Why? To the editor: “Thoughts on Proposed Redevelopment of Santa Monica Place” in last week’s Mirror brought up several thoughts I have had. Why do they need to redesign the place at all? Every time I try to go there, there is lots of traffic trying to get there, it takes a very long time trying to find a parking place in the structure and the mall and promenade are very crowded. How many more people do they want to lure to Santa Monica? How much more money does Macerich need? Peter Davison Santa Monica Merit pay for everyone To the editor: This new merit pay for teachers plan of Governor Schwarzenegger’s is a great idea! Teachers should be paid, not by how well they teach, but by how well their students perform on one test each year. That makes sense, doesn’t it? Even a great teacher may find herself with students learning English or experiencing difficult home lives. Thus, these students may perform poorly on the test. Why should the teacher be paid more for all her efforts, enthusiasm, and creativity if these kids still live in poverty and aren’t speaking English fluently? If she wants to get paid, she needs to do her job and fix these problems! The reverse also holds true. What about the new, inexperienced teacher, or, better yet, the one who is creatively challenged, but blessed with a classroom full of well-fed, English-speaking, high achievers from middle-American, two-parent homes!? When these kids smoke the final test, it’s the teacher who should be rewarded for the luck of the draw, not the children for their high achievements, not their parents for their participation and homework support, not the community which keeps them safe and away from drugs and gangs. Give the money to the teacher. She deserves it. Given the governor’s background, I thought he might be interested in offering this idea of merit pay to the managers and operators of California’s gyms and exercise facilities. Government officials could come in once a year and get all of the vital statistics of the gym members: height, weight, body fat index, etc… If the members are healthier, showing physical improvement over the previous year (they’re stronger, healthier, more physically defined, and slimmed down), give the manager of the gym more dough. But, if there isn’t enough progress, dock their pay! So what if the members choose not to come in to the gym and use the state-of-the-art equipment and the personal trainers offered to them. So what if the members don’t follow the nutritional recommendations of the gyms’ nutritionists, and choose to eat unhealthily and abundantly. If they are not healthier it must be the fault of the gym, and the only way to fix that is to dock the manager pay. I’ve been told, though, that some managers might get wise to this and may attempt to stack the deck in their favor by only accepting the strong, the fit, and the healthy. Thus, they’d receive the biggest salary increases and do the least amount of work. But, who really cares? These gyms will set the standards high for all of the rest. They’d be the carrots in front of the horses’ faces. Other gyms and managers would strive to have as healthy members as the recognized gyms. Why? Because they want the money! They’ll do whatever it takes to get that money. And, that, in turn, will help those poor, gelatinous gym members. In the long run, we all win! Leon Lewandowski Elementary school teacher in California. Bad call To Congresswoman Jane Harman: I have advised you by letters and calls to your office how deeply disappointed I am that you stood in favor of certification of the 2004 presidential election. You wrote back to me on February 14, 2005 in defense of your position, stating that: “In this presidential election, the voting in Ohio became a source of some controversy. However, the Kerry/Edwards campaign conceded that they had lost irrefutably. Had they felt strongly that there were legitimate reasons to contest the election results, I would have supported them.” Apparently, you don’t seem to understand that you don’t work for the Kerry/Edwards campaign. You work for me. This misunderstanding is a blaring error on your part, and on the part of the Democratic Party. Time and again, in the most crucial moments over the last four years, the Democrats have made decisions not in the interest of a people but in the interest of a party — like when John Kerry conceded before everyone’s vote was counted! I must ask you one simple question, Congresswoman Harman: “Suppose it was your right to vote that had been denied, would you fight for it then?” What is at stake is not the outcome of a particular election but the integrity of the Constitution of the United States, which guarantees everyone the right to vote. Your refusal to stand with Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones on that fateful day in our nation’s history was inexcusable and shameful. You urged me in your letter to look at the bright side, at all the things that are being done right now (notably not by you) to help us move forward with election reform, now that “those elections” are behind us. Frankly, Congresswoman Harman, the moment has passed. You had a chance to bring this issue to the national limelight but you chose what was best for a political campaign. Perhaps this was the expedient course. However, I hope you can see that in the “carnival of freak show religiosity and circus clown politics” that reigns in Washington the time for expediency is over. If you are not going to take a serious stand for us, Congresswoman Harman, you might as well just dive in and join the circus act. Diana HraboweckiVenice
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