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February 25, 2005

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Publication Date: Friday, February 25, 2005

Letters to the Editor Letters to the Editor (February 25, 2005)


Wheeler could be a better leader

Editor:

I am deeply concerned about Mountain View-Whisman School Board President Ellen Wheeler's proposal and the board's possible approval to close Castro School.

As the San Jose Mercury News states, this is an abrupt decision. Wheeler's proposal is a slap in the face to the school closure task force that spent many hours to formulate its recommendations.

In reaching her decision, what resources did Wheeler have available that the school closure task force did not? Is there a separate task force that exists? Or did she reach her proposal through behind-the-scenes, closed-door sessions without input from parents, teachers and the community of Castro School?

In my view, Wheeler's role as board president is to provide leadership and unity among her fellow board members. Trustee Wheeler, in my opinion, is falling short in these two areas.

I have attended the school board meetings, read the newspapers and spoken to multiple Mountain View residents. Many, like myself, believe board members have presented many good ideas, but Wheeler's inability to lead and guide the discussions at board meetings in a constructive manner has lead to bickering, an inability to reach a consensus, and constant rehashing of topics already addressed. Moving to a quick vote or bringing forward a new proposal without answering the current questions will not solve this.

I understand Wheeler was voted by her fellow trustees to lead them. Obviously, they saw leadership qualities in her. I know that for some of the school board trustees this is their first time serving their community in such a high-profile role, and therefore, they do not have the experience of understanding meeting protocol or knowing how to "work the system." However, they have conviction, passion and a serving heart to help their community.

I do not believe Wheeler is harnessing her fellow trustees' strengths to create unity and a board that is methodically and carefully moving in the best interest of all our schoolchildren, not just the vocal voices of a few. Oscar Garcia Mountain View Avenue

Closure discussion should include Latinos

Editor:

As a teacher and neighbor, I plead for my fellow community members to search inside themselves and ask if Castro is being targeted for being closed because it is truly what is best for all the students in our city, or if it is being targeted because it is the silent one. They are not our children, and many of their parents do not speak out.

I shrink in unease at the thought that we, and our elected school board representatives may be, even with the best intentions, acting overly paternalistic or in haste.

I am not saying that Castro should not be closed because to leap so quickly to the other side of this dilemma also shuts down discussion. I hope we can bring our Castro Spanish-speaking parents to the discussion before our community decides whatever it does.

Our city is nobler than to seek a scapegoat. Our city is wise enough to think back to our last large school closing, the former Mountain View High School, our high school with the largest Latino population. Now we are about to close Castro Elementary School, our elementary school with the largest Latino population. And that begs the question: are accidentally picking on the politically weak? My city is better than to be so duped. Chris Chiang Bush Street

Hunters not at fault for random shootings

Editor:

Thomasyne Wilson wrote to the Voice, opposing hunting at Shoreline and citing two scary incidents in which a bullet hit her dog and penetrated her house. I would be interested to hear from Voice readers more knowledgeable than myself about hunting.

My understanding is that duck hunting does not involve bullets but pellets instead. A rifle can be quite dangerous from a distance of 1,000 yards or more. You are safe from a hunter's shotgun if you are merely a couple of hundred yards away (but don't try this, I am far from being an expert).

Thus, it seems likely that hunters were not responsible for the two incidents. I salute Thomasyne for reporting these dangerous incidents to the police and join her in hoping that the offenders are apprehended. Jim Uren Oaktree Drive

Uneven enforcement of firecrackers

Editor:

On Feb.12, I noticed the Golden Phoenix Supermarket on North Rengstorff Avenue held a Chinese New Year's celebration, celebrating the year of the rooster. Along with the music and the dancing lion/dragon, a great amount of firecrackers were set off.

My question is this: why could a commercial venture such as the Golden Phoenix Supermarket celebrate its New Year's with multiple explosions of (illegal) firecrackers? If I want to set off some firecrackers on July 4, to celebrate our Independence Day, or on Dec. 31, to celebrate our New Year's Eve, the local law enforcement officials are all over my neighborhood telling me that it's illegal and that I am breaking the law and can be arrested.

Why weren't the owners of the Golden Phoenix Supermarket arrested for breaking the law? If this law is to be upheld and enforced for one, it should be applied to all, don't you think? David Balfour Midrock Corners

'Pooh' got a bad rap

Editor:

Regarding the Voice's Feb. 11 review of "Pooh's Heffalump Movie," as a children's librarian and the mother of preschooler, I'd like to offer a different perspective on the film.

The reviewer gives this G-rated film demerits for a "lullaby storyline" with "pacing ... too slow to truly engage adult viewers." At a time in our society when young children are inundated with super-paced electronic media full of menacing characters and double entendres to keep the adults' attention, it is a pleasure to view a film that is truly developmentally appropriate for a young child and utterly charming as well.

The reviewer also takes issue with the film's "miniscule running time." For me, the 68-minute length was a plus. Keep in mind, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than one to two hours of screen time a day for older children and no screen time at all for children under the age of 2, and this film is targeted at very young children.

The reviewer states that the film's short run time makes it "unworthy of your theater-going bucks," but I question whether length is ever synonymous with quality, especially when deciding whether a film will be suitable for young children or enjoyable for the adults who love them. Sharon McClintock Walker Drive

In defense of day workers' director

Editor:

I welcome your effort at covering, in detail, the Day Worker Center in Mountain View. It is unfortunate that the center, which provides possibly a day's work for poor workers, is being split into two, depriving them of grants and setting up opposite camps.

As an impartial visitor to the center, I fully know that Director Maria Marroquin is doing a wonderful job in allocating work to the workers and also in the distribution of gifts to workers in a transparent manner without favoritism. She herself has been a day worker in the past, and she is looking at the interests of both workers and employers.

Marroquin was selected as Woman of the Year by State Assembly member Sally Lieber in 2003. Moreover, she is fully supported by all visitors, by the founder John Rinaldi and site provider Pastor Jim Stringer as well as a majority of workers and employers.

Marroquin is the "Lady with the Lamp" for the poor workers and eager employers. It is high time the concerned people sit together, sort out the issues, bring the legitimate dues to the workers and make the center the pride of the city once again. Joseph Bennett Gamel Way


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