Letters to the editor

Graeff has to go

It’s time for drums at Ramona Unified School District. The U-T San Diego, Oct. 28, 2012, published a list of county school district superintendents and their compensation: www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/oct/27/poway-schools-chief-nets-top-pay-package/.

Of the 34 districts listed, the superintendent of Ramona Unified came in 14th for total annual compensation of $234,673. According to the U-T data, this represents a 13.4% increase since the last survey in 2010.

For comparison purposes, the superintendent of Grossmont earns just slightly more than RUSD Superintendent Robert Graeff, but the budget at Grossmont is more than three times larger. At RUSD the classified employees have taken pay cuts, and the teachers union negotiations declared at an impasse, while the superintendent takes home a boatload of compensation.

I have asked why we are paying Mr. Graeff and other upper level administrators so much money when the schools roofs are leaking and the state is threatening to take over, and the argument was that if they fired him they couldn’t get equally qualified people to run the place. I guess that means that we have to pay more for people who can’t keep the place running properly?

I realize that everything that has gone wrong at RUSD is not Robert Graeff’s fault, however someone has to be responsible, and with an annual compensation of $234,673, it has to be him. This is why I believe that we, the public, need to start demanding that Graeff go.

I will be at the next RUSD board meeting, Nov. 15 at 7 p.m., making that demand. Let’s all show up there and beat some drums to let the school board know that status quo of a bankrupt and dilapidated school district is unacceptable. Graeff has to go!

Contact Dave Patterson for more information at 760-207-9139.

David Patterson, Ramona Planning group election We would like to thank our fellow Ramonans for the opportunity to serve over the last four years on the Ramona Community Planning Group. In those years, we believe we have been successful in establishing strong relationships with the County of San Diego, Caltrans, SANDAG and Supervisor Dianne Jacob. This was achieved due to the continuity and commitment of the current RCPG members. Ramona continues to face many challenges ahead, and the relationships formed will be essential in promoting the best interests of our community. With this in mind, we would like to endorse and ask for your vote of the following eight candidates for the Ramona Community Planning Group: Paul Stykel, Torry Brean, Richard Tomlinson, Eb Hogervorst, Jim Piva, Kathy Dasilva, Barbara Jensen, and Robin Joy Maxson.

Jim Piva and Eb Hogervorst, Ramona Proposition 32: Follow the money Proposition 32, the “Paycheck Protection” Initiative on the Nov. 6 ballot, bans contributions from corporations and unions to politicians. Supporters say it “removes special interest money from politics.” The truth is, it is a carefully worded law to eliminate the influence of unions and their employees. Proposition 32 exempts thousands of big businesses that aren’t technically “corporations.” This includes hedge funds, big Wall Street firms, insurance companies, LLCs, and thousands of other business entities. Prop. 32 also creates special exemptions for Super PACs, allowing them to continue spending unlimited amounts of secret money to influence California elections. The same corporate special interests that are exempt are also funding millions for the campaign: Big oil companies, billionaire businessmen, insurance company executives, hedge fund managers, Wall Street bankers, big developers and Super PACs like the American Future Fund, associated with the Koch brothers (big oil). If Prop. 32 passes, Super PACs, including committees backed by corporate special interests, will become the major way campaigns are funded in California. Vote No on 32.

Joanne Bergen, Ramona Prop. R should stand for robbery The school district wants the taxpayers to pay 12% interest on a $66 million bond. The interest alone the first year would be $792,000. They want to pay this bond over 25 to 40 years. I cannot even imagine the total cost to the property owners. A government 10-year bond right now stands at 1.76%. The school board wants to pay up to 12% on this money. They (the school board) says it will cost $60 per $100,000 assessed value of your home today and then reassess it in 2022-2023. Your home will probably be worth $200,000 more in 2022 than it is now. Your property taxes will probably go up $350 to $400 per year by 2022. Read the tax rate statement in your sample ballot information pamphlet.

Bill Samson, Ramona Reader responds to opinion writers Vivian and Pierre, My thoughts Vivian, I also believe truth is very important, but it should be the whole truth, not selective truth. Democrats and Republicans alike have been instrumental in passing deregulation. President Clinton signed the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999, which repealed the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933. This deregulation decision opened the door to actions that contributed to the collapse. Speaking of having had it in the shorts: while it is true that Bush increased the debt by $4 trillion over an eight-year period, the same people who are critical of him don’t seem to notice the $6 trillion increase by Obama over a four-year period. No, the $6 trillion is not all Bush’s fault. This is the result of decisions made by Obama during his watch. The “greed” reference appears to be directed toward the upper class. There is an abundance of greed among the classes beneath them. Those persons who think hard-working taxpayers should pay for their contraceptives, abortions, college educations, cell phones, and on and on rather than paying for their own desires are high on the greed chart. I am aware of persons who truly need assistance, but far too many people who want to be on the government provisions list are not in that category. Pierre, I must disagree with your comments about Brian Jones. He has spoken at events in Ramona a few times so I am aware of the task he is trying to accomplish. Thank goodness for his No votes. Frivolous and unnecessary spending in Sacramento has decimated this state financially and has placed us in the disgraceful position of number 49 or 50 in the nation. Brian Jones has my admiration for caring about the future of our state and for working hard to reduce the destruction caused by irresponsible legislators. As for Proposition 32: I say Yes. Corporations and unions will no longer be able to deduct money for political purposes from workers paychecks without their permission. Also, they will no longer be able to engage in giving exorbitant contributions to the candidate of their choice to buy his or her win. Individuals will have a better chance to elect a candidate who will represent the interests of average citizens. I hope Mitt Romney will win. He is a person of great integrity and has 25 years experience to aid him in making practical decisions. Obama had no executive, economic, or military experience when he was elected so it is no surprise that he hasn’t been able to restore this nation to a comfort level. Also on my win list is Brian Jones. He is determined to work diligently to try improve conditions for California.

