Art’s Place, Robert Ramirez, 5/21/2011

Show: Art’s Place
Guest: Robert Ramirez
Link: feed://
Date: 5/21/2011
Topics: Nuclear Power, Reprocessing, Climate Change, Public Education, Teacher Tenure, Vouchers, Civil Unions.
Click Here for Audio

RAMIREZ: Every time the windmills kick on, the power companies have to shut the plants down. But they have to run one kilowatt of gas energy for every kilowatt of wind energy just to keep it steady. So it’s a waste of money. We don’t have storage, when we come up with real storage , then clean energy is the way to go.

CARLSON: Right, I’m all about doing all of the above, including nuclear.

RAMIREZ: Absolutely. I think nuclear energy; we don’t live on an ocean so I don’t think we have to worry about a tsunami. We do have fault lines. I’ll give you an example: When Three Mile Island melted down; there was such a small release where they couldn’t measure it off of the island. When Chernobyl melted down, it destroyed everything for who knows how many years…So nuclear energy, while everyone still thinks its terrible, the environmental groups. And I understand their worries…

CARLSON: Getting back to nuclear energy, one of the things that we need to change is the rules on reprocessing some of the spent fuel rods.

RAMIREZ: That’s what we were talking about.

CARLSON: OK, France does it. Eighty percent of their energy comes from nuclear. Same with Japan. We could generate a heck of a lot of energy because we have abundant reserves of uranium….

RAMIREZ: We have probably more, I think, I don’t have the exact number, but we have more uranium reserves in Colorado than the rest of the country is what I was told recently.


RAMIREZ: And what you were saying about the spent rods. That was the biggest concern. So if France can get down to .05%, which is edible, there is no reason we can’t learn their technology and do the same thing.

CARLSON: Right….

RAMIREZ: And I understand the environmental side of it. We don’t want to destroy the planet…The misconception that oil has actually caused the planet to change is starting to prove differently. Now we might have sped up a circular process, but they show that even the ozone damage caused by cattle is much higher than that caused by burning of fossil fuels…

CARLSON: My big pet project is education. And I think where we are going wrong is the students don’t understand what this country is about. They don’t understand what our history is, or how our government works, They don’t understand how economics work either.

RAMIREZ: Do you know why? And I am going to step out on a big limb here and upset a whole lot of people here in a second. We have been spending so much time blaming teachers. Blaming everyone. But I have sat through classroom in a couple charter schools this past week. It was amazing how much the kids were into the discussions and listing and participating and learning and enjoying the learning process. And I have sat through classes in the standard public schools and it is amazing how much they talk and chat and get on their phones and don’t pay attention to anything going on. Guess what? The teachers are saying the same thing. The difference is, in a charter school the parents and the kids sign a contract that says they are both going to take a participative responsibility of the education of that child. The kids in the public schools, you know what, Arnold Schwarzenegger, though he is quite the dirt bag for everything he has done here, said something a couple weeks ago that made sense. The problem with education in America today is parents. Now it started with that and now we have administrators who don’t care and who aren’t backing up teachers and trying to work with parents. We have got teachers that are just fed up and don’t know what to do anymore. So we have a problem, a disconnect between parents and schools. Some comes from schools going through this period of where they thought that they knew better than the parents and parents need to stay out of education. But now its gotten to the point that, my wife is a teacher and she is begging parents to come in abd be a part of it. To talk to her to help with the kids. And yet they don’t have time for it. Its amazing the things that they will show up to school for, when the kids cell phone gets taken away, they will be there in three hours wanting to know why you took their cell phone away. But for darn sure they are not going to show up for a conference or answer an email or a phone call. So we have problems in the system and the way it works. So I think its time that we rebuild the system. And we include parents. And we include teachers that want tot teach and that want to be part of education. And we inclued administrators that want to do that. We have to get the parents involved in the school system. That’s the biggest problem we have. And that is why charter schools are so successful, because the parents are involved.

