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Tom McClintock knows man can’t change the climate

Answer to Charles Brenner Letter of October 16, 2020: “McClintock denies climate change while thousands of homes burn.”

Your letter has stated that climate change deniers are getting paid off and are the cause of global warming fires. No evidence was given to support that statement. No evidence was given to show that 97 percent of the world’s scientists agree that the major cause of increased fires is global warming. Who are these scientists and who pays them? Do you remember that when Columbus wanted support to sail across the ocean that all the renowned scientists of that day said the world was flat and that he would fall off? So sometimes renowned scientists are totally wrong! You also fail to state that there are many renounced scientists that do not believe that man is the cause of global warming. Let’s examine some of the real provable causes as to why we are seeing more catastrophic fires.

Ever since the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act of 1974 and the Federal Land Policy Management Act of 1976, our US Forest Service has adopted more environmental policies in-order to protect our forests and their natural resources. Strict environmental rules ensued that prevented logging, thinning, clearing underbrush, grazing and prescribed burning. They also had stipulated management agreements with environmental entities formed to avoid lawsuits. In any case the forests become overgrown with too many trees, bushes, dead trees, pine needles, and branches loading up the fuels on the ground. The mantra of saving our wildlife and trees was claimed, which stopped the mechanical and other means, to clear off the build-up of these dry fuels. When there are too many trees and shrubs competing for too little water some die or become bug infested.

The 50 or so years since then, has left us in grave danger of fires starting in our forests due to this buildup. Droughts have occurred off and on for thousands of years. Proof that man was not the cause by his actions, is shown by looking at tree rings. They show that the trees went through droughts long before man was civilized. The sun’s flares also have a great part in our weather.

I believe that the environmentalists are right in some respect that the actions of man have helped create more intense fires. It is their actions which need to change. So, hear me environmentalists, you have helped to cause these catastrophic fires by your flawed policies. Your Wild and Scenic policies have left us with ugly, black and depleted lands.

We hope that now you will be willing to make the necessary changes to help reform your disastrous environmental edicts and policies in order that we may save any remaining natural beauty of our forests and wildlife.

Your scare tactics of Black money and corruption and that man can change the climate or the Earth will be destroyed won’t work and Tom McClintock knows that. This is why I am voting for Tom McClintock.

Sherry Curtis

Pioneer

A woman with power

I attended many school board meetings as my granddaughter represented North Star Independent study as a student board member. For almost a year we watched what we came to call the “yes” board always pass anything presented to them. Never was there a “no” vote from any of the board members on any item voted on. We remember one particular meeting very well. It was a complex issue being discussed. Even some of the board members were having difficulty understanding the issue. Susan Ross, as the presiding president, was in charge of the meeting. The issue was discussed, but still one particular board member needed questions answered. Susan refused to allow the member to ask another question. She called for the vote. She demanded the vote. Again, the board member tried to explain they did not understand and needed to ask a question. She refused.

My granddaughter and I discussed the meeting on the way home. Pushy, rude, bullying were a few of the words my granddaughter used to describe Susan Ross. She explained how frustrated she was in not understanding the issue and Susan not allowing questions enough for everyone to understand what they were voting on. My granddaughter and another student board member abstained from voting as neither of them understood the information enough to cast a vote. We both witnessed a woman in charge that used her power to demand her “yes” team to make a vote without enough information.

My granddaughter attended one more meeting and then resigned as the student board member. She was learning nothing positive from attending these meetings. She did learn that the board listened to the community speak and ignored their wishes. The room was standing room only one particular meeting as the community expressed their wish to keep a beloved principle. The board did not listen. The community spoke that they did not want Shenandoah School closed. The board did not listen. She heard speakers come to the podium and discuss their frustration with transportation problems. These problems were never remedied. She did watch the board pass every year the resolution on bullying. She continued to see bullying at the schools. She sat and listened to several parents and their horror stories of their child being bullied. It was difficult for her to be a part of this; it was difficult for me to watch and listen also. She learned that the board gave a speaker 3 minutes to speak, present their concerns, and then did little or nothing about these concerns.

I understand from some people that Susan Ross was a great teacher years ago and beloved by her students. I hope that is true. Good teachers are vital to our children’s education. But in my opinion, that once great teacher is not a good leader nor is she open to listening to the community’s concerns.

Joanne Pace

Pine Grove

School board, climate and money

Referring to a few Letters to the Editor of October 16, 2020, two of which are right on from Lisa Lucke and Dianne Bennett, school board input details for challenger Jim Whitaker, running for District 4, ACUSD, Board of Trustees, think of the students … vote November 3!

