Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

December 8, 2013

Letters to the Editor: Dec. 8, 2013

Glenda Ritz election win was a statement

In a recent letter to the editor, a writer claims “Glenda Ritz was elected by teachers to kill vouchers, charter schools and protect their jobs.” I have a couple of problems with this statement.

Glenda Ritz wasn’t only elected by teachers, but also concerned parents and grandparents.

Glenda could in no way “kill vouchers” even if that was her aim — which it isn’t. Protecting teacher jobs seems an appropriate task for a superintendent.

When Tony Bennett was superintendent, he ignored teachers, parents and other educators’ input. He didn’t explain or improve the system, didn’t allow transparency and asked no questions. He made sweeping changes, instituted “core” standards, changed tests and developed a standard to punish teachers by grading their ability solely based on students’ test scores. Taxpayers expect more accountability and cooperation.

We have seen public schools closed because they “didn’t make the grade”, while a charter school, championed by a wealthy donor and touted by Bennett, earned a “C” but was upgraded to an “A” by him. He resigned while claiming innocence when this was discovered.

The fact is Glenda Ritz won by a landslide, purely a mandate by the voters. WE elected her. She was a virtual unknown, so those votes, like mine, were a protest to Bennett’s high-handed ways, and strictly to remove him from office.

Along comes Mike Pence, with the same dictatorial style of governance. He is not happy with our choice. He promptly refuses to recognize Glenda and appoints, by executive order, another group of people who report to him — to usurp the original school board’s responsibilities and effectively eliminate Glenda Ritz’s job.

What has Indiana become? This group wants to override the voters? And with both houses under Republican control, Pence has been given the power and thinks he can do as he pleases.

I hope we don’t all live to regret it.

Lindsay D’Agostino, Kokomo


ACA is framework for one-party system

The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, is turning out to be not so affordable after all. The initial promise was that those participating would save $2,500 a year. The truth is that it is costing at least that much, if not more, per year. Not only are the premiums going up to double or more, the deductibles are skyrocketing. A $1,000 to $3,000 deductible will mean no insurance for any healthy person. With these deductibles, one will be paying all of his medical bills if he is healthy — he won’t have access to insurance. This is a blind spot that is not being emphasized on the news.

The government is counting on young people to sign up and pay high premiums to cover the elderly and infirmed. Assuming young people sign up, one fresh out of college may not have a job that pays enough to afford the higher health care premium. Most likely, though, young people will bypass this and choose not to participate. That will put the cost burden on the middle class with families and then the question comes in if they can afford the premiums.

The government may have the sign-up part of the website straightened out, but that is only the tip of the iceberg. Insurers are now saying that about one-third of those who successfully signed up may not be insured because on the back end of the website there are serious problems: Inadequate information being submitted to information not getting through to the insurance companies. They are saying that several may be going to the doctor in January to find out they are not insured after all. That has to be worrisome to those who think they fulfilled their obligation to purchase insurance. Also, one doesn’t have insurance until they pay that first premium so this might be a clue as to whether they have insurance or not.

Professional website constructors say the site is flawed. There was no security installed with it. Those subscribing for insurance are opening themselves up for hackers. Can you imagine what it would be like to submit all your personal medical information and Social Security Number and some hacker gets into your account? This would be devastating. Once someone gets your Social Security Number they can open up all kinds of credit accounts and make purchases that you would be responsible for.

The president and the Democratic Party are not interested in having multiple insurance companies. Their end goal is a one-payer system like they have in Europe and Canada. Basically, this is a move to take over one-sixth of the American economy.

The actions of this administration are scary to say the least. Sen. Reed has convinced his fellow Democrats to pass the nuclear policy whereby the Senate can pass legislation with only 51 percent of the vote, nullifying the two-thirds majority rule in existence for over 200 years. This move can be used on other legislation to the detriment of our two-party system.

The Affordable Care Act and the nuclear option are the framework to bring this country to a one-party system and socialism. I’m afraid we are all going to have to tighten our belts for what the future holds for us. I feel bad for my grandchildren and great-grandchildren for they will never see the free society I grew up in. Our country is in trouble and many citizens do not recognize it.

Melvin E. Armstrong, Galveston