Are we dumb by design?

To the Editor:

We used to be smart. Americans invented the lightning rod, the telephone, the atomic bomb and electronic computers. We offered Albert Einstein, a Jewish immigrant, a new home; he expanded our horizons. Americans went to the moon. Private space travel is within reach.

American scientists are at the forefront of medical breakthroughs, from diagnostics and treatments to discovering new medications.

And yet, while building economic muscle, we allowed our collective brains to dawdle and atrophy. Here are a few observations.

China is about to churn out nine times as many science-oriented students than we are – per capita.

Our schools appear to place greater emphasis on prepping their students for careers as quarterbacks than in STEM. Which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics.

Look at Silicon Valley: many engineers and even CEOs hail from foreign countries.

Where are we in this picture? Are we even preparing ourselves for the future? Are we at least attempting to?

Some people roundly discredit science, with the current president at the forefront. Climate Change – hey, everybody knows it’s a hoax, right? Some have given up hope regarding the inequalities of wealth and income and their causes. Some may even believe that the super rich just worked harder.

“Are we dumb by design?” I asked. Education is not “too expensive.” In fact, it’s not an expense at all. Doubtful? Who is going to pay your Social Security, other than the next generation? Education is an investment in our future.

No waste is more damnable than a smart brain that goes uneducated because parents couldn’t afford the tuition.

Above all, don’t forget these gems: The future begins tomorrow. And, tomorrow is the first day of the rest of your life.

MASA: Make America Smart Again.

Klaus Kraemer


A drop in the bucket?

To the Editor:

The Economic Development Company of Tuolumne County had a rough 10-year run that closed in 2006, plagued by over funding, performance and accountability issues. Does this ring a bell?

The EDC provided seminars, classes and counseling for local businesses.

Founded in 1995, the EDC was largely funded by the county. The city of Sonora pitched in and the EDC collected dues from its private members. Its operating budget was less than half of the Tuolumne County Economic Authority’s budget

The organization had to come hat in hand each year to ask for funding. Mark Thornton, former District 4 supervisor, said the organization operated without a performance-based contract. This was a major factor in the decision to shut it down. Supervisors considered a business license fee but it never came to a vote.

Switching gears to TCEDA, supervisors in March voted 4-1, over District 2 Supervisor Ryan Campbell’s dissent, to spend $53,600 to hire an interim director. Campbell said the board should first focus on coming up with a permanent solution, according to the Union Democrat.

Agreed, the board should walk away from this mess and start anew with strong oversight, checks and balances, and no free ticket like they gave to Larry Cope.

Cope’s last report to the board listed 44 projects that would bring $410 million estimated capital investment, create nearly 2,000 jobs at an average $21.95 an hour. Sound familiar?

District 4 Supervisor John Gray, longtime TCEDA director, said spending $53,000 on an interim director is a “drop in the bucket” compared to these astounding numbers. Been there, done that

Robert Dorroh