Newcastle Herald Letters to the Editor: Thursday, December 1, 2016

TAKE IT EASY: Nine lives have been lost in nine years on Ruttleys Road and reader Garry Robinson believes drivers need to exercise greater caution.

TAKE IT EASY: Nine lives have been lost in nine years on Ruttleys Road and reader Garry Robinson believes drivers need to exercise greater caution.

RUTTLEYS Road from the Pacific Highway to Vales Road is not a problem, but it can get misty at night so a little caution is in order.

In my opinion, it is as high a grade of safety as you can get, with edges marked and barriers in place.

The causeway between Vales Road and Wyee Point is dead straight except for the elbow into Wyee Point and the limit reduces to 60kmh - no problem for normal alert drivers. It might help if all drivers had daytime lights on. The road through to the western end towards Morisset is the dangerous bit as narrow edges, overhanging trees, kangaroos and winding sections are hazards, yet this is not where the accidents occur.

I find the intersection with Vales Road is a choke-point that probably needs a reduction to 60kmh from a couple of hundred metres before the turn as the intersection itself is a little blind to high-speed traffic coming from the western end and extending across the causeway to Wyee Point.

All common sense really. Keep to the limits and drive on your own side of the ride.

Garry Robinson, Mannering Park

No gain for pain

YOUR editorial (‘Newcastle CBD road changes unveiled in new light rail documents’, Herald, November 22) states optimistically that “this government appears doggedly determined to implement its vision that requires a degree of short-term pain in the name of greater long-term gain”.

Nothing done yet has shown that this government’s plans are capable of improving public transport, in fact quite the reverse. Their plans now coming into effect will reduce the capability of the public transport system. The work done by independent professional transport engineers in response to the various planning documents makes this outcome clear – large expenditure for a loss of public transport service and capability.

David Stewart, Newcastle

DIVING TO NEW DEPTHS

THE silly season is almost upon us and we’ve seen how silly Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party is, after their recent scuba diving adventure on the Great Barrier Reef. 

Today we have learnt that scientists have uncovered the worst ever destruction of the Great Barrier Reef and that coral bleaching is much worse than first thought.

A new report has revealed that warmer waters have resulted in severe coral bleaching to 67 per cent of the northern reef and 60 per cent of the central reef, while the southern reef remains reasonably healthy.

These findings make Pauline and her fellow senators look pretty stupid. They picked their spot to dive (off Great Keppel Island – southern part of the reef). It’s a pity they don’t concern themselves with more important issues, instead of denying that climate change is happening and believing that they know better than scientists.

Beverley Page, Adamstown Heights

HONESTY AND COURAGE

I JOIN Olga Parkes in expressing pride in Bishop Greg Thompson.

Honesty and courage are rare commodities these days, and those who practice, need all the encouragement possible to continue their commitment to "do unto others as you would have others do unto you".

Simple really, but can hardly be associated with many in positions of power these days. Very few letters have touched on this subject which seems it's of little importance to the community at large. Sad really.

Pat Garnet, Newcastle East

Letters and learning

FROM the refugee crisis to the Newcastle rail corridor, this letters to the editor page helps us air our views.

This in itself is great – but sometimes when we have questions beyond our knowledge, the sharing could be enhanced by asking other readers to explain, in lay terms, some complex issues. My latest quest for information is economics.

This is where we hear that tax breaks for business will benefit us by benefiting the economy. Then the experts say trickle down economics has been proven not to work. 

Looking up the criteria used to measure inflation, the cost of living, the Triple A credit rating and the CPI is indeed confusing. But I did learn that the core measure of inflation excludes food and energy from the CPI. It appears the argument for their exclusion is that they are the most likely to be subject to disruption in supply. I would have thought, however, that food and energy are the essentials.

Could letters like mine initiate discussion to clarify matters important to us all? If we were all better educated on big issues, we could make better decisions.

Lyn Rendle, Rankin Park

LIGHT RAIL AUDIT

NSW Auditor-General Margaret Crawford recently completed an audit of the extension of light rail from Sydney CBD to Randwick.

In her report she was scathing about a flawed tender process, cost blow-outs and exaggerated benefits and passenger numbers. Perhaps she should also look at the government’s flawed decision to remove Newcastle's heavy rail and foist upon us a light rail project which is not wanted and is already forcing business owners to consider abandoning the CBD for greener pastures.

Nigel Dale, Adamstown

REWRITE READING RULES

I LISTENED with interest to Jennifer Buckingham from the Centre for Independent Studies on Radio National recently justifying the introduction of what used to be called “phonetics” testing in junior schools.

In the 1960s in New Zealand, synthetic phonetic spelling was standard and few seemed to struggle with reading skills.

Years later in the 1990s my son was failing to learn to read at school in Australia. As a volunteer for kids reading, I was aware how poor the reading abilities were in his class.

At a parents’ meeting, the teacher proudly showed us how our kids were being taught to read. I was shocked. It involved lots of guess work. No building of words.

I taught my son by the old phonetic method at home. Sounding out letters then building groups of sounds. In no time he began to read and spell.  Analytic phonic methods that fail so many children and leave classes with teachers who don’t understand phonics is a disaster.

No wonder so many children fail to be fluent readers and writers. Pride should be abandoned when it comes to waking up to the experimental faulty thinking. Testing for good old fashioned phonic abilities will be a success story for schools

Anitra Thomas, Tenambit

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