The punishment should fit crime
I am referring to the suspension of a group of seniors from Brentwood's Heritage High for their end-of-the-year pranks.
Academic reprisals -- effectively, flunking out these young students -- is not warranted. This is the educational equivalent of the death penalty and should only be given for extreme cases.
The only activity that went beyond normal pranks -- paint, moving items around, some profanity -- was leaving a lamb chained to a light pole without food or water.
For that, there should be a mandatory summer spent as a volunteer at the local dog pound or Humane Society, after which the diplomas will be awarded. That would be an appropriate punishment, which is also a learning experience.
For the rest: Repairing the damages, personally cleaning up the paint, restoring the outdoor furniture and apologizing publicly to individuals or groups offended by the profanity is appropriate.
Maybe some additional task to contribute to the campus environment, such as a few weeks of trash cleanup, could be added.
But refusing to let them take final exams, invalidating the efforts by their teachers and staff members to educate them, is excessive. It punishes not just the students, but the entire school.
Let fairness trump hurt pride.
Recently, I had a parking experience in the Pill Hill area of Oakland that I think George Orwell orchestrated.
After depositing three quarters in the parking meter, without the meter giving me any time, I noticed a little green sticker instructing me to call a number to arrange for the privilege to park. A robot informed me it was necessary for me to provide my cellphone number, my credit card number and my vehicle license number.
After the robot failed to distinguish between my pronunciation of the V on my car license number (with its sound of B), I was transferred to a human, for whom I was placed on hold for several minutes.
Human and I were unable to do much better, since I was now late for a doctor's appointment and becoming frustrated, so I hung up and climbed the hill to the doctor's office.
Fortunately, I did not get a parking ticket this time, but suspect George Orwell's crew will get me next time.
Taxes part of why people leaving state
Since 2000, 1.2 million more people have left California than have moved here, according to the Tax Foundation.
Between 2000 and 2010, the most recent data available, 551,914 people left California for Texas, taking $14.3 billion in income. Texas has no state income tax or estate tax. And 48,877 people moved to Texas from California between 2009 and 2010 alone, totaling $1.2 billion in income.
An additional 28,088 from California relocated to Nevada and 30,663 to Arizona, a loss of $699.1 million and $707.8 million in income, respectively.
The Tax Foundation acknowledges that taxes are not the only reason to flee a state.
"Taxes are one of hundreds of factors that go into a person's decision to move," it says on its website. "Others include age, technology, job prospects and the quality/quantity of government services provided."
I imagine the last item mentioned in that quote accounts, in part, for the influx of people coming here to take advantage of California's legendary generosity to those who deem themselves and their families "needy."
'Game' will have zero effect on temperature
The is regarding May 3 "Cities compete to be California's 'coolest' " article. The contest is run by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), UC Berkeley and others. The object is to get points for every household that signs up, more if pledging a reduction in carbon footprint.
The coolcalifornia.org website states "The CoolCalifornia Challenge is a fun, innovative competition between 10 California cities to reduce their communitywide carbon footprints and build more vibrant and sustainable communities."
This "fun" game is a farce on the public. No action by any city in California, no action by the entire state, will reduce global air temperatures one iota. Global temperatures are regulated by nature, not man.
For sure, the "winning" cities will not be even a micro Fahrenheit degree cooler than the surrounding countryside (urban heat island effect), or indeed than the average of the entire state.
The "sustainable communities" jargon is an offshoot of Agenda 21, the U.N. global governance scheme infiltrating local government through AB32 and S375. Stop this carbon foolishness, and save billions of dollars and millions of jobs.