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February 29, 2012     Indian Valley Record
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Bulletin, Record, Progressive, Reporter Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012 7B COMMUNITY PERSPECTIVE Prospects remain bright for ag grads WHERE I STAND SHANNON DOUGLASS CHAtRWOMAN, YOUNG FARMERS & RANCHERS COMMITTEE I can't recall the last time I saw a farmer holding a pitch- fork, wearing overalls and chewing on straw, but that stereotypical image of a farmer and agriculturalist still captivates the imagina- tion of many Americans. Re- cent media coverage has also demonstrated an antiquated view qf food and fiber produc- tion, misinterpreting U.S. De- partment of Labor and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics information t proclaim college degrees in agriculture as "useless" or "headed for the dustbin." This lack of understanding about where food comes from and the array of people work- ing to get it on our plates represents an opportunity to invite the public to learn .more about farming and ranching, as well as how valuable ag.degrees truly are. I have experienced that firsthand. After graduating with an agriculture diploma, I worked in outreach for the College of Agriculture at California State University, Chico, and now have a posi- tion focused on encouraging more students to consider a career in crop protection as a licensed pest control adviser. There is such tremendous demand for PCAs that my position was created solely to recruit more young people into this path. One of the articles downplaying the importance of agricultural degrees came to my attention when one of the many young people I work with sent me a panicked email, questioning his career choice after read- ing the article. I quickly assured him that agriculture was a great path to be on and itemized the reasons. Here are facts we should share with young people; as well as anyone who questions if there is a place for agri- cultural graduates in our economy: --A June 2011 study by the California Community Col- leges Workforce and Economic Development Centers of Excel- lence found that agricultural jobs are expected to grow by 180,000 positions in the com- ing years. While the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated a decrease in production jobs, reflecting increased mecha- nization and productivity, the grow!, h in supporting indus-. tries such as research, pro- cessing, marketing and sales outpaces this loss. --The Centers of Excellence study also found that the average salary in.California agriculture pays $7,000 more per year than a position outside of agriculture. I --The world population sur- passed 7 billion last year. It takes a lot of work from a multitude of people to meet the demands of our growing population with our limited natural resources. I also suggest that for a closer look at the topic, we turn to the people most famil- iar with the subject of agricul- tural degrees: California's agricultural colleges. Across the board, the schools report strong prospects for their agri- cultural students. Many of the schools have responded to questions in the media with tangible evidence of just how valuable an agricultural. education carl be today: --David Wehner, the dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, wrote, "Industry leaders throughout California and across the country tell me'time and again that they need more of the kinds of stu- dents that we graduate from. Cal Poly. Each year, compa- nies like Dole, J,L0hr Vine- yards and Wine, and Foster Farms, to name a few, actively pursue our graduates from across all disciplines." ----Studies by the University of California, Davis; found that 88 percent of agricultural. sciences graduates report that they are employed in positions related to their education. --"Here at CSU Chico, the optimism for agricultural careers can be seen in the 50 percent enrollment growth in programs offered through the College of Agriculture during the past five years," wrote Jennifer Ryder Fox, dean of the College of Agriculture at Chico State. Furthermore, a study re- leased this January by Georgetown University showed that agriculture and natural resource graduates were among three disciplines least likely to be unemployed, behind only health and education. A career in agriculture can be in an office or in the out- doors, in sales or production, workingwith plants, animals, people or in a laboratory. Agri. cultural careers are available in big cities and in small towns. They are well-paid careers and best of all, they are rewarding. Agriculturalists work to supply safe, wholesome and affordable food and fiber to support the growing world. We should also work to spread the word about this noble