Friday, March 21, 2003
Brophy will not run again
To the Editor:
As election season approaches I must tell you all that I will not be standing for re-election as Town Moderator this May. My family and I will be traveling much of the coming school year. An absentee Moderator cannot serve the town's interests well enough in these complicated times. I have no doubts that among all of you who have participated in Town Meeting directly and indirectly we have plenty of talent for doing this job. I hope those of you who are interested will consider running for this position, and that if you have any questions about the job, you will call me. Thank you all for these three years, your patience, support and civility.
CSA/CEF fundraiser hit the jackpot
To the Editor:
Well, it is said that it takes a whole community to raise our children, and in this day and age it takes a whole community to help raise money to educate our children. This past Saturday night our community hit the jackpot at the first-ever CSA/CEF auction fundraiser. This weekend's auction far exceeded our expectations from the generous support of parents, teachers and community members at the 250-plate dinner-dance held at the Middlesex School in Concord.
As a member of the acquisition committee, I was overwhelmed by the tremendous enthusiasm and willingness of all our townspeople to contribute to and create for this first time event. From our talented local artists and businesses, to our very creative parents, this event was a tremendous success - financially and emotionally.
Here we sit in an economic slump and on the brink of war which in itself would be enough for anyone to say no - not so. Carlisle said yes. It is through the tremendous generosity and commitment of all Carlilians who so strongly believe in excellence in our schools, that allows the CSA/CEF fund to bask in glory this season.
We all had such fun working together enjoying each others company on Saturday night and best of all our schools will reap the rewards. Thank you all for your hard work and ability to believe it could be done.
Brooke Farrell Cragan
Safe homes booklet for high school students
To the Editor:
The Concord-Carlisle Parents Initiative (CCPI) is distributing the Concord-Carlisle Parent Partnership for Safe Homes booklet to all families with public middle and high school students in our two towns on Friday, March 21. This booklet, distributed in homerooms, contains helpful tips for parents who are hosting a teen gathering at their home. Equally important are the suggestions on how a parent can check on party plans elsewhere to assure that the host parents know about the gathering, that there will be responsible adult supervision, and that a drug and alcohol-free environment will be provided. There is also information regarding the legal implications of illegal use or possession of alcohol in Massachusetts.
The booklet is the result of an initiative, which began last fall with the distribution of pledge forms through the public middle schools and CCHS. Two hundred sixty-two families in Concord and Carlisle returned these pledges, making a good-faith commitment to other parents to provide a supervised, drug and alcohol-free home for teen gatherings. Families who signed the pledge received, in the mail, this booklet with the directory of all those who made the same commitment. Since this is the first time this initiative has been accomplished in our communities, we know that the directory is not complete. Please know that this initiative is ongoing, pledge forms will again be disseminated in the fall with a revised publication to follow next school year. A reference copy of the booklet with the directory is at the Gleason Library.
CCPI's goal, in the creation of this booklet, is to provide useful information to all families and to attempt to open lines of communication among parents of teens. We are working, within a larger Concord and Carlisle coalition, to reduce risky behaviors, which are currently on the rise in our communities. We are proud to bring this booklet and its support network to our towns.
Mary Cheever, CCPI Carlisle Rep
High school salary information offered
To the Editor:
The CCHS contractual infor-mation published in recent editions of the Mosquito has selectively cited worst-case extremes. In the interest of promoting an intelligent and fair discussion of CCRSD issues, please consider the following facts.
1. The salary schedule consists of Tracks: Bachelor (B); B+15; Master (M); M+15; M+30; M+45; M+60; and a Doctorate Track added in 2000. (The numbers following the degrees represent accumulated graduate credits.) The Tracks are comprised of 17 Steps, each of which represents a year of professional experience.
2. The table below shows represen-tative 1986 and 2002 CCHS salaries. The percent-change in buying power (Boston CPI-U) shows the degree to which each step has been adjusted for inflation by negotiators.
3. The maximum '02-'03 salary for a classroom teacher (Doctorate, Step 17) is $82,244.
4. Salaries in excess of the schedule occur as a result of extra-curricular stipends and merit/longevity awards that have also generally deteriorated in buying power since 1986.
