Mark Hurley

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Archive for October 2010

Education Letter

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For the purposes of this letter, “Editor” refers to the editors of all major news publications in Nevada.

To the Editor:

In my capacity as president of The Nevada State Board of Education, I have invited representatives of both Brian Sandoval and Rory Reid’s campaign to speak at our upcoming October 7th and 8th meetings. The idea is to allow the candidates to supplement their generalized comments from their August education debate, in order that they might articulate more comprehensive plans for the future, should they be elected. The state’s education budget faces alarming and potentially damaging cuts in the coming months, and it has become more imperative than ever that Nevadans understand who will safeguard the future of their children in the proceeding term.

Mr. Reid’s campaign has committed to sending an appropriate ambassador to these meetings, however Brian Sandoval’s campaign has replied in the disappointingly negative. In their response, it was indicated that there was no individual in the campaign equipped to represent Mr. Sandoval in talks on education. I fail to see the wisdom in this refusal to address the Board; it is not encouraging for the state of our schools under a Sandoval administration, nor is it prudent for the candidate’s campaign.

The Board has offered a perfect opportunity to address the officials elected by the people that live in the state Mr. Sandoval aims to govern. It escapes me why such an opportunity would be passed up, especially since the Board of Education is responsible for all K-12 education in the state, and whose actions directly affect the children of Nevada. It strikes me as odd that, as time before the election grows short, Mr. Sandoval would not wish to take advantage of one more chance to address the people he intends to govern.

Perhaps Mr. Sandoval believes that a 13 point lead over Mr. Reid in the polls is an excuse to play his politics safe, and ride out the election season on top. I would beg to differ. When leading in the fourth quarter of an important game, a coach ought not to finish the game half-hearted, with a skeleton squad of second stringers on the field.  Brian Sandoval should play the full fifteen, or else he should not be surprised if Rory Reid, in his willingness to play ball, runs away with it in the end.

It may very well prove that Nevada’s education budget will have to face detrimental cutbacks. However, until I hear otherwise, I must assume that Mr. Sandoval’s campaign has not devoted the appropriate manpower to considering the fate of our students with due diligence.


Written by scumbagstyle

October 5, 2010 at 1:08 am

Letter to Nevada Governor Candidates #1

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The open letter sent by the president of the Nevada Board of Education to the current governor and those vying for his seat in November 2010 received a write-up in the Reno Gazette-Journal and was generally well-accepted.

Dear [Candidate],

We, the Nevada State Board of Education, are writing to express our extreme dissatisfaction with the proposed further cuts to the state’s education budget. Already, we have been forced to approve a ten percent cut by the State Budget Office to the already anorexic funding our schools receive. Now we have been told by Governor Gibbons to prepare for a further thirty to forty percent drop.

In attending the education debate held between yourself and your opponent in the upcoming election on August 29, 2010, I admit to leaving with a sense of disappointment with both of your proffered positions. Your initial stances on the importance of education to the future of our state were commendable, however neither candidate felt it necessary to expound on the specifics of your plans to act on that importance. We cordially invite you to delineate your future policies as concerns primary education in Nevada.

It is generally agreed amongst government officials in Nevada that education will be paramount in long term plans to solve our enduring economic crisis. From the Board itself, purportedly up to yourself and your opponent for Governorship, the pervading thinking is that well educated students will be instrumental in alleviating our financial woes. How then can these draconian amputations be taken as anything but a strike at the livelihood of the people that would see you elected?

Beyond the economic considerations the current Governor’s proposals raise, what of our children? It is incumbent upon us – indeed, it is our ultimate responsibility – to ensure that the generation that will assume the governance and economic stability of our state be adequately prepared to assume that role. First among our concerns must be our children. Nevada has the lowest per-pupil spending in the nation, while her citizenry is the lowest taxed. If we, the citizens and government leaders of this great state, are truly serious about the importance of education to all of our futures, then we cannot be afraid to pay for it.

