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Your Views: School board acted hastily in firing Ballowe
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In Thursday’s issue of the Times, Gainesville school board member Sammy Smith said Thursday’s meeting was not called to discuss Superintendent Steven Ballowe’s evaluation. But Friday’s headlines show that in that meeting Ballowe was indeed fired.

Why the deception? Was this to prevent more citizens from coming to the meeting, or was this yet another confused move by a school board in such disarray that it can’t even elect a permanent chairperson?

It appears this was a hastily called meeting held at noon the day before a holiday. Definitely not the best time for the average working person to attend and have a voice. So much for Ballowe’s culture of transparency.

Everyone knows that Dr. Ballowe has not had a rocky tenure in Gainesville. As a Gainesville native, a graduate of Gainesville High and a parent of a GHS graduate, I personally testify that Ballowe ushered our system into a different era of educational opportunity without discrimination.

Of course, fiscal responsibility is important, but taxpayers realize that you cannot put a price tag on a good education. A weak educational system destroys a community from the inside out and costs much more in the long run.

Ballowe’s culture of excellence and accountability has been recognized by the president and by those living below the poverty level. His motto wasn’t "no child left behind" but that "all children can learn!"

It’s a shame that at the very least, Dr. Ballowe was not given an opportunity to fix this financial mess by working with the school board, those elected to serve the best interests of the entire community.

Michelle Lowe Mintz


Corn has become the new symbol of excess

A happy, belated Fourth of July to all.

In keeping with the underlying issues that prompted a Fourth of July, I’ve written about corn. Corn has become the revolutionary issue, not tea.

Tea was never an essential in the colonial diet, merely a luxury and a sign of affluence. Soon, only the affluent will be able to afford corn in most of the world.

The World Bank has an excellent staff of economists that are not often silenced by political motivations. Politics did silence a World Bank report on food prices. Food prices have been rising around the world, but our presidential geniuses claim that China is eating more.

The appetite of China and India, our real American heroes say, has caused 97 percent of the increase in world food prices. The World Bank economists strongly disagreed, but the United States has had enough influence, politically, to squelch that report.

Squelching reports has been one of the few successes in the seven years of the Bush administration. The Bush cabal has squelched reports of torture, global warming and internal acts of treason. Well done, Herr Bush, Cheney and all of Georgia’s GOP Party.

We’re broke. We’re liars. And soon we’ll be eating cake as we drive our Hummers on corn oil.

But enjoy the red glow of the rockets fired almost 200 years ago. Tell yourself how patriotism is just like grace. You don’t need to do anything; mere belief will save you.

Michael Parker

Flowery Branch