Saturday, May 19, 2007

THE PEOPLE SPEAK - Letters To The Editor

Dear Tony,

The police department is made up of three factions. The Fraternal order of Police, The St. Charles City Police Organization, and the independent police who belong to neither. I know as a retired teacher that school districts had trouble negotiating if there was more than one union. The teachers could either have NEA or MSTA but not both! It’s a miracle to me how they can run that department with three factions. Chief Swope did it and is a hero for the effort.

In the next segment of the letter I am going to pretend I’m like Bill O’Reilly.

These are the facts of the case as I read them are heard them. I will announce a score for the Mayor at then end of each fact.

Fact 1. The Mayor parked her Lexus in the parking lot. True.

Fact 2. She commandeered an office in the building. True.

Fact 3. Told the assembled police she was the police chief while she was there. This is true but she denied. Score PI.

Fact 4. She countermanded all of Chief Swope’s orders. True but she denied claim. Score N.

Fact 5. She called all of the women into “her office” one at a time to ask about sexual harassment. True but she again denied. Score OC.

Fact 6. Gave order to police. Chief Swope was completely out of the loop. He had no control. True but she denied. Score HI.

She stayed 1 1⁄2 weeks. It was total chaos. True but she denied. Score O.

Let me see. Each denial is worth 4 inches. Our Mayor’s nose grew 16 inches. She has out done Pinocchio!!!!

Jane Horning

Dear Editor,

I read your article about Chief Swope with a heavy heart. This young man was a tremendous asset to the City of St. Charles and should have been kept. I say should have been kept because if this was a truly mutual agreement than there wouldn’t be a need for a gag order incorporated into the contract that was signed. I find it amusing that the Mayor would force the Chief out one day then dismantle the upper management of the department the next. “It’s a package deal” looks to be exactly that, a “package deal”. I do feel betrayed by the Post and the Journal for their lack of journalistic ethic in dealing with the Mayor and her statements. They now know the Mayor lied to them and the public, to top it off the Post still perpetuates the lie with the last article about the Chiefs dismissal. Thanks for keeping us informed, and
congratulations on another scoop of the other two papers.

Best Regards,

B. Williams

There goes the neighborhood – but maybe not
Dear Tony,

The “celebration” of the closing of Benton Elementary is premature, since a couple of people had petitions to keep Benton open as a school during the event. And people were signing them. The board will be asked to rescind its decision to close Benton.

In general, people are eager to sign the petitions. Keeping our core neighborhood schools open is easily the most popular idea in town, at least north of I-70. People say, “You bet I do!” when asked if they would like to sign. Or, “I was hoping somebody would get a petition going!” It’s beyond politics. Since joining the “Keep Historic Benton School Teaching” campaign, I’ve also heard how distressed people still are at the closing of Blackhurst. Yet the school district plans to close all the elementary and middle schools, eventually. And build a big box school somewhere? Or privatize the schools?

The only people who won’t sign the Benton petition are connected to the district, or working for the “competition,” private schools. (Speaking of which, school board member Karen Perrone is the business manager for the Academy of the Sacred Heart. And Donna Towers works for Lindenwood, a private university that brokers its own real estate transactions.)

Closing neighborhood schools is an idea that was probably dreamed up when gas was much cheaper. Because, thanks to concern over climate change and rising gas prices, the latest trend in living is the old-fashioned neighborhood, with shopping, restaurants, schools, and services within walking and biking distance. Other cities have embraced the concept. And so has St. Charles, with New Town.

We now know that the school district has the money to justify leaving things as they are, and yes, there are enough students. There is no public support for closing the schools. Some Coverdell School parents are even considering a petition to keep all the “extra” kids out. I’d sign it!

Three school board members will be up for election next spring. I’m not going to speculate why the board chose to treat school children like commodities, and attempt a hostile takeover of the school and, by proxy, our core neighborhoods. However, if I were those board members about to run for office, I’d be thinking, “Wow! We’ve created a public relations nightmare.”

Luckily, they have the power to end it any time, now.
Peggy Whetzel