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<b>Wasted money</b>

EDITOR: Oxymoron, or just moron, moron? Having been an educator for 30-plus years, I have seen standardized testing come and go. Here we go again — STAR testing out, and districts are being given money to learn and implement a new test for students ("Common core offers lesson in common sense," Editorial, Sunday). I am sorry, but standards testing shows standard, no matter how you wrap it.

Classrooms are overcrowded, teachers haven't gotten raises for a decade and don't have enough supplies (even toner, paper and pencils these days.) Tell me the logic to pouring so much money into testing, again, when teachers could use that money to better prepare students for testing — with smaller class sizes and materials and whatever extra help they could get.

I don't believe we even have a benchmark in California for standards when school districts are going bankrupt.

NANCY CALAVAN

Santa Rosa

<b>World's &‘peace force'</b>

EDITOR: President Barack Obama is threatening to bomb Syria in the age-old habit of killing people to avenge the killing of people. And so the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize adds another piece to the puzzle of the ongoing bloody history of humanity.

The U.S. is not viewed as an honest broker of human rights in the Arab world. It is rightly viewed as a hypocrite. It supports dictators and not innocent civilians when convenient. It turns a blind eye to atrocities by allies.

Instead of being the world's police force, why don't we become the world's peace force? Would this be easy? No. The U.S. has gotten used to the lens of its own economic interests and "needs." Would this bring an immediate end to violence between countries and factions? No. The world is heavily armed to feed its habit and habits are hard to break. Would it work? Who knows? It has never been tried.

Is there some point at which this country will actively try to alleviate human misery rather than avenge it? Break the violence habit. It's infinitely better than breaking international law to enforce it.

Individual weapons are not the "moral obscenity." Violent "solutions" are.

SUSAN LAMONT

Santa Rosa

<b>Banning bags</b>

EDITOR: How unfortunate that Santa Rosa City Council members value their political autonomy more than the environment ("SR support for county bag ban wanes," Monday). Should it not be obvious that plastic bags pollute our landfills and do untold damage to the ocean and its inhabitants?

Living so close to the coast helps me to appreciate its beauty and its bounty. Millions of fish, including whales, die because of the plastic that traps them, or they mistakenly ingest it and their vital organs are destroyed.

Councilwoman Julie Combs is to be commended for her strong support of the environment, and I hope that the other members of the council will follow her lead.

GERRIE BEARG

Santa Rosa

<b>Carrillo and Newsom</b>

EDITOR: Let's take a closer look at the comparison between Efren Carrillo and Gavin Newsom ("Second chances," Letters, Aug. 30). Was it a poor choice for Newsom to have a consensual affair with his campaign manager's (and best friend's) wife? You bet. Now compare that to being arrested at 3:40 a.m. outside a woman's window (a mere acquaintance) wearing only underwear and socks. Surely, you see the difference.

See the Pulitzer Prize-winning articles on the October wildfires here

How we covered the early hours of the October fires here

See all of the PD's wildfire coverage here

As for Carrillo being deserving of a second chance, let's remember the San Diego incident, less than a year ago. He's had his second chance.

I understand trying to make light of this latest incident by comparing it to a much lesser offense. However, I don't believe the woman in the Newsom story ever had to call 911. Had Newsom been caught outside an unwilling woman's window, in the middle of the night, half-naked, I believe the outcome of his story would have been different.

Please stop trying to portray what Carrillo did as a simple mistake and think how you would feel if the frightened woman calling 911 in the middle of the night had been your daughter, your sister, your wife or your friend. Not likely you'd be making light of that.

YANNICK A. PHILLIPS

Sonoma

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