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December 16, 2005

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Publication Date: Friday, December 16, 2005

Letters to the Editor Letters to the Editor (December 16, 2005)

Achievement gap needs more than talk


After reading David Williams' guest opinion in the Dec. 9 Voice ("Confronting the achievement gap"), I learned a lot about the efforts being made to improve student performance levels at Mountain View-Los Altos School District. One thing I learned is that money was spent for an Algebra Academy and a "very small" number showed up. Another thing I learned is that the board continues to have an "inability to close the gap" in student performance after offering a wide range of services.

If I may offer an opinion about how to close the gap on student performance, how about beginning with the board president cutting out all the fluffy talk about how the "inability to close this gap continues to be a major issue for the district to address." Talk about fuzzy focus. Imagine a student being frequently absent and remarking, "My attendance is a significant issue that I'll continue to address."

If student performance meant the difference between drawing a paycheck next month versus a big fat zero, I'll bet the Algebra Academy would suddenly become required attendance, with full classes. I would suggest the board begin to act like there is no tomorrow on raising student performance. The only ones who ultimately lose are the students, in their current skills and their future confidence. Play like it's fourth and goal at the Super Bowl. The students will hate you now but love you later. Allen Price Velarde Street

Friend railroaded by the city


A generous and loving man, Randolph Wayne Rotsell, is being unjustly harassed by the Mountain View Police and the Santa Clara County Court system. This April, he left a candle burning in his apartment which started a small fire. In response, he was not only evicted from his apartment, but cited for a municipal code violation as well.

He put his faith in the local government and selflessly refused help from the Red Cross, saying that others needed their help more than he. It has turned out to be a foolish choice. Ever since the fire, he has been repeatedly harassed and arrested by the Mountain View police, and most recently spent Thanksgiving Day weekend in jail, in spite of my every effort to have him released. He feels like he's stuck in the story of the pit and the pendulum, where he can't know what he has done, and it pains me to know this.

His next court date is 8:30 a.m. on Dec. 23 at Palo Alto Superior Court, Dept. 87. I fear that he will be put into jail on this day, and it saddens me deeply to think that he could be absent from my home on Christmas, considering the feeling of helplessness I experienced when trying to free him for Thanksgiving. I'd like to invite anyone who would like to show him support to join us at the courthouse. Gregory N. Olszewski Thompson Avenue

Death penalty is our country's shame


I'm saddened and ashamed to be part of a society that continues to kill people in the name of justice. Rest in peace, Stanley Tookie Williams. Cynthia Hanson Easy Street

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