career-- one that we hope more young people will consider. Shannon Douglass may be reached at shannondouglashotmai1.com. Reprinted with permission from the California Farm Bureau Federation History shows term limits are a bad idea WHEP,.E I STAND the number of bills a legisla- ............................................................................................................ tot can introduce. The always- STAN STATHAM 'ASSEMBLY MEMBER 1976-1994 In 1994, I sought a promo. tion that I didn't want. I had been in the Legisla- ture for 18 years, represent- ing Lassen, Plumas and other counties in the far north of California. I loved serving in the Assembly. I didn't do any- thing wrong! I didn't even come close to committing a felony, unless putting about 90 good laws on the books was wrong, As a couple of examples, in 19801 increased California's drunk driving fines from $70 to $320 with Assembly Bill 2086 and I then provided dozens of millions of dollars in newly harvested food to senior gleaners "free" with AB 2895. I did this while I simultaneously tried to limit challenged Legislature killed that bill. People sometimes made fun of me. But it was a great time and I was working hard. Too bad though, my time was up. Californians had passed term limits in 1990. Assembly members could only serve six years, and senators only eight years. The clock started in 1990, and my term limit was fast approaching in 1996. I was being forced to get a different job. SO I ran for lieutenant governor. I lost in the Repub- lican primary. However, as life teaches us, one is doing fine as long as one thinks one is doing fine. I am doing fme,Iremarried. I found a job working as the president/ CEO for the California Broad- casters Association and even moderating gubernatorial debates. Wow! How's that? " (That was me trying to pre- vent Arianna Huffington and Arnold Schwarzenegger from killing each other during the recall debate in 2003). I am not sure that the Legislature ever missed me. But I miss the Legislature. And the Legislature is miss- ing something. You know the last time that a majority of Californians told pollsters that they;approved of the job.their Legislature was doing? Back in the fall of 1990-- the month be- -- in part because term limits require more jumping around between jobs. One of the strangest con- sequences of term limits, particularly with the new redistricting maps produced by a citizens' commission, is the phenomenon of "quasi- incumbents." "Quasi-incumbents" are what I call sitting members of the Legislature who had to move into a different town simply in order to stay in their district once the lines fore they approved term limits, changed. If you thought it was bad in the 1900s when those already in offme decided the length of terms, redistricting and what. ever else they could think of, how is it now? With all of us . ?professional" politicians :gone, how do you like the "amateurs"? Not very good, huh? The amateurs are even more careerist than we were Moving to a different town in one of the new citizen- formed districts keeps these quasi-incumbents in the Assembly or state Senate. That lets them continue to serve the remaining portioo of the years that theyare allowed because of the term limits. It also makes them quasi-carpetbaggers. It is a confusing time of musical chairs of districts and of in. cumbents. And when you're playing musical chairs, how do you govern? The answer is: you don't. Term limits are part of the problem. Twenty-one years after Californians passed term limits, it is past time to ask voters: What were you thinking? Oh, that's right, many citizens wanted to get rid of Speaker Willie Brown. They thought he was too liberal. My party supported term limits then to get rid of him. I wish we hadn't. I now believe that limiting your representative to a certain length of term doesn't even make common sense. It is anti-voter.choice. It is anti. democratic. Why should you not be able to keep your rep- resentative as long as you like? I am slLrprised the courts justified term limits as constRutional for California's elected officials. Speaker Brown had a much broader, more moderate per- spective than our legislative leaders now. When I decided to intro- duce AB 2, to study the possi- bility of dividing California into more than one state, I was quite surprised when my friend Willie helped me proceed with that idea. He told me he was elected in 1964, and by 1966 he intro. duced a bKl on the possible division of our state. He told me that he also felt California was too big and'always battling dysfunction. He was right. I wish he were . still in the Legislature to help us do something about it. He's probably smart enough to f igure it out. I'm still tryingto decide what would be best. LETTERS