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Mailbag: Why the different treatment of Adams and Anderson schools?

November 21, 2013

Re. "Parents at odds over grade-school fencing," (Nov. 13): As a neighbor of Adams Elementary School (and parent of three Adams "graduates"), I opposed fencing off the school campus from the neighborhood.

Adams is situated in a quiet, idyllic park-like setting enjoyed by neighbors and students. I filled out the school district's survey, registering my views, but knew there was a momentum for fencing for reasons of greater security — whether truly justified or not.

I took some solace in the fact that Adams and Anderson, a Costa Mesa school and a Newport Beach school, respectively, presented very similar considerations and, thus, were in the same boat. Both neighborhoods love their park-like schools and the school board would deal evenhandedly with both. Not so.

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Adams gets a fence and Anderson gets more "analysis" and alternatives to fencing. Where is the equity? Where is the logic? If fencing is ugly and unnecessary at Anderson, it is equally ugly and unnecessary at Adams.

How can the school board justify this differing treatment of such similar schools, other than by acknowledging the obvious: The concerns of Newport Beach property owners are weightier than those of Costa Mesa property owners.

The school board should reconsider its vote. It must give equal treatment to both schools: Either fence both or consider alternatives to fencing for both.

Kathy Esfahani

Costa Mesa

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A selective read of Adams

Re. "It's A Gray Area: Adams would fight for return of freedom," (Nov. 15): I often read James P. Gray's columns and find them interesting and thought-provoking. Like the Hon. Judge Gray, I also believe that John Adams has been underappreciated by history.

But I'm afraid Gray has either been selective with his historical facts or, perhaps, unaware of some of them. Adams' greatness stems mainly from his championing of independence from Britain while more conservative forces in Congress dragged their feet, which is what they do best.

Adams did not "help" Thomas Jefferson write the Declaration of Independence. Adams was offered the job but thought it would not be worth bothering with, and thus the task was given to the youngest and most junior member, Jefferson.

Adams did consent to the removal of some of Jefferson's more radical paragraphs so that it would pass a vote in Congress. The low point of Adams' career was his presidency, when he became ever more reactionary.

It was during Adams' tenure as president that Congress passed, with Adams' support, the Alien and Sedition Acts in 1798. These laws gave the government more power to root out immigrants and political dissidents and deport or imprison them. It also severely curtailed 1st Amendment rights, including freedom of the press, and made it a crime to even criticize the government.

Except for the Civil War, I can think of no other period in history — until our own — where the government so tested the boundaries of the Bill of Rights and the basic freedoms of the American people.

Lenard Davis

Newport Beach

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