Letters To The Editor 12/26/2018
Editor: In my five years on the Scranton School Board, I thought I had just about seen it all. Then I sat through the Dec. 19 meeting, which defied even my low expectations for the board majority’s behavior.
When my daughters were growing up, their mother and I could usually tell when they were up to something. They were never up to anything more than stockpiling candy or ordering shoes online, but when they acted secretively we knew we needed to find out what was going on.
Sadly, the Scranton School Board seems to be up to much more than eating cookies when dad isn’t looking. On Dec. 19, some directors walked on stage knowing they were going to break policy to appoint a new director that night; others among us had no idea what board President Barbara Dixon planned.
Dixon and her majority’s sneak attack to appoint a new director without advertising, evaluating and interviewing candidates was the most undemocratic display I have seen in my five years on the board. The unadvertised vote violated not just board policy, but the Sunshine Act. We must challenge the validity of the board’s action; we also must question the motive of the majority in pushing up the appointment a full month.
Secrecy is rarely the foundation of positive outcomes. When we raise children, it is our job to tease out the truth and possibly ground them. When we witness public officials sneaking around their colleagues and circumventing democratic processes, we need to find out why they are operating in the dark.
SCRANTON SCHOOL DIRECTOR
Board reform needed
Editor: State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale is right to attack the Scranton School Board for its recent appointment of a new director without first asking for interested candidates to apply.
I was not happy with his “pitchfork and torches” comment, but the sentiment was correct. The decision of four members of the board to go against policy and appoint someone without first seeking candidates was wrong.
Did they notify any of the six second-place candidates of their intentions? As one of those candidates I can say they did not notify me. Maybe they only notified the candidate they wanted to appoint. All Scranton school taxpayers should be angry about this.
I applaud Directors Katie Gilmartin, Mark McAndrew and Tom Schuster for doing the right thing. They need assistance to form a board with integrity, one that truly represents the students and taxpayers of Scranton. If the board does not overturn this decision because it was a violation of the state Sunshine Act, then taxpayers of Scranton need to vote out Directors Barbara Dixon, Bob Lesh, Robert Casey and Paul Duffy and replace them with board members who will do the right thing and stop the constant examples of unethical behavior and ineptitude.
GAYLE THORPE BAAR
Editor: Our nation comprises all creeds and colors.
Some of our ancestors came to this country through Ellis Island, worked hard and became proud citizens. The illegals that come here not only take our jobs, but cost billions of our tax money for free health care, food stamps, welfare and other benefits. They attest to needing asylum, but look well-dressed with better sneakers than me and some of them carry cellphones. I am not unfeeling of true need, but where are the bleeding hearts for our own people in dire need?
Thousands of Californians do not have a home for Christmas due to recent fires and some people in the Midwest and Florida have no homes due to tornadoes. Where is the compassion for them?
I believe that Rep. Nancy Pilosi, Sen. Chuck Schummer and all Hollywood elites should invite illegals in their homes and foot the bills to care for them. I think they do not believe that we need a secure border wall or Immigrations and Customs Enforcement to protect us.
Please do not fiddle when Rome is burning. Vote out of office all who oppose securing our safety and prosperity.
My grandfather said the Bible predicts the yellow race shall rule the earth. Keep dividing us and we will be conquered.
Farm bill’s impact
Editor: Despite claims from some people, the new federal farm bill only potentially covers some of dairy farmers’ losses.
If the legislation does what it is supposed to do, the new program will leave more than 50 percent of the cost of milk production unaddressed. Right now dairy farmers have two choices: Tell everyone not to participate in the program or sign up for it and receive some needed financial help.
If I was an active dairy farmer, I would sign up for at least the bill’s 5 million pound provision, and maybe more.
My organization, Pro-Ag, believes dairy farmers should have to buy into an insurance program to help cover their losses. I don’t think that Congress should use taxpayers’ money to subsidize dairy farmers’ losses.
We think a fair pricing system and a supply management program would work to solve the financial dilemma facing the majority of dairy farmers. Such provisions are still contained in the Federal Milk Marketing Improvement Act. This program would benefit dairy farmers, consumers and milk processors.
Farmers should go for the program being offered and hope that we might be able to obtain some improvements from Congress.
Right after Christmas, we will send thousands of petitions to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and ask him to hold hearings across the country to give dairy farmers an opportunity to testify. He should not listen only to the National Milk Producers Association and the International Dairy Foods Association concerning the needs of dairy farmers. We also must continue efforts to get whole milk in our schools, including flavored milk.
Congress, by passing this dairy provision in the farm bill, proves one more time that the present pricing system is not fair to dairy farmers and needs to be changed.