -- a lauded program warmly received by participating Hercules elementary schools. So what are the machinations behind this transfer hoax?

Thanks to the faculty for their strong-valued stand illuminating the public to the egregious matters at Hercules High.

John Brown

Martinez Brown is a retired journalism and English teacher.

Tea party's attacks are unprecedented


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A Times forum letter by Jay Todesco invited readers to join the tea party in resisting what he identified as President Barack Obama's plan to morph into a tyrant.

His absurd trepidation doesn't warrant one second of deliberation. Only Americans without a conscience would partner with the tea party's depiction of Obama as a reincarnation of Hitler.

I was listening to a conservative radio talk station late in President Bill Clinton's second term when a caller expressed concern Clinton would invent a need for martial law, using the "crisis" to remain in office beyond the mandated end of his presidency. The host's contribution to the conversation was in lock step with the caller's wild imagination.

The Constitution explicitly guarantees every American a republican form of government. Todesco's fear attacks our healthy republic that permits no safe harbor for tyranny.

The snake pit of American politics is replete with a shameful continuum of malicious and dishonest conduct perpetrated by devious partisans enamored with power.

But the unrelenting insults, belligerence and demagoguery proudly flaunted by the tea party are unprecedented.

Ronald Entwistle

San Pablo

Stats on women tell another story

With any institutional barriers to women's advancement now a subject of history, it was strange to see a front-page article in the Feb. 23 Times about the lack of women in computer science.

Male unemployment exceeds female unemployment by almost half a percent; women outnumber men in college enrollment by about 2.5 million; men account for only 40 percent of bachelor's degrees; and more than 20 percent of all children grow up without a father in the home.

These statistics reflect just as much impact on the individual and far more potential impact on society than our inability to persuade women to enter computer science over their other preferences.

Jim Rath

Lafayette

Writer is mistaken on Chevron, Rosie

This responds to the March 7 letter in the Times, "Billboards touting the Chevron logo," by Jeff Shoji.

I am going to call Shoji on his comment that, "Chevron gives not one dime to the Rosie the Riveter Foundation."

As a maintenance supervisor at the refinery, I personally delivered thousands of dollars worth of materials donated by the refinery to the Red Oak Victory Ship restoration project when it was first getting off the ground.

I imagine Chevron is still doing so, but without the political fanfare Shoji seems to require as proof of involvement.

Dave Newbry

Martinez

It is also time to ban Styrofoam

I am thrilled that Walnut Creek is adopting a ban on plastic bags. Now it's time to follow with a ban on Styrofoam takeout or "doggie bag" containers.

I remember the days when I lived in New York when there were only cardboard boxes for take-home. Locally, some restaurants continue to use Styrofoam containers. As to takeout soup, plastic containers need to be banned as well.

Let's get fully on board and make the Walnut Creek environment even more ecologically happy.

K.M. Nicles

Walnut Creek