- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 7, 2008

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

More of the same on vouchers

Sen. Barack Obama opposes vouchers for use at private schools because he believes they would undermine public schools. So, while inner-city schools are failing abysmally and the union system at the heart of the problem allows it to happen, Mr. Obama is basically supporting the unions that have a stranglehold on public schools. School choice is the only chance inner-city children have. It is also the only way to change the public-school system.

In his July 2007 address to the National Education Association, Mr. Obama supported merit pay for teachers, to be based on standards to be developed with teachers.

Mr. Obama also called for higher pay for teachers. Mr. Obama’s plan is estimated to cost $18 billion annually and would be partially funded by cutting funding to NASA. The bulk of the cuts would be derived from delaying the Constellation spacecraft program for five years. Once again, his position is simply to prop up the unions through largesse and, to add insult to injury, he will stymie an inspirational space program to do it.

Basically, his school position is to continue support of unions. Not much “change” or “audacity” in that position.

ED JOHNSON

Royal Oak, Mich.

Raw milk

Hooray for your article “Black market milking” (Culture, Tuesday), which accurately illustrated the reasons so many of us here in the Washington area go to such lengths to obtain raw milk.

Like most of my friends, I find that raw milk is superior in every way to the processed milk in the supermarket. What I don’t understand is why the government bureaucrats can’t let us eat and drink in peace. Since when does the government get to decide what foods are available to independent, hardworking citizens?

Why must these government agents harass the few small farmers we have left in our nation when they are merely producing fabulous food for private exchange with independent citizens who know what we want?

If these bureaucrats truly intend to ban all foods with any risk, very little will be left on supermarket shelves. By the time they take the spinach, raw meat, fish, deli meats and pasteurized milk all of which are periodically contaminated with dangerous bacteria there will be nothing nutritious left to eat. I imagine that those at the Food and Drug Administration, the Department of Agriculture and the state agriculture departments all feel competent to choose their own foods. Maybe they even eat raw spinach or sushi. Maybe they shop at the supermarket, or maybe, like most raw-milk enthusiasts, they prefer to shop at farms and farmers markets and to know their suppliers.

The point is that nobody should deny anyone else the right to make these choices. This is the United States of America, after all, not communist China. If we American citizens do not have the right to choose our own foods, what rights do we have?

LEAH MACK

Knoxville, Md.

False policing of illegals

As your editorial page frequently points out, Montgomery County’s commercial business districts, parking lots and storefronts are increasingly being flooded with illegal immigrant day laborers in search of work.

Not needed and uninvited into Maryland, workers are even refusing to utilize the controversial taxpayer-funded workers centers run by the illegal immigrant support group CASA of Maryland.

Instead, these lawbreaking individuals are scaring away potential customers or, at a minimum, forcing wary women shoppers to run an unwelcome gantlet just to make a purchase.

In Gaithersburg, Silver Spring, Wheaton, Twinbrook and Takoma Park, the blight of illegals congregating in public grows daily thanks to Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett and his faithful Police Chief J. Thomas Manger.

It’s even spreading to formerly untouched communities like Rockville, where illegal workers are congregating a short walk from a neighborhood high school. Vulnerable students who make morning and lunchtime purchases are forced to mingle with a feeding frenzy of workers begging for jobs from anyone within shouting distance.

Not surprisingly, more and more citizens are refusing to shop at such business districts, taking their families to safer, stress-free, albeit less convenient environments.

Businesses are beginning to fight back but in a manner that puts the financial burden on the taxpayer, of course. Instead of hiring their own guards to enforce no trespassing on the property, businesses are entering into agreements with the Montgomery County Police to do the job for them.

By just picking up the phone, companies prompt the police to chase away the illegal workers from neighborhood 7-Elevens, Dunkin’ Donuts, gas stations and Home Depots. The police, under orders from Chief Manger, don’t detain and arrest the workers but just hand them a Spanish-language flyer and shoo them away.

At least some of these workers must be wanted by federal authorities. Yet they just wander away, which assures more future phone calls to Montgomery County’s finest.

Now, I understand why Chief Manger says he doesn’t have enough officers to send his people to the needed Immigration and Customs Enforcement 287(g) training program. His officers must be too busy serving and protecting the Home Depots, Dunkin’ Donuts and 7-Elevens across the county. I think I feel another Ike Leggett property tax increase coming to pay for Chief Manger’s latest law enforcement folly.

BRAD BOTWIN

Director

Help Save Maryland

Rockville, MD 20855

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