Further cuts to statewide education at this junction would prove nothing less than deplorable, and we ask you to reject each proposal outright. While mindful of our participation in the larger economic crisis this nation faces, we see no logic in lowering the education budget. It is true that, in the opening days of your administration, you must struggle beyond belief to maintain a balance in the state’s budget across the board, and not simply in the school system. However, to see this happen at the expense of the smallest among us, knots the collective stomach of Nevadans.

We genuinely hope you will spend more time on the solution to the problem we all share, if not for the sake of the government officials that address you now, than for the children we are all sworn to encourage and protect.

Thank you,

Chris Wallace

President, State Board of Education

Written by scumbagstyle

October 5, 2010 at 12:58 am

Smooth White Boys

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Smooth White Boys

We sit on stoops, summer in Brooklyn,
Smoking half packs apiece, telling ourselves
It is not too much because we’re still young,
Telling ourselves we don’t need

Them: bitches, any of them, emotional
Cowards, cripples. Men, all of us,
But they call us boys – I have boy trouble,
I met this really cute boy – as if any of us

Hadn’t lived whole lives in each soul
Crushing good-bye. As if we weren’t
Each of us graying wizards commanding
The hot haze to boil us alive. Awake in

A wind tunnel between suffocating towers,
I know I am invincible, black robed, reluctant
Race car driver. I did not die on an island of
Black tar void, or when Misery held my

Head under films, in heavy choking atmospheres
Where Hackensack & Levittown & the Boss are
Unflinchingly immortalized, where worth is
Abacized in scratches on broad backs, in love

Bites captured in photographic permanence, where
Geography is meaningless. Bleached purple
Tsunamis find blues clubs in Memphis and suddenly
The smooth white boys have something to moan about.

Snow falls in Vegas for the first time in years, and
For an hour I am still an awkward nineteen, for an
Hour my father forgets that Edgar Winter exists, and
Looks to the sky, because we were told it would fall

When the world ends. And Icarus with the Amazing
Breasts, who never hovers more than two feet above
The pavement, whose trainers tread air while men and
Grandparents wait to catch her yet again, kicks

Furiously like a duck, flaps fruitlessly toward a height
That might finally snap an ankle. & because I have
Been thrown away, I can not cower expectantly at the X,
Where my death will come pityingly quick. Instead, I

Breed certainties, and today it is that I will die with
This knot in my bowels. But I feel how mournfully
Nature bends and creaks to the music that logic dictates
When a blessed breeze happens by our stoop in Brooklyn
And brings with it daydreams of adequacy. Ah, to be the

Sous chef, the rhythm guitarist, competent. Not to drink
The freezer burn from the wounds of mechanized gods, or
Travel time to drink our poor torturers in embryo, despite
The sweet confection that promises to be. But to be the

Breast that one pelican nips blood from, for one
Lover to rend their clothes when we die, before our
Bones are thrown to dogs that don’t know to care for
Our sequestered histories.

Written by scumbagstyle

October 2, 2010 at 9:47 pm

Posted in Poetry

A Fresh Pilgrimage

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A Fresh Pilgrimage

The commuter train has stops like
Stations of the Cross. We kissed,

Enveloped in body heat and jealous
Disgust, the act a pulpy concoction

Of pain and temerity but never despair.
Where dissenters told lovers to tighten their

Belts, their work delegated to foreign
Beasts and machines, we gorged ourselves

Instead, blank eyed guppies, fattening
Ourselves for the feasts of the cruel.

The beggars that would have our souls
We stonefaced from under makeshift

Crowns; Winter was not half over
And we would have to crest the

Season. You occupied my
Mouth like heathen generals

Until doors opened to part us, and
A bag lady with a knowing smile

Cracked and straightened to wipe
My brow. A slug of her papered

Bottle and a moment on one knee
In a personal Gethsemane reminding

Me that no matter our differences
We all change at Jamaica.

(If you live in New York, there was your “OH, SNAP” moment for the day.)

Written by scumbagstyle

October 1, 2010 at 9:39 pm

Posted in Poetry