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Alcohol near schools

EDITOR: The article regarding marketing alcohol and tobacco near schools that appeared in Thursday's paper was spot on as to the acquiescence of today's county and school officials ("Grocers under scrutiny"). There is a proposal for a winery, tasting room/entertainment center on Willowside Road (owned by celebrity Guy Fieri) approximately 600?feet from Olivet School.

It has the approval of the county Permit Resource Management Department, our county supervisor is aware of it, and Piner Olivet School officials have voiced no concern. I guess they see no problem with wine-tasting drivers, bicyclists and children going to school, all on a small two-lane road.

All the while, a local celebrity is promoting his wine right down the street from the school.

SCOTT D. BOWEN

Santa Rosa

Clean Power costs

EDITOR: OK, Sonoma Clean Power is going to be selling residents supposedly cleaner power at, perhaps, 2 percent to 3 percent less than PGE. OK, sounds good — not a big savings, but at least a smaller carbon footprint. (Then there are those who hate PG&E.) So we get a good, warm, fuzzy feeling.

I know Sonoma Clean Power is a nonprofit and aims to be entirely self-funded. Good again. However, I ask is there enough profit in buying and selling the power that we can pay CEO Geof Syphers his $200,000 annual income, advisory committees and the salaries of his eventual projected staff of 15 minions, all of whom, I presume are county employees with millions in future unfunded pensions?

I admit I do not know the whole story, but do we still feel so fuzzy? Then again, California could dry up and revert back to the desert it was several thousand years ago.

KIM D. STARMER

Santa Rosa

Benefits of teaching

EDITOR: Thank you, Ashley West ("Underpaid teachers," Letters, Friday). Her letter about the importance of teachers and the need to pay them more really hit home with me. As a retired teacher and teacher educator after 40-plus years in the profession, I know exactly what she means.

Teaching isn't just about making money, I agree, and if I never read about how much more income students can gain through getting that high school diploma, associate's degree, bachelor's, master's, doctorate, etc., I'll be ecstatic. The purpose of education isn't to make money, it's to open up one's mind to the new and different and stimulating and exciting. In short, it's to grow as a human being and to do something worthwhile and satisfying with one's life. Good teachers help students achieve that, and the best teachers do it superlatively.

The true rewards of teaching are enormous. The paycheck is important only because we live in a society that values money above almost everything else. Yes, teachers deserve much more, but if you really want to teach, don't let anyone talk you out of it.

Her letter should make her teachers proud, and I'm definitely proud of her for writing it.

JAMES LOBDELL

Santa Rosa

Assist Ukraine

EDITOR: Charles Krauthammer's March 1 column ("Putin seeking to restore Russia's Empire") is a glaring reminder of the most recent century of geo-political turmoil in Europe, with particular emphasis on eastern Europe.

Students and followers of history know that in 1917, Lenin established what later became the Soviet tyranny that devoured Ukraine, Belarus, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Yugoslavia and every other small country, region, village and all the 'stans. In World War II, eastern Europe was devastated by Nazi Germany and then the Stalinist Soviet brutality.

In 1956, Hungary declared independence, followed in 1968 by Czechoslovakia and 1990 by the Baltics. Moscow treated each one with violence and military reprisal against the people.

As Krauthammer states, Vladimir Putin marches onward. Historically, the U.S. has been retarded in learning political chess, allowing the Putins of Russia to wield their bully murdering. The U.S., with the EU, should shore up Ukraine with a sizable loan package and sanction all trade with Russia.

BARBARA BILSKY

Santa Rosa