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Putting down Trump

EDITOR: Why do you always put President Donald Trump down with your headlines? On Wednesday, you said, “Tax papers show Trump took write-off of $100M.” When in reality it was good news that Trump paid $38 million in income taxes — 25 percent of his income in 2005 while Barack Obama paid only 18 percent in 2015 and Bernie Sanders 13 percent, also in 2015.

You also failed to acknowledge that the tax report was obtained illegally.

CARL VOGELAAR

Santa Rosa

Women’s health costs

EDITOR: Jean Grant claimed that defunding Planned Parenthood would have little impact on women’s health (“Women’s health,” Letters, Wednesday). I respectfully ask that she check the latest figures from the Congressional Budget Office, which concluded that the resulting increase in pregnancies and births among Medicaid patients no longer able to obtain long-acting birth control would mean that “defunding Planned Parenthood even for a year would increase Medicaid spending by $21 million in the first year and $77 million by 2026.”

Whether access to birth control would remain readily available and affordable in Sonoma County, I’m not prepared to say — Grant didn’t identify the alternative sources of women’s health in the county — but the projected national impact is almost certainly not based on “alternative facts.”

KATHERINE LACY

Healdsburg

Punishing the victim

EDITOR: A 14-year-old middle school student gets arrested for threatening to bring a gun to school and shoot those who were bullying him. This victim, and he is a victim, was booked into juvenile hall on felony and misdemeanor charges. His life is changed forever. Suspended from school, he faces time in a juvenile detention facility until he turns 18. He is robbed of a normal teenage childhood by bullies who continue on their way as if nothing has happened.

This 14-year-old victim fought back the only way he knew how, by threatening extreme violence to get these bullies to leave him alone.

All of the school officials have failed this student. School administrators stress that students were never in any danger. Yet the severest form of punishment is meted out to this young student who wanted nothing more than to go to school in a safe and sane environment. As a victim of bullying myself, I feel the helplessness that this person feels.

I have a novel idea. Why don’t we put the bullies, instead of the victims, in juvenile detention and leave a safe and peaceful environment to those who really want an education?

KEN PASEK

Santa Rosa

EPA chief on climate

EDITOR: Scott Pruitt, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator, was quoted as saying “there’s tremendous disagreement about the degree of (human) impact (on the climate), so no, I would not agree that it’s a primary contributor to the global warming that we see. … We need to continue the debate and continue the review” (“Pruitt bucks EPA on climate, draws ire,” March 10). I can present cases of people who have jumped or fallen out of airplanes and lived to tell about it, sometimes with little or no injury. Thus, until we determine that falling from an airplane can cause injury, parachutes are an unnecessary expenditure.

BILL HOUGHTON

Sebastopol

Nurse practitioners

EDITOR: As health care reform is at the forefront of our national attention, I wonder if people know about the role of nurse practitioners in primary care in making health care more affordable and accessible.

In 1965, Loretta Ford, a nurse, and Henry Silver, a pediatrician, created the first nurse practitioner program in the country in response to rising health care costs and a primary-care physician shortage, especially in rural and underserved communities. Today, more than 200,000 nurse practitioners work in the U.S., most as primary-care providers.

As a family nurse practitioner student at Sonoma State University, I am proud to soon be joining primary care nurse practitioners serving the most vulnerable populations in Sonoma County’s community health centers, free clinics, public health programs, home-based primary care services, school clinics and mobile health vans.

Our health care system — particularly for the poor, disabled, elderly and chronically ill — would be much worse if it weren’t for the development of the nurse practitioner role in primary care over the past 50 years.

I encourage health care activists and health policy advocates, regardless of party affiliation, to include strong support for primary care nurse practitioners in their fight for better health care.

JENNIFER NICOLE HERMAN

Sebastopol

Planet at risk

EDITOR: The demise of ocean coral reefs heralds the likely irreversible end of Earth as mankind has known it (“Scientists race to save reefs,” Wednesday). For decades, the planet has quietly stored the heat of global warming in the oceans, but now the oceans can’t take more heat without dying.

Not sometime in the future, but now, we are witnessing the vast unraveling and collapse of Earth’s natural systems.

Without radical action our grandchildren won’t survive this process. Fifty years ago, my high school civics teacher and I debated whether science could save us from ecological destruction. He argued that science would find a way to keep us from destroying the planet. I argued that people would ignore scientists’ warnings, and technology wouldn’t be able to prevent disaster. What a Pyrrhic victory to win such an argument.

ANDY FERGUSON

Petaluma