5. A teacher who is at a maximum step receives an annual increase that approximates inflation. For '02-'03 this was 3.0% while the actual Boston CPI-U increase was 3.3%.
6. A teacher receiving experience increments will get the cost-of-living adjustment plus an additional Step. This will be about a 7.1% total increase.
7. The teacher advancing a Track due to the completion of graduate work and receiving an experience increment can realize a 10-14% increase. Clearly, this does not happen to an individual teacher very often.
The CCHS salary schedule is designed to attract, maintain, and retain excellent teachers. The fact that, nationally, the majority of new teachers quit the profession within three years of service is solid evidence that teaching is a deceptively difficult job and that recruiting and retaining high quality professionals is a critical and demanding task. We cannot afford to address the profession or its compensation glibly.
Thanks to those who gave to 'Save the Yearbook Fund'
To the Editor:
This past summer a group of eighth graders got together to start a "Save the Yearbook Fund." We decided to reach out to friends and townspeople when we learned that the middle school yearbook wouldn't be a part of the 2002-2003 school year due to the budget cuts.
In the end, the Carlisle School Association (CSA) came up with the money needed to fund the Middle School Yearbook as well as the Student Council and the Math League. We thank everyone in the CSA who helped with this. It meant a lot to our "Save the Yearbook" team and to the entire middle school.
We wish to thank all the generous people who helped us with our fund. In total we collected over $700. After we learned that the donations we gathered were no longer needed for the yearbook, we decided to consult with Mr. Goyer, our principal. We spoke with him about our concern that next year the school may face similar financial challenges. He agreed with us.
We told Mr. Goyer about a plan we devised to give our money to the CSA with the suggestion that the funds be used to save other future middle school activities. He thought this was a good idea. When we learned that the CSA is unable to cash the checks we collected, we decided to give these donations directly to the school committee.
So, we have presented our funds to the school committee explaining that we hope that they would use this money to save the valuable middle school activities that we were so fortunate to enjoy.
In last fall's letter to the editor, we promised that we would list the names of all donors in the Mosquito. Following are the people who made an extra effort to help our school. We greatly thank: Friends (to $10): Barbara Culkins, Rana Rafiq, The Dweck Family, The Chiotelis Family
Sponsors (to $25): The Prats Family, The Schad Family, The Dawson Family, Bruce Grean, Carol Ostrowski, The O'Donnell Family. Benefactors (to $50): Carolyn Stein, The Stone Family, Julia Krapf, The Offenheiser Family, The Marsh Family, The Fritz-Endres Family, The Saul Family. Special Recognition (over $100): The White Family.
We are also grateful to everyone who visited our "Save the Yearbook" stand at Old Home Day and to all of our families who never failed to support us. Thanks again to all whom helped us with our efforts to save the yearbook.
and Lauren Lamere
Watching the chips fall
To the Editor:
I remembered the Mosquito's headline of November 8, 2002: "Carlisle gives a resounding yes to Romney," when I read the headline of March 14, 2003:
"Govemor's budget hits Carlisle," and CCHS principal Arthur Dulong's anguished commentary: " . . . Governor Romney's pledge not to hurt education as he reduces the state budget has turned out to be both hollow and hurtful."
At that point I recalled, as I so often do, a telling New Yorker cartoon: Angry executive to subordinate: "Winchner, you know damn well that when I said, 'Let the chips fall where they may' I didn't mean on me!"
Thanks for a great cross-country skiing season at Great Brook
To the Editor:
The end of a long and fun ski season at Great Brook Farm State Park has come. I would like to thank the skiers, the park staff, the Carlisle Police Department, and other townspeople who helped make this a memorable year, one which saw great happiness and enthusiasm generated here at the park. The patience of the hikers and horseback riders who kept off the groomed ski trails was especially appreciated. Above all, a heartfelt thanks goes to Mother Nature for providing the necessary ingre-dients.
Great Brook Ski Touring Center
Disasters are not just a local affair
To the Editor:
The article concerning disaster management was most timely, but I believe incomplete. It dealt with potential disasters as essentially local issues, and of course many of those cited are. However, in the world we now face, I think it important to consider how to cope with much larger- scale problems. My concern is with those purposely initiated by terrorist groups, with the intent of causing wide- scale panic. Such weapons as "dirty bombs" and chemical or bio-warfare agents, employed in one large city, would not only cause panic flight and disorder there: I would expect much of the population of other urban centers to disperse as well. We saw a limited example of this at the time of the Cuban missile crisis, when many urbanites departed for distant rural areas.
