Letters to the Editor: July 12, 2017

092

Chicken-fried topicality

Imagine a map of the city, one you’ve seen

before, districts multicolored to demonstrate

the patchwork quilt of our town. Now imagine

who’s called upon to do the stitching to hold it

together in our minds. The fabric is not invariably

smooth but takes cultivation, articulation, dissemination;

we do not see ourselves as audience,

as readership, as citizens until the thread

is unspooled, followed, looped back again &

again. We find ourselves in this following, this

stitching together of interest & community just

as streets are populated, storefronts dressed,

kitchens lit & animated to give pattern, density

to what we knew once as a far-too-open, windy,

Western town.

John Selvidge, Short Order Poems
Oklahoma City

Repeal health care?

Americans take more antidepressants than any other country in this world, yet we don’t have a health care system that works.

Ask the Swedish how much they are willing to pay in taxes to ensure the citizens of their country have universal health care and how, ironically, they are considered one of the happiest societies on earth.

What our government needs is to ensure obtainable and realistic health care for everyone.

Christi Nelms
Oklahoma City

No repeal

Healthcare concerns us all. Leave Obama’s ACA health care plan alone!

Mohammed Alhusseiny
Tulsa

Oppose Trumpcare

Trumpcare would transfer wealth from the poor and middle classes to the rich and cause 24 million people to lose health care.

Zachary Barringer
Oklahoma City

Financing education

What seems to be happening is a focus on pipe dreams that will do little if anything alongside ignoring the 800-pound gorilla in the room. That would be the state of management. They love to put on dramatics but don’t seem to understand the value of a dollar.

Recently, a PBS program interviewed Deborah Gist, Tulsa Public Schools superintendent, about the results of our financial dilemma. She talked about laying off a sizable number of teachers and increasing class sizes, among other things. Gist came to employment in Tulsa not very long after Tulsa Public Schools rallied at the state capitol for more money.

She was hired at what the state says is a base pay of $235,000. Other sources claim cumulative wages and benefits are more like $325,000.

That figure is a little more than 10 times the average starting pay for a teacher — 10 teachers hired, but who’s counting? She was hired in 2015 but wasn’t vetted for the job until 2016. How that works, I don’t know.

To her credit though, as the crises mounted, she was the only one I know of to look at a possible pay cut for superintendent positions, as six-figure salaries are not uncommon. I don’t think the state administrators liked that idea, but only after looking at closing down neighborhood schools, one of which benefitted from $6 million in MAPS money, has the state administration at least considered something similar.

They wanted to spend money on a study as to whether or not many of the positions could be consolidated, rather than just look at the fact that every single school district regardless of size has both a super and an assistant super.

Another point is the obsession with moving the school year further and further into what is the absolute hottest period of the year, some schools starting as early as Aug. 10. Anyone spending two minutes looking at the usage graph and the related cost per kilowatt on their electric bill knows what that means.

You can magnify that by a factor of at least 10 when looking at a particular school campus. Factor into the equation that there are 520 separate school districts/campuses and you get the picture.

This is considerable money saved simply by moving the start date to right after Labor Day. But that’s the real world. Too bad it’s not government as well.

Doug Rixmann
Newalla

Do something

Thanks to the extremely suspect practices of President Donald Trump, I’ve been living in a constant state of anxiety for the past half year. The current source of nightmares: the health care debate and potential repeal of Obamacare.

For the longest time, my family had been self-paying our medical expenses. We couldn’t afford medical insurance, but as prices rose and my parents grew older, we knew we needed to sign up for something to help pay our medical bills.

When President Obama released his health care plan, known to many as Obamacare, we could finally have health insurance that didn’t cost as much as major surgery. Now, President Trump seeks to take that coverage away, but with prices still rising and my parents now in their old age, self-paying is no longer an option.

My mom and dad have chronic breathing and stomach problems requiring them to take medication and make regular doctor visits. If Trumpcare is allowed to pass, my parents won’t be able to get that treatment and may very well die, along with countless others who will lose their health insurance.

This bill must not be allowed to pass. I encourage everyone to stand against it. Write to or call your senator until their mailboxes are full, talk about it on social media, donate to a charity trying to protect our health care if you want, but do something.

Alex Hanuschak
Yukon

Citing sources

I would really like to see what sources were used in Pete’s critique on renewable energy (Opinion, Letters to the Editor, “Pull my finger,” Pete Lepo, June 21, Oklahoma Gazette). He first critiques the environmental impact of the production and transportation of wind turbines.

My response: First, show me your sources and numbers, and second are my numbers (source at end of letter).

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists’ (UCS) Environmental Impacts of Wind Power report, “Most estimates of wind turbine life-cycle global warming emissions are between 0.02 and 0.04 pounds of carbon dioxide equivalent per kilowatt-hour.

To put this into context, estimates of life-cycle global warming emissions for natural gas generated electricity are between 0.6 and 2 pounds of carbon dioxide equivalent per kilowatt-hour and estimates for coal-generated electricity are 1.4 and 3.6 pounds of carbon dioxide equivalent per kilowatt-hour.”

Natural gas itself produces 30 to 50 times as much carbon dioxide per kilowatt-hour as wind turbines, and coal produces even more!

Pete then goes on to critique the ecological impact of wind power production. While Pete is correct that wind farms can take up a lot more space than a power plant that produces an equivalent amount of power, what he fails to realize is that not all of the space is taken up by the turbines — most of it can be used for a variety of purposes after construction has been completed.

More from the UCS: “A survey by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory of large wind facilities in the United States found that they use between 30 and 141 acres per megawatt of power output capacity (a typical new utility-scale wind turbine is about 2 megawatts). However, less than 1 acre per megawatt is disturbed permanently and less than 3.5 acres per megawatt are disturbed temporarily during construction.”

Pete also vastly overstated the impact on bird and bat populations. UCS referenced a National Wind Coordinating Committee review that concluded wind turbines do not pose a threat to species populations.

Ecological impacts can also be easily be mitigated by proper siting research on the species, such as the finding referenced by the UCS that bats are actually most active during times of low wind production.

Finally, Pete also critiqued the tax incentives gained by the wind and solar industries. Let me just point out the massive tax cuts Oklahoma alone provides to the oil and natural gas industry.

Ian Dean
Norman

Correction

The July 19 Oklahoma Gazette arts and culture story “Fast love” by Tyler Talley about The Art of Speed: Oklahomans and Fast Cars  at Oklahoma History Center contained incorrect information about a July 21 after-hours event.

The exhibit is open to the public. However, the center will host a private, after-hours evening reception July 21 as a means of thanking key players for helping bring the exhibit together. We apologize for any confusion.

 

Opinions expressed on the commentary page, in letters to the editor and elsewhere in this newspaper are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of ownership or management.

Oklahoma Gazette provides an open forum for the discussion of all points of view in its Letters to the Editor section. The Gazette reserves the right to edit letters for length and clarity. Letters can be mailed, faxed, emailed to jchancellor@okgazette.com or sent online at okgazette.com. Include a city of residence and contact number for verification.

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