Arts funding in schools could be higher...

Arts funding in schools could be higher

With regard to the Leader's question Wednesday, "Do Burbank

schools give adequate arts education?": As the mom of a 10th-grader

at Burbank High School who is a member of the choir "Impressions," I

can tell you that there is no funding of any kind for choir. The

parents pay a direct assessment (between $650 and $850 a year) and

raise money with advertising and a silent auction yearly to fund the

choir program.

Burbank High's choirs are very well-thought-of in the show/choir

community. They are very professional, competing choirs that win

trophy after trophy every year. The school district does pay the

choirmaster (but probably not enough for all the extra time he puts


My opinion is that the arts are an integral part of what every

person should experience in life (and learn about in school) in order

to have a complete view of what our world is about. Most of the choir

kids are B+ and better students who not only get their homework done,

but do hundreds of hours of rehearsals and performances outside of

school hours. What could motivate teenagers to a commitment like

that? The joy of expressing themselves through art.

In conclusion (and in answer to your original question), Burbank

schools do not have adequate arts education, and the funding for what

exists is totally inadequate.



Requesting a less bumpy drive

I trust a top priority for street-maintenance funds, once we are

past the rainy season, is pothole fixing along all major streets that

seem to have taken a beating during these rains. Our Burbank streets

are now as bad as the North Hollywood portions of the boulevard I try

to avoid.



Candidate makes comments clearer

I appreciate the Burbank Leader's coverage of the school board

election. Unfortunately, the required editing can change the tone of

interview answers.

I wish I had been clearer in my interview regarding the

expectation that hard work will pay off, so no one is surprised when

it does. I stressed that in an election one can never be sure, but

evidently I didn't make that point clearly. I was also sorry that

there wasn't sufficient space to print my comment about the other

high- percentage candidate, Debbie Kukta.

I pointed out in the interview that there were very few votes

separating Kukta and myself, and that I was pleased that she had done

well also. I served as a director with Kukta for four years on the

Workforce Investment Board, so I know that we work together well, and

that she is an extremely capable person.

One of the most gratifying aspects of this campaign has been the

dedication of all the candidates. Everyone who entered this race did

so because they truly care about the education of our children. The

responsibility is sobering in a time of great expectations and

inadequate funding. Only people who truly care would sign up for such

a task.

I appreciate all the people who have supported me, and it has been

so gratifying to hear from teachers, administrators, students,

district employees and parents. I promise to keep the dialogue going.

I know what my concerns are as a parent, and I appreciate hearing

from other parents about their concerns. Some have said to me, "If

you are elected, please don't forget our school." I could never do

that. Every school matters, and every child matters! I can be reached

by phone at (818) 569-5144 or e-mail at votesusan@forschool

Did I put my "whole heart" into the primary campaign? Absolutely.

Will I put my "whole heart" into the work of the school board?




EDITOR'S NOTE: Susan Bowers is running for school board.

Boxer's history was misrepresented

We're extremely disappointed in the Then and Now column

"Heavyweight champ made Burbank his home," (Feb. 23) in which Craig

Bullock states that Jim Jeffries won the heavyweight title in 1899,

and "Jack Johnson defeated Jeffries for the title and became the

first African American heavyweight champion."

This is inaccurate. Johnson was the champion when he fought

Jeffries. Jeffries had retired in 1905 as undefeated champion.

Johnson became the first African American heavyweight champion by

defeating Tommy Burns in 1908. Jeffries was lured out of retirement.

It was the racially charged era of the Great White Hope -- to fight

Johnson on July 4, 1910, in what was then the "Fight of the Century."

Johnson defeated Jeffries easily and Jeffries, despite the endemic

racism of the era, admitted that "I could not have beaten Jack on my

best day."

As stated in "Unforgivable Blackness," Ken Burns' recent film on

Jack Johnson, "Blacks celebrated the victory, and whites responded

with violence. In the riots that followed the fight, as many as 26

people were killed and hundreds were injured -- most of them black.

The violence quickly triggered a nationwide movement to prevent films

of the fight from being exhibited. The crusade, organized by the

United Society of Christian Endeavor, succeeded in many cities and

even entire states, especially in the South."

While the article is on Jim Jeffries, not Jack Johnson, it is a

substantial failure to omit these facts about the pivotal moment in

Jeffries' fight career. A Google search before writing the article

would have enabled Bullock to educate himself about a former Burbank

resident who was, in his time, one of the most admired men in the

United States. While it was amusing to learn that our favorite

doughnut shop is on land once owned by the champ, it is inexcusable

for both Bullock and the Leader to ignore the bigger story --

especially in February -- Black History Month.




Murphy's win no surprise to this reader

It is no surprise that Stacey Murphy won her seat on the City

Council with no runoff. She is the only one who could see the Platt

Project was not right for Burbank. Overdevelopment is strangling this

city and she seems to know it.



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