LETTERS: Issue is freedom of speech

Penticton Western News letters to the editor for the Sept. 17 issue.

Issue is freedom of speech

According to Mayor Litke (Penticton Western News, Sept.12) speaking on the issue of the defamation suit against me: “We’ve invested enough time and energy to let her know that her behaviour is inappropriate, but it’s up to her to decide now whether she wants to change it or not,” he said.

“We’ve got really important issues facing the city right now, and we can’t afford any further distractions of that nature.”

For an unimportant issue Mayor Litke makes it very clear that the sword of Damocles hangs over my head. He failed to mention this is paid for with unlimited tax dollars.

I am sorry Mr. Mayor but no one can live in those conditions.

The issue is not me. I am not important in this. The issue is free speech; wasted tax dollars and the ability of the taxpayer to hold the people running this city accountable for how our tax dollars are spent.

The approximate $110,000 wasted on the City/Penticton Hospitality Association lawsuit would have hired a firefighter. Not content with this bad decision you threaten me with legal action at any time in the future if I open my mouth. There goes another $100,000 or perhaps more.

Senior civil servants are not unionized they make decisions that affect everyone in Penticton, they sit on boards and influence city councils without the ability of the public to criticize them for the decisions they make or even know they are responsible for those decisions.

Many taxpayers will remember Dave Stigant, when he was a former principal of Pen-Hi.  The Prince Rupert School District had been paying consultant Dave Stigant $800 per day for work done over several years. Criticism by the public on this issue was spread far and wide, reaching the Vancouver Sun.

Unionized staff goes to work every day earn their keep receive few accolades and keep our city running smoothly. They also are dependent and powerless against senior staff decisions. They are not the issue. Taxpayers should have the right to criticize senior staff and hold them accountable for how our hard-earned tax dollars are used.

Elvena Slump



Thank you, BCTF

In 2005, as my son was preparing to make his entrance into the public school system, the teachers’ contract dispute was well underway, which eventually led to the illegal walk out, by teachers, on Oct. 7, 2005.

At that time, my son had spent an entire four weeks in kindergarten, and I vowed to my wife that if the strike continued for more than a single week, I would pull him from the system and place him, at our own expense, into a private school.

On Oct. 24, after both parties had accepted mediator Vince Ready’s proposal, the teachers went back to work and by that time we were happily engaged in the private system.

Since making that decision, we have placed all three of our boys in private schools, where they have flourished under a community of dedicated teachers and EA’s who appear to be able to see beyond contracts, massage benefits, signing bonuses and class sizes to the point where children are actually able to be taught without interruption. Affording private education has always been a struggle for us, nevertheless, we see it as an investment in our children, not as a burden.

At the end of the 2013 school year, our eldest expressed an interest in attending a public high school for the duration of his education and we agreed, pending the teachers would show up for work on Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2014. They didn’t and for a second time, we were faced with a decision.

This time, it took us a single day to realize this system was not getting any better, and in a matter of days, once again, we found and enrolled our child in a very viable alternative: online schools.

Now with a confidence in knowing that we no longer have to subject ourselves to teacher contract disputes, the way is paved for our son to attend school, work independently and benefit from the flexibility of having an online system that will truly reciprocate, in equal measure, to the effort he puts forward into his Grade 9 education.

Once again, I say, thank you BCTF for helping us make the great decisions for the future of our children’s education.

Simon Kelly




Premier is negligent

It is my understanding that education is compulsory to the age of 14 at least; the provincial government is responsible to fund education; education is an essential service and education is an investment for the future.

All this being so, the provincial government has the legal responsibility to have public schools open and operating.

The current impasse is irresponsible, causing difficulties for students, parents, teachers and in the long run, for the future in B.C.

Teachers have had zero increases in salary for the past two years, losing effectively three per cent of their purchasing power due to cost of living increases.

Despite boasting about the fine record of B.C. public schools, Christy Clark and her government have consistently underfunded public education for a decade. No allowance for increasing costs has worsened conditions in our schools.

Premier Clark is indeed negligent if she does not immediately act to open all schools, now.

Sheila White




Picking the publics’ pockets

Remember folks, I said it first.

One huge difference between transient fruit pickers is they help our economy by picking seasonal fruit while transient politicians pick the public pocket’s 24/7 with limited public outcry due to severe memory loss one day after being jabbed again.

Tom Isherwood




Solution for lost school time

There is a lot of discussion on the lost time for students at school for the 2014/15 school year and lost wages for teachers.

A suggestion for the school boards, parents and teachers, this year school was out for July, August and September so why not look at adding July 2015 to the school year?

Students would get their month back, teachers would get a month’s wages back and a good lesson for students, one month holiday is what you can look forward to when you go into the work force.

I am sure that the teachers would agree as they say, “it is all about the students.” I am sure they would not mind working next July.

Bob Otway



Living on poverty line

I would like to address the frustration my husband and I are facing with regards to disability rates.

The cost of living is increasing and our rates have been the same for many years. I don’t feel I should have to choose to pay our utility bill over getting food. There are quite a few people on disability who experience the same situations.

We live from cheque to cheque and depend a lot on local resources such as the food bank. We are very fortunate to have community resources to turn to; however, there are only so many times a month one can access these resources. We are talking basic economics of living.

We sincerely wonder how our political representative would handle living on $1,890  per month for two people. Little pleasures people having a decent salary take for granted are denied to us. We are unable to afford memberships, the occasional nice dinner out or even an evening going to a movie with popcorn.

We have lived our lives being decent human beings; we also at one point were able to maintain employment. The world is sometimes unfair striking down an individual with a disability. Our government adds additional stresses by making us live in poverty while we struggle to maintain a shred of dignity. We believe it’s time for disability rates to be reviewed and re-calculated for people. Something needs to change.

Gordon and Edna Johnson




Cab passengers beware

So often I have seen the cab companies pull up to pick a fare up, they pull up on the wrong side of the road and expect the fare to get in on the danger side of the road.

I have a son with disabilities and they did the same with him. I called and made a complaint but this is an everyday thing. I watch seniors getting into the cars almost being hit by passing vehicles.

My concern is someone is going to be hit and even worse be killed, they are not even walked over and helped in at some points.

I have taken pictures this time of a truck passing by the door with an older woman getting in.

Kim Whitford