Quotes Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on charter schools

To the Editor:

Regarding “Charter schools look to reform education on the Westside” in the July 9th issue of The Argonaut:

Charter schools not only spur their public school counterparts to upgrade their performance, they enlarge the choices of parents in child-rearing. Competition breeds innovation, whereas monopoly produces stagnation in all endeavors, especially learning.

Secretary of Education under President Barack Obama, Arne Duncan, elaborated in a June 22nd address at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools conference, “What I like most about our best charters is that they think differentlyÖSo I’m a big supporter of these successful charter schools and so is the president.

“That’s why one of our top priorities is a $52 million increase in charter school funding in the 2010 budget. We also want to change the law and allow federally-funded charters to replicate.”

Waiting lists and individually tailored curriculums testify to parent and student enthusiasm for charters. And federal support will relieve budgetary pressures on California’s state and local governments.

Mattie Fein, American Freedom Agenda, National and LA chapter, Executive Director, Washington, DC

Letter writer in Canada follows story of young circumnavigator

To the—Editor:

Sarah, my wife of 50 years, and I were watching the 6 o’clock local [Ottawa] news tonight when they ran the story of Sunderland’s completion of his solo ’round the world voyage, including the fact that he had arrived in Marina del Rey.

I knew immediately that I would find a story on it online in The Argonaut, either this week or next, and was glad to see that you had anticipated his safe arrival and had gone to print with the story ahead of his arrival. What a magnificent achievement on his part, and a great story on yours!

I’m looking forward to reading your coverage of Zac’s arrival and the ensuing celebrations in next week’s Argonaut!

Robert Brown, Kanata, Ontario, Canada

Overdevelopment in the Marina is ‘privatization of public recreation’

To the Editor:

At the Small Craft Harbor Commission meeting this month, the director of the Department of Beaches and Harbors, Santos Kreimann, claimed that the public has not come up with any constructive information or real alternatives to the slip-sizing study and that the attacks on the study are wearing thin on him.

The truth is the county’s definition of a study is wearing thin on the public. I am a CPA with an auditing and fraud investigation background and I can tell you that the county’s studies are not worth the paper they are printed on.

In order to have meaningful discourse, we need an objective analysis of fresh data, not the repackaging of information collected by the Department of Beaches and Harbors to prove its hypotheses. As the saying goes, “garbage in, garbage out.” And based on these “studies,” they will eliminate 800 more slips under 35 feet and over six public parking lots. Less parking equals more landside development. That’s what I call the privatization of public recreation.

Furthermore, Mr. Kreimann says that his door is open any time to discuss Marina issues but he has not seen anyone. He just confirmed what members of the public already feel — he does not truly see or hear us.

What does he think we are doing at the mike every month? By email? By letter? From the moment he became acting director, we have told Mr. Kreimann that we want a say on land use. That we want a say on whether or not a 19-story hotel is built on Tahiti Way, not simply what color it should be.

We told him we don’t want more hotels on Mothers Beach. We don’t want more massive apartment buildings like Esprit I. And we want to protect the herons and egrets, not move them like pets. The response: the 18-plus projects he “inherited” are a done deal and there is nothing he could do about it. So then Mr. Kreimann, what truly is on the table for discussion?

David Barish, Co-director, We ARE Marina del Rey