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CCUSD Governing Board fails children, condemns district to continued mediocrity

CCUSD Watch | www.ccusdwatch.com

In the middle of May, Dr. Marvin Christensen resigned immediately from the CCUSD governing board. In his letter of resignation he wrote that the "board has failed the children, failed the community and created conditions for further failure.”

Despite the hope and promise of leadership, our newly seated governing board continues this fine tradition. One of the board’s foremost responsibilities is to hire a superintendent. By not conducting a comprehensive search for a new superintendent, the board has abdicated its responsibility and catered to the vocal minority, while ignoring the lessons of 2008 when a mass exodus of leadership took place.

Dr Burdick has done a fantastic job of helping the district to recover from this calamity, but this is not enough to blindly reward her the job without considering other candidates. With superintendent searches going on in adjacent Scottsdale and Paradise Valley, the district could have capitalized on trying to recruit the excellent candidates who will no doubt apply for those positions, without paying for a national search. With the looming budget cuts, the district could have found a candidate who had the expertise in doing more with less, which is what the district is facing for the foreseeable future. With the tremendous turnover in leadership, this was the chance to transition the superintendent to an outsider who could bring fresh ideas and perspectives; something the district needs desperately after the disaster that was 2008.

The new board has failed its first test. Promoting Dr Burdick was the easy choice and they made it for all the wrong reasons. The governing board has condemned the district to the continued status quo of mediocrity, when a district of our size and demographics should be the best performing district in the Southwest.

Cave Creek Unified School District #93: Inspire Excellence. But never demand it, or achieve it, or hold anyone accountable.

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No more election “trash talk”

Carol McNulty | Carefree

We have just finished with a very long presidential campaign. Now, we are beginning a campaign for Carefree Town Council. We hope that this election will not be more of the same “trash talk” as the last one. We were appalled that members and leaders of respected organizations such as Kiwanis, the Cave Creek Museum and the Black Mountain Conservancy used their positions in ways to control our election process. We would hope that these worthy organizations police their own so the rest of us are not harmed.

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Bike Riders’ Rights

Phil Fishbach | Scottsdale

I read with disbelief the ignorant comments from one of your readers advocating that bike riders should not be permitted to use our roadways. While it is true that a few bike riders abuse the privilege of using our roads by riding two or three abreast, the vast majority of riders follow safe procedures while on the road. Rather than forbidding riders the use of our roads I would encourage our lawmakers to expand the number of bike lanes in the name of safety and recognizing the large number of people that find cycling a wonderful and healthy recreation and in some cases a pollution-reducing means of transportation. I would encourage motorists to recognize that our roadways can be shared by those who use them.

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Accosted by a mailing from “Caring About Carefree” PAC

Henk and Kathy Tinkelenberg | Carefree

My wife and I are among the more than 400 registered voters who signed the initiative to allow Carefree residents a direct vote for mayor. As a result we have been accosted by a mailing from a group called “Caring About Carefree PAC.” We find both the letter and the enclosure extremely objectionable for a number of reasons.

First is the letter’s crude attempt at fear mongering and intimidation. All municipalities in Arizona except Carefree and Paradise Valley elect their mayors directly. Why should this simple exercise in democracy be so dangerous and detrimental to the residents of Carefree?

Second is the enclosure berating Councilman Coady for the occasional temerity of thinking for himself. Coady is our duly elected representative and has a right and a duty to point out the potential problems with proposals brought before Town Council. There is no requirement that he always vote in unison with the Gang Of Six, which of course never fails to vote unanimously.

Third is that the individuals responsible for this silly nonsense did not have the courage to sign their names to the letter. Of course lynch mobs always prefer anonymity.

Fourth, and finally, is the hysterical tone of sheer and abject panic that suffuses the letter. Why are these people so terrified of direct mayoral elections? What narrow interests and special privileges are they protecting? What are they hiding from us?

We hope for a more transparent future in Carefree’s town government.

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Another Case of Hysteria

Susan Barbetti | Cave Creek

In response to Another Case of Hysteria in your January 21 – 27 issue…

I don’t know who Mike Marks is but the comments he made regarding the hawk incident are not correct. I should know. I was there.

The car with the 3 people taking the hawk, which was hooded and bound in leather, stopped and engaged us in conversation.

The conversation we had went as follows:

Driver of the car: We just wanted to let you know that we are doing a research project on Harris Hawks. We are trapping and tagging the Hawks for tracking purposes.

Question: Are you with the Feds?

Answer: Yes.

Question: What will you do with the hawk that you captured?

Answer: We will take it back to the center tag it and treat it.

Question: Will you then release the bird back in this area?

Answer: Oh yes, we will release it in this same spot after it has been tagged and treated.

Question: What research center do you work for?

Answer: Adobe Mountain.

Question: Where is that?

Answer: Just off I-17 and Pinnacle Peak.

We then contact both Fish and Game and Adobe Mountain Wildlife Refuge.

Neither was doing this type of research project.

We did not misconstrue what we had been told as Mr. Marks suggested. We were lied to about who they represented and the purpose for capturing the hawk.

This was an illegal capture of a hawk from private property in a no hunting area.

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Carefree town council: Democracy or oligarchy?

Backlash in Carefree | Carefree

The steadfast refusal of five of the Carefree Town Council members to let the residents of our town decide whether to directly elect the mayor or not completely baffles me. I thought we lived in a democracy where citizens were permitted to vote on candidates and important issues concerning them.

This is not Venezuela or Russia or Cuba where dictator-like regimes make all the decisions and never let the citizens decide. Why in the world are these council members so deathly afraid of letting us vote on this or any other issues? They keep using totally misleading rationale to justify their reluctance to let the actual people of Carefree decide. Why are they so afraid?