Then, there is climate change, from Charles Benner, Sutter Creek. The words seem to come from the world’s scientists and not from “above” … even though we and the scientists might not have been around or even aware of the 100-year change in the atmosphere periodically, how does one think they know that “man-made global warming is real,” quoted by Brynne Kennedy in Charles Benner’s letter?

Now, on the subject of money, and I quote from years of quotes, “Money is the root of all evil.” … Well, what would we do without money? Money is not evil, when used to gain prosperity for your family. Do we not dwell on deal making with properties we own to sell, and stock we challenge to make money for our own future? Do we show our children ways of making money by gaining an education for their future lives? I can imagine how Mr. Trump Senior’s success came through as Donald Trump grew up to mimic his father’s success!

Georgia Fox

Sutter Creek

We need better candidates

I’ve voted in every presidential election since the 1972 Nixon/McGovern election (Nixon won 570 to 17 electoral votes), and I believe that we’re still getting the short-end of the stick. We need to stop arguing about who’s the better candidate as the lesser of two evils, and start talking about how to have better candidates. This time in particular, we need a third choice. And we need to eliminate the antiquated electoral college. Trump lost last time by 2,868,691 votes (Source: cnn.com/election/2016/results) and so did America.

Tom Deal

Pioneer

Susan Ross brings dedication, experience and knowledge

This letter is in response to the (Letter to the Editor) written by Lisa Lucke, Friday, October 16. It is clear that she is unfamiliar with the way school board governance operates and that is totally understandable. First, let me say that Mr. Jim Whitaker is not alone in his Amador County experiences. I too raised children through the Amador County public schools. I too have served on many committees and attended many board meetings. In addition, I am a retired teacher and I worked tirelessly on Bond Measure A, which didn’t pass, so I am very familiar with “retirees,” “taxes,” “fixed income,” and “desperately needed funds.” Measure A might have passed if the Amador County Teacher’s Association President at the time, Mr. Jim Whitaker, had supported it. Seems he’s changed his tune. We all make mistakes.

The reason I most humbly shared the progress of the school district in citing my accomplishments in the interview article, is because the board is just part of an entire system. One board member alone cannot make an impact. Only the full board is authorized to make decisions that affect the students and schools. It is through collaboration with stakeholders and administration that the entire board makes true positive change to set the direction, approve the LCAP goals and support the staff’s implementation of those goals. So, for the record, as a board member for the past four years, I voted to support:

1. Strategies to ensure fiscal solvency

2. Programs and use of funds to increase academic achievement

3. Programs and use of funds to support social-emotional education and counseling

4. Expansion of Career Technical Education and career/college readiness options

5. New high school graduation requirements

6. Dual enrollment (in high school and college)

7. Facilities improvements and renovated stadium fields

8. And much more …

The success and accomplishments belong to the entire system: board, administration, teachers, counselors, support staff and students! Additionally, I have dedicated my four years of service to the study of governance and leadership. I have thoroughly read and shared with my board colleagues the following books:

• The Governance Core by Davis Campbell and Michael Fullen

• The School Board Fieldbook, Leading with Vision by Mark Van Clay and Perry Soldwell

• Five Habits of High-Impact School Boards by Doug Eadie

• Dare to Lead by Brene Brown

• The Will to Lead ,the Skill to Teach, Transforming Schools at Every Level by Anthony

Muhammad and Sharroky Hollie

• Indelible Leadership by Michael Fullan

To increase my understanding of school governance and the administration of public schools, I attended the following training:

• California School Boards Association (CSBA) Institute for New Trustees, twice

• CSBA Brown Act Training

• CSBA Board President Training

• CSBA Candidate Orientation Training, twice

• CSBA Annual 3 day Conference, San Diego

• California County Boards of Education (CCBE) Annual Conference for County Board Trustees, Monterey

• CSBA Masters in Governance 8 hour courses:

1. Course 1: Foundations of Effective Governance/Setting Direction

2. Course 2: Policy and Judicial Review/Student Learning and Achievement

3. Course 3 School Finance

Within the district, I attended the following Board Workshops, provided by staff and other experts in the field:

• Ethics and Legal Issues

• School Finance and Construction

• Special Education (two parts)

• Multi-tiered Systems of Support (MTSS)

• Annual Board Self-Evaluation

Three years in a row (pre-COVID), I attended CSBA Legislative Action Day in Sacramento and met with our legislators to lobby on behalf of our public schools. I have visited every school in the district many times, volunteered in classrooms, served on committees, participated in graduation ceremonies, attended numerous school fundraisers, plays and performances and met on a bi-monthly basis with both Superintendents.

