Letters to the Editor - June 14, 2013
Public schools more diverse
The Cookseys are certainly a remarkable family. Would that every child could live in such a loving and supportive family.
However, the home schooling of their children does raise a concern. They claim to overcome the lack of socialization through intergenerational exposure. This is an extremely limited view of socialization, which includes exposure to folks of different races, ethnicities, national origins, religions and sexual preferences. These are some of the very experiences that the parents want to isolate their children from for fear that ideas and practices contrary to their evangelical Christian culture may contaminate them. It was the Puritan John Milton who argued in his Areopagitica, a speech in defense of the liberty of the press, that an untested virtue is no virtue.
Consider: Most work is done in groups and, in the secular world, work groups may include folks who hold opinions and values different from one’s own. Historically, our public schools have prepared us to work productively with folks of different races, etc.
Several years ago, the secretary of education for Taiwan was in Washington, D.C. to observe its public schools. A reporter asked him why he was observing schools that produced exceedingly low scores on standardized tests. He replied that it is true that his kids have among the best test scores in the world, but when they finish their schooling in Taiwan, they do not have the social skills that allow them to work productively in groups. He said they know how to teach academic skills, but don’t know how to teach social skills.
Socialization has always been an important function of our public schools, and it is one of their glories. Home-schooled children lose out on the opportunity to hone their virtues and to acquire social skills.
GMO means no contract
How true — the letter written by Steven Perkins (Readers’ Forum, June 7, “Media ignored GMO march”). The media today is infatuated with personalities and sensationalism, reluctant to write articles that might offend advertisers or someone with money who might not like an editorial opinion.
It also helps the media to have a docile, unaware readership. Genetically Modified Food should be on everyone’s mind. How much testing has been done? What were the results? What’s the problem of having it noted on the processed foods we buy? Just about everything today contains fructose corn syrup. Is the syrup processed from GMO corn? Nobody knows — and the way high-sugar soft drinks fly off the store shelves, nobody cares.
Monsanto wants to be the only seed company on Earth, but it looks like they may have some difficulty. In the Midwest, the Japanese pulled their wheat contract because of GMO contamination found by a wheat grower in Oregon, and farmers are suing Monsanto.
GMO equals no contract. Monsanto states they are the only ones capable of identifying any contamination. OSU didn’t take too kindly to the slight. So there’s hope, Mr. Perkins.
New word needed
In reference to the article in the News-Register (June 7, “At the altar, one journey ends and another begins”), where is the outrage? There is no such thing as same-gender marriage. This is akin to “The Emperor Has No Clothes.”
Years ago, homosexuals didn’t like being called that or other names, so they came up with gay, and it stuck. Let them come up with another word for marriage. Proponents of “same-gender marriage” should find a new word for it.
Lawmakers neglect issues
I am amazed that members of the U.S. House and Senate are outraged by some aspect of our immigration policy, or gun control, or the latest IRS actions ... but are totally unwilling to deal effectively with the more important economic issues facing our country. Unfortunately, because of their inability to take responsibility and work together, we now have Sequestration.
I see this same lack of responsibility to deal with the most important issue facing Oregon being repeated within our own state government. It should be no surprise to anyone that PERS is the one issue that has the potential to bankrupt our state. Are there changes that could/should be made? Yes. Will some of those needed changes lead to political threats and lawsuits by the unions out to protect their “golden egg”? Yes. Are our legislators willing to risk political heat to do what needs to be done? I’m not so sure.
What has become quite evident is that Democrats just aren’t willing to make the hard decisions that might result in the unions withdrawing their political funding and support. Republicans, while originally taking a more aggressive stance, now seem willing to just sit there and do nothing.
It seems that, regardless of political affiliation, folks are fed up with the threat to Oregon’s economic future posed by PERS. Each of us should contact our elected representatives (Democrat or Republican) and let them know that their political future rides on how well they work to reduce the economic threat of PERS to the future of Oregon.
Clarification on landfill berm
While the reporting on the Department of Environmental Quality’s (DEQ) approval of a million ton expansion of Riverbend Landfill (News-Register, June 4) was mostly fair and balanced, some clarification is required.
The article states that landfill owner Waste Management (WM) “originally proposed adding a berm on the river side ... “ True. It continues about WM withdrawing “its application for a riverside berm in the face of intense opposition.”
A quotation from WM spokeswoman followed: “We downsized the original proposal for a longer berm to simplify the process.”
Neither of these contradictory assertions is what actually happened. According to March 2012 correspondence between WM and DEQ’s Bob Schwarz, WM’s plans showed the originally proposed berm sitting in the South Yamhill River floodway, while the application claimed the berm would remain 5 feet outside the floodway. This is the real reason WM withdrew its full berm application — its engineers screwed up.
The article also states that the 2009 expansion “has been tied up in a series of appeals ever since, with no end in immediate sight.” Actually, that legal battle terminated in December 2010 with a Court of Appeals victory for county residents opposed to landfill expansion. In the wake of that decision, commissioners acted in September 2011 to amend its zoning ordinance to allow landfills located in farm use zones to expand onto adjacent land under the same ownership as long as the land was also in a farm use zone. To take advantage of this new ordinance, WM will have to persuade the county to rezone the current landfill from Public Works Safety back to farm use.
Editor’s Note: The news report’s mention of a “series of appeals ever since” referred to actions opposing various WM proposals for Riverbend expansion since 2009.