Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

November 1, 2012

Letters to the editor - Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012

Tribune managing editor

Ortman, Papacek,

Stout are leaders

The citizens of Howard County are extraordinary people.

They are still standing after taking a fourfold punch from a declining economy. They suffered through a housing market crash that cost them 30 percent of their wealth. They watched General Motors, which at its peak had employed 14,000 local people, diminish to almost nothing.

They saw a large portion of county property annexed into the city of Kokomo, which forced many townships into deficit, and near $4-a-gallon gas at the pumps, just to increase the pain.

That’s why Howard County is in need of leaders like Jeff Stout, Stan Ortman and James Papacek, who collectively have decades of experience in balancing budgets. They work well together, and they will fight the battles that Howard County must win to avoid the fiscal disasters that are bankrupting local governments all over the country.

This is not the time for on-the-job training; it is the time for experience and proven leadership.

Ondis Brantley


Munoz knows what

it takes to grow

I think it is time that our community takes a stand against the good-ol’-boy club that is county government.

We have multiple members of the current county council, or those who are running for office, who have as many as seven consecutive terms. If we keep electing the same people, how can we expect different results?

It is time for new ideas and a new perspective on the issues facing the people locally. We need someone who understands what it takes to make a community grow in today’s economy. We need someone who is willing to do more than the bare minimum because he cares about the future of Howard County.

Having young children, I want to know there is a future for them to grow up and raise their families here, just like I did.

We cannot stand by idly and wait anymore. We need Paul Munoz fighting for us in county government. That is why he has my vote on Nov. 6th.

Annita Griswold


Ritz will stand

for public schools

Some might not be aware that state school superintendent is an elected office. But it’s an important one, and there are many reasons why we need the changes that candidate Glenda Ritz will bring to the position.

The current state superintendent has tried to take the “public” out of public instruction. He said our problem was that we needed better teachers, but then he lowered licensing standards.

Our tax dollars are now diverted out of Indiana to privately owned, for-profit charter school companies. A single, high-stakes test can determine whether a student passes to the fourth grade. Collective bargaining rights have been stripped. School administrators are saddled with the state’s cumbersome teacher evaluation method.

And most disturbing, he wants the state to take over not just troubled schools, but entire school districts. And by “state,” he means outsourcing to privately owned charter school companies that operate from other states. Local control of our schools is in jeopardy.

In contrast, Glenda Ritz decided to take a stand and run for office after seeing 9-year-old students with stress symptoms like vomiting and crying from the fear of not getting promoted to the fourth grade if they failed the IREAD-3 exam. Her common sense told her that success or failure shouldn’t be based on a single test.

Glenda Ritz’s Washington Township school is both an Indiana Four Star School and national Blue Ribbon School, so she knows what works. She serves on the board of directors of the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards, so she knows what it takes.

She has pledged to seek local input before forming policy, so she knows that good ideas don’t just come from the Statehouse. And she does not accept campaign money from out-of-state special interests like charter school or testing companies, because she knows what is right.

If you’re undecided how to vote on this, do your own “test” – ask a teacher or administrator how things have been for them the last three-and-a-half years. I was a public school teacher for 22 years and have family in education.

Please consider each candidate on the ballot carefully. I hope you will join me and take a stand for public education by making Glenda Ritz our next state superintendent of schools. Thanks so much for your time.

Julie Tucker Wallyn