Letters to the Editor — February 17, 2016
Reader supports Steele, referendum
My thanks to Mark Steele, interim superintendent of the Indian River School District, for his letter, via email, to the IRSD community. I found his message, which included five commitments to action, the first words from management of the district that were contrite and constructive. As such, I intend to vote “Yes” in the upcoming March 2 district referendum.
As a district resident, I could not find a way to vote for the referendum last November. But his letter of Feb. 8 correctly implies that the impacts of not raising increased revenue for the district would indeed be disruptive.
If we believe that quality education for our (grand) daughters and (grand) sons is essential to our community, and to our future, then we must bang this drum. We are at a critical time; Mr. Steele has promised action. I urge everyone to get behind him.
I will be voting “Yes” March 2. But when it comes time to vote for new school board members, I will vote against those long-term members who represent a culture of fiduciary ignorance or, worse, graft. Hopefully, we’ll elect a new generation of leaders whose kids are the future of the district, not the past.
I don’t know if Mr. Steele’s long association with the current school board culture makes him the right person to lead at this critical time. But his words show leadership and suggest change (I hope).
The need for this referendum to pass now is urgent. I urge everyone who supports our future to support him as well.
Reader encourages positive steps
On Feb. 10, 2017, there were two events:
One: Protests and Violence throughout the U.S. regarding things some people were not happy with.
The other was Tim Tebow’s Night to Shine, which was in 350-plus cities and seven countries across the globe. Hearts were touched, and there were many tears of joy, broad smiles and the wonderful sound of laughter. People came together to make a difference. Every dollar spent on this event allowed special-needs people, parents, high school students and volunteers to have the night of their lives.
The money that the protesters spent could have been used to feed the poor, provide housing for the homeless, a scholarship for a college student or the purchase of handicap equipment. The time spent could have been used to visit a veteran, a person in a nursing home, a sick child in the hospital, or just sending a thank-you note to one of our men or women serving in the military, who are trying to keep us safe. This could then have been the miracle event.
At the end of the day, which one really made the difference?
A little test for our readers
With the recent debate about “fake” news vs. “real” news, I am asking your readers’ help in determining which of the following headlines falls into each category; although, considering recent events, all seem thoroughly plausible to me.
Here’s the list:
(1) Business savant reigns over chaotic White House; top-level firings expected three weeks in.
(2) President enrolls in personnel management course at own defunct university; Mexico will pay tuition.
(3) Trump alleges 3 million illegal voters; evidence absent.
(4) Trump family members and top aides registered to vote in two or more states; evidence present.
(5) Trump vows Obamacare replacement on day one.
(6) Republicans in disarray over Obamacare replacement; may take one to three years.
(7) Trump vows Mexican wall; Mexico will pay.
(8) Mexican wall cost estimates double; American taxpayers will pay.
(9) Trump enrolls in construction cost estimating course at own defunct university; Mexico will pay tuition.
(10) Trump: America overrun by “criminals and rapists”; denies he himself ever assaulted women, despite contrary claims by victims who include a former wife (who later recanted).
(11) Trump in diplomatic fiasco; hangs up on stalwart American ally Australia.
(12) Trump interrupts phone conversation with Putin to ask staff what New START (nuclear arms reduction) Treaty is, then denounces it seconds later.
(13) Trump: Russia didn’t invade Crimea; Crimeans disagree, then shot by disagreeable Russians.
(14) New EPA chief decries “clean water”; declares lead a “natural substance.”
(15) New EPA chief declares he’ll drink Flint water himself if his plane ever makes emergency landing there.
(16) Pedestrian explains predicament: “great” used limo bought from Trump now in shop for new transmission; accompanying chauffeur in hospice.
(17) Trump declares he’s for little guy; seeks advice from Wall Street crooks and billionaires on possible solutions.
(18) Crooks and billionaires (not mutually exclusive) offer three-point plan: gut Consumer Protection Agency, which has already saved little guys billions; oppose livable minimum wage; cut taxes on struggling rich with remaining trickle down scraps for the “little people.”
(19) Trump befuddled at mention of Nuclear TRIAD, which he now controls and which could destroy the world.
(20) Trump asks aide: “Who’s that military guy always following me around with that big briefcase?”
(21) Trump to pave over Indian River Bay for Russian Air Force base; vows “Mexico Will Pay!”
Please help me understand. I’m so confused!
Sessions too racist in 1986, but OK in 2017?
On Feb. 7, 2017, Sen. Elizabeth Warren was silenced during a Senate Judiciary hearing for Jeff Sessions’ nomination to be Attorney General of the U.S.A. She was reading a letter from Coretta King, widow of Dr. Martin Luther King. The letter was written and submitted to Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-SC, chair of the Judiciary Committee in 1986, when Sessions was being considered for a federal judgeship in Alabama).
It was read by Mrs. King during the Judiciary Committee’s hearing. It was thought to have been relevant in the Senate’s failure to approve Sessions’ bid for the position. Thurmond never entered the letter into the Congressional record, and its contents remained largely unknown.
Sen. Warren was silenced, censored and cannot speak during the final hearings of Sessions. Senator McConnell did this by invoking the seldom-used Senate Rule XIX. McConnell defended his ruling, saying that she had “impugned” a fellow senator by continuing to read “after she had been warned.”
Senate Rule XIX, Section 2.1, states ,“No Senator in debate shall, directly or indirectly, by any form of words impute to another Senator or to other Senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming to a Senator.”
