Following this issue with great interest. In our great state, teachers must be part of the union, which often advocates for policies that don’t aid education. For example, in my neighborhood, the successful Rocketship Academy charter wants to open a second campus, but the union is fighting this because charters don’t have to hire union members. Where is the freedom of choice in education?
Our city council failed to approve the construction of a charter school in a neighborhood that could really use it. What’s wrong with this picture?
Parents want the school. They want the benefits they’ll get from a charter school. Rocketship Academy is earning good reports from education reformers. Near the bottom of the article, we learn who opposes the school: teachers who are against the non-union school and neighbors concerned about traffic. Many people in my neighborhood’s e-mail list also oppose the project because they worry it will make parking even more congested at the the Caltrain and Lightrail station, adjacent to the site.
Is our council opposed to expanding educational options?
This article covers calls for a new conservative party. So many voters are disaffected with the Republican Party that the time seems right to start growing a new party. The American Conservative Party already has built a preliminary framework of members throughout the country and has launched web sites that detail platforms on education and government overreach.
We can start right in our own communities, asking candidates and elected officials tough questions. More than 10 people have expressed interest in running for mayor of San Jose. We need to ask all of those candidates:
- Do you support the pension reform plan passed by voters last June?
- Will you seek to cut city expenses and if so, how and which ones?
- Do you support reducing the cost of building permits to make it easier for residents to remodel their homes and for new projects to be built?
- Will you support repeal of the shopping bag fee now imposed on merchants in the city? (Even if they don’t support bringing back plastic bags, merchants should have the freedom to send shoppers home with purchases in store bags, at no cost to the customer. That is a marketing decision that should be left to the retailer, not dictated by the city.)
- Do you support or oppose city-mandated affordable housing? (This ought to illuminate whether they believe the city has a role in manipulating the housing market.)
These are at least some ideas to open the conversation. Keep the conservative values front and center: freedom, free market principles, educational choice, support of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights.
A long-time employee of Santa Clara County has been reprimanded for making a critical remark about ObamaCare, even though other workers in the office have worn Obama campaign items to work, according to the above release from the Pacific Justice Institute.
What, are we no longer allowed to discuss the news in our workplace? Does having a government job mean you give up your First Amendment rights? Certainly there are many work places (newsrooms) where the prevailing attitudes are so one-sided toward Democrats and liberal ideology that conservatives must feel restricted in voicing their opinions. But this is really incredible that some supervisor at a local government office felt it necessary to reprimand this worker. The report says that another employee (not involved in the original conversation) complained to the supervisor. What should have happened at this point is that the supervisor should have told the complainer that all employees have free speech rights. Are we so afraid of “offending” someone that we give up our rights to voice opinions?
The Pacific Justice Institute warned the county about trampling on employees’ Constitutional rights and asked for the county to respond to its letter by Dec. 8.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
This piece by Daniel McCarthy in “The American Conservative” takes a look at how the Tea Party focuses on “negative principles” and what conservatives have done to ensure failure at the ballot box.
My takeaway: conservatives need an attitude readjustment. Instead of being reactionary and talking about “taking America back” (from whom?), we need to expand the discussion of how conservative principles offer opportunity for people, how our values expand personal liberty and allow humans to shape their own destinies.
It took me quite a long time of listening to Rush Limbaugh to understand his basic message: you are in charge of your own life; you have the freedom to make yourself a success or a failure. Yes, some people come into the world with circumstances that make it more difficult for them. But instead of looking at those circumstances as excuses for failure, Limbaugh’s philosophy empowers people. How can a nanny-state system that treats us all as victims (sorry for the negativity there) possibly compete with conservative values that imbue us with power, free will, self-determination, creativity and intelligence? Limbaugh’s view of the human spirit is positive, not negative, and it arises from conservative values.
“The Leipzig Connection: The Systematic Destruction of American Education” by Paolo Lionni and Lance J. Klass, published in 1980 by Heron Books, Portland, Oregon.
