<b>Jobs for vets</b>

EDITOR: January begins the new year, and along with that comes a new session of Congress. In 2012, a bill called the Veterans Job Corps Act sought to create jobs for the many returning men and women who are transitioning into the civilian population. Unfortunately, it was blocked by a filibuster.

It's no secret that the job market is struggling, yet there is an influx of unemployed veterans. According to the latest Department of Labor report, as of April 2012, there were nearly 785,000 unemployed veterans in the United States. Additionally, it is expected that by 2016 a million service members will return to civilian life. These are alarming statistics that, if not addressed in time, could create a strain on the country's welfare system by placing more people on public assistance and increasing the unemployment rate.

Veterans relentlessly hope that their sacrifices will not be in vain and that somehow they will be taken care of, just as they unselfishly stood watch over the American nation. Passing the Veterans Job Corps Act in 2013 is one way to help take care of American veterans.



<b>Cautious driving</b>

EDITOR: I can recall when first taking my driving test that the instructor noticed that I was using my left foot to brake. His comment to me was that this was a very unsafe practice. The foot on the brake will bring the auto to a stop, but the foot on the accelerator pushes the gas pedal harder, causing the auto to speed up, not stopping as needed due to the other autos on the roadway.

Use the advice by Wes Brubacher in Saturday's paper ("Two-footed driving," Letters) with due caution, knowing that it works for him but may not work for you.


Santa Rosa

<b>Valuing immigrants</b>

EDITOR: The elephant in the room is that instead of embracing the diversity of our community, we marginalize and criminalize significant portions of its contributing members. We label some of its members "illegal" when in fact they are hard-working, job-seeking immigrants just like our own grandparents.

I'd like to see schools with low enrollments, such as El Molino High, attract more students by creating forward-looking bilingual programs — dual immersion in English and Spanish, where multiculturalism and mutual learning in a second language puts everyone on an equal footing and where curiosity, respect and understanding of different backgrounds is inherent to the learning experience.

Organizations such as the North Bay Organizing Project are forming coalitions of religious, labor and nonprofit groups to change immigration laws and local conditions for immigrants. Hopefully, all segments of our community — all of us including businesses and our political representatives — will join with them.

Because discrimination has been institutionalized through our immigration laws doesn't make it right or just. We ended slavery, women won the right to vote. We made the laws, and we can change them.



<b>Protecting streams</b>

EDITOR: I urge people to take advantage of the recent rainfall to take notice and find out how they can help with the serious problem of storm runoff. Many of your readers may have noticed that our roads, driveways, buildings and other cleared areas create situations where water cannot infiltrate the ground so it rushes to the nearest creek, carrying with it sediment and other contaminants.

This in turn renders water quality unacceptable for most biological activity in an area where three threatened and/or endangered species reside. Currently, great undertaking is being made to bring the steelhead trout, chinook and coho salmon back to sustainable numbers. However, our land-use decisions and the overall effects of urbanization continue to undermine the ability of these species to successfully reproduce.

Please visit the website of the Russian River Watershed Association to find information on how homeowners can implement storm water and erosion control on a local level. In addition, the local resource conservation districts can do the same for farms and businesses. Finally, Surfrider has an excellent video highlighting this issue. Please visit Surfrider.org to learn how you can be part of the solution to protect the steelhead and salmon.



<b>Baldwin's views</b>

EDITOR: In regard to our Ukiah city councilman's letter in Sunday's paper ("U.S. imperialism"), in my opinion Phil Baldwin's writing reflects exactly what he is: a closet communist.