Educators deserve more than they’re getting

To the editor:

I’m an educator, specifically a school counselor. I’m getting beat up in the media again.

People in the private sector are disgusted that I would balk at the idea of taking a 6 percent pay cut to save jobs. The message is that I should just take it quietly like people in the private sector. I should learn to sacrifice for the benefit of the state.

The problem is that I have been sacrificing my whole career.

For the past 10 years, I have been helping the state by taking annual cost of living raises at a much slower pace than inflation. My salary began at a reduced rate at the outset. Today I have a master’s degree plus more than 50 hours of specialized post-graduate credit. Take a look at what people in the private sector are making with that level of education.

I sacrifice every weekend when my friends and neighbors, who chose not to get college degrees, take off in their RVs towing boats or ATVs for recreation and fun. It also appears I’ll continue making deep sacrifices in my retirement based on proposals heading for the Legislature. The same is true for my health benefits.

I didn’t become an educator to be a burden on society. I didn’t become an educator just by filling out a job application. I sacrificed my way through college seeking a simple dream which remains hopelessly out of reach. Happily, I’ve learned from the poor choice I made 25 years ago.

I tell my own children all the time, “Don’t go into education.”

Perhaps this is the time to heed my own advice.



Not so bad

To the editor:

Howard Stutz’s recent article regarding Strip development — or, should I say, the expected lack of future development — is another example of how our local press reports inaccuracies that do not benefit our local economy. While the basic premise of the article is certainly true, appropriate research was not done to verify condominium sales statistics cited therein.

Toward the end of his article, Mr. Stutz mentions Allure as one of the completed condominiums with “sales closings … far below projections.” While this is true for Allure and nearly all the high-rise projects in town, the next paragraph references Bill Lerner, gaming analyst with Deutsche Bank, on the subject of Las Vegas condominium projects.

“Lerner said figures he tracked through the end of September showed Las Vegas condominium projects averaged three condo closings a month, down from what was expected to be 100 condominium closings a month.”

But Allure, which started its closings in late December 2007, has closed 206 units over the past 13 months. Allure was cited at the recent Crystal Ball as the third-best selling development in Las Vegas during 2008.

Clearly Mr. Lerner needs to research his statistics before making such a statement, and local reporters need to verify information before publishing such inaccuracies.

Local developers without question are having difficulties, just like everyone else. What we don’t need is the local press continuing to report how bad things are, when in fact results are not as bad as reported in some cases.

Steven Fink


Justice personified

To the editor:

In response to the Jan. 22 letter “Whites doing right” by Louis Frederick:

I was born and raised in the segregated South 75 years ago when black people were marginalized culturally, politically and economically. Black people in communities throughout most of the South have heard and often used phrases and aphorisms that bespoke of their perceived conditions: “If you’re white, you’re all right; if you’re brown, you can stick around; but if you’re black, you gotta git back.”

The inaugural benediction given by the Rev. Joseph Lowery ended with a repudiation of these shibboleth expressions related to the black condition and was not intended to denigrate any ethnic group. How could Mr. Frederick think that a minister speaking at an historic inauguration would speak disparagingly of anyone?

I have been in the presence of and have witnessed many presentations given by the Rev. Lowery over the years and I have yet to hear any comments that deride any ethnic group. As a minister and a civil rights advocate, his very being personifies justice and egalitarianism. Mr. Frederick needs to revisit his text and re-focus.



Life choice

To the editor:

In response to the Wednesday letter from Henderson police officer Dane Mattoon:

Mr. Mattoon condemns the actions of Las Vegas police Detective Steve Riback and his quest for his constitutionally protected freedom of religion. When Mr. Riback was denied his First Amendment rights, he filed a lawsuit against Metro and was awarded $350,000. Just the fact that this lawsuit was decided in the officer’s favor meant that he had a case.

My first suggestion to Mr. Mattoon would be that he think back to the oath he took before accepting the responsibilities of becoming a police officer. I’m sure that within the wording of this oath was the promise to uphold and protect the Constitution of the United States, including the First Amendment. Mr. Mattoon’s suggestion that Mr. Riback seek employment in a different field rather than fight for his rights as an American citizen is absurd and deplorable.

My second suggestion to Mr. Mattoon is that he take a few minutes to learn about what it means to be an Orthodox Jew. It is not something to be “practiced” part-time on Friday night or Saturday morning within the sanctuary of a synagogue, but rather a life choice to be lived 24/7 by the laws of God. The First Amendment guarantees Mr. Riback his right to practice his religion every minute of every day if he so chooses, and cannot be superseded by an arbitrarily imposed police dress code.

Jeff Silverman


Oldest profession

To the editor:

I was amused at the suggestion by state Sen. Bob Coffin and Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman that the state should consider legalizing prostitution in Clark and Washoe counties so the business proceeds of the ladies of the night could be taxed. This is being touted as a new way to increase state tax collections in this time of falling government revenues. While the good senator and mayor are certainly thinking outside the box on this one, they are not expanding their search for additional tax dollars far enough.

The mayor has in the past suggested the creation of a “Little Amsterdam” area in Las Vegas where prostitutes could legally ply their trade. While this might finally provide a use for Neonopolis, I would suggest that given recent history we already have two Little Amsterdam locations. They are located on Stewart Avenue and South Grand Central Parkway. Yes, I am suggesting they find a way to tax that other class of prostitutes known as politicians.

Think about it. Why doesn’t the state legalize corruption and graft? How much money would the state treasury take in if it collected, say, 50, 70 or 90 percent of all political corruption dollars?

Some might speculate that politicians would not like to give up such a high percentage of their ill-gotten gains. But I have faith in the ingenuity of our local, county and state politicians. I suspect they will just increase their demands to cover the cost of the tax. And with criminality eliminated, the sky’s the limit.

So, if Sen. Coffin and Mayor Goodman are serious about legalizing and taxing prostitution, then let’s legalize political corruption and tax it, too.

David R. Durling


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