Parents who broke law set bad example
While walking past Thornhill Elementary School, we saw a family of a mother, father and three children playing with their dog on school grounds. There is a large red sign on the gate prohibiting animals in the schoolyard. We advised the parents that dogs were not allowed on the grounds. The father replied, "thank you," consciously making no effort to leave and continued to frolic with the dog all across the yard, almost defiantly and clearly without remorse for violating the law.
There are health and safety reasons beyond the obvious possibility of dog bites. Even if dog excrement is picked up, residue containing giardia, salmonella, hookworms, tapeworm, among others place children at risk as they sit and place their hands on the ground.
These were not drug dealers or teens looking for trouble. One of the children was certainly old enough to be able to read the sign. Shame on these parents who disrespect the law and by their actions teach their children that laws are meaningless as applied to them.
A's lease shows city's lack of competence
The brouhaha over the A's lease is indicative of the long-standing problem of manifest incompetence and absence of rudimentary business practices at City Hall. Irrespective of what one's position is on the details of the lease transaction, there can be no doubt that the ineptitude and schizoid mixed messages coming from Mayor Jean Quan and the City Council are cause for immense concern to taxpayers who expect first-rate competence from those entrusted with the operation of the city and the management of our municipal finances.
Deals are deals, and once negotiated and agreed upon are irrevocable. Grandstanding by hopelessly inept politicians does no good for anyone and once again confirms the overwhelming perception that Oakland is run by unqualified, inexperienced frauds who have done almost nothing of real consequence in the world of business and thus are doing the business of Oakland as a training exercise on how to function in the real world. The inevitable results are entirely predictable as mistake-prone, incoherent and imprecise policies are foisted upon the public and the responsible, organized and qualified parties attempting to do business here find this behavior to be stunningly unprofessional and alarming. It is the ongoing tragedy we endure hereabout. Abject incompetents run Oakland, and the evidence of their bungling is on display every day.
Jonathan C. Breault
Montera teacher's firing was retaliatory
The July 4 article, "Fight goes on to rehire teacher," provides two lessons: (1) Oakland Unified School District's "leadership" is morally bankrupt, and (2) school districts can and do fire teachers without tenure for advocating for students.
Sixth-grade history teacher Judy Ganley, previously held up as a shining example of Montera Middle School's excellence, was suddenly fired after she raised legitimate concerns at the school's monthly faculty council. Downtown administration supported this vindictive action. School board member Anne Campbell Washington's self-serving claim of "due diligence," excerpted from her email to parents who had protested the firing, absolves herself and fellow board members for failing to seriously investigate a case reeking with evidence of illegal retaliation. The district has exploited the absolute lack of due process afforded to teachers in their first two years of employment to cover up this and other instances of retribution against those who advocate for students and the school community.
This case illustrates why school districts, including OUSD, support the recent Vegara court decision, which could lead to weaker seniority protection and longer probationary periods for new teachers. Tenure provisions do not make it impossible to fire bad teachers for good reasons, but they do make it harder for administration to fire educators for speaking up on issues of concern to students, parents and teachers.