Vergos Is Right
Thank goodness for John Vergos (Viewpoint, June 21st issue). While I would hate to give up on the Memphis City School system, I agree that the current course is not appropriate. Vergos' observation that the budget of the MCS is $918 million compared to the city of Memphis budget of $539 million is very revealing.
On the Flyer's Web site, school board commissioner Tomeka Hart explained that 85 percent of the budget goes to salaries for 16,500 employees and that half the employees are teachers. That may sound good until you compare 8,250 non-teachers (administration, janitorial, clerical, etc.) to the city of Memphis' 6,700 employees.
Vergos is right. If Memphis can operate with 6,700 employees, including police, fire, and garbage removal, then it seems reasonable to assume that MCS with 8,250 non-teaching employees is not an efficiently run organization.
Hire a business-minded manager who can get the boondoggle under control. I suspect that there are experts on staff who can implement educational programs to offer students the best opportunity for learning. The present school board seems more business-minded than in the past, but politics still are in play for any elected official. Reduce the size of the board and appoint them.
A Few Thoughts on Health care
Like Michael Moore's Sicko, Chris Herrington's recent review of the film about health care makes some good points (June 28th issue). But like many complex issues, there are an array of things needed to effect a significant improvement in U.S. health care.
The average American (myself included) is overweight and underexercised. Many consume huge quantities of the wrong foods, alcohol, and/or tobacco while proclaiming the right not to have to financially pay for the proven consequences of their actions.
I have worked in the administrative/business side of health care for four-and-a-half years. My employer makes about $50 for spending 20 to 30 minutes (or more) with a Medicare patient — not counting the time spent coordinating with specialists, refilling prescriptions, following up on tests/labs, and answering their questions. Hire an electrician, a plumber, or a painter to come to your house and tell me what they'll do for you for $50.
My employer has been to Cuba on medical missions. If anyone talks about a Cuban medical system that is anything but a Third World mess for the average Cuban, they are ignorant or deceitful. Tourists, official guests like Michael Moore, and government officials go to "special" hospitals; foreigners aren't even allowed in the hospitals that treat most Cubans.
We exalt sports stars, movie stars, pop stars, and others who make $5 million, $10 million, even $30 million a year but demean someone who makes less and is just as talented in running a billion-dollar health-care business — or saves your vision or your life or your child. Checked Michael Moore's income lately?
Herbert E. Kook Jr.
Thompson Has Reach
It appears as though former Senator Fred Thompson will soon enter the race for president. With an already-crowded presidential field, what differentiates Thompson from all the others?
To Tennesseans, Thompson is a down-to-earth guy who served us in the Senate, not as a career politician but as a citizen legislator. His warm personality and hometown style make Thompson a marketable candidate for president.
But it takes more than just marketability to run the country. Thompson, I think, has the ability to "reach across the aisle" and bring common sense to tough issues like immigration, taxation, health care, and the other hot issues of the day.
It's time Tennesseans stand behind a candidate we can be proud of. It's time Tennesseans support Fred Thompson.
I am stunned you would print such utter filth ("Summer of '69," June 21st issue). I wonder how you will explain this to your children or grandchildren. Maybe Bianca Phillips could demonstrate for your family these sick devices she so graphically describes. It appears that you will approve anything for your little paper.