Any attention

is a good thing

It does seem that Larry L. Mann has a great deal to say about our local schools (“WEA spreads misinformation,” March 12).

I have read his diatribes several times in this newspaper. Actually, I think I may have even responded in these columns.

He’s so awful and condemning. I’ve already suggested that, like Cinderella’s mother, he seems cackling and blithering with inanities, and oh-so-annoying with inaccuracies.

With all that, I couldn’t help but notice that he does get people’s attention and any attention on education is better than none.

Mann’s blistering frustration and whining are not his alone. Everyone I know in the field of education — parents dealing with middle school inadequacies, high schools brimming arcades and rooms, to those who are just enrolling in the first day of kindergarten — are petrified by the daunting state of our school system.

If we are unable to provide one safe birthing ground for our young generation, then the society we know and yearn for can never be.

The young must have its feeding grounds. And feeding grounds must be tendered. Feeding grounds must be tender.

On Sept 11, that fateful day, everyone sat glued to their floors listening to the news,

And as the firefighters flew to do their duty, the teachers of America greeted their children just as they had always before.


Port Orchard

Don’t be so


I’m belatedly writing in response to a letter I read in your paper last week (“Criticism was way off base,” March 19) that was written by a South Kitsap High School teacher, who in turn was responding to a column written by Mary Colborn (“Here’s one performance I wouldn’t sleep though,” March 12) for the Independent.

Mary’s column focused largely on her recent experiences while substituting at South Kitsap High School, the wonderful students she met, her urge to nap during movies, and the fantastic job the students did with the play they recently produced.

For 16 little words (yes, I counted them) out of 1,356 words (I let my computer count them), Mary veered from her focus — in the typical blend of self-deprecation, charm and concern that makes her column so pleasant to read.

She made a joke about messy desks that really was just alluding to her little “problem” and moved on.

I couldn’t believe that anyone who read her article could have come away insulted. In fact, I took the time to look it up and re-read it just to be sure Mary hadn’t been captured by the pod people and was really acting as an agent of evil.

Much to my relief, I found no such thing. Just heartfelt commentary on her observations, much the same as you can find in any of Mary’s columns.

The response from the SKHS teacher ranted and raved, defended and belittled, and somehow completely missed the point.

Having had the experience of meeting Ms. Colborn, (and finding out firsthand that she somehow manages to pull off deep intelligence and cute-as-a-bugs-ear all at the same time), I know that the person you see in her column is the same Mary you meet in person.

Maybe the teacher who wrote the scathing and deeply misguided letter should take some time to re-read the column as well.

Maybe she just needed a nap, too.

Either way, I sincerely hope that the Independent’s readership, as well as the powers that be in the South Kitsap school district, don’t take one skewed letter as the last word on Mary. Her words, in print and in person, consistently have a value and insight that shouldnt be missed even if you have a messy desk.


Port Orchard

Nose rings

If it’s a rule,

then enforce it

Cedar Heights Junior High’s policy on nose rings in physical education class offers a textbook example of how “no-tolerance” policies can often come back and bite institutions in the rear end.

Obviously this particular case isn’t what the rule was designed to prevent and, consequently, if the rule wasn’t in place I suspect the school would have handled the matter differently.

Having established the policy, however, I think the school is obligated stick to its guns and enforce it.

If every other student in the school is managing to follow the rule, what message does it send to make an exception for one narcissistic teenager and her overly indulgent parents?


South Kitsap

School should

stand tough

First of all I don’t think that the South Kitsap School District should be striving for diversity (“Nose ring policy challenged,” March 15).

You’re always going to have people that think that the rules are unfair, but it’s not the job of the school to make things a level playing field for personal expression.

The district’s job is to educate and enforce rules that promote a professional learning environment that applies to all students.

The only people that don’t seem to understand this are immature people who are more interested in being their kids’ friends than their parents.

Wasting the school district’s time and money on how they think the rules in life dont apply to them or their child, all they’re doing is setting their children up for failure.

So what I say to the school district is, good job. Keep it up and get uniforms.

And to the progressive students with the piercings, take it out while in school.

And parents, grow up. Minors shouldn’t have their noses pierced anyway. Take responsibility.


Port Orchard

Narrows Bridge

‘The Bob’ is a

terrible idea

See what happens when you’re not watching?

This past week, I understand, the Port Orchard City Council approved a resolution to rename the Tacoma Narrows Bridge the Bob Oke Bridge, essentially requesting that the state memorialize that stately structure, our own world class icon, forevermore to be known as “The Bob.”

This is no joke. And I, for one, vote no.

I do have empathy for the city council though. How could anyone say no to the grieving widow of a recently deceased state senator when put on the spot like that?

Even the Washington State Senate, when asked this past session to approve the same request by Mrs. Oke, only approved Senate Joint Memorial 8026 out of respect for the late Sen. Oke, then quietly let the bill die in committee.

I am collecting e-mails from those opposed to this renaming effort so I can present them to Pierce County Council, which will address a similar request from Mrs. Oke next week.

Almost 500 e-mails came in this week through word of mouth, but that’s not good enough.

I need your help. If you think we should leave the name of the bridge alone, please drop me an e-mail to that effect and I’ll make sure your voice is heard — this time — at the Pierce County Council and the State Transportation Commission.

Contact me at randyboss@comcast.net


Gig Harbor

Name it after

the peninsula

Since the state Legislature failed to act on the naming of the second Tacoma Narrows Bridge after former State Sen. Bob Oke, I believe it should be named for the people who are paying the bulk of it — “The Peninsula Narrows Bridge.”

It’s no secret that the people of the 26th District voted against building a bridge paid for by tolls.

They voted at the rate of more than 80 percent against it in the 26th District.

But Bob Oke and the Depart-ment of Transportation (then led by Secretary Sid Morrison) forged ahead anyway.

It is no secret, either, that the second Narrows Bridge has won over a lot of dissenters of that vote because of the ease of crossing it provides, but that doesn’t negate the original vote.



Note: Lois McMahan is a former two-term member of the Washington State House of Representatives from the 26th District.