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Ugly program

EDITOR: Many of us practicing Catholics have been active in our faith longer than Bishop Robert Vasa has been alive ("Catholic program on gays draws criticism," March 7). We, together with our fellow parishioners, and with guidance from our very good priests, have experienced, and continue to experience, what is the goodness of our Catholic faith.

However, we also, with our fellow parishioners and very good priests, have had to endure much ugliness handed to us by bishops over the past 30 to 40 years. This latest, bishop-sanctioned event held at St. Eugene's is nothing but ugly.

No matter what kind of pretty ribbon Vasa and Catholic school Superintendent John Collins tried to wrap around this, it is neither pastoral nor spiritual. It's just ugly.

TIMOTHY and CATHERINE PARSONS

Santa Rosa

Fiddling with time

EDITOR: I was a preteen when I first heard of daylight saving time, and I thought it was stupid. That was 80 years ago, and I still think it's stupid. The sun rises and sets on its own schedule, so if one wants to go to work an hour earlier and quit an hour earlier, just do it.

It took man untold centuries to create time zones so we would know what time it was in other nations around the globe, and there would be no confusion. Now only some states observe daylight saving time, some don't, and in Europe during World War II some nations had double daylight saving time, but to what purpose? The sun rises and sets on its own schedule, and we can't change that.

VERN HENDERSON

Santa Rosa

Oil, taxes and pot

EDITOR: Monday's articles on oil taxes ("Evans' oil-tax bill faces many obstacles") and fracking and legalizing marijuana "Dems back fracking ban, legalized marijuana") really demonstrate that our comrades in Sacramento don't get it. In 2010, California's tax burden ranked fourth per capita in the nation. California has a spending problem, not a revenue problem.

The proposed oil production tax revenue would go to the usual items: higher education and parks. Having been through several cycles of this, yes, the new revenue would go there initially and then it will get whittled away for other things as the years go by, until another tax scheme is concocted.

Fracking and other technologies have been used safely for decades to improve the flow of oil to the well. These technologies affect areas close to the well bore, hundreds, if not thousands, of feet below water aquifers that may have beneficial use. There is no reasonable risk of contamination. Producing energy using these technologies without the burden of special taxes creates good jobs, income and tax revenue through conventional means.

On the other hand, pot legalization won't create tax revenue to offset the cost of the regulatory bureaucracy for something that can be grown for free. Do we want productive citizens or just dopeheads?

D.E. JOHNSON

Ukiah

High-stakes testing

EDITOR: A high school junior, I am disconcerted to know that all of my hard work will be minimized by a single SAT score. Despite the College Board's intention to provide an impartial basis for evaluation, data show a strong correlation of income and test scores; less fortunate students cannot afford the same pricey prep courses and private tutors that wealthier students take for granted. That said, the SAT itself is lacking fundamentally in structure.

Consider this: Is sitting in a crowded classroom for hours on end completing a Scantron truly the best method of predicting college success? Does one high-stakes test have the ability to measure a student's potential? The answer is no.

In fact, extensive studies have proven otherwise. William C. Hiss, the principal investigator of the matter and a former director of admissions for Bates College, argues that high school grades along with the rigor of classes taken are far better tools for predicting college success than any standardized test.

Success is dependent on dedication. This quality, a set of bubbles will never measure.

CHLOE MAYBRUN

Santa Rosa