Appreciation for fire response

Sunday night the community of Daggett gathered for a candlelight vigil for the family of Margie and Clay Nash. I would like to thank all who turned out. I would especially like to thank the Daggett Fire Department and a special thank you to Barbara. I would like to thank the Newberry and Yermo Fire Departments also. Thank you to the pastor who said the prayer. Again thank you all who came.

The Drumright and Beck families

Teachers unions are the problem, not the solution

In his letter of April 8 ("The importance of teachers' unions"), Rand Scarborough seems to have confused public teacher unions with private professional associations, a common misapprehension amongst the public union self-anointed of our society, not necessarily only those who are members of the teaching profession.

Physician members of the AMA may pay someone to lobby elected members, they may push and cajole, they may offer other incentives to elected officials, they may even, God forbid, bribe them, but they rarely threaten those elected officials with retribution in form of work stoppages, sickouts, and yes, strikes. That is the almost exclusive province of unions.

When public employees have undue influence in the election of public officials, they become members of what's called an oligarchy. That's why public unions have frightened some of our most prominent leaders in the history of our country. Franklin D. Roosevelt, a Democrat, was absolutely right when he warned, "It's impossible to bargain collectively with government."

Obviously, in California, "Moonbeam" Jerry Brown, another Democrat, doesn't share the same trepidation as FDR since he signed public collective bargaining rights into law in 1978, and has successfully courted the union vote and dollars as a result ever since. Unions have since contributed untold millions to those willing to support the unsupportable, namely Cadillac union pensions and health benefits.

To get back to specific organizations like the CTA, despite the fact that their very existence is patently a danger to democracy, their performance here in our local area has been far less than laudatory. From what I have been able to see as a frequent attendee at Silver Valley Unified School District, the School Board appears to be more an organ of the union than the other way around. Standard testing scores have been reprehensible, especially in math. Yet our school boards go blithely along supporting a system that just doesn't seem to measure up.

As a child, I looked admiringly up to these pedants. At the time they played roles that were worth emulating. I remember my Latin teacher actually coming to my home to help me with my lessons, my ancient history teacher spending gobs of extra time outside school hours helping me to win an academic prize, neither compensated with anything but the satisfaction that they were helping a needy student.

Union membership in this country has declined precipitously in this country, except among public servants who enjoy virtual monopolization and exclusive access to elected officials. It has declined because many of those private sector union jobs that became too burdensome with inordinate compensation and work rules just either moved to right-to-work states, or clean out of the country.

Fortunately with the age of computers finally dawning on education, many teaching jobs may also eventually move out of the state or country. Many parents have already reached that conclusion, educating their charges at home or in charter schools using equal-to or more adequate tools than are currently available in our public schools. So teachers may want to do a little consultation with their oracles, because it doesn't take a lot of prognostication to predict what's going to happen on down the road.

Fair warning. Today's taxpayers weren't just born yesterday.

Bob Vasseur, Newberry Springs