Common Core is unacceptable. This top-down, bureaucratic takeover of local schools must be stopped. Common Core standards threaten parents’ rights, children’s privacy and traditional American values. Common Core will dumb down education, collect data on kids and their families, and leave American kids behind in the global economy. President Barack Obama supports Common Core’s progressive education standards and wants every child in America to obey Washington D.C.’s rules. If the central planners and progressive bureaucrats get their way, teaching the Constitution to American schoolchildren will be a thing of the past. Washington bureaucrats don’t know what’s best for America’s kids. Since D.C. decided to run America’s schools, national test scores have actually gotten worse. American children shouldn’t be tracked, monitored and educated from D.C. And parents should have a voice in their child’s education.
Steven Richards, Tracy
Obamacare deserves political payback
President Barack Obama, Rep. Jerry McNerney, Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein and the entire Democratic Party all deserve political payback for the vicious Obamacare system that they have foisted upon America’s senior citizens. Starting in October 2012, the Obama administration started giving bonus points to hospitals that spend the least on older patients. This will result in fewer knee replacements, hip replacements, angioplasty, bypass surgery and cataract operations. These five procedures have transformed aging for older Americans. Instead of languishing in wheelchairs and nursing homes because of arthritis, cataracts and heart disease, older Americans have been able to live more active lives. But now, with Obamacare and its massive $716 billion bludgeon cuts to Medicare funding over the next decade and rewarding hospitals that spend the least on seniors, Obamacare will make these procedures hard to get and less safe. With more than 5 million people losing their health insurance plans, people losing their doctors, higher premiums and deductibles, and now its assault on older Americans, Obamacare is a disaster that must be repealed and consigned to political purgatory.
Mary Park, Tracy
Time for local campaign reform
Transparency. Credibility. Integrity. These are words that represent the core principles of good government. They are also words that we will hear a lot from candidates running for local office this year. Two council seats will be up for grabs, as well as the mayor’s seat. This may be a good time to put those words to good practice in the area of local campaign finance reform by having the council discuss and consider enacting a local ordinance mandating that any campaign contributions from any one person during a given calendar year of $50 or more during local municipal election be disclosed on each candidate’s campaign contribution disclosure form. State law mandates that such disclosures be made when they hit the $100 threshold. However, state law does appear to allow for local jurisdictions to enact much more stringent disclosure requirements. There are far too many instances where a candidate and a prospective donor, to avoid disclosing the identity of a donor, play what is called the “99 dollar game” where a donor, instead of making a $1,000 contribution, will have a group of individuals (e.g., family members, employees, associates) each write a $99 check so as to avoid the state’s disclosure mandates. If one wishes to contribute such an amount of money, then (1) the donor should not be ashamed of having its identity disclosed, and more importantly (2) a candidate should not be ashamed of having such a supporter’s identity be made known to the public. Although a $50 threshold could result in the “49 dollar game,” it would make it much harder for a nondisclosure game to be played by unscrupulous donors and candidates alike. I believe this proposal merits consideration by the council before the campaign season kicks into full gear later this year.
Steve Nicolaou, Tracy