Education is better for everyone
Re “Yosemite colleges faculty OK two-day strike” (Front Page, Nov. 18): The Yosemite College District and their faculty have been in negotiations for three years. Those deadlocked negotiations have become a pitched battle with the professors authorizing a strike, the district threatening termination if they do, and now a two-day strike called to protest that threat. Lost in the conflagration is the point: Dispensing education while giving taxpayers value for their money.
College students save tax dollars because they require fewer government services (welfare, substance-abuse rehab, criminal justice, etc.). And they contribute to the community in many ways – paying taxes on larger incomes; contributing to the success and stability of the community; appreciating and patronizing the arts, contributing to charities; saving for retirement and investing their savings.
Educated people form longer lasting relationships, are more optimistic, civil and courteous. They get regular physical exercise and eat healthier foods living healthier lives. Then they send their children to college. Those who go to college also exercise analytical thinking; read newspapers and books; have a richer appreciation of current events and they vote.
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Given the diverse ways taxes can be spent, community college would still be a prudent bargain at twice the price.
J. Jason Gale, Riverbank
There’s room in our big tent for all
Re “California GOP is dead, sadly” (Page 3B, Nov. 15): Stanislaus County is changing but change comes slowly. It doesn’t happen with a single decision or a single vote. A few years ago there were more Republicans than Democrats here (check the registration figures). Now it’s the other way around. It happened slowly and it’s still happening. California Congressional District 10 just elected its first Democrat in years. A former legislative leader for Republicans statewide, Kirstin Olsen, recognized the change in California and wrote about it.
The Democratic Party is a “big tent” party. That means we welcome Republicans and independents and others to change registration and work with us in making healthcare better for all. Join us in building our local jobs base. Join us in improving education for our children. The future needs your efforts along with all of ours. Become a registered Democrat and join one of our many Democratic Clubs or start a new one. Change the present, join the future. Move forward.
Dale Parkinson, Turlock
Hear this: Hearing better is cheaper
Many older people in the past could not afford to pay for sophisticated hearing aids that adjusted for their loss of ability to hear high frequencies. Hence, they could not understand many conversations. That is changing rapidly as a result of a law passed in 2017 by Congress. You can now buy, for $200 or less, hearing aids that make it possible to understand high frequencies. That will solve the hearing problems of many, if not most, seniors.
There’s no need to pay thousands of dollars for hearing aids. For several years there have been cheap hearing aids that amplify all sound frequencies. They do not work for those who need to selectively amplify high frequencies.
The new, inexpensive hearing aids do just that. They are working for me at age 95 and will probably work for many others. Intricate, complicated electronics have become very cheap, but until now the public has not benefited in this area because they were required to go through a hearing professional. That is no longer required except in special circumstances, no matter what you are told. The era of high-priced hearing aids for common, age-related hearing difficulties is over, and the public needs to know.
I have no interest in writing this note other than to help poor seniors realize they can now afford effective hearing aids.
Vance Kennedy, Modesto
Accountability key in gun deaths
Re “To the mother of the man I couldn’t save” (Page 1B, Nov. 18): Trauma surgeon Jacques Mather writes a compiling story about yet another gunshot victim for whom he cannot find the words to sooth the anguish suffered by loved ones. In my law enforcement career, I too found it confounding to express my sorrow – whether for an accidental overdose, auto accident, suicide, stabbing or gunshot. Death is death no matter how it is inflicted, and it is always worse when it is our children.
Notably, there are more deaths caused by auto accidents per year (41,000 in 2017) compared to 32,000 gun deaths (including 19,000 suicides) in 2016; the CDC reports 200,000 have died from opiate overdose since 1999.
Writing the article was likely a cathartic release for Dr. Mather, but limiting gun violence to a single solution, i.e. “restricting the use of guns,” won’t work either. Maryland, where he works, already has a rigorous gun-control program, similar to California’s. The weak link is the lenient penalty for violations of gun laws. Penalties need to be increased by three to four times and charged as a consecutive crime. We have similar charges and penalties in California, but they are not strict enough.
James A. Wells, Modesto
Thanks to all, including opponent
Thank you to the voters in Stanislaus County for your confidence and trust in electing me to be your next superintendent of schools. I am humbled by your support and will do my best to serve the students, teachers, and parents in our community. My pledge to the people of this county, to the county’s 25 school districts, to the teachers and staff at our many schools, large and small, is to act thoughtfully, to listen to concerns, and to work in partnership with our districts, teachers, administrators and parents.
Tom Changnon has been a great superintendent for Stanislaus County Office of Education. I appreciate Tom’s support and his example of service. I want to give special thanks to my wife, Alison. She is my best friend and strongest campaign supporter. I also thank all those who campaigned for me and spoke on my behalf.
I’d like to recognize Shannon Sanford for her efforts in this campaign and wish her well as she continues to lead the Gratton School District.
I look forward to working to ensure our students are given the best options for success.
Scott Kuykendall, Turlock
Working to make our county better
While we wait for a final vote count, I want to express my appreciation to the voters who supported me and to the family, friends and neighbors who gave so much of their time and efforts to our campaign – whether walking, calling, hosting, donating or publicly endorsing.
I am very proud of the broad, bipartisan support I received from so many people and organizations I respect – from sheriff’s deputies and home-care workers, to small business owners and local community leaders.
We have a remarkable community, and the opportunity to meet so many people and listen to their hopes and concerns for their families, our town and our county was rewarding. I have been truly inspired by their hard work, vision, struggles and commitment to Modesto and the region.
Regardless of the final result, I will continue to work to improve the community I love, trying to solve the problems we face, and helping make Stanislaus County the best it can be.
Frank Damrell, Modesto
We’ve been fed lies from the start
As a nation we blinked. Donald Trump’s people told anybody who would listen that Donny’s inauguration had the largest turnout for any president in U.S. history, that the crowds were overjoyed with patriotic jubilation. When asked about this seemingly small understandable mistake, we were told we believe in “fake news.” Donny’s aids and playmates told the nation that their insistence of record turnout were based on “alternative facts.” They said that to our faces and we blinked; we did not stand up for the simple truth from the start. So how can we expect the truth now?
The same people, the same kind of alternative facts are being fed to us through the same means. Trump obviously has never heard the old saying, “Don’t let your alligator mouth overload your hummingbird butt.”
Charles D. Wilkinson, Modesto