My recent post about a clash between the Idaho state school superintendent the teacher's union drew this response from Mark Weir, who lead off by calling me an "arrogant ass." (Probably not the best icebreaker to start a dialogue between strangers). He continued: "Having read enough of your columns I'm over the fact you make it obvious that you are a Catholic and, no doubt, would argue that Garces is the only local place for anyone to receive a quality education. Your ill informed dribble on union busting in Idaho, comparing it to a recent union loss in Wisconsin, makes it appear you read only your left leaning newspaper. I won't even go into why I disagree." First, thanks for writing even if we disagree. But for the record, I'm not Catholic but the ones I know seem like swell people. Second, the story being played out in Idaho is a legitimate topic and has been well covered beyond the lines in this column. Lastly, I'm not certain what all this has to do with Garces Memorial High School but the folks over there seem like hard working people, and they did forgive me for sending my daughter to Stockdale High.
* ... SALVAGGIO: A more measured response to the Idaho post came from former city councilman Mark Salvaggio, who never shies away from tugging my leash if he disagrees with me. Salvaggio is all for pension reform (making new hires pay more for their share of the costs for example) but warns against piling up on public employee unions. "What should not happen is to throw the baby out with the bath water when it comes to public pensions and public employees. Public employees are the lifeblood in delivering vital services to the taxpayer. Quality of life issues must not be forsaken here. You get what you pay for as the old adage goes."
* ... ROUS: Earlier this week I dropped the name of John Rous and his son David, who works as vice president at Glinn and Giordano Physical Therapy. That prompted this note from reader Barbara Fleming: "When I read your column in Monday's paper, I saw the name of a gentle giant. Dave Rous represents things to strive for: kindness, integrity, calmness, humor and many more traits. When a client at Glinn and Giordano, I look forward to working with him."
* ... SPOTTED: A friend tipped me off to an incident in the parking lot of a private school in the Southwest. "A car pulled up to a woman walking and either the driver or a passenger screamed 'throw your purse in the car!' After the woman obliges, the car drove out. It was a black sedan. What a country."
* ... TREES: Mary Webb wrote to wonder who trimmed the sycamore trees on the east side of the Elephant Bar along Calloway Drive. "Who owns or leases the land and makes such idiotic decisions hacking these used-to-be trees? And in the 100 degree temperatures of summer! S-t-u-p-i-d-i-t-y. Seems an annual occurrence: same thing, same time last year."
* .... DREAM CATCHERS: Want to feel good about our young people? Then consider the Dream Catchers club at Liberty High School, where a group of kids got together to grant last wishes to the elderly. It's all the idea of the Busacca triplets - Anthony, Sophia and Isabella - and some of their classmates to pay tribute to their elders. One of their first ideas is to remember the late Wendy Wayne on Monday, July 9, with an event at Jastro Park. There, folks will learn ways they can honor Wendy's life by doing something for other people in our community. The event runs from 10 a.m. until noon. Bruce and Molly Busacca are the parents of the triplets.