I just noticed that the American Federation of Teachers is promoting the candidacy of two Community College teachers for seats on the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District Governing Board: Edwin Heil and Debbie Justeson. I have not met either of them. Based on the description given in our Voter Information Pamphlet, both sound like good citizens. What I don't understand is how we can possibly vote for District employees, even good citizens, to serve on the Board that sets their salaries and benefits and working conditions. Does this sound like fiscal insanity to anyone else besides me?
We haven't had an honestly balanced State budget in several years. Our State, and almost every public institution in it, is broke. Public sector salaries and especially pensions far exceed what a worker in the private sector can expect. Much of our fiscal problem is the result of public sector employees gaining undue influence over the those who set their salaries and benefits - at almost every level of government. Who represents the taxpayers, who provide the money to pay for those benefits and salaries? For the most part the answer has been no one. We have increased taxes and cut vital services and mortgaged the futures of our children in order to continue to satisfy the public sector unions and workers. As the word has gotten out and budgets have become increasingly difficult to balance, anger has started to boil. A few small concessions to the taxpayers have been made.
But they aren't nearly enough. For the sake of our state's fiscal health, for the sake of maintaining important public services, and for the sake of our children and grandchildren (who we continue to burden mercilessly) we must restore balance between the financial interests of public sector workers and those of taxpayers. Taxpayers need just as strong a representation in the fiscal decision making process as public employee unions provide for their members. We aren't close to that now.
We can take a small step to restore that balance by voting against the AFT and these two public sector employees (and any others) who seek a position of power that allows them to influence their own salaries and benefits. Too, we can be wary whenever a public sector union endorses a candidate. Unions are smart and well financed and effective. Most of what they do is aimed at transferring dollars from taxpayer's wallets to theirs. Third, we can also be wary of any proposition supported by public sector unions - for the same reason.
This year Propositions 21 and 24, supported mostly by teachers unions, are aimed at increasing taxes on private sector companies and individuals to provide more money to public sector education. California already has one of the worst business climates (48 out of 50) in the Nation. We have the highest paid teachers in the Nation. We are one of the most heavily taxed states in the Nation. Revenue isn't the problem - spending is.
We simply can't afford to worsen the situation by giving the AFT and its representatives any more power or money.

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Comment by Russell Buckley on October 14, 2010 at 3:27pm
In response to J Piper: Thou doth protest too much. Please tell me that you don't disagree with the notion that employees arranging for one of their own to make decisions about their pay and benefits is not a good idea. Your assertion that one cannot hold a valid opinion about something just because they have not personally experienced it is not logical: Can't someone who has not served in the military still not have an opinion about the military budget? etc. etc. I could give an almost endless number of like examples. Although I don't believe that I have any special insight, it will apparently impress you if I let you know that I taught in a local public high school for the final 10 years of my working life; both of my parents taught in public schools; I raised four children (who were once teenagers); and -- you have no monopoly about caring for our fellow humans. I do have some opinions about teacher compensation - particularly retirement - and I actually came to them on my own. I will be happy to meet with you and discuss them. In the meantime, try to cool down and focus on the primary point of my blog - that it is absolutely disastrous for our budget to have teachers control the decision about who will set their pay. p.s. taxpayers (at least here in California) contribute more to teacher retirements than the teachers do.
Comment by Russell Buckley on October 14, 2010 at 2:49pm
Hi LeLand. You likely have my vote. I will respond to J Piper separately -- but let me observe here that it is difficult for me to understand anyone not appreciating the danger in having a group elect those who control their pay and benefits. Especially someone living in California who is witnessing first hand the fiscal and social destruction of our once great state. It is also difficult for me to place the blame for our sorry condition on anything besides the nearly unchecked power of public sector unions. The AFT effort to gain total control of the Grossmont/Cuyamaca Board is but another step down this destructive path.
Comment by David Stanley on October 14, 2010 at 11:03am
Oh, Piper! You just gave yourself away when you said, "Do any of you care about your fellow humans?" "For the children." is the refrain I believe. You wound me. I am not "anti-teacher" BUT I am anti-teacher's unions which smack of and follow the Progressive Socialist line in lockstep. I am anti unqualified teachers who retain their positions to indroctrinate rather that educate by virtue of tenure and certainly not qualifications or abilities. Yes, I know Principals and yes I know quite a few teachers who put the education and welfare of students ahead of all things apart from their families. And Yes I know many unqualified stiffs who fall into that former catagory I mentioned. I have and continue to go to my grandchildren's schools and watch what is going on. I am unimpressed by the half days and shortened days and holidays so frequently robbing the children. I am unimpressed by teacher's union shrill shreaks for higher taxes to pay "For the Children" whilst in fact they are marching for more pay raises. Piper, like you, I developed my own retirement with no help from the public. It was also taken from my pay along with frequent contributions by ME not taxpayers. And finally, I pride myself in NOT vomiting political slogans or even listening to the snake oil peddlers in politics. I get to the real facts WITHOUT ASKING SOMEONE ELSE'S OPINIONS! Read some of my blogs here on La Mesa Today. Perhaps if you had not been brainwashed by your Progressive Socialist mates you yourself would be capable of viewing the world minus your blinders. Remember: When you hold a hammer the whole world looks like a nail. Now, go ruminate about who you damn regarding teachers who march and scream "FOR THE CHILDREN". David
Comment by J Piper on October 14, 2010 at 10:27am
Just when was the most recent time any of you "anti-teacher" people entered a high school and spent the day finding out what happens on a 5 day per week basis? How many of you know a principal and know for sure what he/she does for his salary? What do you know about a teacher's education and hire-in promises? Does anybody know what a teenager's daily life is like? Do any of you care about your fellow humans?

