War on whistle-blowers
EDITOR: The Obama administration's war on whistle-blowers is a hazard to our democracy. Time and again the people who expose government misdeeds have gone to prison while the perpetrators go free.
Bradley Manning is a hero, a whistle-blower, not a traitor or a spy. He's the Daniel Ellsberg (who released the Pentagon Papers) of our time — as Ellsberg himself has said. His mistreatment and persecution/prosecution is a warning to others not to reveal government misdeeds.
We see now why President Barack Obama was unwilling to prosecute Bush administration officials for allowing torture. He didn't want a precedent to be set that might endanger his own administration — or even himself, since he has claimed the right to make decisions about who can be assassinated by drone.
I expected better from a constitutional lawyer. I mistakenly hoped he would rein in the abuse of presidential power rather than extending it.
Volunteers and schools
EDITOR: In response to Steve Fenner ("Put the kids first," Letters, Saturday), the issue at Santa Rosa High School isn't kids cleaning up their school or learning "life skills." It's a teacher who didn't follow procedures and unilaterally created liability for the school district by breaking a legal, binding contract.
The California School Employees Association represents classified employees, such as maintenance and operation workers and groundskeepers. Those jobs belong to CSEA. If the chapter president did not file a grievance, he would have exposed himself to a civil lawsuit by CSEA members for not doing his job in good faith. If the teacher had followed district procedures, there would not have been a problem. School districts have a procedure where if someone wants to do CSEA work, they must submit a form to the district. It is forwarded to the CSEA chapter and, if approved, then the volunteers can do the work. This is a common practice.