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Familiar protesters

EDITOR: Last Sunday’s article headlined “Millions in US join protests, get political” brought out a laugh.

“Back in the turbulent Vietnam War era,” it said, “college students were the face of protests. Today, many activists are older, white, well-educated and wealthy.”

Do the math. Today’s older, white, well-educated and wealthy activists are the college students who were the face of the Vietnam era protests.

“I haven’t done this since the ’60s,” I overheard a woman say in the first Women’s March after Donald Trump’s election. You could say we are the ’60s regeneration.

The veterans of the Stanford movement of the ’60s (there are a bunch in the county) are still organized. We hold reunions every five or 10 years. We have a listserve to keep us in touch.

And many of us — I’d say most — are still active. That was the character of the ’60s movement. It engendered a deep understanding of patriotism and democracy. It required a frightening leap onto uncertainty. It changed our lives — and brought lifelong commitment. Not surprisingly, it also brought comradeship that I suspect is closely akin to what develops among military units that go through combat together. And now we’ve been called up again.

DAVE RANSOM

Santa Rosa

Facebook inquisition

EDITOR: Watching the Mark Zuckerberg inquisition reminded me of the Salem witch trials and the McCarthy era. What a bunch of hypocrites. All of those senators use Facebook every day. Didn’t they read the fine print or go by the old adage, let the buyer beware?

I thought most of those hot shots in the Senate were lawyers. I guess they couldn’t make it as attorneys so they decided to make our lives miserable and run for political office.

Sorry to my fellow readers, I just needed to vent. I’d like to see all of these lawmakers meet in the middle and pass some meaningful legislation instead of the partisan bickering.

Disclaimer: I’m not a big fan of social media or a Facebook user, but what the Senate did to Zuckerberg is another witch hunt, which they all seem to be real good at.

JIM HICKEY

Santa Rosa

A lack of vision

EDITOR: Columnist Dan Walters wrote that “it is crucial for the high-speed rail project to have a complete and viable funding plan” and that “if such a plan can’t be produced, we should call it quits on a project that was never grounded in reality” (“High-speed rail collides with reality,” Wednesday).

What a sad comment on our state of affairs. To be truly “grounded in reality” is to look at other countries and recognize the tremendous benefits that high-speed rail linking our major population centers would provide, both in economic and quality-of-life terms.

When you travel on trains in those countries you can’t help seeing how behind we are. Japan and France are way ahead of us. China has built 12,000 miles of high-speed rail in the past decade. But in America, where we think we’re exceptional, we can’t muster the vision or political will to make a similar investment, even though we’ve been talking about it for years.

As a nation, we need to finally stop dickering around and get this done. I will vote for any politician who is a strong advocate for high-speed rail.

JOHN MASON

Santa Rosa

Restoring a collection

EDITOR: Brava and thanks to Sondra Bernstein of the Fig Cafe and Girl & the Fig restaurant and her cadre of wonderful volunteers who gave away hundreds of books to many of us who lost our homes in the fires (“Joy and tears at Sonoma post-fire cookbook giveaway,” Tuesday). It was an incredible morning — finding cookbooks we lost as well as other books containing writers whose recipes we have used over the years.

I began cooking 25 years ago when we lived in Malibu (never lost a home there in many evacuations). Cooking was my “go to” escape long before the fires. I haven’t done much cooking but will do more soon as we wait (hopefully) to rebuild our home around the corner from the fantastic Sweet T’s restaurant and not far from Willi’s Wine Bar. Both will rebuild.

LARRY CARLIN

Santa Rosa

Practical skills

EDITOR: I’m sure that most Press Democrat readers will agree with your editorial stand on the college-preparatory curriculum requirements for Santa Rosa schools (“Preparing kids for college and the workplace,” Wednesday). Unfortunately, this same mindset has largely been responsible for the elimination of the practical arts and elective programs in our schools. It is often argued that wood shop, metal shop, business skills and other elective classes aren’t needed to prepare students for the future job markets in California.

I must also point out that your statement that “the required classes cover basic academic subjects” is a fallacy. Most of the basic skills classes in our schools aren’t recognized by the UC system for admission.

Basically two-thirds of our high school students, by the statistics you published, will have no practical skills when they graduate.

Isn’t there a shortage of construction workers? Is using a tape measure in the A-G curriculum? Our elected officials don’t seem to be too concerned about skills such as this.

What about those kids who want to be farmers, carpenters, machinists, mechanics, hairdressers, chefs, truck drivers, small business owners or work in their family business? What will motivate them to stay in high school?

So, it seems, the schools in California, now including Santa Rosa, are turning a cold shoulder to the majority of our children.

GORDON CARTER

Sebastopol

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