Susan Ross is a dedicated community member
I was very disturbed to read last week’s article because the person I have known both professionally and personally for the past 20-plus years would never purposefully hurt another.
Susan Ross has a strong moral character and her involvement in our local community provides an excellent example of her commitment and dedication. She has stayed involved with our public schools from her 32 years teaching to her current job as the president of the school board, thus exhibiting her profound knowledge of our school district with its problems and successes.
Susan is a reasonable, collaborative team member on the school board and I support her reelection.
For best results, do it yourself
“So what” that a board or an agency or an official decided that Dark Sky should not be put into effect. “So what” that they failed to act progressively for the common benefit? I went to my neighbor and her landlady and asked if I could replace their old porch light fixture with a motion detector light, at my expense and labor, so that I could enjoy night darkness, stars, moonlight, roving animals, along with peace and quiet while in my spa.
They both said that I could. No government was involved, partially because government is only an idea that nearly everyone accepts, as I do, but there are alternatives.
I benefited from one of them. I saw a different way to do things and it worked. I taught my young twins that there are two ways to deal with problems. One is to wait for someone else to fix it and the other is to do it yourself. I get better results when I do it myself.
ACUSD Board, our students and staff need Whitaker
I recently reviewed the candidate statements published in the Ledger on September 18. Spoiler alert: The two (District 4 school board) candidates, Susan Ross (incumbent) and Jim Whitaker (challenger) did not get the same grade from this former English teacher.
For question No. 1, “What have been your major accomplishments to this point as a school board member?” Susan Ross either did not read the prompt or chose to ignore it. She wrote an essay on how wonderful our district is. I’ll go ahead and pose the obvious question to parents and staff: On a scale of 1-10, how wonderful do you feel our district is right now?
Instead of stating a single thing that she has done personally “your major accomplishments”), her response is a parade of “highlights” of the “countless positive changes” in every single department and classroom for the last several years. The question did not ask who was to blame for the financial state of the district when the current ACUSD superintendent came to the job, yet that was also mentioned. Ross’s response was without a single use of the word “I” followed by an action verb (example: “I served as ...” or “I voted for ...” or “I helped change ...).
Compare her response with Jim Whitaker’s response to the first question posed to him: “What qualifications do you have for a school board member position?” In three succinct sentences, Whitaker listed seven concrete, measurable actions that he has personally taken, including 35 years as an instructor in Amador County. He raised five children up through Amador County schools; he served as department chair; he participated on committees (vital ones, like LCAP – Local Control Accountability Plan); he regularly attended school board meetings, at which he represented students and teachers (and I would add, parents, because if students are getting what they deserve, parents are well-served, too).
Cut to the last question the article posed to both, which served as yet another example of “what you see is what you get.” The question was, “Any issues you wish to bring up that haven’t yet been discussed?”
Ross’s answer was a cookie cutter generic politician’s statement and an “exit stage right.” Whitaker, on the other hand, went straight to one of the most controversial topics our district and community of parents, grandparents and other taxpayers have been faced with in recent years: a bond measure for our schools. He mentions key terms and phrases, like “retirees,” “taxes,” “fixed income,” and “desperately needed funds.”
On a personal note: I don’t have a strong opinion on the bond measure at this point; but I do have a strong opinion as to whether school board members should be willing to talk about it – or answer direct questions posed to them if they expect people to vote for them.
I’m tired of empty heads behind virtual megaphones with pre-recorded messages of love and light. I don’t have children in Amador County schools anymore, but the four I’ve raised in it are successfully making their way through their chosen education paths, despite missed chances for more by the people whose job it is to make the trains run on time around here, budgetarily, administratively and academically. Their academic success in our school district was largely due to supportive teachers, counselors and site staff who reinforced what we were trying to instill at home. And for those students who do not have support at home, they work double-time.
If you are a District 4 voter without any firsthand knowledge of the candidates or responsibilities of school board members, please reach out to a trusted friend or person you know who does.
District 4 voters have an opportunity to significantly improve the make-up of our school board on November 3 by voting for Jim Whitaker for ACUSD Board of Trustees.
It’s time for a change on the school board
Finally, a chance for change. Jim Whitaker is running for the District 4 school board member seat. I have known Jim since 1990. He was the woodshop teacher at Amador High School and was one of the only teachers to allow several of us girls to take a “traditionally” male class.
As a student, I learned so many real-life skills that year that I have continued to use in life. I also proudly display that I still have all of my fingers and no stubs! Jim knows the district and the county as he taught for about 30 years here, was president of the teacher’s union for part of that time, and his children also attended school in this county.
Jim has also been an EMT and involved in so many of the student’s activities. He brings a vast amount of knowledge to the table. A statement Jim made on a Facebook page is, “I am officially a candidate for the District 4 school board seat. I promise if elected to respectfully listen to all parties and do what is best for students. More information to follow soon.”
Thank you, Jim, for running as we as teachers, parents and community members welcome a breath of fresh air. If you are in District 4 please vote for Jim Whitaker!
McClintock denies climate change while thousands of homes burn
In case you haven’t noticed, wildfires are getting bigger, stronger and more frequent. Droughts, floods, fires and hurricanes keep getting worse and worse every year. Recently, climate change scientists warned that if drastic action isn’t taken within the next 10 years, global warming-caused weather disasters will be with us forever.
Ninety-seven percent of the world’s scientists agree that the major cause of increased fires is global warming. Our Congressman Tom McClintock still doesn’t want to believe them. He is a climate change denier.
At a 2018 candidate debate, months before the historic Camp Fire destroyed 11,000 homes, Congressman McClintock said: “The climate has been changing for 4½ billion years … the extent to which human activity has a role to play is being hotly debated right now.”
Does anyone still doubt that special interest groups are continuing to pay off climate change deniers?
McClintock’s Democratic opponent Brynne Kennedy says: “Our district, filled with natural beauty … is being poisoned by corruption and lobbyist money.” She is for getting big money out of politics. She says she knows man-made global warming is very real. She will not take money and deny it.
Trump is all about money
What makes Donald Trump tick? After watching Donald Trump’s actions throughout his lifetime of privilege, it is clear to me that money is Donald Trump’s way of appraising success.
It doesn’t matter to Donald Trump if money is made or lost, but how much money people around him possess or pretend to possess.
Donald Trump is a product of his creditors. Donald Trump’s creditors use him to sell their fossil fuels, corporate greed and Wall Street at the expense of Main Street entrepreneurs, oppressed labor and the environment.
Donald Trump is a poseur and his creditors pay him to promote their interests. The swamp in Washington has moved from the lobbyists in the halls of Congress into the cabinet of President Donald Trump.
I can only hope that Donald Trump’s creditors have his back because he is going to need them after his term or terms have come to a less than prosperous end.