<b>Being better citizens</b>

EDITOR: I read Adam Minter's column about Starbucks and recycling ("Why Starbucks won't recycle coffee cups," Saturday) and what came to mind is this: Although it's less expensive to just throw away the cups, for Starbucks to be a good citizen, it should recycle even if it costs more.

It isn't that Starbucks cannot afford to do so — it just chose not to. What does this say about Starbucks? It would be even less expensive to throw its waste out on the streets, but it doesn't do this because it isn't socially acceptable. It has come to the point that not recycling is no longer socially acceptable, either. (I can hear the Libertarians screaming right now).

Along the same lines of good corporate/business citizenship, vineyard operators should responsibly dispose of their waste. I'm referring to the irresponsible burning that has been going on for years. Chip the clippings and use them for mulch or compost instead of harming neighbors' health. Most of us don't enjoy inhaling smoke. We have come a long ways improving our air quality. Vineyard owners need to step up to the plate and do the right thing for their neighbors, some of whom are also customers.



<b>More to tell?</b>

EDITOR: Where is the other side of the Hillcrest Middle School story ("Barred from school," Tuesday)? Your writer presented the situation as told by the students involved and from the reaction of the parents. It is irresponsible to vilify the principal and administration without presenting all the facts and obviously, due to the law and policy, the school is unable to make a detailed response. We may only have half the story.

Hillcrest is a wonderful school with an excellent reputation and a dedicated staff and principal. My grandchildren attend this school, and we have been more than satisfied with the quality of their school experience. There is an atmosphere of respect and caring there that is hard to find in middle schools these days. Probably it is the high standards set and upheld that make it that way.

The policy was in place, and students and parents knew it. It is not just for someone else's kids. It is applicable to everyone. These students made a mistake and they were given a tough consequence. They could have learned a good life lesson from this. It is a shame they are not being allowed to do so.



<b>Extending coverage</b>

EDITOR: Henry Schmid ("Adding up Obamacare," Letters, Monday) thinks "we have been conned" because only 7.75 million have signed up for Obamacare when there were more than 31.5 uninsured. He has been conned, but not by whom he thinks.

The vast right-wing conspiracy led by Fox News and paid for by the likes of the Koch brothers has been attacking the Affordable Care Act for years and will continue to, whatever the result. They have conned guys such as Schmid into thinking that families who could never have afforded health care in the past have been hurt by now being able to afford it.

It escapes me how doing better than your goal, a goal the right wing said would never be met, is somehow a con. People standing in the way of this law, especially those politicians who have blocked Medicaid expansion, need to be shown the door.



<b>Composting food scraps</b>

EDITOR: Coffee grounds, check. Banana peel, check. Egg shells, check. Yard waste bin, here we come. If all the residents of Sonoma County put their veggie scraps in their yard waste bins instead of garbage bins, we would send the equivalent of a football field piled 10 feet high full of waste to the compost pile instead of the landfill every single month.

In one year, that's a football field piled 120 feet high. That's a lot of waste we can divert from the landfill and put to good use as compost.

To increase the percentage of residents composting their veggie scraps, I propose that the Sonoma County Waste Agency deliver its $6 kitchen pail to all residents. I am confident that if the pails are delivered to residents, we will see an increase in veggie scrap composting.

In the meantime, you can pick up the pail yourself or use any container to collect the scraps and then transfer them to the yard waste bin. You'll be surprised how much less full your garbage bin will be. No more pushing the bags down to make room for more waste. Just try it.


Santa Rosa