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Letters 7/17 - 7/25 

Dogs and people

I'd like to direct this to the small, yet vocal, group of dog haters in this town, even though I know that they probably will be the least likely to read what I am going to say.

It is now a proven, unarguable, fact that if it were not for dogs our culture and civilization would not exist. A few million years ago, when dogs decided to hook-up with humans, (not the other way around), they taught us how to hunt, herd, and collect animals and this allowed us to step away from the other species on the planet at the time and eventually rule the world.

The cruelty, abuse, and neglect that these creatures suffer at our hands is simply deplorable. So get over it folks, if it weren't for canis familiaris we would all be scrounging around for a comfy fur tree to sleep under tonight.

—Matt Gawlik

In reply to "Standoff!" (News, 7/18)

Claiming that the community has spoken is a bit of a stretch, don't you think? On the contrary, the statistically insignificant survey clearly suggests that the town is divided. On top of that, Pacific Power's unwillingness to participate meaningfully puts the whole process in limbo. This issue is far from decided, and advocacy from the Source (or anyone else) would be misguided at this stage. Worry not—the time for gunslinging will come soon enough.

—Umm

In reply to "Pacific Power in Standoff with Mirror Pond Management Board" (Bent Blog, 7/15)

Pacific Power needs to come clean. It makes no sense to claim that their decision depends on public sentiment in Bend—their decision depends solely on the bottom line and the requirements of the Oregon PUC. We (Bend), on the other hand, can't really plan without knowing what they will do. They have lots of internal data on the dam and how it fits into their resource mix, and they owe it to the town that has hosted their power plant for this long to give us an idea of when it will come out.

—DJ Hurricane

Maybe Pacific Power doesn't have faith in Jim Figurski and the Mirror Pond Management Board. I don't know anything about the recent survey they carried out, but the one I took in January was terribly produced with very serious subjective wording issues. If I were Pacific Power, I wouldn't base any decisions on the board's findings just from that experience alone.

—kms

In reply to "Principal Getting Administrative Leave" (Letter to the Editor, 7/3)

Ed. note: Matt Montoya was placed on leave from his principal position at Bear Creek Elementary School on June 24 following review of his annual evaluation and pending an investigation. Earlier this month, the Bend-La Pine Schools Board of Directors began a second investigation resulting from a discrimination complaint filed by Montoya, who cites discrimination based on age and race. At press time, he remains on leave.

A few facts: Principal Matt Montoya at Bear Creek Elementary school is not bilingual. He needs an interpreter to communicate with Spanish speaking families.

Montoya has little to do with the growth or success of the Dual Immersion program at Bear Creek. There is a contracted bilingual administrator, as well as many excellent bilingual teachers, who should take credit for this program. If anything, Matt's not being bilingual hinders the program.

Some questions to ask: What measures or data shows that Bear Creek Students' performance has improved ":exponentially" over the last three years? If one reviews State standardized test scores, what do we see over the last three years? Is three years as a principal really enough to handle the largest elementary school in the district with the greatest socio-economic challenges? What is the teacher/staff attrition rate at Bear Creek over the last three years?

The decision to put Matt Montoya on administrative leave has absolutely nothing to do with any political agenda. It has to do with an evaluation process. Principals are required to set goals each year. Has Matt Montoya achieved these goals? Probably not. The new principal of Bear Creek should possess the character, integrity and clear vision for the future that Matt Montoya does not have.

—Concerned

Counter facts to previous letter: 1. There is only a small percentage of parents who do not speak English; thus Mr. Montoya does not need to be bilingual. Only the teachers need to be bilingual. Even if he were bilingual, that would not guarantee proper communication skills needed to accomplish administrative tasks as a principal. Mr. Montoya has excellent communication skills.

2. Matt Montoya has a lot to do with the growth and success of the Dual Immersion Program at Bear Creek. Simply ask the teachers who he hired based on the skills and knowledge that he recognized in them when he hired them. Ask the parents whose kids are in the program.

Some answers to questions: 1. Test scores for Bear Creek Elementary for the past three years have shown drastic improvement. 2. Montoya has been a vice principal for one year and principal now for six; that's seven years, not three. If Bear Creek is the largest school in the district then he deserves credit for making it run better compared to what it was when he first came on board! It has also been proven it takes more than three years to turn a failing school around.

3. The only professionals choosing to transfer from Bear Creek to other schools are those unwilling to live up to the higher standards that Mr. Montoya is expecting them to live up to! Some people are not dedicated enough to work that hard!

4. The real reasons that Mr. Montoya is recommended for termination have no true justification, which has been proven by his performance, by his staff, by his students and their parents; listen to them.

5. When Mr. Montoya was chosen he was selected out of 80 applicants; considered the "best choice" by all who were involved in that decision. If some people are not happy, it is probably because his greatest achievement is demanding more from others who do not want to give more. The only "Perfect" people are those who criticize others to make up for what they are lacking in!

—More Concerned

I have been reading and hearing about the termination of current Bear Creek Elementary Principal, Matt Montoya, after only 3 years. From my experience in management, I believe no one should carelessly discharge someone who has been, and has the potential of continuing to be, a productive employee. From comments I hear from parents and teachers, it appears the reasons to keep this person are greater than for terminating him. If there was any significant reason it would've been made public by now, such as a crime. When a company hires a new person for a professional job, a lot of time, money, and resources are invested in selecting the best of what is available. The Bend School district has a lot of our tax dollars invested in choosing Mr. Montoya from day one. Let's use common sense here. If Mr. Montoya is valued by so many, and appears to be a perfectly decent man, doing a great job, but is supposedly "lacking" in a certain aspect of "job performance" then he should simply be properly guided, not terminated! Have you ever considered what one man can handle in that position? Maybe he is expected to do more than any person is humanly capable. Maybe he is having to choose priorities, having to decide to do more important tasks to make the school run at its best and to set aside the less important tasks. You should evaluate and weigh in on what he has accomplished rather than on what he realistically couldn't or failed to do. Please place yourself in Mr. Montoya's shoes. Who is to say that your next "best pick" to be hired won't have similar problems, (or maybe worse). There is no guarantee. No one is perfect. Maybe

—James Brady (A Common Sense Concerned Citizen and Taxpayer)

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