Shirley Lee, Ramona Re-elect Perfect We are writing in support of re-electing Dawn Perfect to the Ramona Unified School Board of Education. We have had the privilege of working with Dawn on several Ramona community efforts and committees. Dawn always comes prepared to participate fully in discussions and often provides the leadership that leads to the group to consensus. Dawn is most importantly a child advocate. She has contributed her time, energy, and leadership to the Ramona Boy Scouting community and to Ramona youth sports groups for many years. Dawn is compassionate and really knows how “Ramona works.” Please vote with us to re-elect her so that she is able to continue her valuable service to the children and to the community of Ramona.

John and Arvie Degenfelder, Ramona What are Ramona candidates saying? The Committee For a Better Ramona (CFBR) recently sent out to all local candidates questionnaires soliciting responses to questions posed with the goal of providing voters more and detailed information about the candidates running for local offices in our town. Questionnaires were sent to candidates for the Ramona Municipal Water District, Ramona Community Planning Group and Ramona Unified School District. The candidate questions and their responses are located on our website, www.BetterRamona.net. We are grateful to the candidates who chose to timely respond to our questionnaire, and are curious about why others did not. The CFBR believes, as should we all, that we can never have enough information about the candidates who are seeking to represent us in various capacities. Those who responded to the questionnaires include the following: RMWD—George Foote, Rex Schildhouse and Brian DiPietro; RCPG—Torry Brean, Jim Piva, Donna Myers, Kathy DaSilva and Robin Joy Maxson; RUSD—John Rajcic. We thank those candidates who participated and gratefully acknowledge your commitment to insure that voters are educated and versed in the candidates they are electing to local offices. We encourage the community to visit our website and review the candidates’ answers while they decide for whom to vote in the upcoming election. While there, please take the time to register on our website so that you can become part of the Chorus of Ramona’s Voice. And on Tuesday, Nov. 6, whoever your choice of candidates, vote. A strong representative republic relies upon an educated and involved citizenry.

Bob Krysak, President, CFBR School board version of 21st century management Recently the classified employees of the Ramona Unified School District (RUSD) made major concessions in negotiations with the administration in the form of 10 furlough days and reduced pay and paying a share of their medical benefits over the next several years. This amounts to a 9.5% cut this year, 11.5% cut for the next two years (Ramona Sentinel, Oct. 4). The classified employees have been taking cuts for several years in an effort to make a meaningful contribution to relieve the RUSD’s financial problems – and I applaud them for this. It seems the classified employees really do believe the old saw, “it’s for the kids.” The San Diego Union Tribune edition of Oct. 28 had a Watchdog article about the compensation of superintendents of 42 school districts in San Diego County. According to the article, Robert Graeff, Superintendent of RUSD, received a pay increase from 2010 to 2012 of 13.4%. His base salary went from $172,619 to $195,735 and the total compensation package (including perks) is now $234,673. Quite a contribution to helping relieve the financial situation of RUSD, wouldn’t you say? It’s good to know the classified employees financial sacrifices are being put to such good use by the school board. One can only imagine what increases the multitude of assistant superintendents and other administrators of RUSD have been awarded. On the bright side, though, RUSD’s superintendent still makes $65,470 less than the superintendent of San Diego Unified, but then San Diego Unified has 188,000 students compared to RUSD’s 5,900. To quote from the article: ”There’s something seriously wrong when school board politicians reduce the number of school days and cut teacher pay while giving out double-digit pay increases to superintendents,” said Lani Lutar, the president and CEO of the business-friendly San Diego County Taxpayers Association. “It sends the wrong message to parents, students and the community about their priorities.” This must be the RUSD school board’s version of 21st century management that goes along with 21st century education. These are the same school board members and administrators who want use to give them $66 million by passing Prop. R. Go figure.

Paul Ketchem, Ramona

The Vote

“In Tunesia Islamists win Arab Spring’s first election — Democracy means allowing Islamists to cast their votes, and respecting the results.” Beirut Daily Star

What does democracy mean to Americans? The world is wondering and watching,

Edalee Orcutt Harwell, Ramona

   
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