School Daze

Reform at LAUSD? Hillel Aron's glowing piece about would-be school board member Kate Anderson left some readers less than enthusiastic about the idea (“Can a Mom of Twins Fix LAUSD?” Nov. 16).

Mark Elinson writes, “I read with interest the article about Kate Anderson's decision to run for the school board seat currently held by Steve Zimmer. I am somewhat skeptical of her credentials as an educational reformer. It may have started with her elitist claim that the wealthy and well-educated people who live on the Westside have a greater interest in school reform than those who live in other parts of the district.

“I then reacted to her knee-jerk support for the use of student test scores on teacher evaluations. She cannot possibly be a true reformer if she does not support the following: One, a law that requires a consequence to the students who take the annual standardized test. … There is nothing to motivate students to do well on the test. … Two, complete analysis of the validity of the tests. Having taught social studies for 36 years, I can tell you that the standards on which the tests are based have not changed in close to 20 years. They were written by Pete Wilson appointees, and in the areas of history, government and economics, they reflect a right-wing bias. They are so outdated that students are not required to know anything about the events of 9/11 or the election of the first African-American president.

“I live in the district in question and will be anxious to see what makes Ms. Anderson a true educational reformer.”

Alliewall is more wound up — to the point that she begins her feedback with a reference to, yes, oral sex. “Hillel, once again, you wouldn't know The Truth — about LAUSD and the corrupt, corporate forces trying to privatize it — if it went down on you. Congratulations on your one-sided, lie-filled, union-bashing informercial for Ms. Anderson — the first of many, I'm afraid. Happy shilling!”

Sirvaldrin2002 observes, “Once again the L.A. Weekly makes UTLA out as the bad guy. Why do we fight evaluations? We want the evaluations to be fair. … Mr. Deasy doesn't agree….

“As to this huge population of bad teachers we keep hearing about [from] the media, politicians and charter schools: Who decides which teacher is bad? How many have been determined to be 'bad'?”

Policing Nunchucks

As L.J. Williamson reports, plenty of guns are legal in California — but not nunchucks, that old-school combination of ropes and sticks commonly seen in kung fu movies (“When Two Sticks and a Rope Are Outlawed … ,” Nov. 16). DBB9581 is livid.

“California is a joke,” he writes. “This state is hopeless and completely detached from reality. The people's willingness to reject logic and reason in favor of corruption and oppression is embarrassing. The common California wisdom goes something like this: People are crazy and incapable of rational, normal behavior, unless they are managed and controlled through threats and acts of violence. Naturally it is the prerogative of the State to step in and 'govern' the people in a way that is best for all people involved.

He adds, “The fact that the government is really just a collection of people who fail to differ from those nongovernment crazies in any way escapes the masses. People can't be trusted to make their own decisions. The State (people who can't get real jobs) keeps society (people who produce) honest. Who keeps the State honest?” And here we thought we were just talking nunchucks …

Smell This

Mail continued to pour in responding to Gendy Alimurung's Nov. 9 cover story about William Nowell, a formerly homeless man evicted from his downtown loft after he refused to bathe (“The Man Who Smelled Too Much“).

Evangeline writes, “As someone who was ostracized in junior high school for having unruly hair, and living in a house in such a state of dishevelment that a person once said, 'Only drug addicts and alcoholics live this way,' I can emphasize with Mr. Nowell. I feel that he was unjustly accused about the state of his premises when the real issue was his personal hygiene.

“That said, when you live in a dense urban environment, you have to make compromises, and if one's odor repulses others and one has no friends that require one to live in a specific location, move out to a remote location where you can do whatever you want without offending others. He had enough money to buy land, an abode and vehicle and live in peace. Instead Mr. Nowell wanted to antagonize others, and he wasted his money on lawyers — perhaps due to the stupidity of the Transit Authority, which gave him so much money that he felt he could continue bucking the system. (He should've been rewarded something — maybe enough to buy a car. People should not be forced to sit in close proximity who smell repellent.)”

Karl Hungus was less sympathetic. “You do know that if you'd revealed that Stinky Boy's windfall was the result of scamming the MTA at the beginning of the story, no one would have read past the middle. Of course you do. He is the classic scam artist. He hit a lick once and is going for it again! Washing his pants five times instead of throwing them away keeps him in the 'I will sue you' mode. And of course, like always, the lawyers always win.

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