Letters published on March 11, 2018

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Don’t support political activism in public schools

On March 14, Flathead Valley public schools will be participating in a nationwide school walkout. Organized by the national political activist movement known as “Women’s March/Youth Empower,” the primary goal of this protest is to incite youth political activism during school hours.

In Orwellian fashion, local school administrators are calling this event a “memorial” rather than a protest to disguise the obvious: Students and teachers will be participating in political activism during school hours.

In the last few generations we have shifted in our collective thinking to where a majority of voters believe using government coercion to force citizens to pay for the public education of other people’s children is a social contract, where older generations are obligated to pay for the education of younger generations. However, like most contracts, public education places duties and responsibilities on other parties besides taxpayers.

Under the prevailing social contract, public school employees are obligated to teach, and students are obligated to learn, and both are obligated to avoid disrupting other teachers from educating and other students from learning. By all measures, the planned March 14th walkout is a violation of the current social contract between older and younger generations.

If taxpayer-subsidized teachers and students are going to willfully violate their social contract obligations, then it is becomes reasonable for taxpayers to question their future obligations to the social contract. As a form of counter-protest, it doesn’t seem unreasonable for older generations to withhold their future financing of public education if teachers protest in lieu of teaching, and students walk out instead of learning. In essence, protesting during taxpayer-financed school hours is a form of theft of services. If teacher and student activists wish to obtain the moral high ground in political debates, they might consider protesting on their own dimes rather than during the time they are expected to be fulfilling their duties and responsibilities as beneficiaries of a public charity.

Teachers and students who continue to violate the terms of their social contract may find their current benefactors increasingly less enthusiastic about paying taxes to support what they previously thought was public education. —Joseph D. Coco Jr., Whitefish

Emery Smith for FEC board

Once again we will be asked by folks running for the Flathead Electric board for votes. We must study our candidates very carefully as there is a lot of time required to be a board member.

A large commitment must be made by a candidate to read and study and attend classes to be a good board member. Emery Smith has 15 years of service on the Flathead Electric board.

I am asking for your support for Emery Smith as he has completed all of his levels of certification as there are four levels to be earned by board members. He has attended many classes to get his certification and to be keeping informed with the power issues and also the operation of cooperatives.

A vote for Emery will mean continuity as well as knowledge on the board. Having a person with the experience of co-op business is an asset to our members.

If a new person is elected to the board, then the cost of training starts over and that cost is a burden on us the members.

Thanks for your vote for Emery Smith. —Earl Messick, Libby

Vote for Wallace as co-op trustee

Flathead Electric Cooperative is an important asset to our valley and it is important to me to have a Board of Trustees that looks after my best interests.

I would like to strongly endorse Todd Wallace as a candidate who will take his role seriously and contribute value in this capacity. Todd is knowledgeable about the cooperative and he and his family are involved in our community.

We all want reliable electricity at affordable rates and I know that Todd will keep these goals top of mind if we give him our vote. —Sandy Carlson, Kalispell

Re-elect Smith to FEC board

I am writing you on behalf of my good friend Emery Smith regarding him serving on the Flathead Electric board. I have known Emery for nearly 20 years and have always found him to look out for the interests of others when taking care of business. He is conscientious to do what is right for others not just what is best for himself. That is a quality I really look for when people choose to serve on boards like this.

I hope he will be reelected so he can continue to lookout for the rest of us just as he has over the past 15 years. —Kirk Gentry, Columbia Falls

Experience gives Smith the edge

Concerning Emery Smith, who is running for reelection as a trustee for Flathead Electric, Emery is highly qualified to serve in this capacity. He has been serving as a trustee for 15 years and has attended many schools and seminars about electric utility operation.

It would be a tragedy for the membership if they were to lose Emery’s service on this board. He stands behind a strong moral compass and is not afraid to make his voice heard in the board room. I served with him on this board for many years and can say without reservation, he is the man for this job. Please continue to support him and the lower rates he has made available to the membership through conservation and efficiency. No one can replace his years of dedicated service. —Paul Holland, Bigfork

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