I’ll write more about this later, but this book is a must-read if you care at all about what’s happened to public education in the United States. In a nutshell, early in the 20th century education got a new definition, transforming teachers from educators to “guides in the socialization of the child, leading each youngster to adapt to the specific behavior required of him in order for him to get along in his group.” (page 19, emphasis mine)
In order to understand how this works, think about how you train a dog: you use rewards (pats, treats, praise) when he performs the correct behavior. This is how schools have worked for nearly the last 100 years: rewarding the correct social behavior, but not educating young minds based on their individual talents and tendencies. Is it any wonder that little boys have to be placed on medication in order to sit still in a classroom? Their behavior must be “modified” to fit the modern school, and if drugs are required, then that’s what parents are expected to do.
It really is true that our grandparents got superior educations to ours. No wonder our country is in trouble. How can we expect voters to apply discernment to campaigns when they’ve all been taught to go along with the group and vote for the “cool” candidate?
Our children need to be able to use their minds, to exercise critical thinking, to question, to be able to do their own research, to express their thoughts in writing, and to do enough math to function in the world. This is not happening in today’s public schools (and probably not private ones either).
Stay tuned for more on “The Leipzig Connection” in future blog posts. I’ve also found a great study about the decline in teacher quality in the last half-century, which I will summarize.
This is interesting reading that gives a different view of sustainable development. Having watched my beloved orchards in Santa Clara Valley be knocked down and cleared for mile after mile of nothing but nearly identical suburban homes, I can’t agree that unregulated suburban sprawl was the way to go. What happens in this city affects every city around it and regional planning (a nod to sustainability) makes much more sense.
This former mayor, Rob Sisson, explains some of the simple examples of what sustainable means and they are no threat to anyone.
Remember, Agenda 21 is a non-binding document.
Excerpt from response to this post. Go to comments section to see entire response.
It’s fair enough to say that not every single facet of sustainable development is inherently bad in and of itself, but the author of the piece cited COMPLETELY ignores the entire apparatus and the entire agenda that is CONSTANTLY being touted and thrown at us from all directions in every town and county in America, which has been around since well before 1992, and that is this notion that if we all just do less, produce less, and preferably just stop having babies and building houses, that the world will be allowed to heal.
southbay added: In case readers didn’t know, government greed in the 1960s hastened the demise of agriculture in Santa Clara County. Farmers were taxed based on “highest possible use” (housing) not actual use of the land (agriculture). They couldn’t afford the property taxes on the land and some developers made their fortunes. What was the birth of Silicon Valley? Federal government spending on defense contracts drove the early computer industry in the 1950s and 1960s, long before Apple Computer. Our valley has been the victim of federal and local incentives to development long before Agenda 21, so I have no idea what a free market Santa Clara Valley would even look like because it hasn’t existed in my lifetime.
If California becomes the next state to ban the opening of large stores on Thanksgiving Day, you’ll be able to thank our family. One activist relative decided it was time to get an initiative on the California ballot making it illegal for retailers to be open on Thanksgiving. No mention was made of restaurants, gas stations or Quickie Marts.
It all began with my daughter’s departure after Thanksgiving dinner for her job at a large retailer, which was opening at 8 p.m. Thanksgiving Day. That sparked an outcry from the assembled relatives.
“It’s an outrage. It’s the one day you get to spend with family and those greedy corporations want to ruin it,” was the common reaction.
As a conservative and free marketeer, my emotions were mixed. I’d spent plenty of time in my life working nights, weekends and holidays, first in retail and later in the news business. News doesn’t stop for the holiday and if shoppers want to spend their Thanksgiving getting ready for Christmas, who am I to argue? My daughter reported that the store was insanely busy from opening until about 1 a.m., so obviously shoppers thought this was a good idea.
I have always enjoyed the quiet holidays, when few cars are on the streets and the stores are closed. Sure it is an enforced quiet and maybe people would rather be out buying gifts than hanging out with Uncle Fred. Yet what is so wrong with a national day off? Thanksgiving and Independence Day are the quintessential American holidays. Huge fireworks shows are not likely to disappear, so we’ll always have crowds on July 4. But why can’t Thanksgiving be reserved as family and friends day and leave commercialism behind locked doors?
This is an issue at which my conservative, market-driven principles are at war with my passion to celebrate America. What does warm my conservative heart is the idea that if Californians want their state to close stores on a holiday, we have the right to do that. I am thankful for an initiative process that allows us to put such a suggestion to the voters.
