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Feedback mixed, but often entertaining and always welcomed

Thursday, February 28, 2008 | 10:00 a.m. CST; updated 10:45 a.m. CST, Wednesday, February 4, 2009

“Curious” best describes the e-mails I receive concerning my “opinion” articles. Most generate a response or two; others fill my inbox with equal parts of support and opposition. I am sure others commentators of the Fourth Estate experience the same. Most are well-written, supported with logic and good argument. Some generate interesting questions. Others are based more in fantasy than fact, a bit like the extremist talking heads on the airwaves. Sometimes I just shake my head in confusion. However, the reading is usually good entertainment.

My article supporting the Columbia Public School District’s proposed property levy increase generated almost a dozen notes from foes and fans. Yet I received no — NO — e-mails, comments or threats concerning the property levy increase. Not one. Nada. Zilch. Please do not start now; it is too late and I am moving on.

Detractors seem to rally about the “unreasonable and high” salaries of senior administration — that Phyllis Chase and her top administrators make too much money, that they have never managed a “real budget.”

Visit the district’s Web site, take a NoDoz and you too can review the 2007-08 budget — 130 pages of facts and figures.

The CEO for the district is charged with a $230 million budget to educate more than 17,000 students and manage more than 30 facilities. If the district was a corporation we would appreciate the remuneration package provided to the leaders. Based on their responsibilities, the salaries of the seven senior administrators are appropriate and reasonable for such an endeavor and hardly a dent in the finances.

Then there are the claims that I never held a “real” job. My resume is available for those who still wish to be lulled to sleep. You will find that I managed a $4.2 million aviation, marine and specialty risk management agency, owned a restaurant, was the bane of the insurance industry as an administrative hearing officer for the state of Colorado and have consulted with businesses as small as Columbia’s New York Deli and as large as the Federal Reserve System, the American Red Cross and a few Fortune 1000 corporations. And I happen to teach. As an entrepreneur, I have made money and have gone broke. I have and continue to pay my dues.

Various versions of “stop kicking a dead dog” have slipped in, all failing to indicate of which “dog” they are speaking. Voter apathy? City management? The airport? Liberal causes (balanced nicely, by the way, by Karl Miller)? What, exactly, is your complaint? Be specific.

Mandatory firearms training drew a lot of heat (pardon the pun) from conservatives and liberals alike. Some had ineffective or nonsensical arguments, along with a veiled threat or two. A few seem to believe that, as one publicly said, “Safety is a tyrant’s tool; no one can be against safety.” Our government has always taken the course that citizen safety is of greater importance than our rights as provided in the first 10 amendments of the Constitution. The courts limit free speech, not allowing one to yell, “Fire!” in a crowded theater. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act courts allow “sneak and peek” searches under the Patriot Act without the protection of the Fourth Amendment in the name of public safety. The conspiracy theories are getting old; there are better arguments.

Finally, there is a running discussion over my source material. I include my research with the original article copy to my editors — this article has five endnotes alone. For example, the statistics concerning firearms safety and crime come from the FBI, the University of Washington and the National Rifle Association, among other sources, not from conspiracy theorists who have specific fear-based agendas.

Public opinion brings out the best in many, including the conspirators who distrust everyone, and especially those who do not agree with them. Keep writing; I enjoy the commentary and entertainment.

David Rosman is a business and political communications consultant, professional speaker and college instructor in communications, ethics, business and politics. He welcomes your comments at ProfDave1011@netscape.net.


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