This is in response to the March 17 Open Forum letter regarding the school referendum vote. I was hoping this issue would have died down by now, but this letter, in particular, touched a nerve.
I don't have a cigarette budget, beer budget, chips and soda budget, entertainment budget, or a vacation budget. I worked hard for 40 years to pay for my home and raise a child by myself. This referendum was not about extracurricular activities for students, it was about property taxes. If we had not had the Forestview Middle School and new county complex shoved down our throats, we would have been far more receptive to the funding referendum. I regret the cuts are being made, but don't blame the voters. The blame belongs on the back of the school board for their "showpiece" school that was not needed and the state Legislature for cutting educational funding leaving the onus on property owners. I question how many of the cuts being made are necessary and how much is contrived to convince the taxpayers to vote yes the next time this referendum rears its ugly head - and it will. This time it will again be during the winter months when the "snow birds" are down south. That's how the new middle school referendum was passed. If it worked once, they will surely try it again.
Don't shame me until you have walked a mile in my shoes. I'll bet my next Social Security check that I'm not the only one in this district that is experiencing the same economic crunch that I am.
Retha "Billie" Ross
Area residents recognized for work
I would like to congratulate two outstanding area residents on the recognition they are being given on their achievements.
First of all, Judy Gaub of Crosby has been appointed to the Work Comp Advisory Council Work Group on Vocational Rehabilitation. And, at the end of April, Terry McGaughey of Brainerd will be honored by the Parks and Trails Council of Minnesota with an award in the field of Citizen Action. McGaughey was selected because of the major impact he has had on the excellence of our state's thriving system of public parkland and trails.
Both of these individuals are reflective of the good work that is being done by residents of our area, and I want to thank them for their efforts.
State Rep. John Ward
Job comparisons are difficult
When comparing the income of different careers it is easy to fall into the trap of comparing apples and oranges. When making income comparisons we need to compare apples to apples. When comparing the income and benefits associated with different careers one must also consider the education requirements and responsibilities attached to each job.
Department of Revenue data shows that the more education/training a person receives, the greater his/her annual income on average. Furthering one's education is expensive and takes dedication: Just ask any post-secondary student or his/her parents. As I noted, there are financial rewards for choosing this path. However, along with the increased annual income, these individuals can expect increased responsibilities and expectations in the workplace.
Comparing careers that offer a salary as compensation to those which are paid via an hourly rate is also difficult. Salaried employees are paid to complete their job responsibilities and meet deadlines. When their work is not finished at the end of their work day and a deadline is approaching; they stay late, come back to work to finish on their personal time, or choose to take work home with them. There is usually no additional compensation for working beyond the typical work day. It is just expected. Hourly employees often "punch a clock" and are typically compensated for all working hours. Depending on their chosen career, these employees might even be entitled to "overtime" pay rates for work that cannot be completed during the regular work day. Both methods of compensation have advantages and disadvantages.
Most people realize that comparing compensation, and occupations, is very complicated if not impossible. Wouldn't it be great if people just appreciated the efforts of all members of the work force and realized that all of our jobs contribute to make a community function?
Find that Al Gore spirit
The unexpected breakup of the Wilkins Ice Shelf in Antarctica on March 26, 2008, is yet another major planet changing event our children will not forgive us for. All of us need to dig deep into our souls and find the Al Gore spirit that is brave enough to change our lifestyles, our words and our future.
It's ironic that Al Gore won the election but the worst Supreme Court decision ever, gave the job to Bush. While Al has since made a best selling movie that is rapidly changing world opinion about the environment, Bush has made a war that is destabilizing the world. While Al has won the Nobel Peace Prize for his relentless work to save us from global warming, Bush has waged a relentless war on the middle class with health care, illegal immigration, and economic recession.
Thanks to Al's alerting the world to the dangers looming in the climate, the United Nations held a meeting of world corporations in February 08 to solve global warming. There was $20 trillion dollars in corporation market value represented and new technologies and economies are springing forth rapidly from it. The only numbers in the trillions Bush can come up with are $2 trillion for the war and $10 trillion in new national debt. That's $30,000 owed to China and others for every man, woman and child.
If we're going to pass on a reasonably beautiful planet to our children we have to write concise letters often to congress demanding a cap and trade system. This will quickly phase out nasty coal, bio-fuels, and oil and force a new economy based on the unlimited and totally nonpolluting energies of solar, hydrogen and geothermal. The next president will also have to be able to pass a fifth-grade entrance exam.
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