CARLSON: That’s right. And I would like to see more charter schools and maybe the parents that want their kids to get a better education will go to those schools.

RAMIREZ: Well its not just about just charter schools. Its about fixing our school system to make all parents have that same involved piece. Because you’ve got parents that have to work three jobs. Hey are not going to be there. Growing up Art, my mom worked. We were poor. But you know what? I still was there, I listened, I was in school. If a teacher called my mom and said I wasn’t doing something, man I got lit up not only in school… because they still had corporal punishment… Then I would go home and get it again because I wasn’t listening. I wasn’t taking advantage of that entitlement we call school. So we have issues. I am not blaming parents. If anyone is listening to that, don’t even get that. We have to be part of the solution is my point. My daughter is going through the public school system…

CARLSON: What is your though on what is happening in Douglas County?

RAMIREZ: I think it is a great experiment. I want to see how it works. I want to see how they run it and how it works for them. I’m waiting to see, once it’s all implemented, the results. And if they show proven results right here in Colorado them maybe we have to look at they statewide. But until we do, I wouldn’t suggest something like that statewide…

RAMIREZ: You have to look at where you are spending money. I wouldn’t have a problem paying a teacher $150,000 a year if they were getting results. I wouldn’t have a problem. Cindy Stevenson, I say her name, the superintendent’s salary is just ludicrous. I think its high. I think there are janitors that are paid way to much money. And I don’t mean 40, 50 or 60 thousand dollars a year, much more than that…Now you have the teachers that take of it. The ones that have said I don’t care anymore. I am just going to live on my butt. So that comes to teacher tenure, which 191 addressed. I think tenure is important because a teacher deals with a lot of different kids and families and if you don’t have that in there you have an opportunity for one parent that maybe is wrong to come in and cause so many problems you can be terminated. So I think it helps narrow that down and get it a little better. But where I do think tenure is wrong is where people start to get the pay raises just because they have been there longer. I think that is wrong. I think that sound be based on performance. I think that should be based on attitude. I mean real reviews…

CARLSON: What is your thought on the civil unions bill?

RAMIREZ: That’s a tough one. That’s a tough one. And I am going to say to you right now. I am going to say it. My personal view is homosexuality is wrong. That is my personal, my biblical, my moral view. But I am also going to say I have never had to get up in the morning an go am I gay? I don’t know. I have never had to get up in the morning and make that choice or try to hide a distinct feeling that’s within me. I have never had to live in their shoes. So if I follow my bible, it says it wrong. It also says in there that it is not my place to judge others. That’s god’s job. Right? So if I look at it that way, I believe in letting people make their decisions. Now the civil unions bill isn’t marriage. It doesn’t dictate what church says it should do. While I am not personally, I am against this type of thing. As a legislator, I have to look at it in the eyes of the law. And we have equal rights and equal protections. So if we have equal rights, and I know a lot of people are going to beat me up over this, it is really my place to say that they are not entitled to the same rights? I am not telling a church what it can do. I am not saying you have to marry them. I will not call it marriage. I will not, ever, in the eyes of god say it’s ok. But in the eyes of a legislator, who just has to go by the law, I don’t know. I am very torn by this one. It’s a tough decision. I mean if you look at the religious right, my church and my people were really excited it didn’t pass. And I know a lot of republicans that were very upset that it didn’t pass. So do we need to look at this as what is our constitution and what are a laws? And if that is what we are doing, then maybe we need to revisit it. I don’t know. I never actually read the whole bill. Because it didn’t come out of committee…

RAMIREZ: People are changing. I look at people like my mother’s aunts and uncles. So two generations ahead of me. They called us little wetbacks. It didn’t bother me. Whatever. That was just the way they grew up. I didn’t care. It bothered my mom. It didn’t bother me. Whatever. But they still talk to me and still respect me. And they were very excited for me when I was running for office.