Letters to the editor

November 16, 2004

In support of educators

To the editor:

During American Education Week, Nov. 15-19, the free gift of public education should be honored by a renewed commitment to celebrating the American Dream, the Washington County Teachers Association announced this week.

We recognize and acknowledge the achievements of educators and school staff who keep our children safe and healthy as well as help them succeed.

We are committed to students receiving a high-quality public education. Yet quality costs and we need to ensure adequate funding to keep the best and brightest teachers in Washington County.


With the demand of increased test scores and threats of failing labels attached to schools, educators are determined to keep the community apprised of the challenges which serve as roadblocks to student achievement.

Adequate class size, all-day kindergarten and access to early-childhood education for all children are just a few of the initiatives research supports as effective tools for progress

We want to celebrate the American dream through the eyes of students who can and must face a promising future. Students count on us to give them the resources they need to succeed and we are committing to fight for quality and supporting the individual dreams of all our children.

Claude H. Sasse
President, WCTA

Remember the real Arafat

To the editor:

How soon we forget what Yasser Arafat and the terrorists under his PLO umbrella have done in the name of a liberated Palestine.

The Associated Press article in The Morning Herald summed up the acts in a short paragraph: "After the Arabs' humbling defeat by Israel in the six-day war of 1967, the PLO thrust itself on the world's front pages by sending its gunmen out to hijack airplanes, machine gun airports and seize Israeli athletes at the 1972 Summer Olympics."

There's no mention of the fact that the PLO murdered a lot of people on the airplanes that it hijacked (and blew up) and in the airports that it machine-gunned. The Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics were not only "seized," they were also slaughtered. The article also fails to mention the PLO's various murders of schoolchildren, tourists and diplomats, the civil war in Jordan that left thousands dead, and so on.

There's also no mention of Arafat's decades-long involvement in other terror acts and his siphoning of hundreds of millions of dollars from money donated to help the Palestinian people that went instead into his own private accounts. I'm no expert on the Arab-Israeli conflict and there have been atrocities inflicted by both sides, but time - and the media- have somehow tempered our view on a man who wanted to create a Palestinian state through the destruction of the Jewish one.

Richard C. Benchoff II

Billboards, old ideas, need to be tossed out

To the editor:

Billboards are a Neanderthal method of advertising, about one step more advanced than smoke signals and only slightly less polluting.

With the advent of newspapers, magazines, television, radio and the Internet, any purveyor of merchandise or services can easily find an alternative method of advertising without littering our highways with his trash. Many jurisdictions have already progressed to the point of banning the construction of new signs and in some cases have required the removal of existing signs.

But now that our planning commission has submitted its proposal for limiting this continuing assault upon our scenic landscape, Commissioners John Munson and William Wivell, along with the Chamber of Commerce, are finding fault even with that feeble attempt.

Munson thinks that any limitation "may hurt business" and "may be unconstitutional." Perhaps if Munson did some research, he would find that no jurisdiction has suffered economically after banning billboards and that constitutional law has not overturned any of the bans - some have been in effect for decades.

Wivell believes the proposed changes would create a monopoly for existing sign owners. There are at least three billboard companies presently operating in Washington County and the last time I checked the dictionary, three does not constitute a monopoly.

Ed Lough and the Chamber of Commerce are "concerned about the effects on existing signs." Gentlemen, there will be no effect on existing signs; the new proposal will grandfather in everything that is presently standing. This ordinance will only stop new construction.

We can expect to live with the existing trash forever, or until we elect some more progressive leaders. Maybe what we really need here is a better quality of public education.

Jim Laird

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