LETTERS: PERS rips off taxpayers with disability approval for ex-Metro officer

To the editor:

Jesus Arevalo, who was about to be fired from the Metropolitan Police Department, is now scamming the system. Here’s a guy, only 36 years old, who admits that because he knew he was going to be fired for the 2011 shooting of unarmed war veteran Stanley Gibson, he decided to file for a disability pension. It was a fail-safe option for him (Jan. 26 Review-Journal).

Now, we taxpayers will have to support Mr. Arevalo for the rest of his life, which likely will cost more than a million dollars. His disability pension will include annual cost-of-living increases. What a rip-off for taxpayers. The Public Employees Retirement System is running amok. The board doctor, G. Bruce Nickles, rubber-stamped Mr. Arevalo’s lifetime benefits after the PERS board unanimously approved the permanent and total disability for this malingerer.

One of the board members was Chris Collins, executive director of the Las Vegas Police Protective Association, Mr. Arevalo’s union. Talk about a conflict. Here’s cops looking out for cops. Lynette Jones, PERS’ director of member and retiree services, said the retirement board almost always approves medical disabilities. She went on to say that she can’t recall any Las Vegas police officer who was denied medical retirement by the board in the past decade. Wow! That should tell taxpayers how we are being taken to the cleaners.

Two doctors said Mr. Arevalo was stressed because of the shooting and because he was going to lose his job. Come on. A lot of people lose their jobs and are stressed because of it, but they do not receive a million dollars in disability money. It seems clear this bad cop knew he was going to be fired so he chose to run from the obvious — getting fired. He decided to scam the taxpayers into supporting him for life.

I submit that the only reason Mr. Collins and his ilk vote for cops to receive a large medical retirement is because it’s a safety net, as Mr. Arevalo said. In the event the police ever want to ding the taxpayers, medical retirement presents that opportunity. It’s disgusting that cops, public employee unions and certain boards look out for each other, showing total disregard for the taxpayer. PERS is paying out millions of dollars a year of our tax money to people who don’t have a permanent and total disability. Where is the oversight?

How much do you want to bet that Mr. Arevalo will go out and get a job in some other field? At 36 years old, he has his whole working life ahead of him. Yet he, a rubber-stamp board and doctors claim this guy is permanently and totally disabled? If you believe that, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. Mr. Arevalo is laughing all the way to the bank.



K-12 education

To the editor:

Shame on America for our terrible education system. We are spending billions of taxpayer dollars and have nothing to show for our money except children ill-prepared for life.

Teachers blame parents, parents blame teachers, and both blame uninterested children. I am weary of the blame game and think it is about time we had some solutions. What would I do?

Put all children in uniforms. There have been enough studies to indicate that children behave better when dressed appropriately. No more pants painted on or hanging down to the knees. No more skirts as short as underwear. And that includes teachers, too. It is hard for children to respect superiors who are dressed like them.

Take everything out of the curriculum that is not a core subject. No art, no music, no sports. If parents want these things for their children, they can send them for lessons or join sports clubs. Math, reading, writing, world and American history and the sciences have to be taught and mastered.

Have a later start time. No class should start earlier than 8:30 a.m. Students should be awake and ready to learn. Likewise, it should be a longer day. It is obscene that children are out of school at 2:30 p.m. There should also be no cellphones in the schools unless they are in lockers.

We need vouchers and more competition. Parents should have much more control over the choices in the schools their children attend. Also, children who do not speak English should have their own classes until they are proficient enough to be placed in their appropriate class. Combining proficient English speakers with non-English speakers shortchanges both the teacher and the students.

And because the teachers have a union, the students should also have one that guarantees they get a decent education. No one is speaking for the children. The National Education Association has a stranglehold on education, and it is shameful.

There are good ideas out there, and we have to have the courage to adopt them.



Super Bowl beer ads

To the editor:

In Sunday’s Viewpoints section, Sarah Longwell asserts that ad bans have been shown to have no effect on alcohol consumption, and that such ads have no effect on consumer behavior (“Beer ads should keep flowing freely”). Does anyone remember Joe Camel? The Marlboro Man? Winston cigarettes’ long and profitable association, since severed, with NASCAR?

Since tobacco ads were banned from the airwaves in 1964, tobacco consumption in the United States has dropped more than 50 percent. Ms. Longwell’s assertion that mass marketing has no effect on consumer behavior (even on young, still-growing minds) makes it seem as though she is acting as nothing more than a glorified alcohol pimp for the American Beverage Institute. I hope the institute will rethink its policies.