Letters: Charter School concerns elevated after non-union statements

Letters on the proposed charter school, the good folks at
Lizarran Restaurant, the library construction bids, Caltrain
service and the Gulf oil spill clean-up efforts
Charter School concerns elevated after non-union statements

Dear Editor,

Three Gilroy Unified School District special education teachers have tentative plans to form another charter school in Gilroy. When charters are written and implemented with specificity, community support and fiscal oversight, then that endeavor should be supported by all stakeholders.

For those who are unaware, charter schools are public schools. Tax dollars are used to pay for either a private firm for profit or a not-for-profit entity to operate it. In either situation, the charter authorized employer must follow all state and federal laws governing employee hiring, firing and contractual relationships. The public comment by current GUSD Principal James Dent, “Teachers will be non-unionized and will receive merit pay based on student achievement” is one that should cause the GUSD Trustees to raise collective eyebrows of concern. Federal and state laws allow any group of employees to become the exclusive agent representing prospective employees, or not.

The employer is not allowed to determine this status of the employee working relationship with the employer. Essentially, the new charter petitioners are illegally stating that the employees will not be allowed to collectively bargain in the work place. Principal Dent is apparently unaware that the exclusive agent representing employees does not have to be a union. The employees can be the exclusive representative without a union. That is also the employees’ choice, not the employer.

Finally, Principal Dent is probably unaware that merit pay is already allowed by the California Government Code, and it is up to the employee group and the employer to negotiate what the proposed merit pay plan might look like. With GUSD unable to provide adequate fiscal oversight with the failed El Portal Charter School, it will be interesting to see how the trustees handle this situation even before the charter school takes wings.

Dale Morejón, Gilroy

Gilroyans should support honest folks running Lizarran Restaurant

Dear Editor,

I would like to use this forum to publicly thank Joe Walton and the management of Lizarran Restaurant in Gilroy. I recently lost my camera there and it was subsequently found in the restaurant.

While they were holding the camera for me, it was apparently stolen from the premises and Joe immediately offered to make good on my loss. I received the check as promised and though I have thanked him personally, I would like to encourage the community to support Lizarran.

Go eat there tonight!

Tim Callaway, Sacramento

Library bids came in lower, but here’s a question and a suggestion

Dear Editor,

I am thrilled that the our esteemed City Council members approved the $18.18 million bid that is $5 million less than the estimated base price of the new library project. I am confused as to why they voted to issue $26 million in bonds to pay for it.

Also, as a reader suggested, the bonus of $100,000 for each month the company is ahead of schedule and a penalty of $100,000 for each month they are behind schedule, is very common in the construction of schools, hospitals, etc.

Maybe the City Council should consider adding to this before signing a contract with the Devcon.

Barbara Guerrero, Gilroy

Caltrain a valuable service for Gilroy that should be preserved

Dear Editor,

Caltrain is a valuable transit entity that Gilroy is fortunate to have and should be preserved. It is an underutilized asset that needs support, yes my wife and I ride it. I take Mr. Thompson to task regarding the viability of this service.

He claims “humongous” taxpayer subsidies for rail. I question that … how about the highway infrastructure that lobbyist’s push for and takes precedent over all else in America when it comes to transportation funding?

If planned right, rail is one of the most efficient modes of transportation and and it should be improved not detracted upon. Limousines? C’mon, let’s be realistic!

Gary V. Plomp, San Martin

What’s missing at the spill site? A concerted effort to clean it up

Dear Editor,

On the TV screen one cannot miss seeing beaches covered with globs of oil. The pictures of dead and dying birds and other forms of wildlife are heart wrenching. The pictures of the oil coated grasses in the wetlands are equally depressing.

What is missing? The hundreds and thousands of volunteers cleaning up the beaches and wildlife. There should be soldiers, sailors, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, National Guardsmen, contractors, Boy Scouts, charity organizations, prisoners and others.

British Petroleum may be the only entity that can stop the leak but cleaning beaches, birds and wildlife is another matter. That technology is decades old.

Where are our leaders organizing this effort? Could it be that they are busy looking for the right butt to kick?

Keith C. De Filippis, San Jose

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