<b>Saving the middle class</b>
EDITOR: I'm not sure how we are going to provide the middle class the kind of jobs necessary to own a home and raise/educate children if we continue to lose middle-class jobs such as those recently lost at Hostess.
Recently, a California OEM Automobile parts warehouse employing hundreds of well-paid workers was sold and moved to Nevada, where the workers will cost a fraction of the California workers. Where will these discarded California workers find the comparable paying jobs to continue paying mortgages and tuition?
Selling and relocating a business (or a brand such as Twinkie) to lower labor costs is not going to go away. Well-paid jobs that can simply be relocated because the skills do not require advanced skill sets are in jeopardy.
It's a new world out there. The new skill sets necessary to be in the middle class are hard to come by and change frequently. To maintain our middle class, we must provide the educational paths necessary to acquire and re-acquire advanced skill sets.
EDITOR: Thank you for your continued support, kind words and prayers for our son, Stefan LeRoy (" &‘I'm not that bad off,' " Saturday). It helps to make a difficult time easier. Thank you to the people and organizations that have donated to his trust fund. We appreciate the time and support of the people of Holy Spirit Church, Boy Scout Troop 32, Vietnam Veterans of America, Court'n'Disaster, students from Santa Rosa, Cardinal Newman and Maria Carrillo high schools, friends and family. We are blessed to live in such a supportive community.
KATHY and MIKE LeROY
EDITOR: The Nov. 13 article "U.S. set to be No. 1 in oil output" bolsters a false belief that the United States is about to be free of foreign oil imports and can endlessly produce and consume cheap energy. This nonsense is predicated on supposed "vast new shale oil and gas resources made accessible by magical new technology."
The United States is endowed with huge shale resources, as has been known for a very long time. But horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing technologies for mining those resources are not new, though they are now more expertly applied than in the past. Shale resources are being exploited only because easily accessible conventional oil was in a 23-year decline-production from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, the last big conventional oil discovery, which peaked in 1985.
Shale oil has reversed that decline, but sustaining it requires constantly drilling thousands of new wells to maintain/increase shale's limited yields. This is because production from each new well declines rapidly — as much as 80 percent the first year. At $10 million-$11 million per well, shale oil is not cheap. Currently producing fields already are in decline. In 10 years or so, the thousands of miracle wells will be capped or reduced to producing less than 10 barrels a day.
Shale oil and gas are just an inflated bubble.
<b>Hamas and justice</b>
EDITOR: Susan Lamont ("Strongest must lead the way to peace," Close to Home, Monday) says that Israel must "lead the way to peace" in the current struggle between Hamas and Israel in the Gaza region. While her stated goals of the Peace and Justice Center of Sonoma County are idealistic, Lamont writes from a vantage point far from the action, displaying an appalling lack of knowledge of history and hard facts.