They have already gotten away with making decisions without letting us decide, such as buying the water company, building a fire station and a fire engine, buying property for the town court and others that should have been on a public referendum or on the ballot.

It seems we are living in a small-time dictatorship where despots feel they know better than the populace and insult us by refusing to ever let important issues be voted upon by the residents.

It is disgraceful.

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Salvation Army thanks local community

Jim Shaw | Kettle Drive Chairman

The local Salvation Army thanks with deep gratitude the many generous donors who contributed to the Annual Kettle Drive during the Christmas season. Their generosity will help fund many Salvation Army causes, especially for those families in distress and in need of basic necessities during difficult periods in their lives.

Special thanks to these stores that let us station a kettle at their entrance: two Fry’s, one located on Cave Creek Road and the other on Carefree Highway; two Safeway stores, one at the Summit on Scottsdale Road and one at Tatum and Cave Creek Road; Bashas’ in Carefree; Albertson’s in the Terravita Market Place; and two Walgreens drug stores, one in the Terravita Market Place and the other at Tatum and Cave Creek. Also thanks to the Post Office and Carefree City Hall.

Blessings on all those men and women who volunteered their time ringing bells on behalf of the Salvation Army and the people who were helped by their generosity. Special thanks to Carefree Kiwanis, which has worked on this effort for over 30 years. The Salvation Army can’t thank enough everyone involved in the Kettle Drive, especially for the generosity of those donors whose gifts came cheerfully to help others in trying times.

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Obama’s second ceremony should be negated

Sherry Petta | Scottsdale

I am well aware that Obama became president the second Bush's term expired. Apparently, a flub-up involving a few words in the oath of office being said wrong was considered enough to negate Obama's first public swearing-in ceremony. However, during the second swearing-in, which was performed in private and will likely be deemed the official ceremony, we can only assume the right words were used.

In light of speculation that Obama is a Muslim, I find it extremely convenient that no Bible was used in the second ceremony. One might be compelled to wonder if the first ceremony with the flubs was intentional and only for show, for history's sake. This could be construed as the ultimate statement regarding the new administration's opinion of God's place in America's future, and it should greatly concern every American Christian, regardless of race. Obama was quoted as saying that he didn't have "his" Bible handy. You cannot tell me the President of the United States of America could not have requested, and had immediate access to, a Bible for the second ceremony if he'd really wanted one.

Actions in private speak louder than flubbed words in public, and in my mind, the second ceremony should be negated, as well, since no Bible was used. The swearing-in oath to protect and serve this country as its president has always been taken with one's hand on the Bible for it to be official. Some things in history must not change!

Obama should be required to take a new and official swearing-in oath with his hand on a Bible, like all the other presidents before him have done. But, then, nothing having to do with Obama has been the usual.

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Letter to EJ Montini

Tom Carbone 

Dr. Mr Montini

Instead of constantly peeking away at issues that are contrary to your liberal views you may want to consider a true story that attacks both the left and right sides of the political spectrum..the disgusting waste of 18 BILLION dollars given as "bonuses" to the crooks on Wall Street.

Said money was provided by the jackasses of BOTH parties as part of the original "bailout".. it seems to me the story lies in the COMPLETE incompetence of Congress on both sides of the aisle.

In your spare time why not look into our own DES which is incapable of pulling their heads out of their COLLECTIVES backsides and has proven themselves to be abject failures in getting unemployment payments to Arizona citizens (I would assume both Democats and Republicans are suffering).

I for one will be contacting both of our Senators and my congressman to find out how I can apply for my $112,000 " bonus " check which is the average amount of bonuses paid on Wall Street. I am certain that I deserve said payment as much as those folks.

Hmmm.... just to complete your weekend how about a follow up story on Rangel and the new Treasury Secretary (his name slips me at this time)who DID NOT have to pay penalties and interest on past due taxes.. feel free to include all members of the govenment, regardless of party affiliation, who have received this "special treatment." I wonder where those who may have paid penalties and interest can apply for a refund?

I wait for your reply

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A just and comprehensive resolution

Ahmed Yousif | Scottsdale

Israel's disproportionate, excessive, and counterproductive attacks on the Gaza Strip are markedly inhumane and are only leading us into a darker future. The unchecked aggression blocks efforts to bring peace with justice to the Middle East, harms our nation's image and interests worldwide, and strengthens voices of extremism in the region.

The only solution is an even-handed Middle East policy that is in our nation's, not Israel's, interest. The Palestinian people must be given some hope of freedom from Israeli occupation and domination. Israel's immoral and illegal collective punishment of the Palestinian people living in the Gaza Strip must end.

America must support a just and comprehensive resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that takes into account the rights and responsibilities of all parties. And finally, American taxpayer dollars should not be used for weapons that kill Palestinian civilians.

Editor’s note: Proportionality is nonsense. Wars are fought to be won. New York City Mayor Bloomberg answered a pro-Palestinian CNN talking head by asking ‘If someone was breaking into your apartment should law enforcement send a proportional number (one) or should they send a team to assure her safety?’ It is Palestine that is sending rockets, not Israel. It is Palestine that is using civilians as shields.

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Easy Phoenix budget crisis fix

Roy Miller | Phoenix

If the City of Phoenix is serious about reducing expenses, one easy way would be to privatize the fire department. I worked for Rural Metro back in the early 1990s and became aware of some studies that suggest Phoenix could save at least $50 million annually without having any reduction in its fire fighting capability or any reduction in insurance rates – just by letting a private company run the fire department.