The Swarm

Mix it up with The Bee's editorial board.

July 20, 2011
Letter writing campaign on behalf of CTA backfires
Meyer713.JPGWe knew we'd get some strong reaction to Tom Meyer's recent cartoon slamming the deal that lawmakers and Gov. Jerry Brown snuck through the end of the session on behalf of the influential California Teachers Association.

Did we expect a letter writing campaign?

No, but it's further proof the cartoons are among the most effective forms of commentary. And another good reason to run the cartoon again.

As you might recall, the CTA managed to get teacher protection provisions included in a last-minute budget trailer bill, as The Bee's Kevin Yamamura reported late last month.

No one blames the CTA for fighting hard for its members. But many (including The Bee's editorial board) have wondered why lawmakers would approve such a measure, given all their rhetoric about "realignment" and letting "locals" handle local decisions.

If school districts face further cuts this year and yet teachers are protected, what will the districts do? Reduce the length of the school year?

Meyer posed that question in his cartoon, and within days, we had received hundreds of letters likely ginned up by the CTA or its supporters. We published a few on our letters pages that, based on our judgment, reflected the writer's own thoughts, as opposed to those on a form letter.

One of the instigators appears to be Dean Ramser, a teacher in Bellflower. He sent this message out and, for some reason, cc'd us:

This offensive cartoon ran today in the Sac Bee and SF Chron. Let's flood them with letters! 

As usual, such campaigns tend to backfire. Today, we ran a letter from a writer who received an email from the CTA saying she express her outrage. Instead of doing so, she wrote this to us:

I am outraged that every time the overpaid, self-serving, self-important CTA union bureaucrats get attacked, they try to turn it into an attack on teachers. CTA does not represent students, period. For that matter, it does not even truly represent teachers.

In my view, CTA does represent teachers. It is unfortunate, however, that so many of them would reflexively engage in a campaign aimed at stifling a particular point of view.

About Comments

Reader comments on are the opinions of the writer, not The Sacramento Bee. If you see an objectionable comment, click the "report abuse" button below it. We will delete comments containing inappropriate links, obscenities, hate speech, and personal attacks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. See more about comments here.

What You Should Know About Comments on is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)

Here are some rules of the road:

• Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "report abuse" button to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.

• Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.

• Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.

• Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand. If you want to discuss an issue with a specific user, click on his profile name and send him a direct message.

• Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.

• Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.

• Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.

• Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.

You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "report abuse" button to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.

If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them, but you may ask our staff to retract one of your comments by sending an email to Again, make sure you note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us your profile name.

hide comments

On October 14, The Sacramento Bee will temporarily remove commenting from While we design the upgrade, we encourage you to tell us what you like and don't like about commenting on and other websites. We've heard from hundreds of you already and we're listening. Please continue to add your thoughts and questions here. We also encourage you to write Letters to the Editor on this and other topics.

About The Swarm

The Swarm is written by members of The Sacramento Bee's editorial board. They meet daily and are separate from the newsroom. Views included here are those of individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect those of a majority of the board or the positions expressed in The Bee's editorials.

October 2013

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31    

Stuart Leavenworth on Twitter

Follow "SacBeeEditBoard" on Twitter