Let he who is without sin cast the first stone, Ms. President

It is the role of a union leader to gain and focus attention. Said attention must be focused by union members and gained by those who employed them.

At the Feb. 8 school board meeting, I was gaveled andquot;out of orderandquot; by board President Faith Crist (andquot;Union leader, not teachers, disrupted board meeting,andquot; Feb. 17). Our labor action was a response to the district's stubborn refusal to meet our salary demands for 2006-07. This civil disobedience took approximately 30 seconds. And during those short moments, 120 teachers turned their backs on the school board and district administration and exited.

Contrary to what board members believe, e-mails, phone calls and reactions in public are running 10 to 1 in favor of my behavior. One teacher stopped me in a grocery store and told me I was a hero at her school. Imagine that, me, a hero. Not! But I appreciated the comment.

Ironically, another teacher told me a story about Crist when she was DNTA president. Yes, the current school board president used to have my job. The teacher remembers a board meeting when Crist stood at the back of the room yelling and pointing her finger at school board members. Was this rude and disruptive behavior from a single individual? Or was it appropriate and forceful leadership?

I will continue to do what is necessary to gain well-deserved and much-needed salary compensation for DNTA members. I will do so with as much decorum as I can muster and within the bounds of all legal means. Former Del Norte Teachers Association President Faith Crist, in her time, did no less.

Mike Mealue

current Del Norte Teachers Association president

Crescent City


Bigger prison wouldn't truly help Del Norte's economy

The people who live on Whaleview and Breakwater and nearby areas have a hard spot in their hearts for our andquot;friendlyandquot; advocate, Thomas A. Barnes (andquot;Future is in our hands,andquot; Feb. 27). For some weeks several summers ago he went and undeveloped a nice second-growth woods (over 20 acres) just north of that area by clearing and continuously burning. Embers, some of them hot, were falling onto the roofs of nearby houses. The plume of smoke from that burn could be seen from the county office building and even from downtown Crescent City. The board of supervisors just sat like toads on a log and did nothing to stop this. I was told that the reason that they were doing nothing was because it was andquot;low-income housingandquot; that was going to be built (it still has not been built), and that the county was required to build so much low-income housing. By who or why I was not told, but I have a strong feeling it is not for the benefit of the poor.

Barnes in his column strongly promoted the idea of expanding the prison here. It would bring more growth and jobs, he said. He did not say that very few of those jobs would be for locals, or that crime and unemployment would increase because of the families of the prisoners and others that would be moving here. Nor did he mention that the tax rate has to increase faster then the population to handle all the new tax needs that come from growth, schools, streets, water, sewage, police etc.

Barnes says we should be proactive to save ourselves. That is good advice. The kind of growth that he has advocated has kept people who are financially well-off and would provide the local population with jobs, from retiring here. A bigger prison would keep even more of these people from coming here and might even cause some of the retirees we already have here to move. Who wants to retire to a place that has all the problems of the big cities that they move here to get away from?

Ronald Thompson

Crescent City