October 22, 2009 Issue


Parent feels closing middle schools would be a bad idea

Dear Editor:

I am writing as a concerned citizen of who Jefferson County. I have five children in the public school system of Jefferson County and one has yet to start school. I am a product of the Jefferson County School System and I have been a supporter of it until now.

I attended the Sept. 28 meeting that the Jefferson County School Board held and I must say that I was both surprised and dismayed. According to the school board, the Jefferson County School System has gotten into such poor financial condition that the only way that they can see out of it is to close Wrens Middle School and Louisville Middle School and to borrow some more money to make an addition to Jefferson County High School. This is a problem for me on many, many levels.

First of all, are our elected officials such poor money managers that they have let things get so far out of control that our children have to suffer? Did they fail to see this trend before now, and if they did see it why would they borrow so much more money for renovations on Wrens Elementary School so recently? I have children who attend Wrens Elementary, Wrens Middle and Jefferson County High School. I would much rather have seen Wrens Elementary stay the way it was and be able to keep Wrens Middle School than to have these beautiful renovations and give up the middle school.

Secondly, why is it that when budget cuts need to be made, we start by cutting the jobs of hardworking custodians, lunchroom ladies and teachers who have the lowest salaries in the county, when the combined salaries of the staff at the board office is well over $1.5 million dollars a year? Is there no better way of cutting the budget than by putting more of the working class out of work and by short-changing our children? I encourage all citizens of Jefferson County to check out the salaries being paid to the employees of the Board of Education.

The website is http://www.open.georgia.gov/sta/search.aud. You can find for yourselves where the bulk of the education budget is going. For example, a secretary who works inside the board of education building earns $55,569 a year, while a school secretary with the same experience is making $20,231. Wouldn’t it make more sense to cut the higher paid employee and keep the school secretary, who, after all, is the one who sees to the needs of our children? Furthermore, why does it take so many people and $1.5 million to run our board office?

Third, I was very shocked to find out that the citizens in attendance were divided into groups that were at least partially hand picked by board office employees and were not allowed sufficient time to address our very real concerns. While we were sequestered behind closed doors, the members of the board of education were not there to listen to what we had to say. Instead they sent mediators to collect the information for them so that they could get a good idea of what general concerns the public had. My problem with that is that when the board members read the mediators’ accounts, they will not be able to see the emotion behind the concerns. They don’t have to answer personally. I was disappointed to be talking to a lady from Johnson County who had no idea who I was instead of speaking to the board of education member who asked me for my vote.

I would like for all citizens of Wrens and Louisville to picture what the board of education is planning to do to your communities. If this proposed plan is voted in, both Louisville and Wrens will have abandoned school buildings sitting in the center of town, drawing vandals and thugs. Do you think a community without a school will be very enticing for new individuals and businesses? What about what the abandoned schools will do to the value of your property? And your taxes will not go down, because they are going to raise the mills in order to pay for the new addition that they will be building to the high school.

The members of the board of education need to know that we are against this plan. They need to know that we would like to see further options explored. Contact your school board member and let them know how you feel. We elected these officials to represent the best interests of us and our children and it is my belief that some of them have forgotten this.

Jennifer Walden Chance



Reader supports Wadley chief

Dear Editor:

There’s a new chief in town: Hats off to you, Mr. Wesley. Your commitment and determination to do the job of reducing crime and mayhem in this city deserves to be praised. It is truly time out for the “who knows who” system of doing things. It takes hard work and dedication along with integrity to do things the right way. It is really sad that many citizens don’t appreciate someone who is trying to restore and maintain a crime-free city.

Perhaps, your tenacity will rub off on the rest of the city officials (current/prospective). Have they toured the city lately? It would be nice if they were just as diligent as you are in cleaning up the city, imposing fines on property owners who are neglecting proper upkeep on their property, oh yeah, installing a whole new sewer and drainage system, what about hiring city workers who really work!! Have they seen all of the stray animals? Maybe even soliciting potential companies that can give jobs to those people are on the rumor mill!!! If they had something to do maybe you wouldn’t have such isssues with the rumor mill! This is just a short list of what I see!

Nevertheless, Mr. Wesley, you are doing a great job. May God continue to bless and keep you. Keep up the good work.

PS. I don’t live here but my family does. Outsider looking in!

Maggie Jones

U.S. should not occupy Afghanistan

Dear Editor:

United States has the right and responsibility to bring those directly responsible for the 9/11 attacks to justice. United States does not have a right to occupy Afghanistan and wage war there for eight years. Waging a decades-long, counterterrorism war is counterproductive because ordinary Afghans see this as occupation not liberation. That, along with U.S. support for the corrupt government of Afghan Pres. Hamid Karzai, is why the Taliban has grown so strong over the past few years. If United States was occupied by a foreign power, most Americans would support any measures necessary to force the foreign occupiers to leave.

If Pres. Obama follows Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s recommendation and orders 40,000 or more American troops to Afghanistan, the result will be a more intractable situation. Here’s why. The U.S. Army’s own counter-insurgency manual calls for 20 occupation troops per 1,000 population. Afghanistan has 32 million people. It would take an occupation force of 640,000 to adequately staff a counterinsurgency campaign. The U.S. currently has 68,000 occupation troops in Afghanistan. Some 45,000 additional American soldiers plus scant NATO forces will not tip the balance.

Finally, the number of successful counterinsurgency wars can be counted on one hand, and they took an average of 10 to 12 years to win. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, says we are now only at the beginning of a counterinsurgency war.

Does United States have the forces, the money, the will, and the right to wage war in Afghanistan for another 10 years? The clear answer is no. The training of South Vietnamese to fight their own war against the North Vietnamese was called “Vietnamization.” It did not work. Training Afghans to fight on their own against the Taliban is called “Afghanistanization.”

It will not work because the Afghan army and police are corrupt, 80 to 90 percent illiterate and because the Taliban is a homegrown guerrilla force dedicated to ridding Afghanistan of foreign occupiers.

Alternatives to escalating the eight year long failed U.S. war in Afghanistan should be sought. This neocolonial, political war will not be won militarily. There is never a clear military victor in political wars. Political wars always end through negotiations. It is best to start the negotiation process now instead of 10 years down the road with thousands of American troops dead and the cost of this unwinnable war in the trillions of dollars.

U.S. drone attacks and a misguided war on terror are destabilizing Pakistan. United States risks sparking a regional war that involves Pakistan and India as well as Afghanistan. Events could easily spiral into a conflagration that no superpower can extinguish. False pride and fear of humiliation are driving this country deeper into a bloody and costly quagmire. The smartest and only tenable move that United States can make is to get out of Afghanistan now!

Randy Cain


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