Smith shows courage, transparency on school board

To the Editor:

I was deeply concerned by an article you published July 10, 2019 impugning the character of Sonora Union High School District Trustee Jeanie Smith. It is unfortunate that, regarding Sonora High School, your newspaper has consistently amplified the voices of latecomer critics rather than recognizing the contributions of conscientious community leaders whose interest is the education and wellbeing of the school’s current and future students.

Mrs. Smith is one such leader. I served as student representative to the board alongside Mrs. Smith in 2010-2012. In that time, I witnessed Mrs. Smith courageously lead the board to make decisions which were right for the students and the school despite being unpopular with some members of the community or district staff.

School board members are tasked with ensuring the long-term viability of the district's schools. Mrs. Smith has acted with this in mind throughout her years of service. When I sat with her on the school board, I was impressed by Mrs. Smith's efforts to involve community stakeholders in discussions that guided the board's decisions and the measured way in which she addressed difficult problems. I saw Mrs. Smith and other board members openly and honestly seek input on many issues and then act on the input they received. These issues included the planned allocation of bond funds, the preservation and use of school property, and the path forward through the district’s financial crisis in the aftermath of the 2008 recession.

Mrs. Smith has been an honest, transparent, and courageous leader on the board for many years. Shouldn't we honor those who, like Jeanie Smith, serve their communities with no thought of personal gain and no fanfare? I hope that she and good people like her will choose to serve on the school board for many years to come.

Luke Houghton

Spring, Texas



Drivers v. California

To the Editor:

I have noticed a rash of traffic stops based on degraded plates, like where the white background, over time, melts off the plate. leaving an almost as white metal base. The characters hold up quite well. And yet, I notice "exempt" plates in worse condition. Hmm.

Bad chemistry to start with, then a real good reason to pull over almost everybody. I'd like

to see a class action on the part of California Drivers v. California for dereliction of duty.

Paul McNaul

Columbia



Republicans, defend your views

To the Editor:

Perhaps you learned in grade school, as I did, that socialism was bad because it led to communism, and the kids in Russia didn't have shoes. Well, it's time for us to grow up, think like adults, and move beyond all the "socialism bad — Trump good" childishness that substitutes for honest discourse among Republicans.

No Democratic candidate is advocating that the government should take over the means of production instead of having an economy based on private businesses and individuals who compete in the marketplace. But Democrats do recognize that capitalism must be properly regulated to prevent the misuse of resources and abuse of the populace. They also believe that some of the wealth produced by the economic interaction of the nation as a whole should be invested to benefit the common welfare. Democrats simply want to make the system we have work better for everyone.

If Republicans think it is good for our future to trash our wild places, use up our natural resources, and allow the poisoning and pollution of America the Beautiful, then let's hear them defend it. Just calling Democrats radical environmentalists is not enough.

If Republicans think that more Israeli settlements on Palestinian land and discrimination against Palestinians are in the long term best interests of Israel, then let's hear how that works. Leave out the name calling. It is possible to be critical of Israeli policies and not be anti-semitic. Sometimes we need to tell our friends the truth.

If Republicans really think that some elected members of Congress are communists who hate America, then let's hear them prove that without repeating out-of-context, exaggerated misquotes and outright lies. Republicans are showing us who they are and what they are made of and it's not good.

John Watson

Columbia

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