to the EDITOR Guidelines for Letters All letters must contain an ad- dress and a phone number. We publish only one letter per i week, per person and only one letter per person, per month regarding the same subject. We do not publish third,party, anonymou s , or open letters. Letters must be limited to a maximum of 300 words. The editor will cut any letter in excess of 300 words. The deadline is Friday at 3 p.m. (Deadlines may change due to holidays.) Letters may be taken to any of Feather Publishing's offices, sent via fax to 283-3952, or e-mailed to mail@plumasnews.com. Need to Usten I am writing today to com- mend the students of Quincy Junior-Senior High School for their democratic, respect- ful, but firm protest Friday, Feb. 24. I would like to preface this letter by stating I have never written a letter to the editor before. I do not tell you this to impress you, but rather to impress upon you the importance of this act and the courage they showed in carrying it out. The students organized this protest by themselves and without the teachers' help or knowledge. They had posters to represent each teacher from QHS who re- ceived a RIF. They respected the traffic laws and returned as peacefully as they came. Quincy High School's mis- sion statement says, among other things, that it will prepare its graduates to be global, national and commu- nity-oriented productive citi- zens of society.' As a teacher, I can say with great pride ' that I believe the students now have a much better understanding of the afore- mentioned goals. In addition to the pride I have in their action, I think we need tolisten to their message. Over the previous months, I have heard the comments of teachers, ad- ministrators, board mem- bers, parents and prominent community members. I be- lieve that the student voice is finally beginning to enter this discussion. The QHS students, as representatives of the students from each community that make up PUSD, made their desires clefir: save our teachers. It is my opinion that we all need to listen. We need to set a higher standard for ourselves in our decision- making, our debates and our meetings. We need to elevate the level of our discussions. We need to be creative in finding new ways to tighten the belt in our district. We need to do this because the current and future gener- ations in our schools and communities will be the ones who will live by the decisions we make today. Tanner Johns Music teacher Quincy schools ,Up against Dear Mr. Harris, . I'm one of the Native Amer- ican kids in this valley but I want to speak for everyone. I graduated from Taylorsville Elementary last year and I'm now going to Greenville High School. I know that you made a proposal to close TES and GHS. My little brother has attended TES since second grade and Will be graduating from there next year. I really want to see him spend his last year of elementary school at Taylorsville be- cause it's a great school. Taylorsville is the top school in Plumas County and has solar panels that save money and give the students a hands-on learning experi- ence. We students of TES and GHS have great pride in our schools. Our schools have been a part of the community for many years, and we are all prepared to fight to the end. The high school has im- proved so mqch this year. It's gained more students and our test scoi'es have gone up. We have a great culinary teacher, Mrs. Dolphin'. She has taught everyone a 10t of cooking skills that we can use for the rest of our lives. GHS also has Mr. Rubke for science, who was awarded state teache r of the year. I have an older sister who would be graduating from the high school next year, but if you close the high school it would be like you're robbing her from her senior year. She'll have no other choice but go on to college a year early. If you try to send the Greenville kids to Chester I can assure you that parents won't send their children on the roads. If you value your job then I'd rethink the idea of closing any schools in Indian Valley. Perhaps you just don't realize whom you're up against. Haylee Elzea Seventh grade Greenville High School Rainyday is here I am shocked and saddened to hear that the school board voted unanimously to lay off 32 full-time teaching posi- tions and to bump numerous veteran teachers in Plumas County. I recognize that educational funding is being cut, but I urge the board to explore other options. I am a local businessman. I have lived in Quincy for 31 years. I raised my family here, and'my three children received excellent educations in this Community school system. It is a grave mistake to eviscerate our edUcational community by eliminating so many teachers- teachers who are the most'important element of our educational process.. The fact that the teachers