I'm on a pension and believe you me, I paid for it out of my paycheck every time I got paid. I also paid for social security, state disability and every other kind of tax imagineable that had to be taken out of my gross pay. If I got half my gross to live on, I was lucky. The money that was taken out of my pay was invested along with all the other worker's money. Those investments yielded dollars and lots of dollars. My pension is made of the dollars being yielded by those investments. Leave me alone and go get somebody else who didn't put anything into his/her retirement funds.

Don't you all see how you are mouthing and remouthing the words of skillful politicians who make you think you figured everything out for yourself. Try getting to the real facts without asking somebody else to give you an opinion.
Comment by David Stanley on October 14, 2010 at 7:11am
Note, with great attention the preceeding blog entry - }References" ...he won't support me is because I won't agree to raise taxes so as to pay teachers more." Does this differ from anything I said? Hmmm? Anytime a union is involved either run or stand and fight!! They have and will continue to bleed us white, smiling all the time and screaming "For the people", "For the children!!!", Has anyone read history reference the Socialist Party? Well, have you? David
Comment by Leland R. Ping on October 13, 2010 at 9:38pm
Russell's observations are very timely. I am commenting not simply because I am the candidate opposing Mr. Hiel for the seat but also because I'm a taxpayer who realizes the serious issues Russell raises. The AFT is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to elect Hiel and Justeson and if they're successful they'll have a five member Board comprised of five union-supported representatives who will cater to the AFT. I received an email from an AFT representative stating that the reason he won't support me is because I won't agree to raise taxes so as to pay teachers more. While it's sad that I won't have his support, I'd rather stand up for what's right for taxpayers and students. As a former full-time high school teacher, I have the utmost respect for educators. But a teacher's main concern HAS to be students and their ability to learn. I'm afraid that the AFT has lost sight of that fact. If East County wants another Board Member who will spend taxpayer money and then ask for more, then I'm not the guy for the job. If East County is interested in someone who will work to defend taxpayers, put students first, and look to work with teachers who love what they do, then might I suggest a visit to my website, www.electping.com? Readers can contact me directly at lelandrping@gmail.com.
Comment by David Stanley on October 12, 2010 at 2:16pm
Russell and anyone else out there not sleeping, look closely at the dynamics involved here. ANYTIME any teacher's union or federation backs. promotes or supports any candidate pr cause you must be extremely suspicious of motives. For at least the past couple generations teachers and their unions have demonstrated that they are in tune and aligned with any and all socialist groups, individuals and leanings. There are many teachers out there who put the welfare of the children first and foremost in their minds and hearts. Most though are, unfortunately and beyound any doubt, self serving Progressive Socialists who, daily, practice indoctrination rather than education all in effort to further their individual and group goals and ideals. They will, and continue to do so, say anything, demonstrate against anyone who voices doubt, loudly and shrilly defame and lie in order to obtain their goals. And, if the voters are smart enough to thwart them, immediately seek out a liberal socialist judge who will promptly scream, "Unconstitutional", thereby spitting in the eyes of voters. They constantly scream, "Vote for the children" whilst seeking ever increasing pay raises. benefits and tenure for totally incompetent and unqualified members of their collective unions.

So, be very suspect of anything teachers of their unions say and the louder they scream the more you have to realize the true motives. Its NEVER about "The Children:. David

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