Your Voice: council needs to talk & we need to focus on climate change
Feb 21, 2014 | 4980 views | 6 6 comments | 201 201 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Lawsuit may help fix education


Many of you may not have heard about the Vergara lawsuit against the LAUSD, which seeks to eliminate teacher tenure and teacher seniority as a basis to determine layoffs. While I consider public education a hopeless morass beyond the fundamental reform necessary to fix it, this lawsuit would marginally improve public education for the better. In a state as blue as California and controlled by the teacher unions, the courts are the only hope. Every year, I have seen many excellent new teachers let go and burned-out older teachers kept to the detriment of students. There are many great experienced teachers, but there are more than a few whose time to retire is long past and who ought to leave to keep the many energetic new teachers employed. Experience does matter, but it is not the only gauge of effective teaching. When I was going for my master’s in education, our professor, a former school superintendent, told us that it cost a district an average of $250,000 to get rid of an ineffective teacher. This is not acceptable and makes it nearly impossible to dislodge teachers who may damage the future of thousands of students. In a state with very liberal courts and politicians to kowtow to a reactionary teacher’s union, this gives all of us who know better an inkling of hope.

Scott Hurban, Tracy

Council members need to say what they know


Mayor Pro Tem Mike Maciel said that when their employee, City Manager Leon Churchill, misused his city credit card and the City Council members dealt with it in a private (i.e., secret) meeting, they were done with the matter. He said they cannot go back and reconsider their decisions or reveal details of the violations to the public, because that would be a violation of Mr. Churchill’s rights.

Mr. Churchill and certain members of the council may not be the villains some portray, but there are too many unanswered questions to let the matter slide. Mr. Churchill lost some rights to privacy when he took a public job managing public resources with public money. The council cannot hide him behind city attorney Daniel Sodergren. It’s time for them to tell us everything they know, in detail.

Bob Young, Tracy

Don’t ignore climate change


A letter to a reality that not everybody wants to confront.

Ninety-seven percent of scientists agree manmade climate change is real.

Fifty-six percent of Congressional Republicans, including Rep. Jeff Denham, are climate deniers. This is a shameful percentage of ignorance. Do we need to require a basic science exam of candidates for Congress?

While no single drought, flood, wildfire, heat wave, storm or flood can be attributed to the heating of the planet, the increase in the numbers of these extreme weather events is due to climate change, better labeled as climate chaos. Every year, new records are set related to temperature and weather with more record highs than lows. Our planet Earth is like a baby with a fever. An increase of a few degrees is life threatening.

A hotter planet changes rain patterns, creating both floods and drought. Farmers have always been vulnerable to varying weather conditions. 2013 was the driest year on record in California. If this gets worse, how can farmers cope? What will happen to the nation’s food supply?

The cost to our nation to fund FEMA to clean up after more and more disasters will send our tax bills soaring. We simply cannot afford for climate deniers to be in control of our country.

Lilia Vazquez, Tracy


The Tracy Press accepts letters to the editor of not more than 300 words at or at 131 W. 10th Street.

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February 22, 2014
Climate deniers are not in control of our country. Everybody is aware of the climate. I'm actually a registered Democrat, but its not correct to blame my neighbor for the weather. Of course not. That's intoleration and we need to recognize it, from anyone. Now, to set our facts straight about our country it's also not true that our country is to blame. Most growth is coming from developing nations and overseas, not our country. Please get informed. There is a push to give sovereign energy related governing overseas. I just wish my Democrat friends would stop all the propagation of nonsense that makes us all look bad. If only then we could have a discussion that makes sense. That is a debate about weather (sic) to give our countries sovereignty away. I would like to know more, but most people are not even willing to be honestly discuss the countries energy problems.

And FEMA costs are your concern? When Facebook bought WhatsApp they paid 19 billion. FEMA should be considered as a type of insurance, not a budget item on the chopping block.
February 21, 2014
Re: Council members need to say what they know;

Mr. Young, you are correct. The Mayor and Councilman Maciel are using the rules to protect Churchill from any further action for a couple of reasons;

1. They (Ives & Maciel) think he hasn't done anything wrong, which says alot about their character.

2. They don't really care about what the public thinks because after all "they know best what is best for the rest of us uninformed people."

The Mayor and Council are correct; They have made a decision (although a poor one) by deciding how to discipline Churchill. Sharing that information would open the City up to a lawsuit by Churchill. Only we the people can deal with them this November. Ives is gone and Maciel hasn't earned the right to be elected Mayor.

The best thing they can do is hold a closed session meeting to review Churchill's performance (which they can do legally and have already scheduled) and fire him without cause. They don't have to give him a reason for firing because he's at-will.

In fact, they should also get rid of the City Attorney while they are at it. A good house cleaning at City Hall would go a long way toward restoring public trust.
February 21, 2014
Rosa, you are right on in #2, but way off on #1 if you assume Ives and Maciel don't know right from wrong. Of course they know embezzlement is wrong. Not morally wrong, for they don't concern themselves with such trivial things as morality. But they certainly know it's on the wrong side of the law. Why Ives and Maciel had nothing but praise for Mr. Churchill, not even the slightest scolding, can only be because they would be shaking in their boots- probably purchased on the city's credit card- if Mr. Churchill ever had to testify under oath.
February 21, 2014
ketchupsavegatable: You are correct!

My first comment infers that Ives & Maciel believe the ends justify the means and therefore don't think Churchill has done anything wrong.

I also agree they probably don't want him to testify because they are all in this together.

I think Ives and Maciel have never had to deal with public pressure and just assume we're a bunch of sheep who either don't know, don't care of don't pay attention. This is why they have been able to get away with the status quo for so many years.

Now the public is starting to notice things are not right at City Hall and starting to voice their opinion on how our tax dollars are used. This creates problems for the "good old boys" like Ives and Maciel. They just want to sweep everything under the carpet and hope the public outcry will blow over.

The truth is, things are changing here in Tracy and the old way of doing things isn't going to work anymore. Our new Mayor and City Council need to be truly up front and honest with the public, not just tell us what they think we want to hear then do what they want.

When they change their attitude public trust will improve.
February 22, 2014
I think people have more important things to do than waste their time dwelling on it. But that's just me and that's all I'm going to say on it.
March 09, 2014
Here's what I need ta know an all I need ta know.

Th decision ta slap Leon's hands had ta come from Counsel. Five people five votes. We know two of em. Ives an Maciel. We don't know how th rest voted. We do know how all of em voted th second time.

Now all I wanna know, which don't violate Leon's privacy, or contract, now that is out of th way, is who voted with Ives an Maciel an who didn't. That's all. Very simple question that I feel th public has a right ta know th answer ta that very simple bit if information.

Simple but it tells reams don't it?

I am less worried about what happened ta Leon an how it was eventually dealt with than I am concerned that it won't happen again. Who are th flip floppers, all of em?

If I heard somethang as simple as, "We looked at all th facts again and determined we made a mistake with our first decision."

I would expect that statement to fall from the lips of every currently seated Counsel member. I am sick an tired of politics. I can forgive mistakes but can't forgive unrepentant sin. Sound familiar Counsel? Bret, I know you and Mike and I know it sounds familiar to both of you. I hope the rest would follow suit.

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