<b>No transit cuts</b>
EDITOR: I have chosen to ride the bus to save money and the environment. I'm lucky that I can drive to work. Most of the people on Santa Rosa city buses don't have that luxury.
The transit department needs $500,000. The managers making these decisions told the City Council they shared our pain but, despite the public input, would continue with their plan to cut service and raise fares ("Double hit for bus riders," Wednesday). I suggest those managers park their cars and take the bus for a month, and come back when they really understand what riders with no choice go through every day to get to work, school, etc. Maybe they should do it in wheelchairs.
The managers used the word "productivity," comparing the low-rider bus routes to routes in the business districts. The riders on these buses are mostly transfers from the outlying buses. If they cut services, they will cut people such as me who need the buses to be reliable and accessible or we will be back in our cars.
Loss of ridership drives their deficit higher. The only riders left will be those who have no choice. Transit services should be expanded not cut.
<b>An unfair review</b>
EDITOR: Guy Fieri' s Times Square restaurant will serve a cross-section of the country, and some New York critics just don't welcome that ("N.Y. critic skewers Fieri," Thursday). It's the nature of the beast — unwarranted, over-critical, unsolicited snobbery, no welcome mat.
We have enjoyed family nights out, special occasions and great street food at Fieri's Santa Rosa restaurants and street fairs for years now with no complaints. We have a acquaintance with dining in the North Bay and Wine Country since its inception and evolution from whole foods and sustainable farming, and we find his places to have exceptional service and ambiance, good and even great food, and here's the kicker — fun.
In closing, we can only hope that the snob critics have done as much for their communities as Fieri has done for ours.
and MARIANNE GIBSON
EDITOR: As a teacher for 32 years, with seven years at an alternative education high school, I look forward to reading David Sortino's contributions. His latest Close to Home piece ("Challenges of underachievers," Nov. 11) was again informative and constructive. The definitions of the four underachieving types was spot on, as was the discussion of brain function and Howard Gardner's eight particular intelligences important to understanding the intellectual and psychological dynamics of the individual underachiever.
My perspective views the problem as one that will be solved when we add a macro approach. The elephant in the room is, and always will be, how do we as a state, and as individual school districts, decide to allocate scarce educational resources. What trade-offs are we making, and how are these serving our underachieving students?
I think we need more alternative schools, with well-trained teachers, counselors and administrators who view the growing population of underachieving learners, not as failures, not as young people who for whatever reasons are too flawed or "lazy" to succeed in our college prep-oriented comprehensive high schools, but as students who simply don't fit the traditional educational mold.