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Councilman promises sound fiscal decisions

As a member of the Sunnyside City Council, I listened intently Monday night as many citizens stepped up to the podium and made it clear that they are against privatization. A few of those individuals made very poignant arguments, however, the fact of the matter is this, for every city that has had a bad experience with privatization, there is another that has had a good experience.

Now, I am not saying that I am either for or against privatization. What I am saying is that the citizens of Sunnyside elected me to be their watchdog, to make sure that I make sound fiscal decisions when it comes to using the city's money. In order to do this, I need to be able to look at all aspects of the city's budget. This includes possible privatization.

Good citizens of Sunnyside, I will promise you this, whether or not I vote in favor of privatization, I will never vote for less quality or poorer standards regardless of the cost.

/s/ James A. Restucci, City Councilman, Sunnyside

Untruths about teachers don’t help fix schools

I have had the privilege of getting to know Michael Kantman over the past couple of years in the capacity as a tennis and basketball coach. He does a great job covering our local teams and I find him very likable on a personal level. I was, however, disappointed at some of the things he said in his personal column titled "Election night headache" (11-3-04).

I also voted against I-884 because I don't think throwing more money at the education problem is the answer. I would like to see the education system use existing money more effectively. In that sense I agree with Mr. Kantman.

However, Mr. Kantman's discussion of teachers wanting more pay is very off base. He notes that teachers "work a six-hour day, only work 180 days out of each year, and get to work with children." One part of that statement is true, we do get to work with children. This can be a great joy, but it can also be a tremendous struggle to have 150 kids that you are responsible for on multiple levels.

As a teacher, I take issue with Mr. Kantman's comments regarding teacher work hours. The contract for teachers in Sunnyside requires that we be at work from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. If my math is correct, that's seven and a half hours a day, not six. I don't know very many teachers who keep that schedule. Mr. Kantman might want to look at the sign-in sheet at the high school, or others for that matter, so he can see the hours that teachers come in to do work for which they are not paid. As a teacher, a 50-hour work week is not uncommon. I have had many full time jobs in my life. Teaching is the most time consuming, mentally taxing and rewarding job of them all!

When I got into this profession, money was not a deciding factor. I wanted to have time in the summer to spend with my family. What a dream that was! Not only is my summer taken up with preparing for the next school year, I am required by the state (at my expense) to increase my education. When do you think that is done? So why is there a teaching shortage in many parts of this country?

The way Mr. Kantman described it, you'd think everyone would want to teach. So, here is an open invitation. If being a teacher, advisor and mentor to 150 students daily on a $30,000 a year salary appeals to you, then this is a great job. Oh, you have to use your summers to continue your education on your dime (about $10,000 for me so far in my fourth year).

I love my job and wouldn't trade it for any career. I chose it over law school because of my passion for it. It's just frustrating to read misconceptions like Michael Kantman's, because teachers give their all to a system that has rules that they must live under. Fixing the system should be a priority, but promoting untruths about a teacher's job doesn't help.

/s/ Troy Whittle, Sunnyside High School social studies teacher

Don’t destroy

our rec programs

I was dismayed to hear that the city manager plans to eliminate the position of parks and recreation manager and divide the responsibilities of that job between the park supervisor and the secretary of the parks and recreation department. Do you believe these two individuals can handle their own duties, plus supervise the community center, museum, senior center, swimming pool, organize the children's soccer and baseball teams and organize the special craft and recreation programs for adults?

As an example of one event, last year I volunteered to help with the summer track meet. There were 300 participants. This event was held on a Saturday. Would the parks and recreation secretary or park supervisor be able to organize and run all of these track events and also do their regular duties?

The parks and recreation manager is responsible for the swimming pool programs, events at the senior center and the management of the sports leagues by assigning fields and organizing games. Will the department secretary and park supervisor be able to know what strokes should be taught in the different classifications of swimming classes? Besides their regular duties, will they be able to check on all the sports leagues and their field assignments and organize the league? Will they be present at the senior citizens casino night and participate as dealers?

The citizens of Sunnyside deserve a well organized recreational program that meets the needs of all ages. These activities provide outlets to many who would otherwise not have these advantages. When these programs decline, we will have more juvenile problems and associated negative behaviors.

Please join me in opposing the decision of the city manager to destroy our progressive recreational program for all people in the city of Sunnyside.

/s/ Dorothy L. Aiken, Sunnyside

Steve Evans

will be missed

The City of Sunnyside will certainly miss Mr. Steve Evans, a long-time member of the police force.

My family and I had the pleasure of meeting Steve when he came to St. Joseph's Hospital here in Tacoma to witness the birth of his first grandchild, Coven M. Evans Olivas. During his visit he spoke often of "his town" with great pride. He exhibited to the community he loved the same caring that he showed his oldest daughter during the difficult birth. His strength, kindness and love helped us all, and we join the City of Sunnyside in their fond farewell.

We will all miss him very much.

/s/ Rosalinda and Ron Olivas, Tacoma

Gubernatorial candidate offers thanks to voters

Although the governor's race isn't yet decided, I want to take this opportunity to thank the readers of the Daily Sun News for their involvement in the democratic process, whether or not they voted for me. It was a long campaign, and I truly enjoyed getting to know the people of Washington.

I also want to express my good wishes to Christine Gregoire and her family. No matter what the outcome of this race, I feel blessed to have had this wonderful experience.

If I do win, I'll start putting in place my Forward Washington agenda to get our economy going again and help get people back to work. If I don't, I'll consider it one of the greatest honors of my life to have had the opportunity to run for our state's highest office.

/s/ Dino Rossi

Blood drawing very successful

Sponsored by the Nouvella Club with Rita Blunk as chairperson, we had a very successful blood drawing on Nov. 2.

The quota was 70 units. We had 87 presenters and three first-time donors. Ten were unable to give, leaving 77 units collected. Because of their efforts, 231 people will have another chance at life.

Many thanks to the sponsors for donating the cookies and juice, the United Methodist Church for the use of its hall, Bob Story for the great publicity in the Daily Sun News and Max of Washington Corrugators for displaying the banner at Centennial Square.

I would like to thank the following volunteers: Ella Mae Lochner, Myrtis Lang, Alice Benedetti, Phyllis Morris, Trude Meadowcroft, Letha Grubb, Lu Ann Roach, Nita Coleman, Lila Furukawa and Ruth Stark.

A very special thank you to the donors, who are the lifeline for the flow of blood in the Valley. We hope to see you at the next blood drawing on Jan. 4, at the United Methodist Church in Sunnyside from 1 to 6 p.m.

/s/ Marie Handy, Sunnyside

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