Monday, February 25, 2013
Note to Politicians: If you say vouchers won't work, you need to explain, if you send your kids to private school. why poor folks should not have the same opportunity of school choice that you have? This includes elected officials, and school administrators. Before you tout the public education line, explain to us where your kids go to school, and WHY.
On the one hand, public schools seem to focus entirely too much on the lowest common denominators in the school system. If their focus was on the better students, those at the bottom would start to rise. But if you constantly teach to lowest levels, the smart kids are done for. And school district run charter schools may fix some of that, but the politics of these schools is overwhelming.
Now, for $5,000, you can get a good private school education. Yet, in Laredo, our schools spend nearly $10,000 per student. Yes, I understand that the private schools are very selective and get rid of those kids that do not want to learn. Maybe, just maybe they have an idea that we need to really investigate.
That being the idea that there is always a group of students (I use the term loosely) who could care less about school and spend their entire time in class rooms being disruptive. Enough already. We need ditch diggers and other persons to fill menial task that no one else wants to do. Just ask those that preach about illegal immigration. They tell us there are millions of these jobs to that Americans do not want.
So, try this....if a kid is disruptive early in their school career, sent the kid out to do a few days work at a job like ditch digging, picking crops, whatever job requires little education (there are not many left.) If that does not scare them straight, and their parents don't care enough to be involved in their schooling, it is time to let them go. I know, then these kids might become wards of the state (prison/welfare, etc...) But, hey, that is happening now at an alarming rate.
Or how about this: If you are a student and you do not get a high school diploma, you will not be eligible for welfare. None. Would this be a valid incentive for some?
How about we give new ideas a try? What can it hurt?
What say you?
Posted by Tom Wade at 6:58 AM
Thursday, February 21, 2013
No matter what city council, or city staff says, I have not heard of a panhandler being hit by a car in the act of panhandling. I just cannot remember reading such an article. Maybe it has happened, but I just don't recall it. So, if it is sooooooo dangerous, where's the mangled bodies city council. Where are the facts. Laredoans let elected officials get away with far too much anecdotal information than they should. Let's see the statistics that back up your claims on panhandling being dangerous city council.
At what point do we wise up and say, HEY, no more authorized or un-authorized panhandling period. That would be a perfect ending to the whole issue. Just stop it all together and go after the giver, not the givee, and things will get better, not stop, but get better.
Posted by Tom Wade at 6:32 AM
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
|I blurred the sign..Tom|
Councilman Vera only wants the police to ticket you if you are giving to a person who is not "authorized" by the city to beg. His reasoning is that because he almost ran over a homeless person begging for money, and the city not being able to enforce its own laws against panhandling, it is now time to go after the PUBLIC who give these people money.
Now, you may have noticed I use the word begging to describe "all" of the people who stand at intersections and ask you for money, whether they are "authorized" or not.
I moved to Laredo in 1992 from the Midwest I lived in cities of all sizes before moving to Laredo at the ripe age of 39. Until I moved here, I had never, repeat never, seen school age kids, adults, and organizations wanting to raise funds stand in the street, just like the panhandlers, and beg (ask) for money. I don't know if this is just a Laredo thing, a border thing, but I don't, or haven't seen it occur in San Antonio or Dallas. But I must admit, I have not spent a lot of weekend time in those cities.
What really shocked me, and still does, is that our school districts allow kids to work intersections and beg for money. Yes, when they are in the intersections, they are begging you to give them money for some cause, whether it be to fund a trip, or buy uniforms, whatever. How can any parent, guardian, or school administrator allow such an activity to take place? What happened to "earning" your money for whatever reason you are promoting. Have a car wash, plate sale, anything but begging. The only people that should ever be on a street corner asking for something are legitimate charities, ie, Red Cross, United Way, the fire departments boot fill, and the other real groups too many to mention. Even most of the real charities do not stand in the street begging, but fund raise in other manners.
So, if I am a city council person, I tell Councilman Vera during his comments that Laredo should ban all the begging at intersections. No one, repeat no one can go and beg in the street. And then I tell him, we have a police department to enforce that law, and we will not hold the generous public accountable for being generous. And if we cannot find appropriate means to enforce the no begging ordinance, then we will look to the community for assistance in dealing with the truly homeless.
It is time for Laredo to take a big step and tell our children that standing on a street corner asking for money is never a replacement for working/earning money the old fashion way if you want to fund a trip, buy uniforms, or whatever your money making cause is about.