Notice the word “impute” in the rule, which means “to say someone is guilty (of something).” Sen. McConnell’s word, “impugn,” means “to oppose or attack as false or lacking integrity”; “to criticize a person’s character by suggesting someone is not honest and should not be trusted.”
The letter was not Sen. Warren’s words but words of a private American citizen, whose opposition to Sessions was read during Senate Judiciary Committee hearings in 1986.
So much for moving forward with bipartisanship. It is also telling that Senate Rule XIX was not invoked in 2015 when Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) accused McConnell of lying “over and over again.” Nor was it invoked in 2016, when Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas called the Senate leadership of Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) “a cancerous leadership.”
So much for equal rights for women — even women Senators and even when she is within procedural rules!
By the time this is published, Sessions will likely be the Attorney General of the U.S.A. It is difficult to square this with the fact that, in 1986, also in a Republican-controlled Senate, his nomination to fill a federal judge position failed because he was deemed “too racist.”
The U.S. Attorney General is the people’s lawyer; his responsibilities include representing the people’s interest in any case where full rights under Constitutional law (which includes the Amendments) are being thwarted, infringed upon or otherwise denied.
Jeff Sessions has tried to convince his fellow Senators that his views have changed since 1986. However, his words and actions give the lie to that.
He voted against the Lily Ledbetter Act in 2009. He voted against the Violence Against Women Act in 2013. He voted against the most recent version of the Paycheck Fairness Act. And those are just his votes against American women!
Sen. Jeff Sessions has devoted his entire public career to opposing equality under the law for voting rights. Sessions called the Voting Rights Act “an intrusive piece of legislation” when it was passed in1965.
In 2013, SCOTUS failed to uphold a key provision of the Voting Rights Act which required States with a long history of voter discrimination to get Congressional approval before enacting changes to their voting laws. Sessions cheered the gutting calling it “good news… for the South.”
Reader offers options for local women
These three weeks since the inauguration have been very frustrating. I feel flooded with news about major actions by the White House which are seemingly too big for me to do anything about.
Then I went to a Selbyville “Huddle,” an offshoot from having gone to the Women’s March in Ocean City. I was a little reluctant to go, as I was afraid I’d have to supply ideas of what to do, and I had none.
Not to worry. There were women there ranging from their 20s to 60s, and they were not short on ideas. We came up with lots of concrete, often simple, things to do, to have a local and/or national impact, everything from voting for the IRSD referendum March 2 (easy), to going to a Hocker or Gray coffee to express my concerns (harder — I work full-time), to sending a pink slip (postcard) with my concerns to the White House on March 15 (easy!), to signing up at dailyaction.org to get ideas every day on actions I can take (super-easy).
I came away so invigorated and hopeful. There’s power in not just the numbers, but the energy and focus that happens when we all get together. The whole really is greater than the sum of its parts!
If any other women out there are wondering what they can do, please visit https://www.womensmarch.com where you can find information about your closest Huddle group (yes, even in Sussex County!).
Reader urges ‘yes’ on referendum
As proud parents of 20-plus years with the Indian River School District, we fully support the referendum. The Indian River School District excels in all aspects — education, extracurricular activities, professionalism, socialization, health, volunteerism and much more.
Our youngest son, Will Kenney, is a freshman at Sussex Central High School. In the course of his education with Indian River School District, Will has been given many opportunities to flourish as a student, in preparing for college, and as a community leader. Will has been blessed to have amazing, caring administrators, teachers, coaches and staff to help him and his educational career.
As parents, we cannot stress enough about the benefits our district provides to the students. Academically, the teachers strive to provide the essential education for the broad spectrum of learning capabilities for all the students.
Our district implements programs and teaching styles that are appropriate for individual intellect ranging from Excel, the IB program, Honors, general and special education to name a few. Our district provides education in technology and the arts to address those students who choose career paths in those areas.
Without funding, there will be an adverse effect on our students and our community. Which program or teaching style would you dematerialize? Our world is composed of all different intellect. That’s what makes us prosper as a society.
Do we deem college preparatory classes as the standard of importance? Do we choose to sacrifice technology, the arts, etc., as the latter of education? As parents of three children, we sacrifice none! All the programs have benefited our children.
Education is the primary concern for all of us. But I would also like to address extracurricular activities. Our children have been greatly impacted by participating in extracurricular activities.
Activities such as sports and clubs provide opportunities for our students to learn responsibility, teamwork, sportsmanship, leadership, professionalism; volunteerism… The list is endless. Again, where do we begin deciding which activity holds the greatest and most beneficial importance?
Our son, Will, has always been and continues to be a very active student. He maintains a 4.5 GPA in Honors, president of the freshman class, captain of the freshman football team, a member of BPA, a member of FFA, and currently participating in lacrosse.
Will also founded Will’s Carnival for a Cause three years ago. Will’s Carnival is a yearly family-oriented fundraiser that raises funds for different organizations. In the past three years, administrators, teachers, coaches and staff have given Will the utmost support. The extracurricular activities have been a crucial role in teaching Will leadership, confidence, responsibility, time management, etc.
As I spoke with Will last night about the referendum, he said that he hopes that the referendum passes so that his school district will continue to offer the education and activities that have molded him. As a mother, it broke my heart.
For our district and teachers continue to provide him educationally for him to maintain his GPA and the activities, advisors, coaches and staff continues to instill education and qualities that continue to make him successful.
My husband, children and I cannot thank Indian River School District enough for all that they have done and continue to do for our children. It truly would be disheartening to let our children down and not vote for their best interest, and vote Yes for our future generations. As Will says, his “success is Indian River School District’s success.”
Sandy and Bruce Kenney