Approve charter

Simply put, the Mt Diablo Unified school board consists of totally shortsighted members. I have seen and been a part of schools in several foreign countries during my lifetime, and never have I heard of something so stupid and selfish as a school board denying a school the chance to make itself better for the community.

Yes, the board would lose some control and that would be better for this community.

There is no way my children will go to Clayton Valley High School as it stands now. As a charter school, with the benefits a charter school offers, we would reconsider.

As it stands now, our only choice will be putting our two children into a private high school. We want them to get a great education such as what a charter school could offer. Think about the financial ramifications of families pulling their children out of the district. The board should do the right thing and do what is needed to send our high school on its way to being a world-class charter high school.

Please approve the charter before Oct. 25.

Kim Dromlewicz

Clayton

Fund libraries

I was given another article that links quality education to well-funded school library programs. As a librarian, I am already a proponent of literacy in schools. Unfortunately, in this age of budget cuts and high stakes testing, school libraries are not a fiscal priority.

In Mt. Diablo, high school and middle school libraries are open one or two days per week, while elementary libraries offer services based on the number of students at each site.

We are doing our kids a great disservice by not allowing them access to reading materials on a daily basis. Reading leads to literacy, and if a person happens to be data-driven when it comes to testing, literacy leads to higher scores.

A well-funded library refers not only to the facility and its contents, but also to its personnel. A full-time, credentialed library teacher is fundamental to a successful library program.

School boards across the country must realize that trained professionals need to be working with students not only in the classroom, but also within the library, music, P.E., and art. These programs all help to produce well-rounded individuals who will eventually contribute to our society as adults.

Laurel Burns

Pleasant Hill

Wrong focus

The Concord City Council unanimously voted to ban smoking on all 17 blocks of the city's downtown. It is already banned at Todos Santos Plaza.

We have an aggressive drug-and-alcohol-fueled homeless population running rampant on our city streets. Our school district is a mess. Many of our neighborhoods look like ghettos. Although I am sure crime is on the rise, there was no one at the Concord Police Department who could provide me with that information. So many employees have been laid off that they no longer have anyone to compile that data.

It's a good thing I won't be breathing secondhand smoke as I walk through or near the park in the city of Concord, "Where families come first," but where concern for public safety, respect for oneself and our community have gone out the window.

Maybe the council should concentrate its efforts on things that really matter, and we as residents should be asking, what we can do for our city.

Lisa Madigan

Concord

Electoral College

Keep the Electoral College. It is a cornerstone of our federal republic system and should be left alone.

To change it requires three-fourths of the states ratifying a constitutional amendment.

It works. Four presidents have won fewer popular votes than their opponents, starting with John Q. Adams in 1824, so the 2000 election dispute is not some recent phenomenon.

It is a key component of federalism that prevents a few densely populated urban areas from deciding our elections.

It prevents chaos. You think the 2000 election was bad? Without our electoral system, almost every election could be like that.

In the past 18 elections, spanning 70 years, three elections had differences of fewer than 1 million votes, while two-thirds had differences of fewer than 8 million.

We are a large country with 300,000 voting precincts. Finding just 10 more votes in each precinct would reverse one-third of these elections; 25 votes would overturn two-thirds of them.

Every party would demand recounts in every precinct looking for 10 votes. Only five misread ballots per precinct (remember the 2000 hanging chads?) would change a third of these elections.

Keep the Electoral College. It works.

Robert Etheredge

Orinda