Recent letters to the editor from Gazette readers.
Pay teachers what they are worth
Several states are facing teacher shortages and teacher walkouts. I don't think the general public is aware of just how little we make. I've been teaching for almost 20 years and I have a master's degree. I make less than $50,000 a year. My tennis shoes have holes in them. I haven't been able to get new glasses since 2010. I drive a 2001 car because it's paid for. My child qualifies for free preschool. We don't have anything fancy, and we don't travel. My kids choose between extracurricular activities because we can't afford all of them.
Every teacher I know loves what they do and they wouldn't trade it for anything. They work tirelessly. There are always the exceptions and those teachers make the news for doing something absurd but I'm telling you, 99 percent of teachers work extremely hard, against multiple obstacles, with expectations that are impossible to meet... but they can't afford the basics.
Until we respect what teachers do, there will always be a shortage. We should be paid what other professions are paid with equivalent educations, but I could make more money working at Target. Trust me, I've looked in to it.
Not everyone has disposable income
I was dismayed at The Gazette editorial about libraries. I guess the same informal survey results would have been obtained had the question been "when was the last time you rode the bus?"
Not everyone has the disposable income to be able to buy every book (print or electronic) they want to read. For many lower-income families, the library is the only way they can get books (or DVDs), or even to use a computer. And the free audible downloads are critical to the visually impaired. Now that I am a retiree, I stopped purchasing all my books and now almost exclusively obtain them from the library - almost all as digital downloads. If you think that all libraries do is provide print books and a "reference desk" then you truly are a dinosaur. Want to get your book with a click of the mouse? You can do that through the library without your credit card being charged. And I guess you have no idea what the "Maker Center" at Library 21c is. I'm not surprised that millennials use the library more than you older dinosaurs who have no idea about the myriad of things our modern libraries offer.
Only those with deep pockets
It is glaringly obvious that whoever wrote the editorial piece "Budget hawk challenges library spending" believes that only those institutions which all people use should be funded by public money. This being so, we must obviously close down all the schools that are also supported by property taxes, as only some people have children attending. Additionally, the taxpayers' money shouldn't be wasted on the Health Department, which also benefits fewer than 100 percent of the population. While we're at it, I think funding for parks should be obliterated as well. I never use them, so why should we have them?
The comments upon the easy availability of books from Amazon shows the ignorance and classism of the writer, who obviously needn't consider his or her pocketbook before pursuing information or entertainment in the written word. Apparently only those with deep pockets are entitled to access to history, poetry, literature, science, music, art, and support for further learning, whether in pursuit of formal education or the personal satisfaction of learning and growing.
Libraries contain the building blocks of the present and the future, a place and way to be introduced to vast intellectual experiences, and a leveling mechanism for access and availability to all this magic and possibility. Libraries foster the camaraderie of reading and learning, helping to form connections within the community through threads that might never have met or contacted otherwise, enriching all involved. PPLD continues to expand its services and locations, easing accessibility to all within its district, and that is tax money well-spent.
If the "budget hawk" can't see this, then perhaps he needs to spend some time in the library and expand his horizons, with an open mind.
Guns don't kill people
I had a friend who left a gun on a table pointing toward the street. During the next month that gun didn't shoot a car, a person, a pet, or into a house anywhere. Shouldn't that gun get a reprieve from control based upon good behavior?
Guns don't kill people; people do! If the number of knifings starts to increase, should we confiscate all the kitchen, hunting and pocket knives in this country?
How many deaths occur from use of a motor vehicle? But please don't take away my car.
I believe Australia has had gun control for a full year. The elected officials are still wondering why shootings and killings have increased. Chicago has very strict gun control, but shootings increased. When guns are outlawed only outlaws will have guns. Will that make us safer?
Debate was a valuable experience
Thanks to The Gazette for covering the nationalism v. globalism debate at UCCS between former Mexican president Vicente Fox and Brexit leader Nigel Farage. As a result of your coverage, I attended and found it a valuable experience. I would like to offer a couple of observations:
I believe the purpose of the event was successfully accomplished in that both sides were presented, heard, and seemed to be listened to respectfully. In my case, while I identified more closely with the perspective presented by President Fox, I heard things with which I could agree as well as disagree from both speakers. And I believe that is just the point of an event like this - it is not about agreeing with everything "our side" says; rather it should be about attempting to understand and learn from other perspectives as well. Part of the problem in our current divisive political atmosphere is "either/or" thinking. We need more "both/and" thinking and a recognition that differing viewpoints can each simultaneously contain truth.
Much of The Gazette's coverage after the debate focused on a disruption that occupied about a half a minute of the hour and a half event. I was seated just several seats behind this disruption so could see it unfold and would like to compliment the event's organizers, the moderator and the police for being prepared and for their immediate and effective handling of the disruption. In this case, the individual disrupting this exchange was a Trump supporter - but whether the disruption comes from the right or the left, listening is a prerequisite to critical thinking.