Letters: Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Bring Back Bonner

To the editor: I was appalled to see that such a fine teacher as Adrain Bonner (“Looking for an Encore,” Dec. 28, 2005) had lost his job. Who is going to do something about this? It’s not fair when someone with his proven record of excellence is smeared in one minute, and yet nothing has been proven. What happened to “innocent until proven guilty”? He has helped improve a much-challenged neighborhood. My God, isn’t life hard enough without taking away these kids’ role model, someone who obviously pushes them to continue their educations?

I want to add that I am white, 45 years old, married, and have raised two children. (This shouldn’t matter, but I want to set aside any question about my motives for writing this letter.) I am simply writing as a concerned citizen.

I attended Fort Worth public schools and graduated fromWestern Hills High School. I too was in the “Almighty Cougar Band.” It was made mighty at that time by hard work and sweat, led by a very reputable and hard-core band teacher. Her name was Mrs. Dickenson, and her nickname was “Dragon-lady.” And before her was Mr. Jones. Anyone from these classes will confirm how loud and angry our band teachers could get — not unlike some athletic coaches. They strive for excellence and push their students to the limit. I see from Mr. Bonner’s students and their parents that he is indeed an admired man and teacher.

Our state and our school district cannot afford to be firing such fine teachers. We should be looking to his example, trying to copy his techniques. Please, let’s pull together as citizens and keep Adrain Bonner in our employ.

Tracey R. Walker Meeker

Fort Worth

Wired for Safety

To the editor: The deregulated electricity market is based on allowing competition and free-market dollars to control the industry. Those same principles should be used to complement effective safety programs within the power companies (“Wired for Tragedy,” Jan. 4, 2006).

In addition to a regimented and repeated safety training program, companies must implement bonus programs rewarding line crews for clean safety records. If bonuses can incite crews to work quickly, they can certainly be used to incite crews to work safely. Not only will a safety incentive plan foster long-term safety habits, but it will help retain skilled linemen who can then pass on their skills to the next generation.

Electricity customers can use their pocketbooks to send a message to power providers. Instead of choosing a provider based solely on their price per kilowatt hour, customers can factor in the provider’s safety record. OSHA makes public the records of complaints and incidents on its web site.

Our company, 360training, provides safety training for many industries, including the power industry. Safety training can be provided via a variety of media at a relatively low cost. There is no excuse for anyone not being properly trained in safety issues.

Just as competition and capitalism can drive businesses and generate profits, those same ideas can help save lives. It’s ultimately upper management’s responsibility to implement effective programs and place safety above all other priorities.

Jeff Leiken

Vice president, 360training


Search: Party

To the editor: Where are Tarrant County Democrats?

When last seen at the Colonial Country Club (Second Thought, July 21, 2004), they appeared to have abandoned their party’s heritage for a catered buffet and a round of golf.

And if they are out there doing things to create a presence and an alternative, why can’t they get the word out?

Which local issues do they feel are most important and where do they stand on them? Where do they see the most opportunities and the most challenges? Have they identified potential candidates for local races? How do they network with other chapters within the state — what is Austin doing right? What is the nature of their relationship with the national party in a state that is now considered overwhelmingly Republican? When will their web site be updated and complete?

If I can find them, I’ll ask them.

Allison Marks

Fort Worth

Remembering Nava

To the editor: Fort Worth Weekly writer Michael Whiteley put his journalistic skills to the test by writing a masterful chronicle of events surrounding slain police officer Hank Nava (“Stealing a Life and Identities,” Jan. 4, 2006). Whiteley’s revelations of the real facts of the case illustrate the need for a change in how the parole division oversees its “clients.”

Considering that Stephen Heard had committed a parole violation in October, had he been arrested in due time, Officer Nava would still be alive. The judicial system fails at times in monitoring people on parole and probation, and somewhere along the line the culpability is often in the system itself with its worn-out clichés: “We’re overworked, underpaid, understaffed, and under-trained.” Excuses don’t solve problems — only legislation, with active authority and enforcement, will. The safety of officers and the general public is at stake.

Mayor Mike Moncrief, as a posthumous remembrance to Officer Nava, ought to retire Nava’s police cruiser from active duty (like the jerseys of sports figures) and prominently display it as a rolling tribute to the fallen officer who was committed to protect and serve the public. He exemplified that motto with the ultimate sacrifice, his life.

Delbert Cantrell

Fort Worth

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