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<b>Expanding preschool</b>

EDITOR: Petaluma school Superintendent Steve Bolman rightly recognizes that early learning is one of the most important foundations we can provide to prepare students for success ("An early start for all," Thursday).

He may be pleased to learn that state Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg's proposal to expand and improve transitional kindergarten to serve all 4-year-olds in California will also involve private preschool providers. This proposal would expand access to nearly 200,000 additional 4-year-olds, and we will need the expertise and experience of current preschool providers to ensure that these young learners get what they need to thrive in the classroom.

But we also need to value those who teach these children. The best learning environments for children are created by well-educated teachers who are trained in early childhood development. Teaching preschool is no less complicated or important than teaching kindergarten and the grades beyond, and teachers' training and expertise should reflect that.

We at Early Edge California look forward to working with Bolman and school districts around the state to improve California's early learning system so that it serves more children with better programs and ensures all children are ready for success in school.

DEBORAH KONG

President, Early Edge California

<b>Courthouse dress code</b>

EDITOR: We the people are still wondering exactly what the dress policy is at the Sonoma County courthouse. The judges recently rescinded an order, which they said was requested by the sheriff, drafted in part by Judge Gary Medvigy and signed by then-Presiding Judge Rene Chouteau, that was clearly unconstitutional on its face. So the question remains, is there any properly noticed constitutionally firm dress code order currently in place at the courthouse? If so, what is it? And when and where was it properly noticed or posted?

With the election of five appointed judges coming up on June 3, just where do each of these judges sit on this important First Amendment issue? And which other judges served on the committee that approved the now rescinded order in the first place? We, the people, demand to know the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth from our judges who sit for election every six years.

MONTANA JAMES PODVA

Santa Rosa

<b>Recycling water</b>

EDITOR: It's time for the city of Santa Rosa to start recycling water for non-potable uses and stop sending water to The Geysers for free. It's also time for the Sonoma County Water Agency to start cutting its budget.

If Las Vegas can treat its sewage and recycle the treated water back to Lake Mead where it originated, then it is time for Santa Rosa to come up with better solutions.

Many years ago, the then-mayor of Santa Rosa drank a glass of treated water. Have we gone backward in the past several decades? If that mayor could drink the treated water, with all the multimillions spent to upgrade the treatment plant, shouldn't the city sell it in place of champagne and caviar?

TERRY McLAUGHLIN

Santa Rosa

<b>Weather data</b>

EDITOR: In Friday's paper, Seth Borenstein of the Associated Press wrote that cold spells like the one just past are becoming rarer ("Are we becoming weather wimps?"). He quoted an Oklahoma meteorologist as saying such spells seem unusual "because people have such short memories." Not so much.

Borenstein stated that in the 115 years since 1900 there have been 27 distinct cold snaps; 12 between 1970 and 1989, only two in the 1990s, and none since, until the recent one. On this basis, he said that these cold snaps are becoming rarer. However, if you do the math that means that only 12 cold snaps occurred in the 70 years between 1900 and 1969, a rate of once every 5.4 years. Using this rate, the two cold spells in the 1990s are exactly as expected, and the single one between 2000 and the present would happen about one time in five, just by chance.

These results are rare only compared to the much higher rate between 1970 and 1989, not the rate for the 70-year period before. In short, the period between 1970 and 1989 had a whole lot of cold, but since then we are historically pretty much on track.

L. ROBERT HILL

Santa Rosa