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Statues and meaning

EDITOR: If you think statues are benign, you didn’t live among them as I did in my youth in Virginia, Alabama and South Carolina. But then my parents took us to the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, and I learned about Marian Anderson singing there in 1939. I was there myself in August 1963 when the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. called on us to examine the content of our character.

Support those teachers who haul your wild kids east to see the U.S. Capitol, or brave that trip yourself. Stand before Lincoln. Visit the Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Virginia, and don’t hide those sudden involuntary tears.

Look around for the suffragist statue depicting Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony and Lucretia Mott, which was dedicated in 1921 but only moved from the basement to the Capitol rotunda in 1997. Look at the Declaration of Independence. I mean stand there in awe of what it took from others just to give you such a good life.

Then come home, play some old Crosby, Stills and Nash, and get out the vote.


Santa Rosa

America’s dreamers

EDITOR: Emma Lazarus wrote a sonnet for the pedestal that would hold the Statue of Liberty. It says, in part, “Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

Sonoma County has roughly 4,000 school- and college-aged youths whose families were guided by the lamp to the golden door of opportunity. All children have a right to a public education, but with the withdrawal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program we close the door of opportunity and end a critical protection.

These students embody the American Dream. They serve in our military. They serve as first-responders in time of crisis. These students are a vital part of the economy.

I wish to assure every parent and student that every public school is tasked with providing an equal education to students, regardless of immigration status. Numerous local school districts have further reassured students and families by becoming Safe Haven school sites.

Families can also ask their school for a congressional advocacy authorization form that will allow their congressional representative to advocate for them in the event of an immigration problem. This is an important first step to protect students who are working hard to succeed.


Sonoma County superintendent of schools

Protecting the police

EDITOR: This is in response to the Orange County editorial in Tuesday’s paper (“Remilitarizing police isn’t the way to fight crime”). NPR says that, in 2015, 87 police officers were killed, 42 by firearms. In 2016, the numbers were 135 killed, 73 by firearms. This year the numbers are up 20 percent. Non-fatal police casualties are also increasing dramatically.

The editorial says “reducing police use of force ought to be the goal.” That is an admirable objective, but though it may work in Orange County, it doesn’t work in many places. Where is the data that show that when police don’t use advanced equipment to collar criminals or protect themselves the crime rate goes down?

Google “police use of military equipment,” and you will find hundreds of articles from all over the country that say how much surplus military hardware has assisted police, especially that used for protection and forensic analysis.

Our police deserve every advantage that we can afford to give them. It should be left to local authorities to determine what equipment or training is appropriate.



Vineyard workers

EDITOR: Clearly the health of grapes takes precedence over the well-being of vineyard workers. On Saturday, I read a Press Democrat article titled “Harvest in heat wave.” One of the photos shows a man wearing a bandana that covers his mouth and nose and a baseball cap and a hoodie on his head to protect him from dust and smoke.

These people work at night under hot, bright lights, under skies shrouded with smoke during an excessive heat wave when temperatures climbed above 100 degrees. They worked at a feverish pace from early evening until dawn picking grapes and then running with bins full of grapes when even the nights were much warmer than usual.

I was stunned by the paragraph that read, “Smoke from Trinity and other Northern California fires should not pose a problem for the local crop as grapes are more susceptible to smoke taint in the early summer than at this point in the growing season.” In this entire article, there is no empathy shown or compassion stated for the workers who pick in extreme weather conditions and no mention of the workers’ health when exposed to “smoke taint.”

This situation reminds me of the treatment of most people and the environment by the Trump administration.



Reporting on energy

EDITOR: It is a continuing irritant to me to encounter writing that doesn’t show an understanding of the concepts of power and energy. Such was the case with last Friday’s front-page article that discussed the solar power plant proposed to be built south of Petaluma (“New solar site to power 600 area homes”).

The plant could properly have been described as producing a peak power of four megawatts, or an energy production of 4,000 megawatt-hours per year. This much energy could have been described as sufficient to power some number of homes — remembering that such power isn’t available all the time. In other words, power is the rate of energy flow per unit of time.


Rohnert Park

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