If that were true, they would have been dismissed years ago, as they had regularly attempted to undermine my authority and effectiveness long before the attack centered on money matters.

They were fired because, among other things, they failed to follow my legitimate direction and abused their positions by removing the union's confidential records without authorization and circulating them in public.

Their termination was supported by all but one of the local's officers. They do have a right to "the same system of work rights and appeals he [Varacalli] insists the city abide by." They immediately filed grievances under terms of their labor contract with the union contesting those discharges, and I have waived all intermediate steps in the procedure to proceed immediately to arbitration to resolve their complaints quickly.

Paul Varacalli, Executive Director
United Public Employees Local 790

Queer-Compatible ROTC?
The recent school board vote on maintaining JROTC in the city's high schools has engendered a flurry of PC, anti-militarist letters to all of the local papers ("Military Exercises," Dog Bites, July 5). I work in the high schools, and I feel compelled to speak out on this matter.

You know, gay kids stay low-key for mere survival. However, there are a few places in school where they don't have to be afraid of retaliation for who they are. And one of these "safe" places is, paradoxically, ROTC.

I have never seen city ROTC kids harass, beat, or shun their own who happen to be gay. Rather, these kids strive together to be a unit -- disciplined, orderly, and pro-school; I defy anybody to come up with more than an occasional anecdote to the contrary. ROTC kids are, invariably, supportive of one another and much more tolerant of differences among themselves than a lot of other campus groups. So, why won't "grown-ups" let them continue their program in peace?

As a society, we have a long way to go to accept gays; it is no different among teen-agers. But when ill-advised and misconceived ideas about remedying this societal problem seriously affect those whom the proponents deign to protect, then I think it's time to knock some common sense into the do-gooders' heads. Leave ROTC alone and let us in the trenches work toward implementing the right goals -- tolerance, acceptance, and love.

Gordon D. Robertson
San Francisco

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