Anti-charter bias, not parking, driving clash at school
Re: “Conflict simmers over traffic woes at Stoner Avenue Elementary,” Oct. 17
I’m a parent at Citizens of the World Charter school, and my daughter was one of the students who had to walk past protesters on Friday (Oct. 18) yelling, “Hey hey! Ho ho! CWC has got to go!”
I thought this issue was parking until I came to pick up my daughter and was handed a small, yellow flyer filled with anti-charter school Internet links.
I understand very well that many charter schools are run by for-profit corporations that have no interest in educating children and endeavor only to enrich themselves. And so when I decided to enroll my daughter, I looked very carefully at the mission and methods of CWC. And what I found was a community of dedicated educators committed to teaching every single child to her or his fullest potential through methods that truly engage the child and draw upon a natural love of learning.
As the daughter of a lifelong teacher, I am invested in knowing that the teachers at any school that my kids attend are not being exploited. And I know that at CWC they are not.
I was particularly offended to see the question on the flyer that read: “Does CWC recruit only certain populations or are minority students, special needs students and students with low test scores excluded?”
Such a question could only come from someone who has a generic animus against charter schools with no knowledge of CWC. My daughter has friends — not just classmates, but actual friends — at CWC who are African-American, Latino/a, Asian-American, white, and of mixed race. Every scrap of information from the school is in both English and Spanish, and the principal hosts both coffee and cafecito sessions with parents. The school gives preference in its enrollment lottery to children eligible for free or reduced lunches. And I know for a fact that special needs students are welcomed at CWC, because my friend’s son who has special needs attends CWC and loves it.
If this issue is truly about parking, I know that I, as a CWC parent, and we, the CWC community, are committed to finding a solution. But I strongly object to anyone who protests our school using “parking” as a cover for an ulterior motive.
Anoosh Jorjorian
Santa Monica

Protest against charter missed the mark
Re: “Conflict simmers over traffic woes at Stoner Avenue Elementary,” Oct. 17
Turn over a rock at any so-called grassroots protest against a charter school and you will typically find the teachers union behind it, whipping up fake controversy.
Your story failed to mention that protest organizer Jose Benitez is an LAUSD employee and as a teacher was rated “less effective than average” in a Los Angeles Times report.
Perhaps Benitez could improve his performance if he spent less time on the sidewalk protesting Citizens of the World Charter during school hours. Friday’s protest, timed to coincide with a CWC tour, reeked of union dirty tricks.
Fortunately, parents who are drawn to charter schools tend to be informed enough to see through this. We haven’t decided where to send our child to kindergarten yet, but if anything, this faux protest tipped the scales toward CWC, which isn’t bound by the union’s absurd lifetime tenure rules that protect ineffective teachers like him.
Last year the powerful California Teachers Association helped kill a bill that would have made it slightly easier to fire teachers who abuse students. Then it tried to pass a sham bill to reduce the political fallout from protecting pedophiles instead of kids. Gov. Jerry Brown, usually a strong ally of CTA, vetoed the bill, saying it made the problem even worse.
We are generally supportive of unions but can think of no other profession that makes it nearly impossible to fire not only poor performers but also those who endanger children.
LAUSD couldn’t even immediately fire the Miramonte Elementary School teacher who is charged with blindfolding students, feeding them his own semen and putting cockroaches on their faces. LAUSD had to pay him to leave, and he’s sitting in jail, collecting his pension, paid for by taxpayers.
As long as that’s the case, parents will continue to flee to innovative and high-performing charter schools like CWC, which have more control over hiring decisions. The unions know that, which is why they use underhanded tactics to attack fledgling charters.
There may be some legitimate logistical concerns that need to be worked out as CWC gets off the ground, and we are fairly certain they can be addressed with a little constructive dialogue. However, we suspect these protest shenanigans are less an issue of traffic and parking than an anti-charter political agenda in disguise.
Jenny and Victor Chi
Westchester

Mar Vista should chill out about medical pot
Re: “Mar Vista rallies against proposed pot clinic, Oct. 17”
I was too ill to attend the meeting of the Mar Vista Community Council but wish I had been there. Anyone who wants to stop a pot clinic is either myopically ignorant, blatantly moronic or has been blessed to have never had cancer or the other diseases medical pot benefits. Really, really stupid, or worse: selfish.
Since 1954 I have been fighting cancers all over my body. That’s 59 years. In 1952 I was accidentally overdosed with radiation when given X-ray treatments, like millions of others around the world from the 1930s to the late 1950s.
In 2001 I had a tumor the size of a golf ball in the arch of my left foot. I was in agony all the way up to my hip while the leg dragged along, sleep evaded me and morphine and methadone were useless. I went to Europe. A friend there suggested I “take a puff”; within minutes I was pain free but not stoned.
I believe that marijuana is an intelligent plant and knows why it is being smoked. Wanna get high? Wanna no pain? Come to Earth Mamma’s friend!
Jeanne Elizabeth Blum
Santa Monica

Potholes, not pot, should take priority in Mar Vista
Re: “Mar Vista rallies against pot clinic,” Oct. 17
Where are the priorities in Mar Vista? Many streets and sidewalks are in disrepair, and an article about pot ends up on the front page of your newspaper.
You should rather concentrate your energy on the fact that people like me are getting hurt badly on Mar Vista streets and make sure the L.A. Bureau of Street Services is not turning a deaf ear when residents like me come forward and tell them over and over again where problems exist.
What good is it for me to call 311 when the department is totally unresponsive? Can they please take a more proactive approach rather than reacting after someone gets hurt?
In a direct plea to Councilman Mike Bonin, please tell me what I can further do after contacting both your field offices about fixing the road on the 3600 block of McLaughlin Avenue in Mar Vista before someone else falls from his bike like I did. Also please tell me how many more years the sidewalks near Charnock and Centinela will look like they do today?
Is it a lack of money, a lack of respect or a lack of responsibility on the city’s part? I don’t know. But in the presence of issues like this there’s 200 people coming together to talk about marijuana. This makes me very angry.
[Argonaut reporter] Gary Walker previously wrote that some sidewalks are at such an angle that they have attracted skateboarders who use them as ramps. What are the residents in this area doing about this? There seems to be a total lack of interest in dealing with infrastructure issues.
Stefan Treff
Santa Monica

Santa Monica Airport is worth saving
Re: “Close the Santa Monica Airport … with a caveat,” guest opinion, Oct. 10
We don’t often write letters, but feel this is necessary on the Santa Monica Airport topic.
When we were plane owners, flying back and forth to the Salinas Valley, it was a pleasure to have this airport at our disposal rather than Hawthorne or Whitman. We lived in Venice and still do. It’s been 45 years now —45 years we’ve been listening to people complain that they should never have bought a home near the airport in the first place.
The problem, as we see it, is lengthening the runway to allow small jets to land. Leaving the “buffer” zone too short at 300 feet is wrong. It should be left at the 1,000 feet it was.
This is a small-plane airport and should be available to small plane owners, commuters, flying schools and tourists. It should not be turned into condos and parks. We know the developers are salivating at the thought of getting their hands on this piece of land.
If someone would take the time to count the number of small planes taking off and landing everyday, they would be agog at the ratio of small planes to accidents.
Stop this constant complaining and be thankful the city has revenue from a beautiful airport and spend a day at the museum, restaurants and various events.
Bruce and Marlyn Gibson
Venice

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