Letters: Don’t question the show of fire and police personnel at funerals

Dear Editor,
Recently I read my favorite part of the paper (Letters to the
Editor) and, I must say, no single letter elicited as much emotion
as the one penned by Theresa Ruiz.
She complains that Latinos are being cheated out of the same
honors received by a fallen war hero and the daughter of a fireman.
First the facts.
Don’t question the show of fire and police personnel at funerals

Dear Editor,

Recently I read my favorite part of the paper (Letters to the Editor) and, I must say, no single letter elicited as much emotion as the one penned by Theresa Ruiz.

She complains that Latinos are being cheated out of the same honors received by a fallen war hero and the daughter of a fireman. First the facts.

The police and fire personnel donated their time to both events so the couple bucks you paid towards public safety is safe. In addition, if an accident or fire had occurred, those units would have responded. I am so sick of complaints from downtrodden minorities who see themselves as perpetual victims of a white man’s world.

Fact: Latinos are not a minority in Gilroy.

Fact: Many of our police and fireman are Latino although that shouldn’t matter, aren’t we all Americans?

Fact: Many Latinos don’t see the world through the eyes of La Raza or Reconquista. Most are proud to be Americans. When my family immigrated from Italy, there was no bilingual education. There were no allowances made for any immigrants. We came to America to be American, if you didn’t, leave!

We never fly the Italian flag except at the Italian Festival in San Jose and we never celebrate the independence day of any country other than the USA. My father didn’t speak Italian to us, only to his parents. In this way, we had English as our first language. We excelled in school and weren’t disproportionately dropping out of high school. We didn’t dominate the police blotter on a daily basis.

The social engineers through multiculturalism have created this victim class instead of teaching all children that they can do anything. How such a wonderful expression of compassion by this great city was turned into a race thing mystifies me. My hat is off to all the the good people of Gilroy who lined the street with flags and banners and to all the VFW, American Legion and veterans who participated in the events on both days.

A special thanks to to the Gilroy Police Department and Gilroy Fire Department and other city personnel who DONATED their time to escort Sgt. David Gutierrez from the Hollister Airport the day before the funeral as well as to his final resting place. Special thanks also to Councilman Bob Dillon, a Vietnam vet, who contacted me regarding the participation of The Patriot Guard Riders (mostly veterans) who showed up both days, 70 motorcycles escorting from Hollister and 55 on the day of the funeral. These riders come, some from as far away as 200 miles.

All of these people volunteered on their dime to honor a great soldier, Sgt. Gutierrez who gave all in service to country, and his family. Well done, good and faithful soldier.

Mark A. Zappa, Gilroy

All-day kindergarten OK, but let’s change the age requirement to 5

Dear Editor,

If we’re heading in the direction of all-day kindergarten classes, and it looks like we are, I’d suggest we lobby strongly to change the age requirement for admission to 5 or 6 years old.

Children can currently enter at age 4. Today’s kindergarten is highly structured, highly academic and not developmentally appropriate for most on the younger end of the spectrum.

Tammy Vickroy, Eliot Elementary School

Aggressive union tactics, spineless politicians equals bankruptcy soon

Dear Editor,

While I empathize with the city and its financial challenges which your article describes, it does not completely address the real situation with the whole picture. Your article is the tip of an iceberg.

For some time California cities, counties and state governments have created a retirement system called CALPERS which promises the best retirement benefits of any system I have ever heard of. Those benefits are neither competitive with private industry nor sustainable according to financial analysts. One of the key financial problems in California is CALPERS which is underfunded, and over committed.

The real question is when are retirement benefits going to be scaled back to realistic levels for those covered in the CALPERS plans. We cannot mortgage the state’s future and jobs in our state to unrealistic commitments made for whatever reason.

I work for a large company whose name you would instantly recognize. Our retirement plan went from a generous pension plan to a 401K plan in the last 15 years, with what has become a substantially reduced benefit.

It is time our “leaders” in city, county and state government own up to the problem they have created and fix it. The financial solvency of California is at stake, not just of Gilroy.

John Leake, Gilroy

Editorial anti-union and off the mark with regards to teachers

Dear Editor,

The Dispatch Editorial Board’s Jan. 21 “Our View”) accusations directed toward the Gilroy Teachers Association demonstrate clearly that Board members do not understand educational issues in Gilroy and beyond. None of the three statements was validated by educational data, and simple journalistic techniques would have debunked each one.

First, all-day kinders have been in GUSD the past few years. About half the kinder classes are all-day, and the rest are half-day due to the lack of space and cost, not because of GTA. Legally, the district determines curricular programs (Education Code) and the existence of all-day kinders, and the union negotiates any effects to members’ working conditions (Government Code). The district implemented all-day kinders the year after bringing this to GTA. How was GTA hindering GUSD’s implementation of these classes?

Second, GTA didn’t sign the state Race To The Top memorandum of understanding intent letter due to the uncertainties in the federal legislation. School Services of California, fiscal advisor to state school districts, warned districts of RTTT funding because disappearing state funds might be encumbered in implementing RTTT program mandates. Statewide many organizations listened. Only 49 percent of the 1,500 potential districts and charter schools in California applied as of last week. How is GTA any different than the hundreds of organizations that have not applied?

Where did the Editorial Board get the “$1 million annual” figure? At best, experts project $50 maximum per Title 1 student; they think. RTTT legislation does not give specifics. GUSD has 58 percent of its students eligible for Title 1 programs, and if this is the base figure for determining RTTT funding, then that might generate $309,000. And, this is one-time money, not an annual grant, that must be spent within four years.

Current Education Code provides for yearly teacher evaluations. Districts don’t evaluate teachers every year because of the lack of administrative employees to perform the work. Education Code also allows districts to evaluate some teachers once every five years. Is the state concerned about yearly evaluations? Apparently, not.

If the district were to accept RTTT money, it would need to hire additional administrators to complete the yearly evaluations of 585 GTA employees. The one-time money of $309,000 would disappear by hiring two administrators the first year. How would GUSD afford the evaluation mandates of RTTT in subsequent years?

Finally, the Editorial Board’s last comment makes a broad stroke accusation that has no merit and reeks of anti-union propaganda. Robert Carini’s 2002 paper “Teacher Unions and Student Achievement” is an analysis of 17 prominent educational studies demonstrating the relationship between teacher unions and student achievement. The results: “Given the empirical evidence, unions have a solid track record of supporting policies that boost achievement for most students. These favorable patterns on unionism include higher math and verbal standardized test scores, and very possibly, an increased likelihood of high school graduation rates.”

The Dispatch Editorial Board can have positive effects on the community, but in order to be taken seriously it must not replace its fundamental duties of journalistic investigation with second-hand sound bites from anti-union ideologues.

Dale Morejón, Gilroy

Gilroy’s movie house strives to keep the restrooms clean for customers

Dear Editor,

I am a manager at Platinum Theatres in Gilroy and was very disappointed to read the letter to the editor about the condition of our restrooms. We strive to keep our restrooms well maintained and clean for our sake and for our customers.

It is very possible that during a rush, where hundreds of people will attend a movie, that our restrooms might get turned upside down. We don’t always know until the rush is over when an employee goes in for an inspection.

As for Sophie’s experience, we apologize for your visit and we welcome any comments or complaints anytime you are in our theater. Sometimes we, too, need a friendly reminder.

Jennifer Halward, Gilroy

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