Mailbag: Though not perfect, bill is worth it

Venomous rhetoric, irrational ranting, disappearing civility, vandalism, hate outbursts and death threats — was I asleep (“Bill takes away freedoms,” March 26)? What happened?

Did President Obama and Congress unilaterally initiate a new war that will go on for many years with minimal international support and with a justification that is a lie? Will thousands of American sons and daughters in the military be sent to early graves and many, many thousands more mentally and physically maimed?

Will the United States once again become an international pariah? And will our precious protections of human rights again be beaten down? If all this is true, I too will go out into the streets and protest, yet hope to be civil about it, but maybe loud.

But no, it was not an abysmal war that Obama and the Democrats legislated — it was health-care reform that will provide health care to millions of the poorest and disadvantaged members of our nation.

Is this reform perfect? Of course not, especially because of the many compromises necessary to get it passed. It will no doubt need considerable work to improve it. Will it cost me more money? Possibly, but if necessary, I will be happy to participate in the process that provides the unfortunate millions basic health care.

It’s interesting to speculate what would happen to Social Security or Medicare if they were being voted on today. Social Security was approved by an enormous majority, and Medicare was voted in by a substantial majority.

Is it not unreasonable, though, to surmise that the Republicans would respond to these as they have with health-care reform and unanimously, contentiously and uncompromisingly oppose some of the most important social legislation in our nation’s history. They would scream socialism, scream about increased bureaucracy and scream about taxpayer costs and freedoms, all the while ignoring the multitudes that would seriously benefit from these programs, including many of us, our parents, grandparents and the disabled.

The Republican resistance to health-care reform is absurd, as it will provide important benefits to people of all political stripes, including Republicans.



Nahabedian stood up for the students

We, the undersigned, are writing to clarify the March 26 Glendale News-Press article “School board refutes claims.”

In the article, school board President Mary Boger insinuates that Nayiri Nahabedian was against saving energy and money for Glendale schools.

Boger’s assertion is an untrue political ploy — we know because we served on the district’s Energy Committee with Boger and watched every board meeting on the subject.

The only disagreement the teachers on the committee had with the Energy Committee’s recommendation was concerning the allowance of small appliances in teacher classrooms.

Teachers spend snack/recess time doing yard duty/supervision and often stay in their classrooms at lunch as club advisors or to hold makeup sessions for students. The decision to change the usage of small appliances in classrooms to save less than 1% of the district’s total budget was not cost effective, as it would negatively affect teacher support of students and their learning. It was an imposed action that the teachers did not support.

We as teachers presented other strategies to reduce energy in a collaborative and respectful manner. In fact, we supported all of the committee’s recommendations except the one on small appliances in the classroom.

Nahabedian was the only school board member who recognized the negative effect such minuscule savings would have on our students. She, like the teachers, supported the committee’s recommendations except for the one concerning small appliances in the classroom and said as much when the vote was taken.

Nahabedian stood up for Glendale’s children and voted no on the recommendations because the board would not take out the ban on small appliances in the classroom. It was courageous for her to take a stand against her colleagues on the board on behalf of our students. Her actions in protecting the integrity of the classroom as a place for students to learn at any time of the school day should be heralded, not attacked.

If this is what we can expect from her as the representative in Sacramento for the 43rd Assembly District, our community will surely be in good hands. Nahabedian has proven herself to be an advocate for students, despite the rude discomfort afforded her meeting after meeting of the Glendale Unified School District school board.

It is not easy to be the lone spokesperson for what is right, but Nahabedian was. God bless her for it. She alone on our school board had the strength and integrity to speak for the children. That is the mark of a true leader.

As classroom teachers who know her best, we want you to know the truth about her leadership as a member of the school board. Nahabedian has:

 always put the needs of students and classroom teachers first;

 been accessible to parents and teachers by holding bimonthly community hours at local coffee shops and farmers markets;

 worked with teachers to raise test scores; and

 helped to balance the district budget despite severe state budget cuts.

Nahabedian has earned our support because she always has the courage to fight for what is right, even when it is not popular to do so. That is exactly what we need in Sacramento.

Nahabedian has been an outstanding Glendale Unified school board member, and she will be a great assemblywoman.



Editor’s note: Carlson and Harris are the president and vice president, respectively, of the Glendale Teachers Assn. Freemon is past president of the union.

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