Large scale urban flight would not only have a broad, long-lasting impact on our entire complex infrastructure. In a purely local sense, it could result in an influx of frightened and poorly prepared urbanites to Carlisle. They would need direction, as well as basic necessities, and in such an event, I expect that we in Carlisle would be essentially on our own: All the surrounding towns would face similar or worse challenges. The identification of the school campus as an emergency shelter is fine, but it could well be totally inadequate, in terms of space, services and organization. We do have other structures in town which could at least offer shelter and limited facilities, notably the churches. We also have a highly capable population. I hope that these factors are seriously considered by our emergency personnel. Clearly, it is better to at least think through some scenarios and options, than to ignore them today.
Response to Forum article on war with Iraq
To the Editor:
Philip Drew's recent Forum article questioned whether war with Iraq at this time was indeed "irrational."
When this administration called for military action in Iraq, I assumed there were Iraqi connections to Al Qaeda they were not at liberty to express. After it became apparent that no such factual support for military intervention would materialize, I looked at the origins of this preemptive policy. The doctrine has been touted by the conservative think-tank "Project for a New American Century" (PNAC) for years.
This policy is rational all right, but only if you accept the context. It is the context that is irrational, even un-American: the assumption of a right to use unprovoked force to bring about regime changes "in our national interest". Given prior existence of this arrogant, preemptive doctrine, our fears and desire for a live scapegoat for 9-11 have been plumbed in support of an Iraqi invasion, a tactic if not simply disingenuous then outright dishonest.
The war is rational when we accept the context of that preemptive policy and the reverse domino theory it encompasses. War is rational when we fall to our visceral need to accept ties between Iraq and terrorism without proof. The goal of introducing democracy to despotic Middle-East states is not the issue. The premise that this end justifies any means should be questioned much more than it has, not rationalized.
War will come, since no one with the power has the good conscience to stop it. Even with every military objective met and Saddam sent to his final resting-place, it is a war we can only lose. We will lose our credibility, the respect and the goodwill of the world, perhaps at an all-time high after that fateful Tuesday in September. We will lose the cooperation, spiritual and financial support to wage the real War on Terrorism, in the end a war for hearts and minds.
Losing all this is irrational and wrong for those who place a real value on such things. The only political winners will be the terrorists. We are about to become some of the worst of all they claimed.
The Iraqi dilemma
To the Editor:
President Bush says Saddam Hussein is evil. I think Saddam Hussein is evil. Bush says Saddam has weapons of mass destruction. President Bush wants regime change in Iraq. I agree. The world agrees. The UN resolution demanded that Saddam disarm or face "consequences." The inspectors do not believe that he has disarmed. Bush says Saddam is a threat to the world. I agree. So why do I not support Bush?
Bush used the disaster of 9/11 to threaten the use of force to overthrow the regime of Saddam Hussein. Bush was ready to go it alone but he had to give in to world opinion to get a UN's "war" resolution but the UN gave him only a "consequences" resolution. Under UN pressure and Bush war rhetoric, Saddam yielded to inspections.
Bush didn't want Saddam to agree. Bush didn't want inspections. Bush wanted regime change. Bush wanted war. He continued his war rhetoric and started a massive military buildup. At his recent press conference he argued that it was his constitutional duty to protect the United States, and he would go it alone against Saddam, if need be. The world considers Bush to be a trigger-happy Texas cowboy.
The United States can overwhelm Iraq in a matter of days. We have now demonstrated the MOAB, the mother of all bombs. But, who will provide law and order? Who will govern? When will our National Guardsmen and reservists come home?
The issue is not whether we should overthrow Saddam. The issue is the need for a coalition. The question is: "What's the rush?" For the time being Saddam is "contained." When Saddam throws out the inspectors, that is when Bush should go to war with the support of a broad coalition.
Bush's dilemma is that he now has 250,000 men and women waiting to go to war. I hope he has the courage to back down long enough to let the inspectors do their jobs.
© 2003 The