Speak Out 01/26/04

Monday, January 26, 2004

Republican denial

I WATCHED the president's State of the Union speech with a Republican friend. I agreed with parts of it as an independent voter. My friend was offended by the rudeness when Democrats did not stand to applaud the president. I said both parties do that to each other's presidents during State of the Union speeches when they do not agree. My friend said, "Republicans are not that rude." Republicans go into denial when confronted by the truth of their own behavior.

Not listening

MR. MAYOR, saying "We hear you" does not solve our problem. You don't hear the pleas of people who want peace and quiet. You don't hear the racket from people who have nothing to do but carouse all night and sleep all day. I dare you to spend one weekend near the after-hours club.

Nothing permanent

I'M SURE all of us do appreciate the president wanting to lower our taxes. However, when a president says it's Congress' job to make the tax cuts permanent, it is more campaign politics and bull. We have experienced income-tax cuts. If in the future Congress needs to increase taxes for defense or homeland security, it will simply increase taxes. Nothing is permanent.

Childish behavior

REP. ROD Jetton's outburst during Gov. Bob Holden's speech was childish, unprofessional and unnecessary. If he can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. In politics you hear things you don't like and you say things that other people don't like, but it's through civil discourse that results are achieved, not through heckling someone who is in a respected office.

Spending rationale

HAVE YOU been to a Cape Girardeau School Board meeting lately? Did you notice the new offices that have been fully renovated with new carpet and all new mahogany furnishings? We know in our businesses and homes it is all about how money is being spent. I know a superintendent who, for his doctorate, wrote his dissertation on how to outfox your board. His rationale is board members have a hard time refusing someone who works overtime at becoming their friend. Should the chief administrator be held accountable for his recommendations to the board of education? What has happened to accountability? Decision making can be highly distorted. Perhaps we are seeing the fruits of this.

Way to cut costs

STATE SEN. Peter Kinder and state Rep. Jason Crowell are wrong to oppose the Department of Mental Health's recommendation to close Cottonwood Treatment Center in Cape Girardeau. We've got two empty buildings at Farmington, Mo., and we should take advantage of them. I know some people here will have to transfer, but this is the only way you're going to balance the state budget. We've got to cut corners, and closing Cottonwood isn't going to hurt anybody.

Tax biggest problem

GOV. BOB Holden is calling for raising the tobacco tax. Why not raise taxes on beer and whiskey? To me, that is a bigger problem than tobacco.

It's up to parents

AFTER READING Walter E. Williams' column on education, I wonder how many other people in Cape Girardeau and the surrounding area will understand what he is saying. I read in Speak Out about people complaining because their child studies too much. Until parents get behind teachers and demand that their children behave themselves and go to class, our school system won't change no matter how money you put into it.

Financial shot in the arm

IF THE Cape Girardeau School District is in such dire straits, how could the school board have turned down the TIF plan that Prestwick requested? That offer looks like it would have been very helpful, considering the district's financial situation.

Immigration deal

I CAN'T blame Mexicans for coming here illegally. The cost of legal immigration is unattainable for the average person in Mexico. But if Mexicans can get across the border and disappear into our communities, they do not have to pay taxes, their children can go to school for free and their health care is free -- and if you say anything about it, you are obviously a racist.

Seeking opportunities

IF THERE is such a need for jobs, then why is it that Mexicans crossing the border legally to take jobs is such an issue? If there were not jobs that U.S. citizens are not willing to take for the wages offered, where would the Mexicans find work? Come on, we all know some deadbeat who is leeching off the rest of us and who is unwilling to work in a fast-food restaurant because he feels those jobs are beneath him. Mexicans who take these jobs do so hoping to take advantage of real opportunities some day but realize they have to start somewhere.

It's a business

I HAVE worked with many of the physicians in the Cape Girardeau area. There are some who are a bit arrogant. In general, we have some of the best physicians in the country right here. Maybe you can get in to see the doctor in St. Louis in under an hour, but then there's the four-hour round trip and the fuel you use. As for cost, blame Medicare and Medicaid. If you pay your own way, you end up paying more because those two do not cover the cost of the physicians' time in most cases.

Where does it go?

I AGREE that the local school district needs an independent audit. Where does the money go? As a taxpayer, I deserve to know. My children go to a private school that educates its students for less than half what the Cape Girardeau district spends per pupil. Parents support the school through fund raising and by volunteering. We are involved in our children's school. Meanwhile, I have probably paid enough in property taxes in the last 20 years to send my children to their school for all eight years and at least their first year in high school. We are a middle-class family that struggles with our budget. I get none of my tax dollars for education back, and I am expected to spend more to educate someone else's children? I think not.

Learn to get by

I'M AS concerned as anyone about the fact that our police and fire departments need an update. However, the city is estimating it will receive an increase of 3 percent to 4 percent over last year in tax revenue. That's about what I and most working people received this year in wage increases. So the city needs to do what we do: find a way to get by.

Support our schools

OUR SCHOOL district is in a financial pinch. Our superintendent and staff have voluntarily asked us for help, and here's what has happened. They have been criticized for trying to have closed-door work sessions. Suggestions have been made to save pennies instead of dollars. Now there are people wanting the state to conduct an audit. Our school is routinely audited, and the information is accessible to the public. Our school is held accountable by the audit. Mark Bowles, will you work an extra $26,000 in your budget? In fact, why don't you cut a teacher's job to pay for it? Sounds silly, right? Every person who signs the petition should make a commitment to pay for the audit. If the audit costs $26,000 and 1,501 petitioners sign, then they would have to pay $17.32 each. My children are getting quality education in Cape Girardeau. Thank you, Cape schools, for giving our children a good education. We will continue to support your efforts in providing a superior education to our children.

Proud band parent

I AM a band parent of CHS Marching Tigers. I agree that Jackson has a wonderful band, and I am happy for them that they get outstanding ratings in state competitions. However, they do have four band directors, while Cape Girardeau has only three. Do not forget that Cape made it in the top 100 school districts in America for music. Let's also give credit to the Marching Tigers. They deserve it, and so do the three directors.

A train fan

I'VE LIVED in Scott City for about 10 years now. I originally came from Detroit where the noise is worse. The train whistles and the rumble of the trains are not a bother to me or my neighbors, and I live close enough to the tracks that a train coming through shakes my house. How else are coal, cars and other supplies supposed to get to consumers? I enjoy the trains, and my niece can't wait for a long coal train to come through so she can count the cars.

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