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Letters to the editor

November 24, 2004

Why Democrats have jumped ship


To the editor:

Now that the election is over the pundits are still trying to figure out how and why it happened like it did. As a registered moderate-conservative Democrat of 49 years I have to say: "My hat is off to President Bush."

The man was blamed for just about everything from the Florida hurricanes to the collapse of Yankees in the ACLS. He certainly had a steep mountain to overcome: George Soros' millions, Michael Moore's propaganda movie, Dan Rather and CBS News, 60 Minutes, ABC News, NBC News, CNN, The New York Times, The LA Times, the Boston Globe, and of course "The Boss" and the Hollywood crowd, MoveOn.org, Al Gore, Bill Clinton, Charley Reese and it goes on and on.

He was compared to Hitler, called a liar, brain-dead and dumb. Well, maybe he isn't the smartest guy in the country, or as the elite liberal left likes to say: "He is not the sharpest knife in the drawer." But maybe, just maybe, he has that good ole common, down-home horse sense which often is better than being so brain smart which is why I say: "My hat is off to the man."

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I'm a part of that group of Democrats who have been disenfranchised from the Democratic Party ever since the liberal left "hijacked" the party, whose only place to turn to find the values we share is the Republican Party. I guess we are still called Reagan Democrats.

I feel that if this election proved one thing it was that the majority of Americans still cling to the values and ideals that our founding fathers laid down for us to follow.

I would like to say I now have more respect for Senator Kerry in that he chose not to drag this through the courts and put the American people through what they went through in the 2000 election.

As for the Democratic Party, if they continue to nominate those northeast left wing liberals, the fate of the party is going to be the same in 2008 as it was this year.

George Sword
Greencastle, Pa.




Days don't add up


To the editor:

It was painful to watch Washington County's Board of Education vote 6-0 at a recent meeting to raise substitute teacher pay on the basis of a presentation by Dr. Barkdoll providing no documentation for its necessity.

Not only did none of the numbers box, no BOE member even asked how the Washington County Public School System (WCPS) fulfillment rate of 97 percent compared to other school systems.

In fact, Berkeley County, W.Va., has a lower fulfillment rate. In fact, West Virginia requires a minimum of a bachelor's degree to substitute teach. In fact, West Virginia residents work in WCPS to earn the $7,000 to $8,000 more as full-time teachers.

In fact, Citicorp gives six paid days for a 250-day work year, while WCPS gives 10 days for a 190-day work year. Also, unused WCPS sick days are paid for at retirement at $25, so they are motivated to take the 10 days for an embedded 5 percent absenteeism rate with pay. (Board Member Bernadette Wagner's reaction to this was to suggest that we pay teachers an incentive for not using it!)

The entire funding request was based on a time period of only 48 days in September and October. The figure of 10,696 absences was used, although data backs up only 6,281 of them. To suggest that four mandated teacher-training days - dates available, hence planned around, in advance - account for the difference is like emptying the ocean with a teacup.

Yet, on the basis of such anecdotal evidence as "believe me, it's a problem," the BOE agreed, unanimously again, to increase taxpayer costs by four times the inflation rate. Words fail me.

Tom Janus
Hagerstown




Growth must be paid for


To the editor:

I felt that it was important to clarify my statements a a recent joint meeting of the Washington County Board of Education and Washington County Commissioners that were taken out of context by The Herald-Mail reporter.

We were in a discussion relative to student enrollment growth, increasing subdivision development in the Robinwood area and the need for adequate planning and facilities to address growth in enrollment that will be a consequence of new housing starts.

When the subject of the potential new subdivision, Mount Aetna Farms, arose, I made the statement that approval of this annexation should be dependent on the city enacting an APFO ordinance to ensure that infrastructure and costs of accommodating so many new students in an already-overcrowded school area is covered.

I then made the statement that the subdivision should not be approved until such time as the above has been addressed.

The school system is not in the business of deciding or even recommending whether or not a new subdivision should be approved. We are, however, duty bound to protect the interests of our students and taxpayers and must advocate for the needs of the system.

Specifically, we are bound to insist that adequate public education facilities be funded to meet the needs of increased enrollment that is inevitable from new developments concurrent with the start of that development activity.

I regret that my statement as taken out of context to be construed as the school system is against that particular development, which is not the case.

G. William Blum Jr.
Chief Operating Officer
Washington County Schools
Hagerstown

(Editor's note: The Herald-Mail stands by its story and the quotes attributed to William Blum.)

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