I have to share this from our local paper: the wild boars are ripping up people’s lawns and golf courses, so the city council has approved a temporary hunting season on the porkers. Council member recognize that firearms do have some utility, even in an urban environment. I am surprised…
Posted at the San Jose Mercury News on 11/05/2013 06:03:28 PM PST
San Jose: Wild pigs will be shot in Almaden Valley, but no ‘pig genocide’ coming
By Mike Rosenberg
SAN JOSE — Let the pig shooting season begin.
The San Jose City Council on Tuesday approved an urgency measure to allow state-permitted shooting of wild pigs that have been ripping up lawns and golf course fairways in recent weeks. The measure passed by a single vote and will remain in effect for three months, before council members discuss a long-term shooting law next year.
Councilman Johnny Khamis went so far as to intimate that it’s either them or us when it comes to the pigs, saying he didn’t want to see the first pig-related human “casualty” in the city.
“It’s not my intention to go out and commit a pig genocide,” said Khamis. “I’m only here to make sure the public is not harmed by these very bold group of animals.”
The council needed a supermajority of eight votes to pass the urgency ordinance that takes effect immediately. It passed 8-3. Council members Rose Herrera, Ash Kalra and Donald Rocha were concerned about people firing guns near homes.
For reasons no one can quite fully understand, dozens of the 200-pound boars have been hoofing around ritzy Almaden Valley in South San Jose this fall — turning what for years had been an occasional nuisance into a full-on crisis. Homes and businesses have reported thousands of dollars in damage as the pigs try to dig up food under the grass, and one resident even scared a boar off his property with a car. But no one has reported any attacks.
The new law, effective through Feb. 5, requires anyone who would shoot a wild pig within the city to obtain a depredation permit from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
“What we’re talking about are not the ‘Three Little Pigs,’ like ‘Babe’ or (cartoon characters) you see on TV. They’re not cute and cuddly,” said Councilman Pete Constant. “There are people who are genuinely scared, and I’m glad they’re not comfortable going up trying to pet them.”
It follows the council’s decision last year to allow Mineta San Jose International Airport employees to shoot birds after they started to pose a risk to plane engines. Other than that, typically the only non-law enforcement who can shoot guns in the city lawfully are people at firing ranges or in self-defense.
Give the concept of marriage over to churches, temples, mosques, chapels, whatever organization of faith, or non-faith, you care to create. Get the state out of the marriage business altogether and let it validate any two-person arrangement with the terms “civil union” or “partnership.” Is this too radical?
I can’t understand why the state is even involved in the definition of marriage. Should we care if two people want to form a partnership in order to file joint tax returns? Why shouldn’t an adult choose which other adult they want to be part of their medical coverage?
Let faith-based organizations define marriage. There will be groups that define marriage as two people of the same sex, as well as groups that refuse to do so. No doubt money and membership will influence whether faith-based organizations decide to expand their definition of marriage.
To me, the word “marriage” means two people of opposite genders. But I don’t see the problem of two people of the same gender creating a life-long partnership equivalent of marriage. I just don’t want the state mandating that it be called “marriage.” So my objection boils down to semantics. In this nation that is supposed to respect freedom of religion, I will respect the bond created in a faith-based setting that two people call marriage. It’s the government’s attempt to force the change in semantics that offends me.
So, if you ascribe to a Biblical view of marriage, you will attend a church that practices and sanctifies man-woman marriage. If you believe any two adults have the right to form a lifelong partnership and call it marriage, you’re probably not going to attend my church.
The history of marriage is interesting. Many of these concepts I latched onto after reading a great op-ed in the New York Times by Stephanie Coontz, called “Taking Marriage Private” (published Nov. 26, 2007). Coontz is a professor at Evergreen State College, Olympia, Wash. I suggest everyone click on that link and read her well-reasoned piece. Let me know if you can’t load it and I’ll send you the text.
Just discovered this blog: lesbianconservative.com “Home of the Pushback Patriots.” You might be surprised to find so many conservative values extolled by someone from the LGBT community. She describes the “gay mafia” or “gay gestapo,” which tramples on the free speech of anyone who doesn’t agree with their agenda.