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CSU staff overlooked

EDITOR: Again, staff weren’t mentioned in the article about the convocation at Sonoma State University (“President sees positive changes ahead for college,” Aug. 19). Faculty were mentioned, including the lack of raises, the fact they are currently working without a contract, the new faculty hired last year and more hiring planned in the next three years.

Did you know that:

Staff at CSU received only a 1.3 percent raise over the past six years and that we worked a year on furlough — a 10 percent pay reduction?

As staff leave due to attrition, jobs were combined or eliminated with some staff now doing work previously handled by multiple people? Some lost positions may never be refilled.

Staff in the California State University Employees Union are working without a contract? A tentative agreement has been reached recently.

CSU campuses are similar to small cities, with staff providing services such as housekeeping, office work, technical, food service, accounting and plumbing. Members of several unions provide these services with pride, dedication and a desire to contribute to the educational experiences of students.

Frequently, staff are taken for granted; their contributions unacknowledged.

Why do we stay? For the environment (hopefully positive and healthy), to contribute to society’s future and our perceived value of what we do.


Santa Rosa

Vigilante healing

EDITOR: I’m appalled but not surprised that a Sonoma County supervisor and a college professor implied that vigilantism is healing for the community. Supervisor Shirlee Zane and Francisco H. Vázquez accused the district attorney and sheriff of “going by the book” when the district attorney didn’t prosecute and the sheriff returned Deputy Erick Gelhaus to full duty (“Return of deputy was ‘slap in face,’ ” Close to Home, Aug. 22).

They suggested that the “book” should be set aside to address community emotions. They wrote, “But the real law resides in the hearts of the people.” The “book” they reference is state law. Both the district attorney and the sheriff followed state law, written policy and written procedure. To do anything else to play to the emotions of the time or community would be vigilantism.

Then their statement: “The individual rights of Gelhaus may have dominated the sheriff’s decision to put him back on the street, but at what cost?” I ask: What is the cost of ignoring one individual’s rights to acknowledge current emotions? Is the healing subcommittee going to make those calls?

I fear elected officials and teachers who think it’s OK to ignore law because it feels right and their “socially conscious” enlightenment will determine whose rights can be violated.


Santa Rosa

A silent protest

EDITOR: Deputy Erick Gelhaus back on patrol? Really? On so many levels that’s about the dumbest thing I’ve heard all week. It’s time for a long silent protest in Santa Rosa. Any time you see a deputy sheriff, whether on foot or in a patrol car, just put your hands up in the air. Doing this will send a strong silent message, show your solidarity with the Lopez family, and it just might keep you from getting shot.

Contributions can be made at any Redwood Credit Union bank or by going to www.redwoodcu.org/NorthBayFireRelief. Checks to the RCU Community Fund also can be mailed to Redwood Credit Union, P.O. Box 6104, Santa Rosa 95406.



Easy navigation

EDITOR: The Aug. 25 article regarding the proposed roundabout in Healdsburg made me wonder just what it takes for people to accept progress (“Healdsburg looks to roundabout future”). This project has been in the works for what seems like years, and the citizens of Healdsburg still don’t understand the concept or advantages of a roundabout and are worried about how to cope with it when completed.

People, please. These things are self-explanatory and certainly don’t require city-sponsored seminars to safely navigate. I’ve driven rental cars in Scotland and New Zealand in unfamiliar cities, and on the left (or “wrong”) side of the highway, and had no problem entering or exiting any roundabout I’ve encountered.

Any motorist with a modicum of driving skill should have no problem dealing with the proposed change, and let’s face it, the existing intersection has to be more confusing and dangerous than any roundabout.

Simply put, they work as intended, and the world isn’t going to come to an end in 2016 when it’s completed. I’ll wager that when the citizens of Sebastopol see just how effective it is, they will finally start construction on their own roundabout to relieve their own traffic congestion nightmare.



Common Core facts

EDITOR: Anne Durham’s diatribe (“Common Core,” Letters, Aug. 22) was chock-full of unfounded “facts.” She says “it has proven to actually be a dumbing down of education, a brainwashing method of our children” — I’m not even sure what that means — “an invasion of their privacy through data mining…” Proven by whom? The standards haven’t even been fully implemented, but the first state to use them (Kentucky) has shown increases in graduation rates, test scores and college/career readiness. Data collection is not part of the Common Core standards.

Durham wrote, “You don’t ‘ready students for the future’ by throwing out all the proven methods (such as memorization) or by deleting important historical figures and events (to alter our nation’s history).” Common Core standards are easy to find online, and they include memorization among other “proven methods.” I don’t think you can actually alter history, but Common Core only addresses English, language arts and math. No history.

To opponents of Common Core, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has said, “Criticisms and conspiracy theories are easy attention grabbers. Solutions are hard work. Be a problem-solver.” I say get your facts straight before you start preaching.


Santa Rosa