Protect school arts -- vote 'yes' on A

As an artist and the program director for the Piedmont Center for the Arts, I have a unique perspective on the importance of arts education in our town.

One reason that the Piedmont Center for the Arts has been a phenomenal success is because Piedmonters understand that engagement with the arts opens up our perceptions and allows us to discover new possibilities in ourselves and the world around us. We know that children naturally have an enthusiasm for discovery of self. Self-discovery is enhanced through the arts and is imperative to their overall development.

The Piedmont Unified School District has been able to maintain a comprehensive program in visual and performing arts and in music due in large part to the dedication of district leadership and the overwhelming community support for the school support tax for the past 27 years.

Measure A continues this tradition of community support and will allow the school district to maintain an arts education as part of its overall academic excellence.

Vote "yes" on Measure A.

Valerie Corvin

program director Piedmont Center for the Arts

Supporting schools' art, music is critical


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I have worked in the Piedmont High School music department for 14 years. Every day, I interact with students who benefit from our comprehensive arts program. Children who are exposed to the arts gain focus, discipline and an appreciation for the beauty of the world.

My two children attended Piedmont schools. My son David, an experienced violinist, recently graduated from Swarthmore College; and my daughter Lisa graduated from Pomona College with a bachelor's degree in music followed by a law degree from USF law school.

The arts education they received in the Piedmont schools had a direct impact on their acceptance at all three colleges and their love and appreciation for music is a gift they can enjoy for the rest of their lives.

Once ranked first in the nation for its financial investment in public education, California has fallen to 47th in the nation in per-pupil spending. As a result, many school districts have severely curtailed funding for the arts.

Piedmonters' 27 years of support for the school support tax has allowed the district to maintain funding for music, visual and performing arts programs at a level that sets us apart from many, many other districts.

I call upon all Piedmont voters to continue Piedmont's rich history of support for a comprehensive arts education for all Piedmont students.

Vote yes on Measure A on March 5.

Jan D'Annunzio

Piedmont

CHP should begin patrolling I-580

Regarding the CHP decision to extend patrols in Oakland one month after its 90-day stay:

Perhaps after that period, it can start patrolling on Interstate 580 to aggressively target the speeding cars and the endless parade of big-rig trucks. I do believe that the freeways are the CHP's jurisdiction, correct?

Annette M. Thompson

Oakland

Post office will not stop mail properly

Chatting with others in my building and on my block, I find that we all have the same rotten experience when asking the Oakland post office to put our mail on hold when we must go away for a week or two.

When you return, if you are lucky, you may collect some mail at the post office, but my neighbors and I, instead, always find that most of our mail is almost shredded as the mail has continued to be stuffed into our mailboxes.

I would like to know if Mayor Jean Quan or the postmaster or my supervisor has this problem. If not, why are my political representatives enjoying decent behavior from the post office while the rest of us suffer abuse?

This is just one of the problems with our Postal Service, another being that magazines arrive two weeks late.

James Eilers

Oakland

Oakland body count shows need for laws

Yes, I favor the gun control proposals made by President Obama. I just wish they had been stronger.

Why? There were more than 130 dead people in Oakland because of guns.

Mareth Ellis

Oakland

Gun control plans wrong except for one

I do not favor the gun control proposals advanced by President Obama because they are the first steps in banning all firearms ownership by law-abiding citizens and confiscating all firearms owned by law-abiding citizens, in violation of their Second Amendment individual right to keep and bear arms as upheld by the Supreme Court.

There should be no banning and confiscating of military-style semi-automatic rifles, nonmilitary-style semi-automatic rifles, semi-automatic shotguns or semi-automatic pistols. There should be no banning or confiscating of clips with more than 10-round capacities because many standard semi-automatic pistol clips hold more than 10 rounds. There should be no banning of "armor-piercing" bullets because it would ban all centerfire rifle ammunition, which will penetrate a bullet-resistant vest designed to stop handgun bullets.

The one proposal I would favor is extending background checks to gun shows and private sales. The federal government should step up the prosecution of straw buyers and gun traffickers using laws already on the books.

There should be a total stop to the use of the term "gun violence," which implies that guns jump up and do something by themselves and a start to the use of the term "criminal violence" which puts the blame for gun misuse on the criminal.

David R. Russell

Berkeley