Posted by Tom Wade at 7:24 AM
Friday, February 15, 2013
They also tell you on national television that there is no movement to confiscate firearms. That they, as true hunters, would never, "In a hundred years," as one politician put it, try to confiscate firearms from law abiding citizens.
Well read this story about Missouri Democrats who introduced a bill requiring law abiding citizens to turn in firearms that they want to ban. If the law abiding citizen does not turn in the firearms, they will be charged as felons.
So, for all you bloggers and Facebook contributors who keep saying that there is no movement by Democrats to confiscate firearms, what say you?
Posted by Tom Wade at 6:35 AM
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
If we are going to raise the arbitrarily obtained number, why not just go ahead and make it $20 per hour? That way, no one working a minimum wage job would live in poverty.
Come on Mr. President, dream a little. We know you think the government is the do all, save all for the American public. So really, just $9? $20 per hour would do so much more in your dream world.
Posted by Tom Wade at 7:43 AM
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
My take is this, there will never be 100% equity is school financing by district. It is just not possible with the number of school districts and the varying economic situations of each district.
The state cannot equalize every dollar spent as some districts will always find a way to spend more as they are richer districts. What do the courts want to do, lower the potential spending to the lowest common denominator? If say, $1700 is the number, is that all you can spend?
To think that if the state says it costs $1700 per student to educate them properly, do you really think that the richer districts will stop there? No, they will hire better teachers and pay more, they will offer benefits and perks that do not appear on budget lines, and any host of other methods to secure the best help, and the best facilities. What about buildings, must each district have exactly the same square foot per student ratio in buildings and amenities? And finally, how do you equalize socio-economic issues?
I have real trouble when people say everything must be equal, because it can never be equal when talking about education. There are too many factors that influence the learning process and those that teach. You will not achieve 100% equal funding unless you stop richer school districts from spending above whatever the state deems the educational cost per student that will be allocated to each district.
You don't believe me, just look at the difference in Laredo between UISD and LISD. Will they ever be equal? Probably not, and they are in the same city. The only way to truly equalize schools is to make everyone spend whatever the lowest common denominator spends. And that would be a very sad state of affairs.
Posted by Tom Wade at 3:55 PM
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
What was most striking about the renewed debate of the wetlands issue was Rio Grande International Studies Center (RGISC) lack of future vision and misunderstanding of what was planned for the site by the developer.
When Riazul Mia, the Director of the City of Laredo's Environmental Division made his presentation at the council meeting concerning the wetlands and the rumors of it's demise, I was shocked at how much the developer had accomplished since this issue was raised years ago.
Mia's presentation showed what really was going to take place, and what the developer had done in the background to help secure and improve the sustainability of Lake Casablanca. The only thing changing in the layout of the wetland in question is the movement of a currently inefficient retention pond. The new pond will provide real filtration for run off pollutants, unlike the current pond which is filled with silt and does nothing for filtration. As an added bonus, the developers is adding a new man made run off filtration system to clean the run off even more.
Second, the developer bought 40 plus acres of land on the north side of the lake as a conservation easement. Both the conservation easement and the wetland (although a little smaller) cannot be built upon without another hearing in front of the United States Corps of Engineers.
Reality: This is a good deal for Laredo as a whole.
My issue: I suggested a couple of days ago that the folks at the RGISC might want to ask the city for some of the proceeds from the sale to start discussions on creating a wildlife refuge here in Laredo abutting Lake Casablanca on the east side. I was told that it would be too hard to do, and that I was crazy in suggesting such a thing, and that business people had no business in dealing with environmental issues. Now, these were not official statements from the RGISC, but from their followers. I guess I should have expected as much.
However, the RGISC, through it's director, failed in realizing the facts of the developers plans. They failed in understanding the meaning of the Corps of Engineers permit. The RGISC never mentioned the purchase of the additional 40+ acres north of the lake for the conservation easement. Instead they painted the movement of a 20 year old retention pond as the end of a "Laredo Treasure" which is just not true.
The RGISC missed a golden opportunity to work with the business community to further the future of Laredo by asking for future funding to develop a "real" area of wildlife preservation with protections provided by the United States government. Instead they burned valuable political capital on a misinformed venture to save something that was never gong to be destroyed.
Posted by Tom Wade at 8:10 AM