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Computer coding classes

EDITOR: An article in Wednesday’s paper quoted Apple CEO Tim Cook saying that computer coding should be required in every public school (“Few question push for coding in US schools”). Yes, we should be educating interested students in computer engineering. But everyone? Many companies are reporting difficulty finding qualified applicants in the building and mechanical trades. Should we require every student to learn plumbing and auto repair?

Requiring every student to take classes in computer coding would create another barrier to success for those students whose interests and learning styles aren’t compatible with that subject, even though they can be important contributors to public life and the economy.

Computer engineering, including coding, should certainly be a part of a robust vocational education program, along with the building and mechanical trades, health care and other vitally needed job skills.

Industry should be deeply involved in making such programs relevant to current and future needs. And these programs should be integrated into another mission of the public schools, that of educating citizens.

But to offer all that, the public schools need a lot more money than they’re getting now. So let’s consider the tech industries’ needs as one component of what we should be doing.

BILL HOUGHTON

Sebastopol

An in-fill housing site

EDITOR: The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors is to be commended for proceeding to sell the prior Community Hospital site for an in-fill development of much-needed housing in Santa Rosa.

More than 25 years ago, this community voted for urban growth boundaries to protect us from building outside of the city limits. An extension to that ordinance was ratified by voters last year. City-centered growth has been adopted by Santa Rosa with “housing first” as its top priority.

This property is an excellent example and location for this type of infill housing to be built. The neighbors need to keep in mind the community as a whole has spoken loudly on these topics. I urge the board to approve the sale of this property on Tuesday, and let the builder proceed through the city process for the future housing to be provided.

SCOTT KINCAID

Santa Rosa

Russia and the election

EDITOR: Kathleen Miller (“Russian meddling,” Letters, July 1) suggested that Russia may have corrupted the 2016 presidential election. I believe it has been established that Russia was able to access John Podesta’s poorly secured email and discovered that the Democratic Party had rigged the primary in favor of Hillary Clinton and so informed the voting public.

Apparently Russia also had a hand in informing the voters of Clinton’s private email server and the vast amount of classified information put at risk during her time as secretary of state. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that “the voters had trouble trusting Hillary Clinton” because of what was learned during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Perhaps the goal of the Russian meddling was to have Bernie Sanders elected since his political philosophy so closely mirrors theirs.

LEO LANE

Petaluma

Therapy animals

EDITOR: I’m writing in response to the July 3 article about therapy animals (“Therapy animals proliferate, but do they help?”). Of course they help. This article bothered me as I feel not enough credit is given to the animal world.

I can see where therapists could be threatened if it were scientifically proven that animals can help one’s mental state. I don’t think it needs to be scientifically proven that animals alleviate stress and provide love, comfort, companionship and laughter.

Have you ever watched the faces of senior citizens in a convalescent home when a pet is brought in to visit them? What more proof do scientists need that they provide good therapy and help? Forget the research, and get those service dogs to our veterans with those funds. There are many homeless animals out there that could be trained.

By the way, who in the world would bring a wild animal (a bear cub) to Washington University to comfort students during finals? I think wild animals should stay out of this subject.

MARGARET DUBKOFF

Santa Rosa

Winery rejected

EDITOR: It was heartening to read Friday’s article about the county rejecting a Westside Road winery application (“Sonoma County Zoning Board unanimously rejects Healdsburg winery project”).

It’s a rare occurrence when Sonoma County planning commissioners unanimously oppose a project recommended by county staff. The hard work by the commissioners to research the facts, ask tough questions and have the integrity to stand by their convictions when a proposed project could negatively impact the neighborhood is a very welcome breath of fresh air.

The planning commissioners have clearly put public safety before profits. Let’s hope we see more of this in-depth analysis and critical thinking on behalf of our public servants in the future.

DENISE HUNT

Healdsburg

Got meat?

EDITOR: For those who don’t eat meat, good for you. But I am sick and tired of vegans writing letters to the editor indicating that their lifestyle of not eating meat is far superior to the lifestyle those of us who enjoy eating meat. Vegans can barbecue all the vegetables they want. Enjoy. But to have the audacity to write to a newspaper, to spew your religion of not eating meat and insinuating that those of us who do eat meat are in the wrong is deplorable.

Where’s the beef?

MARK FERGUSON

Petaluma