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Who will teach?

EDITOR: Considering ubiquitous school shootings, aka the new normal, there’s a lot to be sad about these days. We may want to wear blinders, pretending we are immune, but it’s difficult to deny the evidence. It can happen anywhere, including close to home.

Despite the mediocre pay, often-maligned professional status and countless other challenges, I have advised many bright, earnest, gifted young adults to teach. Why? As a career educator and proponent of public schools, I believe teaching is worthy work — a valuable community service with profound benefits for children, families and society at large.

Our nation’s future is hanging in the balance. More than ever, we need to attract dedicated, competent teachers to shape what lies ahead. But my faith is wavering, and I admit, I’m struggling to envision a favorable legacy. With a heavy heart, for today’s prospective teacher candidates, I can only advise caution.

JEANNE MILLER

Santa Rosa

Disparaging doctors

EDITOR: I’m disappointed in the click-bait headline used for the article and slideshow about health care (“Drunk doctors and kitchen table surgeries: Historic photos of health care in Sonoma County, pressdemocrat.com).

The images reveal 100 years of physicians’ commitment to the health and welfare of the people of Sonoma County, including mention of the county’s first female physician in 1877. The headline, however, disparages early doctors by focusing on the only negative examples. It’s easy to bash the medical profession to get readers’ attention. You can do better.

I watched in dismay as hundreds of Sonoma County physicians lost their homes on Oct. 9. That day, the county called upon its doctors to create safe harbor for in-hospital patients while also attending to those affected by the fires. Many physicians did so while their own homes burned.

Since then, they have attended to their practices with care and compassion. All the while, they move like nomads from rental to rental, sleeping on inflatable mattresses or strange beds, squeezing in their recovery in their “spare time.”

It’s time to recognize this county’s medical professionals for what they are: fellow citizens committed to serving the public regardless of their personal situation. They are heroes who, when called upon, did their job in the most difficult of conditions; sometimes sacrificing the thing that we all hold most dear: their homes.

PATTY LYN TWETEN

President, Sonoma County Medical Association Alliance Foundation

Gun safety department?

EDITOR: It occurred to me, as I’m preparing to go into the DMV to renew my driver’s license, that it would make sense to have a DGS — Department of Gun Safety — where everything to do with gun ownership is covered under one roof: registration, verification of background checks and knowledge of safety protocols and laws.

Given that guns, like vehicles, have the capacity to kill and injure, why wouldn’t we, as concerned adults, choose to balance individual need with collective responsibility? Isn’t that what we ask of our children?

LIZ FINN

Sebastopol

Promoting growth

EDITOR: To make its point for endless development, your lead article on Feb. 25 (“After fires, a push to fix housing crisis”) made use of some imaginary entity referred to as “the county.”

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.

Including: “the county is on track …”, “the county based its estimate …”, “the county … has … issued permits …”, “a bond could help the county …”, “the county needs to take action …”, “the county support for a bond …”, “the county should have …” Who is this “the county” to whom you refer so deferentially?

I can understand the need to replace “the millionaire developers who have been influential in Sonoma County politics for years” with a simple non-derivative. Hopefully the citizens of Sonoma County aren’t all as stupid as you think we are.

Notice also how the article emphasized that there isn’t a problem but a crisis, obviously necessitating radical and swift reaction, not to mention using taxes to profit developers. Also the headline gave us hope that the leaders will fix (whatever that means) this crisis. How does The Press Democrat differentiate between journalism and propaganda?

Then, don’t forget the poor businesses that will never have a chance to grow (sprawl, in other words) … and provide more sales and property tax income to our cash-addicted local governments.

If I may be so deferential, where is “the county” going to get the water supply for 50,000 new homes?

STEVE SARSFIELD

Graton

Teachers and guns

EDITOR: With all the talk of arming teachers and school staff members, I feel the need to put in my two cents. After being a school night custodian for nearly 30 years (now retired), the idea of arming teachers is frightening. I cannot tell you the number of times I had a teacher approach me and say, “I’ve misplaced my school keys. Can you keep an eye out for them? Oh, and don’t say anything to the office.”

Teachers losing keys is commonplace, but imagine them misplacing a loaded weapon. If I were still working and had the chance to work the day shift, am I expected to be one of the special people required to be armed? No, thank you. Please put this crazy idea behind us.

DAVID MECHLING

Rohnert Park

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