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letters to the editor

A smart way to get voting information
My old father-in-law said: “I’m a yellow-dog Democrat. If the party decides to run a yellow dog for office, he gets my vote.” And of course, many Republicans were similarly inclined ó straight-ticket voters.
But nowadays, things are not so simple. Out of 100 N.C. voters, about 80 would likely vote just as they register, Democratic or Republican. But there will be another 20 who register Independent. So how can an Independent figure out who to vote for?
Folks say that you can tell a good deal about a horse from its mouth, but this doesn’t work for politicians. But just as you can learn more about a race horse from its track records, you can learn about politicians from their voting records. Voting records? How’s the average person ever going to figure that out?
By going to the record-keepers, that’s how. My favor is Project Vote Smart. PVS to the rescue! They offer free, non-partisan, speedy analysts who know the voting records of any current legislator who is running again in 2008.
Your part is to decide what values you are most concerned about. Mine, for example, would be the human environment. OK, PVS, please analyze the voting record of N.C. Congressman “X” for 2007 for votes (yes or no) on issues concerning the human environment. They give you the total record and also choose four particular votes as most informative about the topic, whether supportive or the reverse.
You can visit the Project Vote Smart Web site (www.votesmart.org), phone 1-888-868-3762 or 1-406-859-8683 or write to: Project Vote Smart, One Common Ground, Philipsburg, Mt. 59858-9767.
It’s free!
ó Dick Taber
Salisbury
More about flags
Regarding Mac Butner’s Feb. 25 letter to the editor:
He recently visited the cafeteria of Southeast Middle School and saw flags of many nations hanging from the ceiling. He was angered and embarrassed that flags from communist countries were hanging along with the American flag. Perhaps Mr. Butner didn’t realize that the flags are hung to represent the different countries that make up the SEMS population. It is actually a part of the School Improvement Plan to improve the understanding of cultural diversity. SEMS has 29 testing subgroups. In case you haven’t noticed, Mr. Butner, the faces that make up Rowan County aren’t all white and their last name isn’t Moore like mine. Both my children attend school in Rowan County; their schools are diverse and have ESOL populations. (ESOL means English to Speakers of Other Languages.) I’d like to mention that Spanish is not the only foreign language that Rowan County schools have to deal with.
America is a melting pot. People from all over the world have immigrated to this country. Some were able to escape from those communist countries whose flags are hung in the SEMS cafeteria. Some students are descendants from those countries. Are we to shame them for that? My grandmother is a German war bride to a deceased WWII veteran. She became a U.S. citizen and is proud to be an American. She still embraces her German heritage. If you see a German flag at her house, do you think her a Nazi? I should hope not.
SEMS is the home of the Patriots. SEMS’ Patriots come in different shades, speak more than one language and originate from different countries. And just so you know, there is a flag pole at the front entrance of SEMS where the American flag is raised in honor every day.
ó Shannon Moore
Salisbury
Knox as a priority
A special thank you to the School Board and administration for recognizing the safety needs of the children and staff at Knox Middle School and prioritizing the building of a new KMS as No. 2 on the list of Rowan-Salisbury School System capital needs! (February 12, 2008).
KMS was built 50 years ago and remains the oldest middle school in the county, with many of the initial fixtures, systems and furniture. However, even more importantly, the nine separate buildings and 57 entrances at KMS pose serious dangers to the students and teachers/staff who must attend daily. The campus design is dangerous and inviting of a volatile incident. Given the national tragedy of violence on school campuses, this should be of grave concern and validates the higher ranking of KMS on the capital needs list.
However, placement on a list is meaningless without the necessary funding. Without the proper funding, the KMS students/staff will continue to attend school in an extremely high-risk environment 180 days a year. I urge the School Board, the Rowan County commissioners and the people of Rowan County to find the funds necessary to protect these children! KMS cannot wait!
ó Mary Willis Page
Salisbury

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