Schools first

EDITOR: We all know public schools have taken the brunt of the cuts to balance the state's books. California is now ranked 49th in the nation in per-pupil spending and last in teacher-, administrator-, librarian- and counselor-to-student ratios.

Voters passed Proposition 30 to help restore public education funding, not just prevent future cuts. As an Educate Our State supporter, a concerned citizen and a voter, I demand that the approximately $4 billion in extra revenue collected by the state be used to begin to rebuild public education funding before further allocations are made to other important, yet better-funded services.

Our children have suffered enough — from toddlers whose preschool programs have been cut to K-12 students whose class-sizes have skyrocketed to college students who can no longer afford a higher education.

Every politician claims public education is a priority. Now it's time for them to put the money where their mouths are. They need to tell the lobbyists for the better-funded special-interest groups that education has been cut to the bone and needs the most help. Our schools no longer have enough resources to properly educate our future state leaders. The more than 7 million children in California's public schools, from preschool through college, are counting on them.


Santa Rosa

Creating jobs

EDITOR: Thank you for giving so much attention to Sonoma Clean Power. I hope we can continue to focus on the job-creation benefits.

I'm not sure there will be a lot of ribbon cuttings right when the program goes live next January, but having a power supplier that cares about local economic development will make a huge difference going forward.

Now, nearly all of our utility dollars leave the county. In the coming years, we can transition to a system where a majority of that money goes to building local energy projects. I find it interesting that some people are criticizing Sonoma Clean Power for not making the transition to local power fast enough. Would they prefer not to start the transition? I say let's get on the course to self-sufficiency.


Santa Rosa

Bike law

EDITOR: Sonoma County is in the process of deciding on a new law to protect cyclists from motorist harassment. While I support the sentiment of safety for cyclists, I believe that the law represents an oversimplified solution. I agree with critics who asserted that the law takes a one-sided perspective on conflicts between motorists and cyclists, when in reality both parties can contribute to the conflict.

Every incident is unique, and the simple stance that the law takes holds the potential for abuse when cyclists are at fault. Instead of a law that gives additional power to one party, I would like to see infrastructure improvements to create separate spaces for cyclists, such as bike lanes.

To maximize the benefit of the infrastructure investments, we should start with the most dangerous and frequently used roads in Sonoma County. I believe infrastructure improvement represents a more sound solution because it maintains shared responsibility and enhances the safety of both parties.



Gone to the dogs

EDITOR: We have been regular visitors to Armstrong Redwoods for many years and have always enjoyed the care taken to maintain the park. However, this was not the experience of our last visit.

Dogs were everywhere on the trails, and many were let off leashes to trample the forest hillsides. There was dog poop on the trails. It was disgusting and disheartening to say the least. We also did not see one ranger to complain to while we were there. We were told that the rangers were at the coast now and not in Armstrong Redwoods. This is appalling. We cannot lose this beautiful natural resource and have it become a dog park.


Santa Rosa