I'm Voting No
The public is being asked to vote on a blank check to form a community college. This could be a costly disaster if not properly planned, organized, staffed and managed. Study the costs incurred in Sacramento, Contra Costa and Solano counties in California as examples.
I am very disappointed that the community college support group has not put together an action plan for the public to review before voting on the proposal. What are we voting for? A blank check for a group to experiment with organizing a college district? That can be expensive. I suggest a study of the cost to the taxpayers of these districts, and then develop a plan that avoids their errors and/or indulgences.
Here are some ideas to consider:
1. Develop an action plan for the public to vote and approve that includes a mission statement, with goals, specific objectives, tasks and costs to be undertaken to form a community college district. For example: Is the mission to provide low-cost education to all adult residents in Ada and Canyon counties? Is the goal to provide expanded low-cost education for residents seeking academic, technical, professional and vocational education? Does the plan address those who need education and training to advance their careers, skills, and pursue higher eduction?
2. Does the plan implement a staffing development program using local volunteer and part-time professionals for organization, administrative, curriculum development, and teaching staff (at the outset and until fully operational)? To keep development costs at a minimum, does the plan pledge to hire only a limited number of full-time staff?
3. A first-year academic program and five-year outline should be developed offering basic college courses in English, math, physical and social sciences, business management and public administration for public input and support.
4. A one-year to five-year plan on what will be offered and with a cost per unit outline and five-year projection should be presented for input and support.
5. A pledge should be made to hire retired and/or part-time staff with qualified advanced degrees to plan, manage and teach the courses offered at the outset. This will instill confidence from the public that costs will be minimal while hiring the best qualified staff in the area.
6. The plan must include annual financial and management audits by an experienced independent accounting/management audit firm with the suggestions reviewed by the public and community groups.
7. Prior to seeking voter approval, the plan should be processed by submitting it to the state superintendent of public instruction with input from his staff to meet state requirements. Approval and endorsement from the State Board of Education should be secured. Public advocacy groups and organizations should also have input. When these steps have been completed, then submit the proposal to the voters for approval and funding.
When all these factors have been implemented, the public is likely to vote in favor of a community college district that will not raise taxes inordinately while providing efficient public education and training.
--Bernard M. Schur, Ph.D.,
Rep. Bill Sali represents Idaho's 1st Congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Sadly, Rep. Sali voted "NO" with the minority on each of the following bills in April.
On April 26, 2007, the U.S. House approved HR 249, to restore the prohibition on the commercial sale and slaughter of wild free-roaming horses and burros. The vote was 277--137.
On April 25, 2007, the U.S. House approved HR 1678, the Torture Victims Relief Reauthorization Act of 2007. The act will amend the Torture Victims Relief Act of 1998 to authorize appropriations to provide assistance to domestic and foreign medical centers for the treatment of victims of torture initiated by the United States government. The vote was 418--7.
On April 24, 2007, the U.S. House of Representatives approved HR 363, the Sowing the Seeds through Science and Engineering Research Act. The act will authorize programs to support the early career development of science and engineering researchers, and for support of graduate fellowships. The vote was 397--20.
On April 24, 2007, the U.S. House of Representatives approved HR 362, the 10,000 Teachers, 10 Million Minds Science and Math Scholarship Act. The act will authorize science scholarships for educating mathematics and science teachers. The vote was 389--22.
On April 17, 2007, the U.S. House of Representatives approved HRES 196. The resolution expressed support for the goals and ideals of World Water Day. The vote was 393--22.
Cope's no Critic
Normally when I pick up the new BW, I turn eagerly to Bill Cope and Ted Rall for my weekly dose of (usually) well-informed and (mostly) insightful political opinion. I could not disguise my dismay, however, when Mr. Cope wasted his space last week not to opine on our failing local or national leadership, but to attempt to persuade me that his personal musical taste is the only valid one, and that a musical style which earns hundreds of millions of dollars annually, includes too many esteemed artists to begin to name, and occupies easily 50 percent of the shelves at any music store is, in fact, not actually music.
What's next, Mr. Cope--TV shows you don't like are not really TV? Books you don't like don't deserve to be called books? There are good and poor examples of any musical genre. When was the last time you actually listened to any rap? Come on now, grandpa, stick to what you know (namely politics) and keep your uninformed ideas about what music "is" and "isn't" to yourself. If your intent was merely to "offend young people," well you've failed at that, too. I'm not offended, merely disappointed that a rare bastion of independent thought in the local media wasted half a page of my weekly trying to pass off his musical taste as irrefutable fact.
You Call that news?
I see the front page of the Idaho Statesman (May 11, 2007) has an article regarding a film about Idaho on the front page, while the news of Tony Blair stepping down, the British PM and our best ally, is on Page 11.
News of the continuing death and destruction in Iraq is also relegated to the back pages of the Statesman.
The front page story about the film seems to be preoccupied with the fact that the movie was not shot in Idaho, yet claims to take place here!! (Note to all: This practice has been employed since film was invented over 100 years ago.)
Unbelievable. A movie about a "place" not actually filmed in that particular place.
Next thing, we will be getting articles about reality TV shows that aren't really really really reality.
--Chris Morris, Caldwell
Last week's Citizen interview with Dyke Nally should have stated that liquor licenses can sell for anywhere between $50,000 to $400,000.