being eliminated are mostly high school teachers leads me to believe that the purpose of this action is to streamline our district into one high school. This action will choke the life out of Plumas commu- nities that lose their schools, creating more hardships for local businesses and further weaRening opportunities to attract young families. The superintendent has stated that the administration and district office employees can bear no cuts or layoffs. He insists that they are already overworked and understaffed. Is the situation any different for the teachers? Or do they not work as hard? I encourage the board to prudently use the reserve funds to keep as many teach- ers teaching 'as possible. Let's trim our system across the board in a more balanced way. Look at the budget and make cuts that do not elimi- nate the most precious re. sources of our community schools -- teachers. The board must take the rea- sonable approach of balancing cuts in administration, sur- plus buildings, elementary and high schools so that we do not lose so many quality teachers. Utilize the reserve funds because the rainy day is here now. Let's work together to keep our school system and our communities healthy, strong and viable. Richard E. Daun Quincy Stay together In response to the letter from Dennis Clemens con- cerning possible closing of some schools to keep others open, I think we could use a quick history iessoa. The first proposal to create a unified school district in Plumas County faced opposi- tion in the Chester-Lake Almanor area. The Basin had the richest per capita tax base because of private tim- ber holdings, private ranch lands and the property held by PG&E around the lake. In theend, it vas decided the benefits of a large district would override the. loss of higher local per student spending. The subject came up many times over the years when Portola and Greenville each got new gyms, and Quincy High got a second gym, but there have been benefits as well. In the late 1990s, early 2000s, the district obtained Small Necessary School fund- ing for the whole district. It wasn't easy because the total district population at that time exceeded the limits of the law. With many trips to Sacramento, and the help of Sam Aanastad, we were able to tap into that funding because of the small school populations in Greenville and Chester. It might have been easy to give all that extra money to those two communities only, but that was never considered. All the schools received some of the benefits. Communities without schools shrink, which results in a domino effect. Loss of schools in .one community de- creases those property values even more, which means a general decrease in county revenue, which cuts revenue for all schools. This is about the economic well-being of the whole county. See Letters, page 8B := ....... - ......... .7..: : ........... ... ,,,, ,.......: Contact your elected officials... PLUMAS COUNTY SUPERVISORS - 520 Main Street, Room 309, Quincy, CA 95971; (530) 283-6170; FAX: (530) 283-6288; E-Mail: pcbs@countyofplumas.com. Individual supervisors can also be e-mailed from links on the county website, countyofplumas.com PRESIDENT - Barack Obama, the White House, i600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW Washington, D.C. 20500. (202) 456-1414. Fax: 202-456-2461. E-mail: whitehouse.gov/contact/ U.S. SENATOR - Dianne Feinstein (D), 331 Hart Senate Office Bldg., Washington, D.C. 20510. (202) 224-3841; FAX: 202-228-3954; TTY/TDD: (202) 224-2501. District Office: One Post Street, Suite 2450, San Francisco, CA 94104; Phone: (415) 393-0707; Fax: (415) 393-0710 Website: feinstein.senate.gov, U.S. SENATOR - Barbara Boxer (D). District Office: 501 I St., Suite 7-600, Sacramento, CA 95814. (916)448-2787; FAX (916) 448-2,563; OR 112 Hart Bldg., Washington, D.C. 20510. (202) 224-3553. FAX (202) 22843454. U.S. REPRESENTATIVE, 4Tit DIST. - Tom McClintock. 508 Cannon HOB, Washington, D.C. 20515. (202) 225-2511; FAX (202) 225-5444. mcclintock.house.gov. DISTRICT OFHCE: 8700 Auburn Folson Rd., Suite #100, Granite Bay, CA 95746; (916) 786-5560, FAX: (916) 786-6364. STATE SENATOR, 1st DIST. - Ted Gaines. State Capitol, Room 3056, Sacramento, CA 95814. (9i6) 651-4001, FAX: (916) 324-2680. Roaeville office: 2140 Professional Dr., #140, Roseville, CA, 95661. (916) 783-8232, FAX (916) 783-5487; Jackson office: 33 C Broadway, Jackson, CA95642, (209) 223-9140. STATE ASSEMBLYMAN, 3RD DIST. - Dan Logue, State Capitol, Sacramento, CA 95814, (916) 319-2003; FAX (916) 319-2103. District Office, 1550 Humboldt Rd., Ste. #4, Chico, CA 95928; (530) 895-4217, FAX (530) 895-4219. GOVERNOR Jerry Brown, office of the Governor, Capitol, Suite 1173, Sacramento, CA 95814. Webs!te: gov.ca.gov/ (916) 445-2841. FAX: (916) 558-3160. State I