Readers comments 4.18.12
Thank you for the moving notice of
Bill Selke’s passing (COURIER, Saturday,
April 7). We have lost a bright,
engaged and valued fellow citizen.
I am privileged to have known Bill
virtually since his family’s arrival in
Claremont and followed his outstanding
teaching career at Pomona High
In recent months I have been blessed
with his company in regular visits to an
aquatic therapy class at Ability First
where Bill’s friendly wit was much appreciated.
I shall greatly miss that wit
and humanity and will remain forever
grateful for his many contributions to
our life in this community.
Crusade at CHS
I would like to learn more about the
Civic Center Act. Would it be possible
for, say, the neo-Nazis to rent Claremont
High School for a rally?
A phony Democrat
I received a very professional campaign
mailer from a phony Democrat.
She changed her party registration just
before the deadline to run for State Assembly.
Her mailer promises “Results.
Not Politics,” but it provides no clue to
the results she seeks or the policies she
supports and opposes.
She calls herself a successful businesswoman,
but the positions she holds
are in her family's business—a chain of
luxury car dealerships. Like a national
candidate whom I don't need to name,
she was born to wealth.
In our increasingly class-based economy,
that does pretty much guarantee
financial success, especially if your
own family gives you a high-paying
job in their business.
She has contributed $150,000 to her
own campaign, according to the website
of our California Secretary of State.
Most of the other contributions are
from professionals and business owners
who serve dealerships or who are
dealers themselves. Instead of calling
herself a Democratic candidate, she
should call herself the luxury car dealers’
If elected, how could she avoid voting
in the Assembly for their interests
and the interests of their wealthy customers
instead of the broader public's
If she does eventually send us a campaign
mailer proclaiming what she’ll
vote for and against if elected to the Assembly,
I’ll be skeptical.
A sovereign nation
In his Saturday, April 14 letter,
“Words have consequences,” Mr. Rob
DeChaine asks, “What part of ‘human
being’does Mr. Lening not understand?”
(referring to an earlier letter).
Sadly, Mr. DeChaine also throws
around the usual intended slur of “nativist.”
Let’s think about this, though. The
United States of America is a sovereign
nation. A sovereign nation has the right
to control its own territory and borders.
A sovereign nation also has the right to
determine its own destiny. The citizens
of every sovereign nation are the people
who decide upon their own destiny.
This concept applies not just to citizens
of the United States of America,
but to the citizens of every other sovereign
nation, as well, some of whom are
illegally present in the United States of
Unfortunately, Mr. DeChaine intentionally
muddies the issue by implying
that anyone who uses the term “illegal
alien” conceives of other people as illegal
human beings. Obviously preposterous.
At this point, it might be helpful to
consider that term “illegal alien.” The
“illegal” part of the phrase indicates
that a person is not complying with the
laws of a sovereign nation. The “alien”
part of the phrase indicates that the person
is not a citizen of that particular
Some people have seen the US immigration
document commonly referred
to as a Green Card (which isn’t
actually green). On this government-issued
card, at the top, in large letters, it
states Resident Alien. This identifies
the bearer of the card as a legally-approved
resident of the United States of
America (resident), yet also still a citizen
of a different sovereign nation
Now, I’d like to pose my own question,
What part of the “rule of law”
does Mr. DeChaine not understand?
Without the rule of law one has either
anarchy or a despotic government.
Which does Mr. DeChaine advocate?
Teaching is an art
I read CFA President Joe Tonan’s recent
interview with great pleasure
(COURIER, Saturday, April 14). I particularly
appreciated his incisive critique
of Los Angeles Unified School
District Superintendent John Deasy’s
recent talk at Claremont Graduate University.
As a Cal State University Los Angeles
education professor with 20 years
of experience working with LAUSD
teachers and students (and many years
before that spent as a classroom teacher
in Pomona), I can tell you that Dr.
Deasy’s school-as-factory policies are
not serving a great many of LAUSD’s
students, particularly those who can
least afford to be further marginalized.
His pay-for-performance model,
based largely on standardized test
scores, is deeply flawed and serves to
alienate teachers and students alike. Dr.
Deasy’s attempts to provide equitable
learning opportunities via a system demanding
allegiance to commercialized
text-and-test formats demeans LAUSD
faculty and denies many students a
chance to be truly motivated by authentic
Further, insinuating that teachers are
somehow responsible for the achievement
gap that Dr. Deasy denounces
(when responsible research and practice
agree that this gap is associated
most significantly with disparities in income
and opportunity) belies his supposed
interest in leveling the playing
In short, Dr. Deasy’s policies are
doing little to advance the professionalism
of LAUSD faculty or the success
of LAUSD students.
As a parent of 2 Sycamore Elementary
School students, I am proud to find
that our CFA President is not drinking
the Kool-Aid being offered by Superintendent
Deasy and like-minded
school “reformers.” Mr. Tonan continues
to support student-centered policies
for our district despite the current fiscal
challenges, and is absolutely right
when he notes that teaching is an art as
well as a science.
Bravo to Mr. Tonan, CFA, and
CUSD for focusing on our daughters
and sons instead of on opportunities for
John Eichinger, PhD