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Collecting DNA

EDITOR: There are many regulations that I find annoying, such as stop signs where one can see that no cars are coming and having to report how much water I use from my well. I accept these, and many others, on the ground that the societal good outweighs the fact that I am bothered by them.

When someone complains about a regulation, I ask, “Exactly how does it damage you, other than your feelings being hurt?”

On the subject of taking a DNA sample when a person is taken into custody (“Even a suspected felon deserves DNA privacy,” Editorial, April 6), I need some more information before I can have an opinion.

Is the collection physically damaging in any way? Is the lab work done properly and the sample securely stored? Is racial profiling involved? Are there potential financial or any other kinds of problems created for the people sampled?

If these concerns are satisfied, and collecting DNA from suspects helps solve some crimes, then the societal benefit outweighs the negatives.



Impugning elders

EDITOR: Ray Rasker, in his Sunday commentary (“Wildfires’ heaviest costs fall on cities, counties”), asserts that the dangerous increase in the number of structures in wildland-urban interface zones is due to retiring baby boomers who like living close to nature.

Many people like living close to nature, but older folks less able to manage maintenance chores are more likely to be downsizing and tend to move closer to services not usually located near trailheads.

Rasker’s assertion illustrates a troublesome trend of commentators who casually impugn a particular age group with unquestioned confidence that no one will object.

Impugn away if criticism is warranted, but how about putting a few moments of thought into it first?



Protecting the border

EDITOR: In response to Ned Studholme’s comments (“Commander Trump,” Letters, April 6), nothing could be more natural than a country defending its borders and territorial integrity with its military. The U.S. military should be defending the border and deterring illegal immigration rather than being deployed in Asia, Europe and the Middle East. This is the best thing Donald Trump has done in his presidency so far.


Santa Rosa

Bashing teachers

EDITOR: Considering your reader profile, it amazes me that The Press Democrat continues to publish anti-teacher editorials (“Schools should pay teachers what they’re worth,” April 11). It sounds so reasonable to pay teachers what they’re worth, but the Bloomberg View editorial goes on to explain how teachers aren’t really worth that much.

It contains all the typical anti-labor, pro-biz speak. The author had to do statistical contortions to claim that teachers are not underpaid: “The median income for the country’s 1 million high school teachers, for example, is more than 50 percent higher than that of the general population.” Later in the same paragraph, it’s admitted that schoolteachers make 17 percent less than similar college graduates.

The editorial says teachers shouldn’t have to “work two or three jobs to make ends meet, as many say they do,” implying that teachers are lying. Why work another job if you’re not underpaid, as the editorial claims? How about these “performance bonuses” offered by 30 states for alleged three-week improvements in reading?

If The Press Democrat wishes to remain a credible source for news and information, consider your sources. For instance, the Economic Policy Institute reports that average weekly wages for public schoolteachers have stagnated since the mid-1990s and declined by 5 percent since 2010.


Rohnert Park

Essick’s the one

EDITOR: Working 20 years in the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office, public administrator division, provided me the opportunity to observe the operations of the Sheriff’s Office. In the upcoming sheriff’s election, Mark Essick is the best candidate for the following reasons.

He began his career with the Sheriff’s Office in 1994 as a correctional officer, subsequently serving as deputy, detective, field training officer, bomb squad sergeant, patrol sergeant, lieutenant personnel/internal affairs and, from 2015 to present, field services captain/administrative captain.

In 2007, working with the Mental Health Department, he developed and directed the much-needed crisis prevention program, and, in 2015, he served as the only law enforcement member on the Community and Law Enforcement Task Force. In 2015, again with mental health, he helped form the mobile support unit.

His record shows that he cares about the safety of our community and the relationship between its residents and law enforcement. Conflicting state and federal laws of recent years make it imperative that our new sheriff is not only experienced and a person of integrity but firm, straightforward, fair, diplomatic and able to make wise decisions.

Mark Essick has my vote.



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