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Our readers speak out

Friday, May 2, 2003

Moses understands school district issues I'd like to share my enthusiasm for school board candidate Karen Moses. I've known Karen since our, now freshmen, children were in class together as kindergartners. Karen has integrity, a depth of understanding of school district issues and passion for putting our kids first. She's honest, approachable and genuine. Just the traits we need on our School Board. Please vote and put Moses on the SD2 School Board!

Christie LeClair Baken

Billings

Nameless 'association' criticizes good candidates "A slap in the face to every decent parent, taxpayer and voter…" What substance is behind this overblown charge? The accused: three citizens offering to help their community. Their offense: Receiving assistance from Trustee Gene Jarussi. Their accuser: An "association" of nameless, faceless individuals.

I find this fear mongering highly offensive on several levels. First of all, who are they, this "association"? Like the Wizard of Oz, they are merely creating a lot of smoke and noise while hiding safely behind their curtains.

Secondly, they imply Trustee Jarussi has no right to help anyone. Trustee Peter Gesuale was correct, you "help people you support." Gesuale, Jarussi, and everyone has a right to support whomever they wish.

Thirdly, a 'guilt by association' campaign is just plain cowardly. If they have a problem with Mr. Jarussi, take it up with him. Finally, there is the old maxim "no good deed goes unpunished." Peterson, Burke and Wilson have the courage serve as our unpaid school trustees. They deserve our respect for this, not an anonymous smear campaign.

After reading about these attacks, my wife stated it best, "No wonder that it is hard to find good people to run for office!"

The true "slap in the face" to decent people is this type of underhanded effort.

Ken Peterson and Michael Burke are well-qualified candidates who stand on their own feet. Peterson is a well respected attorney and an experienced former legislator. Burke has given countless hours helping the kids in our community and our church. On Tuesday, I hope you will make a statement and vote for both Ken Peterson and Mike Burke. I certainly will.

Weldon J. Birdwell

Billings

School candidate Burke honest, fair We have known, worked and worshipped with Mike Burke and his family for the past seven years. Mike is an upstanding citizen in our community, where do these rumors originate? Who is responsible for spreading these trashful tales?

If Mike Burke doesn't meet the set standards of becoming a school board member, then this community has more problems than it realizes. Mike is as honest and fair as anyone we have ever known. Above all, Mike is a listener and he follows through with his promises. The trash that is being spread needs to come to a halt. It's time for these trash bearers to grow up and shut up.

Gerry and Katie Volnek

Billings

Vote for Burke for School Board For 22 years Mike Burke and I have had a close association. First, as a son-in-law, secondly as an employee and now as a business partner.

I have found he has many qualities which would make him an excellent addition to the Billings School Board.

First, he is people oriented. He understands people, listens to people and knows how to react to concerns of those around him. He knows how to make decisions based on the concerns expressed.

Secondly, he is a leader. His leadership started to show as a local president of the Billings Jaycees and later as state president. His abilities have grown every year. He can take a split group, undecided on its path or direction, and work with them to become a comprehensive unit totally backing a given objective.

Finally, he loves kids. As a parent, he has two students that are in the Billings school system. Both on the honor roll and both active in music and sports. His relationship with youth can be further shown as a baseball coach. He coached for eight years winning many city championships. In his final year as coach, his team was state champions and went into regional competition in Hawaii. As a School Board member he will represent your son or your daughter in a compassionate way because he has such a deep concern for our young people.

In conclusion, I have seen Mike fill a number of jobs and he has been excellent in all. The School Board needs a trustee that will represent all of us and a person who, through compromise and leadership will build strong relationships within the Board, strong ties with the education community and we as taxpayers.

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Harrison G. Fagg

Billings

It's Jarussi's right to back candidates Oh my gosh! A politician is being criticized for politicking. I thought that politicking is what politicians do. Is there a law against that?

I believe that Gene Jarussi has every right to actively support anyone he wants to serve on the School Board.

However, this does not mean that I will vote for any of Jarussi's gang. School District 2 will be served best by Karen Moses, Kathy Kelker and Conrad Stroebe.

Kim Larsen

Billings

Lawmakers should complete budget first I've read in articles by legislators over the last few legislative sessions that Montanans "have common sense," are "independent minded," etc. That cannot be said for many of this session's legislators. The governor stated before the session she would veto any tax increases — incredibly shortsighted. The legislators have been playing party politics from the beginning — so childish.

After reading about, listening to and attending this session, it is obvious these people need to prioritize. The attorney general's office says there are no rules on the order in which bills should be completed. Since people love initiatives so much, let's make a rule. The budget bill and bills pertaining to monies the feds blackmail us with shall be the only bills brought forth until signed by the governor. If there is any time remaining after this in the session, then other bills could be discussed. Make the budget the main priority and don't wait until the last minute and settle for a bad bill.

When the budget is signed, then they could bring in the local and national lobbyists, morality, and health and environmental activists to really help the citizens of the state. For those legislators who voted their consciences and had to cross party lines to do it — kudos. What many legislators forget when they get to Helena is the majority of the people in the state don't live black or white party line lives. I've been told this idea won't work; it is not the way the game is played. Our lives should not be considered a game.

Dave Corner

Townsend

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