Teachers deserve explanation for union pay

To the editor:

In response to the Review-Journal's Sunday story, "Big union, bigger money," on the salaries of local teachers union officials:

My wife is a longtime teacher in the school district. After reading the article, she was totally devastated. I couldn't be more angry.

Every year, it's a new struggle for her to make a little more money. Every year she hears how teachers are a major part of the problem with our educational system. Every year she hears people decry "throwing more money at the schools and not getting good results." After reading this story, I can't say I blame those people.

I can't speak for other teachers, but I know how hard my wife works. I know how much she cares about her students and I know how many endless hours she puts in at our kitchen table almost every night getting lessons ready for her kids and correcting papers. It's almost a treat when she finds a night she doesn't have extra work to do.

In no way could I ever question her dedication.

To me, one of the most stunning parts of the article was the "percent of budget spent on 2009 union leadership salaries." If my math is correct, we spent 433 percent more than the Chicago school district, which was second in amount spent. How can this be?

Where is the oversight? Where is the justification for the numerous huge salaries listed in this article? Who can defend someone working five hours a week to make $30,000 a year? Who in this article has a right to not provide answers or documentation?

We need answers and we need them right now.

At times, my wife has spent our own money on needed supplies for her kids while others in this article are making outrageous salaries and refusing to provide documentation concerning how and why money was spent.

I find it hard to believe John Jasonek couldn't find time in his 85-hour work weeks to document where and how monies were spent. I have a feeling Mr. Jasonek wouldn't be able to document his "85-hour work weeks," either. But when you're making $143 per hour, 85 hours a week all year long, who has time to count?

I applaud the Review-Journal for this article and implore you to stay on it until all questions are answered fully.

John Bauman

Las Vegas

Not trained

To the editor:

The Review-Journal's Wednesday editorial regarding the DesertXpress high-speed rail plan was timely. This is just another boondoggle project that no one can afford to build. The estimated costs will never be met and will increase astronomically over the course of planning and construction. The politicians involved will never stop the flow of cash down the rat hole once it starts.

Three years ago, the state of California got a bond issue approved to spend $10 billion to plan and construct the first phases of a similar train between Los Angeles and San Francisco. The total estimated cost was to be $40 billion. The promise was that half of this cost would be invested by eager private corporations. The state, of course, would cover the remaining cost.

A commission was set up to further the planning. The first phase of the rat hole express is now planned to run between two cattle-loading platforms in the central valley at a cost of $5 billion. No one will use this first phase because it will go from Nowhere, Calif., to Also-nowhere, Calif. But it is important to get something started to ensure the remainder can be built no matter the cost.

The latest estimate for the full system is between $80 billion and $120 billion. No private companies have come forth to invest in the project because ... well, they don't like to invest in losing projects. That leaves the entire cost to be paid by -- guess who?

The politicos involved, of course, have no intention to shut down this boondoggle -- it will provide unlimited possibilities for graft and corruption for years to come. They have no intention of letting the voters re-decide this issue, at least until the $10 billion is thoroughly wasted.

The proposed DesertXpress will suffer a similar fate. Don't believe the cost estimates of the politicos. The cost of this fiasco can easily be five to 10 times the current estimate.

James Magnuson

Las Vegas

Red tape

To the editor:

John Stossel's Monday commentary, "Silly me: I tried to open a lemonade stand," demonstrates what is happening in our economy. The government is preventing people from going into business for themselves and earning a living. All the regulations make it too difficult and costly for someone to go into business.

While I was canvassing during the 2010 elections, I talked to many people who were unemployed and wanted to go to work for themselves. But they couldn't because of all the government regulation. There were painters, handymen, bookkeepers, beauticians, and many others who could have easily gone to work for themselves, but didn't have the money to do so.

The government should provide opportunities for people to work and support themselves. It shouldn't create obstacles for them and then have to provide them support through welfare and food stamps.

Tom Jones

Las Vegas

The writer is chairman of the Clark County Independent American Party.