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Misleading headline

EDITOR: A recent headline on the front page of The Press Democrat misrepresented the content of the article. The Feb. 19 headline read "Cost of commuter rail up $25 million," leaving the casual reader to assume that a major cost increase had taken place for the SMART train project.

The editor who crafted the headline must not have read the article. If he or she read it, he or she would have learned that there was no cost overrun but instead funding was secured for further extension of the rail line.

Granted, more papers are likely to be sold if the front page trumpets sensational or provocative events. However, distortions or selective massaging of the facts does not serve the public. A more appropriate headline would have read "SMART secures funds to extend rail line."

WAYNE SEDEN

Santa Rosa

Are families better?

EDITOR: Wasn't one of the reasons the Children's Village was founded is that foster kids get bounced from family to family or are separated from siblings ("Struggle to stay open," Feb. 28)? And isn't one of the reasons Social Advocates for Youth needs a support house for aged-out foster kids is that some foster parents, once their monthly stipend dries up, kick out their charges to fend for themselves?

So much for a "forever" home.

I know that most foster parents are great folks with open hearts, but I am concerned about people signing up to get the extra cash. If I were a foster kid, I'd go for the stable group home that had other kids in my situation so I'd have somebody who understood what I was going through and a variety of adults I could bond with. That would be much better than worrying that I would get kicked out if my foster parents didn't like something I did.

It would be great to see some data supporting the reference by county Family, Youth and Children's Services director Nick Honey to a "philosophical belief" that it is significantly better for kids to be placed with single families. After all, it is single families that produced the foster kids to begin with.

BETH WARNER

Santa Rosa

Carrillo case

EDITOR: Enough about Sonoma County Supervisor Efren Carrillo already. No wonder people think the judicial system is a joke. How about restricting him from his duties until something is resolved and then see how fast a decision will be made.

J.S. POYSER

Santa Rosa

Underpaid teachers

EDITOR: When I grow up, I want to be a teacher. When I answer the painfully common question "What are your plans after high school?" I am rarely given encouragement. More often, the interrogator tries to find some justification for what they perceive as my ignorance. "There are so many jobs," they say, when what they mean is, "Don't teach. The pay is terrible."

I intend to teach regardless, but I would appreciate it if the community valued this profession as much as I do. An important manifestation of that respect is salary. It is shameful how much responsibility and pressure we put on teachers while paying them so little.

For this reason, I strongly support the Santa Rosa Teachers Association's effort to increase teacher pay. Our teachers have not gotten a raise in six years in which time inflation has increased by more than 10 percent. It is time we start giving our teachers the recognition — and the pay — that they deserve.

ASHLEY WEST

Petaluma

Car-pool lanes

EDITOR: Has anyone else noticed the congestion caused by the car-pool lanes through Santa Rosa? I have two vehicles allowed in the car-pool lane, a motorcycle and a green-sticker vehicle, and yet I am disgusted by the socially engineered congestion caused by the car-pool lanes.

Closing a third of the available lanes to the apparent handful of vehicles that can make use of the lanes does nothing but waste time, increase emissions and waste fuel.

Commute patterns in and through Sonoma County don't support the use of this wasteful practice. Which traffic bureaucrat do we need to contact to open up the new lanes we have recently acquired? By the way, I don't even commute through here.

While we're at it, let's also remove the metering lights. Stopping traffic that is already stopped, or stopping traffic just so drivers can rush to get in the flow of traffic, is also wasteful.

We now have a 24-hour high-occupancy vehicle entrance from East Washington in Petaluma onto southbound Highway 101. With a three-quarter mile merge lane for Lakeville Highway? Really?

MARK WOLOCATIUK

Petaluma