Way to go

Thank you for the excellent coverage that you gave to Mark Bryan’s "Pictures in My Head" exhibit at Carlotta’s Passion Fine Art (“Wild art,” March 1).

I was astounded by your ability to take in the exhibit, interview Mark by telephone and then generate a perceptive, well informed and exceptionally well-written article.

Mark and I have agreed to extend his exhibit until April 7.

Again, thank you.

Venceremos!

BOB SQUIRES
EAGLE ROCK

No love for Babajanyan

Re: “Locked down for speaking up,” Feb. 15.

First off, Glendale Councilman Frank Quintero is a real jackass for saying in the Weekly that Arman Babajanyan should not be in jail.

Babajanyan should be in jail. He broke the law in his own country by evading his own country’s mandatory draft when he moved to America.

People who support this clown should get a life, and the Glendale News-Press has turned into Our New Armenian Newspaper of Glendale. What a sick newspaper, printing letters to the editor about Babajanyan being such a wonderful person.

In my book, he should stay in jail with the cockroaches.

Thank you.

PAUL D. CARNEY
GLENDALE

Bob’s their guy

We have two children in PUSD (at Norma Coombs school) and we strongly support Bob Harrison for the PUSD school board. We urge all voters in Pasadena, Altadena and Sierra Madre to vote for him in the April 17 runoff election.

Bob is challenging incumbent Bill Bibbiani. On March 6, 53.5 percent of voters voted to oust Mr. Bibbiani, reflecting significant dissatisfaction with his failure to listen to parents, teachers and community residents, and his failure to provide positive leadership on issues such as the budget, school closings, the achievement gap and collaboration with local governments and key institutions.

All of us — whether or not we have kids in public school — have a stake in having a strong, healthy public school system.

Bob made it into the runoff by campaigning on his practical experience as a community-oriented businessperson and PUSD parent activist, his practical and positive vision for improving the district and the widespread support of many parents, teachers and community leaders.

Bob has walked the walk. Three of his five children graduated from PUSD while the other two are now at PUSD’s John Muir High School. He has been intimately involved in school issues for more than 20 years at the school level and at the district level, doing everything from mobilizing parents to painting the school to chairing a committee to pick the principal to leading the booster club.

As volunteer president of the nonprofit Pasadena Educational Foundation, Bob has helped raise millions of dollars to provide grants for teachers, computer

labs in schools, art and music programs and college scholarships for students. As a successful owner of a family business (Green Street Restaurant), president of his church and Little League coach, Bob has demonstrated his commitment to the community.

Bob has great ideas for improving PUSD in a variety of ways, from reducing the achievement gap, making each school special, turning PUSD’s diversity into a asset (for example, by creating a dual-language immersion school), increasing partnerships between the schools and the  area’s great cultural, education and business  institutions, improving collaboration between local government and PUSD,  giving parents and teachers a stronger voice, channeling more resources to  schools and  making the budget more accessible and, thus, the school board more accountable.

Moreover, with new Superintendent Edwin Diaz beginning this month, Bob’s leadership skills will help translate these ideas into action — something that’s been missing on the school board. He has earned the respect and support of PUSD’s teachers, parents, community activists, public officials and institutional leaders.

Bob’s opponent, Mr. Bibbiani, has worked in the PUSD bureaucracy for 35 years and is caught in the past. He has consistently shown a disregard for public input. He recently said, "I don’t need to hear public comment … I know what the public wants." When the school board sponsored six public forums to get parent input on the school budget, Mr.  Bibbiani refused to attend any of them.

Mr. Bibbiani voted against Head Start. He also voted against an almost $500,000 grant from a private foundation for program to provide extra reading mentors for under-achieving students. Thankfully, the other school board members voted for the grant and the program has been a huge success in raising test scores.

Last year, Mr. Bibbiani voted with his colleagues to hire a consulting firm to conduct a management audit of the school district, but when the firm recently released its findings and presented them to the school board, he tried to distance himself from its conclusions — that PUSD’s management and technology needs a serious overhaul, that board members need to get training about "best practices" and about collaborative decision  making, and that our schools need more support from the district’s central administration. He has shown his disregard for the training programs provided by the California School Boards Association, where school board members learn about practices that work (and don’t work) in other school districts.

As Richard Kahlenberg wrote in his recent report, One Pasadena: Tapping the Community’s Resources to Strengthen the Public Schools: "The good news is that PUSD has more potential to improve its schools, especially the academic achievement of its low-income students, than perhaps any other community in the country given the incredible resources within Pasadena, Altadena and Sierra Madre. The question is whether community leaders in the PUSD area will rise to the challenge."

Bob Harrison can help us rise to that challenge. There is an incredible amount of energy, talent and good ideas at the grassroots level among parents, community residents and teachers. We need Bob Harrison’s voice and leadership on the school board.

Please join us on April 17 in support of Bob Harrison for school board.

PETER DREIER AND TERRY MENG
PASADENA

Jesus and the Veggies?

The Veggies are getting out of hand.

Somehow they’ve made the stretch from a religious act of penance and denial to a baseless call for their peculiar lifestyle.

Are we expected to believe that Jesus espoused vegetarianism?

If anything, he was a kosher fellow.

It’s said that he multiplied the fishes as well as the loaves.

And remember, God accepted Abel’s sacrifice of a lamb and rejected Cain’s of fruits and vegetables.

Figure that one out.

BRIAN RUSSELL
PASADENA