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Letters - Nov. 23

An open letter

An open letter to Gov. Ted Kulongoski

Is education an essential service in the state of Oregon?

Does OEA have a monopoly on public education in Oregon?

Why do the governor and Legislature not support putting teachers under the binding arbitration law that police and fire are under as essential services?

Are teachers immune to loss of pay for strike activities? Would you pay your state employee union members for their strike days?

Is there a conflict of interest in that you, in past life, have represented the OEA in private law practice?

Your action to step into a local issue on the side of the teachers’ union has sent a chilling message statewide and to the 40 other districts, which are now in negotiation or in mediation: “Don’t mess with the OEA.”

I bring the following experience to the discussion of the above items:

Twenty-four years on the Sandy City Council;

Twenty years on the Sandy Rural Fire District Board of Directors;

One year as state president, one year as past president of the Oregon Fire District Directors Association and four years on the board of directors of that organization;

Thirty-three years of teaching experience, 30 of which were in the Sandy Elementary School District;

Two years on the Sandy Elementary School Board of Directors;

Four years on the Oregon Trail School District Board of Directors, at the time of that board’s initial organization; and

Negotiating experience on the Sandy City Council, Sandy Rural Fire District and as a teacher in the Sandy Elementary District at a time when local education associations negotiated with local school boards.

In conclusion, I would like to engage you in an open debate on the issues that I have raised in this letter as well as the responsibilities of locally elected boards of education.

James Duff, board member

Oregon Trail School District

Sandy

Eating crow

It’s not so much the fact that I have to eat crow as it is the fact that I violated my “Five P’s” – Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance – that I must write this letter.

Now, I am 76 years of age and have known for a long time you can’t take these bar room chats and bowling alley B.S. sessions as always being the Gospel Truth.

If I had done my research and talked to the recruiting station and Mr. Fisk before I wrote my letter (Nov. 12), I would not have written it.

I think the high school has a pretty good program for monitoring their volunteers, recruiter and other aides and such, and I would like to offer my apologies to the students and staff at Hood River Valley High School for my lack of research, insight and stupidness. Thank you.

Max R. Linder

Hood River

‘A Day Appointed’

Is this November or December?

I’ve not seen one Thanksgiving decoration! Let’s put Christmas aside for a moment and dwell on Thanksgiving.

Yes, it’s “a day appointed for giving thanks for divine goodness” (since 1674).

But the best part?

The Feast!

Or maybe it’s the fellowship around the food … the camaraderie around the kitchen, toward which everyone seems to gravitate. The kitchen, that sacred spot where magic and food can happen … that holy in-home space where we agree to congregate as one, united, free, and loved.

Mary Jane Heppe

Hood River

A life to celebrate

World War I, The Great War, or The War to End all Wars started as an overreaction to what today would be called terrorism, a single act that killed a man with a fancy hereditary title.

Millions upon millions of common people died as a result of this overreaction, largely because military leaders wanted to prove their own mettle by sacrificing their men. However, for a few days early in the war the common decency of man shined above the warmongering of the leaders.

On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day of 1914 the soldiers in the trenches called their own truce to a war that to them was the ridiculous extension of a family feud between the over pampered royal families of Europe.

Laying down their weapons, solders on both sides entered the No Man’s Land between the trenches singing songs, offering cigarettes, showing pictures, and playing soccer with empty ration cans.

Alfred Anderson, an Englishman of 108 years, died this week, the last known surviving participant of the 1914 Christmas Truce. I can’t help but think that the world would do better to celebrate the life of this last simple veteran of the trenches than that of all the generals and political leaders that have come since.

Jim Denton

Mt. Hood

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