Look to space program for inspiration, Congress
Re: May 29 article, “American, Russian, Italian blast off.”
There was a picture in the American-Statesman of a Russian Soyuz-FG rocket booster launching its Soyuz TMA-09M spacecraft. The spacecraft had a crew of an American, a Russian and an Italian heading to the International Space Station. It struck me as ironic that we can easily work with the same people who President Ronald Reagan labeled as people from a nation that was an evil empire, and our Congress can’t work together.
John C. Sanders
Invest in kids, not suits
Re: May 28 article, “78% rise in six-figure salaries at area school districts.”
I found the article on the absurd administrative salaries in our area schools enlightening for parents wanting to know just what is wrong with their children’s schools. Overpaying individuals for what can be considered support positions is not “investing in children.” It’s wasting valuable resources on what has become the new bureaucracy of our time.
Parents pay dearly to invest in the excellence of their children’s education. I just happen to believe that investment should be transferred to the classroom, not administrative board rooms. School board members need to reevaluate these financial priorities. Voters need to support individual board members willing to prove students are their first priority. Money should be invested directly into the classrooms for the benefit of children and, by extension, to the teachers who directly impact those children.
Time for term limits
While it is true that voters can term-limit incumbent politicians, the simple truth is they don’t. That’s why we have career politicians in all levels of government, i.e. Sens. Harry Reid and John McCain and U.S. Reps. Nancy Pelosi and Lloyd Doggett. The sad truth is, we can’t count on a particular lawmaker’s constituency to send them packing. But, because of seniority, these lifers chair committees. Because we don’t live in their districts, we can’t do a thing about it if we don’t approve of the job they’re doing to us.
The founders never envisioned a permanent ruling class of people to control the rest of us. It’s time for term limits to ensure a consistent turnover of public service. Then, the politicians would have to live under the laws they pass. It might make them think a bit more about what they’re doing when they’re in office.
Smoking fossil fuels
Climate change is a bit like smoking. For a while, there don’t seem to be any effects. Then a little cough develops (hurricanes and superstorms), but you tell yourself it’s just allergies (random weather events.) After several years, your stamina decreases and wrinkles appear (record temperatures, droughts, and crop failures), but you are hooked now so you keep smoking. Finally, you have a stroke or heart attack and maybe you die (accelerated extinctions of species). We should wean ourselves from smoking fossil fuels before our planetary health is damaged beyond repair.
Share road responsibility
Historically, the gasoline tax has been (is supposed to be) used for road building and maintenance. It is clear that with the increase in fuel-efficient cars, we will ultimately not have enough revenue from the gasoline tax to maintain our roads. Although I don’t expect it, this is an opportunity for our legislators to be forward-looking (ha) and devise a fair and equitable plan (another “ha”) to share this financial responsibility. A “use” tax may be the way, but remember, when you define “use,” there are motorcycles, bicycles, taxis and even pedestrians who “use” our roads. Everyone benefits from Texas roads. Let’s share the opportunity to provide the benefit.