Editor's note: Letters regarding the Nov. 4 election must be received by Oct. 10 for publication on Oct. 17.
Support for high school board incumbents
The upcoming San Dieguito Union High School District election is important to our community. The incumbents running for the two positions on the school board, Joyce Dalessandro and Beth Hergesheimer, have a proven commitment to our children and the school district. These two women have been providing strong, experienced and forward-looking leadership to the board for the last 12 years.
As the race heats up, a small special interest group of homeowners in the La Costa Valley have put forward a candidate to carry their banner. Who is this candidate? An Encinitas dentist, Michael Klein, is adamant that his, "platform does not hinge on a single agenda." Yet, he is praised by the La Costa Valley Homeowners Association (the community where he lives) for championing their cause. For those not familiar with the La Costa Valley property, the district Web site has a 10-page document that addresses the concerns that have been voiced on this issue (www.sduhsd.k12.ca.us). At issue is a piece of property that the school district owns in La Costa Valley that was purchased for the purpose of building a middle school to meet a projected increase in student population.
Unfortunately, that population has not increased as expected, and to build a middle school at this time would be fiscally irresponsible. The school district is holding on to the property in hopes that a middle school can be built on the site at a future date.
The La Costa Valley population is a small part of the 12,500 students in the San Dieguito Union School District. Both Dalessandro and Hergesheimer have experience dealing with the academic, budgetary, legal, personnel and legislative aspects of running a quality school district. Their role as board members has been one of consideration of the needs of all students in the district and the impact of their policies and planning on the education of these students. It is not a narrow political agenda concerned with a piece of property up in the northern part of the district, but with finding creative, alternate solutions, within existing budget constraints, to avoid program cuts, to restore areas that have been lost to funding limits and to champion the addition of innovative programs that maximize our limited resources.
The San Dieguito Union High School District is one of the nation's finest school districts offering a wealth of academic and extracurricular opportunities in which its students can engage and excel. All of the district's traditional schools score over 800 in the Academic Performance Index (API). Students from its different high schools have high acceptance rates at colleges and universities across the nation. These statistics are the result of a strong school board that has the best interests of the students in mind. The board has the management skills and experience to deal with the ongoing state budget concerns. We don't need someone to give a "fresh perspective" to the board; we need the proven leadership of the current trustees to get us through the difficult times that are ahead.
Bias inherent in all decisions
On Sept. 19, this newspaper published an opinion article on page by Thomas D. Elias, entitled: "Has Prop 8 changed "acceptable bias'"? It begins by quoting a statement made by Hillary Clinton as follows; "There are no acceptable prejudices in the 21st Century."
What does this statement mean? To whom is the ever-ubiquitous presence of man-made prejudice acceptable? For, it is simply not possible for living, breathing, thinking and opinionated human beings to form opinions without bias: which is exhibited in this article and is most certainly present in Mr. Elias' message.
The root of the prejudice issue lies within the definition of the term itself. There are several definitions of the word prejudice, but Webster's New World Dictionary defines "prejudice" thusly: a preconceived idea, opinion, or bias, etc. Therefore, human opinions are, and always will be, based upon preconceived and pre-judged facts (and facts are such stubborn little things), our resultant reasoning will always be framed within our own self acceptable backgrounds, exposures, and tolerances. So, does anybody suppose just because it now happens to be the 21st Century that prejudice has, will, or may somehow just vanish? Of course it won't, but we mere mortals can acknowledge its everlasting existence and deal with the related issues of choice and self-determination.
Proposition 8 simply states: "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid and recognized in California." That's it: that is the entire text of Proposition 8. It seems pretty straightforward to me. There is not a lot of room for ambiguity here and isn't that refreshing! Webster defines the term "marry" as: "to join as husband and wife." Again, not a whole lot of room for ambiguity there. Therefore, and the fact is, the term "marriage" is highly specific, well defined, and has been in existence, for longer than I can remember. Hence, a civil union or domestic partnership (even one granted by law) is definitely not marriage: by definition.
For eight years, California 2000 ballot initiative Proposition 22 prevented the state of California from recognizing same-sex marriage (which by definition is a contradiction in terms). California voters adopted the measure in 2000 with a 61.4 percent approval rate. However, on May 15, the California Supreme Court, in its "supreme wisdom," unilaterally struck down Proposition 22 in a 4-3 decision, allowing same-sex "couples" to marry. These judges are appointed and never elected. Does anybody suppose that their "supreme" decision is not based upon their own bias?
The opinion article states: "No one has proven that giving full marriage rights to same-sex couples in any way diminishes or lessens the rights and privileges of more conventional married couples." On the contrary, no one has ever proven that giving full marriage rights to same-sex couples does NOT diminish the rights and privileges of "appropriately" married couples.
The opinion article also mentioned that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was one of the main supporters of Proposition 22 back in 1999. So what? Good for them. But, what about the 61.4 percent who were Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Hindus, Muslims, left-handed people, sushi lovers, those who like the color purple, etcetera, etcetera, that supported Proposition 22? They can make-up their own minds about Proposition 22 and Proposition 8.
The people of California are assured by law, the right to decide for ourselves what is fair and appropriate for our state, regardless of our backgrounds. Backgrounds that do, indeed, help form our personal opinions and choices. Now really folks, when you actually just boil it all down, it's nearly always going to be about prejudice, isn't it? Or maybe we should just say it's really all about whom we choose to listen to, since those who like to call others "prejudiced in their thinking," in order to mask their own obvious prejudice, have already returned the favor.
You decide, because it's your choice; but as for me and mine, we will definitely vote in favor of Proposition 8.
Robert Alan Shumway, M.D., F.A.C.S.