So Lisa, this is what I have accomplished as a school board member this term. And what is my major accomplishment, to answer your question? My major accomplishments are supporting all students by proactively collaborating with my board colleagues through challenging times and achieving our unity of purpose by “making policy decisions that ensure equitable support to increase student achievement and foster social, emotional, and physical well-being for all students.” I am a dedicated, knowledgeable and experienced Trustee wishing to represent District 4 and continue serving all of our amazing students on the Amador County Public Schools Board of Trustees. I respectfully ask for your vote. Thank you.

Susan Ross

District 4 Candidate for School Board (not on behalf of the Board of Trustees)

Fire Susan Ross by voting for Jim Whitaker

Elections can result in positive change or more of the same. In this case, more of the same – or electing Susan Ross – would result in Amador County’s School District dumpster fire to roar even further out of control.

It is time to put the fire out.

Jim Whitaker is a civic-minded man. He has served 19 years as a volunteer firefighter and 25 years as a paramedic. He is also a 38-year veteran educator – 35 of those years here in Amador. He retired this spring in order to set his sights on putting out our county’s raging fire.

Instead of helping control the county fire, as the President of the school board, Susan Ross has poured gasoline on it. Ross allowed (ACUSD Superintendent Amy) Slavensky to fire a beloved principal who disagreed with her. Ross allowed Slavensky to spend hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars on attorneys to keep Slavensky out of legal trouble. Ross allowed Slavensky to ensure that students did not return to schools when the health officer said it is safe to do so.

Instead of leading the district in COVID mitigation and safely getting students back to school, Ross fanned the flames of division by allowing ACUSD to spend all summer transferring the majority of special education personnel from the county to the district – in spite of parents and teachers begging her not to do so.

Dr. Amy Slavensky lost the county Superintendent election. Amador county spoke. We recognized the need to check Slavensky with a better choice. Instead of accepting the will of the people, Slavensky aggressively sought to eliminate the county Superintendent and his leadership. The board president, Susan Ross, aides and abets this unwelcome effort.

How else is Ross pouring gasoline on the fire? At the end of the February 26, 2020 board meeting, Susan Ross craftily motioned at the very last minute: “Board President Ross moved to approve a stakeholder study team to engage in a Special Education visioning process and explore transfer of Designated Instructional Services program and staff and moderate-severe Special Education program and staff from ACOE to ACUSD by July 1, 2021.”

Board Clerk (Kandi) Thompson seconded the motion. The motion passed 4-1, with Board Member (Deborah) Pulskamp voting no. Very few citizens, employees and parents caught this underhanded move. If Ross is re-elected, Dr. Slavensky’s “Smart” Goals will include conducting another expensive study team to make the foolhardy decision to move the Moderate/Severe Special Ed. over to the district – in effect eliminating Dr. Steve Russell – the elected official who plays the explicit role of ensuring that the most needy of our student population have their needs met.

Ross wants to ignore elections and the voice of the people because that is how the sneaky and underhanded Ross rolls. Recently, Ross defaced a Jim Whitaker sign on private property that belongs to a district employee. Not believing in personal accountability, Ross has yet to apologize for this other than a “my-bad” to that “dear lady.” That is not leadership, but just lousy behavior.

This repugnant choice is similar to how Ross treated the recently deceased former board member Bob Laurent. Ross wrote a scathing email diatribe demanding Laurent be a fellow lackey to Slavensky by keeping silent about the many ill-considered decisions Slavensky made. But Laurent was striving to do his job as an elected school board member – to speak up and act as an elected oversight to district leadership in order to keep them accountable to the people. Instead, Ross wants Amador county residents to echo Slavensky’s views – no matter what they are.

Susan Ross is the key! To get rid of Dr. Amy Slavensky, this county needs to put out the fire by firing Ross. The board needs to be restored to its proper role of community oversight and accountability. Jim Whitaker’s election is a crucial step in that direction. Please let Jim help put out the district’s destructive fire.

District 4, vote for Jim Whitaker – a trusted life-long community member who is truly invested in what is best for Amador County.

Concerned Special Education teachers and staff of Amador County

(Editors note: The above letter references Jim Whitaker as a paramedic, he was actually an EMT.)