February 23, 2001

The Public Forum ... El Foro Publico

Extra Bucks for the Better Schools?

Politicians? Just whom do they represent? Now they've decided that only the so-called better schools will be rewarded with another helping of our tax dollars. This means that the students in these schools will be favored over the students in the non-better schools! This is pure discrimination, something that the so-called better schools are free to ignore when money rears its omnipotent head.

Shouldn't "our" schools be trying to improve schooling for all our children? All to many parents can't afford to move into a neighborhood that has the so-called better schools. Sadly, our politicians, and Governor Gray have taken another step in assuring that the students who need better schooling the most will be denied.

Given that our so-called better schools will continue to accept this undeserved money, why don't we turn to the politicians who created this injustice? Are our tax dollars so tainted that the children in the non-better schools shouldn't be taught by the better teachers? Assuming that the so-called better schools do indeed have better teachers, then the logical thing to do is to distribute these better teachers among all the schools in the district.

Do schools teach, or do teachers teach?

Jack Albertson
San Clemente, CA

Orale Homeboy!!!

You've done it again! You made me read in awe, I had been waiting a while for these comments of yours and they never let me down. I love'm.

It's wonderful wry humour. You the master!

Sorry if I can't help but to heap praise on that talent of yours.

Reader in Awe number 1

Julio César Martínez

The Energy Crisis-Who Do You Trust?

Politics, like magic, is the art of misdirection; diverting the public's attention from what's really happening. And so is profiteering at the public's expense. Today we are told that our high electric prices are the fault of 1) Environmental extremism, 2) Failure to conserve electricity, and 3) Not enough power plants in California. How strange that 2 years ago, before deregulation, none of these problems seemed to exist.

In reality they don't exist. They are part of a public relations diversionary tactic, to make us forget about the astronomical profits of the energy producing companies and the canpaign contributions they give to the state legislature and the governor.

Here's how it works. I'll start with SDG&E since they're closest to home. The parent company -SEMPRA invested a cool $499,967 in campaign contributions last year, according to papers filed with the Secretary of State. Did it pay off ? Quoting from a January 26 news article- "Sempra Energy Trading's net income increased nearly eightfold, rising from $19 million in 1999 to $155 million last year." Among the recipients of the Sempra largess were State Senator Steve Peace-$10,000 for his Secretary of State campaign, which is now defunct, and Senate Majority Leader John Burton, $15,000.

Enron, the Texas energy company, contributed some $171,000 to California politicians last year, including $10,000 to Governor Davis, who was not even on the ballot. A January 23 news item about Enron- "the wholesale business, which trades electricity and other commodities, saw earnings nearly triple to $777 million, up from $263 million the year before."

The January headline reads "Profits soar at Reliant Energy". The article goes on to say that this Houston company's income from power sales rose from $26 million in 1999 to $482 million in 2000. Reliant donated $9000 to Senate Majority Leader Burton and $11,000 to House Speaker Hertzberg.

Dynegy Inc. is co-owner of a power plant in Carlsbad. The headline reads "Dynegy's power-sale profits soar 252 percent." The company gave Burton $11,000 and Hertzberg $6500.

Next is Duke Energy, who operates a power plant in Chula Vista. An Associated Press analysis says "the financial pain of California's major utilities translated into a handsome gain for power generator Duke Energy,which more than doubled its revenues in the fourth quarter and topped Wall Street's earnings expectations." Duke gave the governor $10,000 last year and contributed $77,000 to California lawmakers.

The governor tells us that we must sacrifice for the common good . We must endure more pollution, we must pay higher prices, turn off those lights, and turn down the heat even though the weather is cold. I'd like to know what sacrifices the energy companies are making.

Mel Shapiro
San Diego

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