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Put California in the G-7

EDITOR: Regarding the great negotiator wanting to readmit Russia, and his pal Vladimir Putin, to the G-7 with no concessions, just as he moved the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem without any concessions on the illegal settlements from Israel, I suggest America’s membership in the G-7 should be suspended (“Trump seeks to reinstate Russia,” Saturday). Replace the U.S. with California, the world’s fifth-largest economy, until we are cured of Trump disease.

That would create a Tweetstorm.

WILLIAM BABULA

Santa Rosa

Valedictorian censored

EDITOR: The decision to cut off the microphone of the valedictorian at Petaluma High School’s graduation ceremony was in bleak contrast to any message a reputable academic institution should send (“Valedictorian’s mic is cut off,” Thursday).

If the school was concerned that their young and bright valedictorian might say something with which it disagreed, it should have settled the matter with her beforehand. If, after approving her speech, the school had concerns that she might go off-script, she should still have been allowed to have her say. Then, in the academic tradition of debate, rebuttal and civil discourse, the principal could have stated the school’s position.

The audience, most of whom were probably unaware of any back story causing this puzzling action, would have shrugged and moved on. As it was, this unexplained censorship caused shock and anger, with many minutes of boos and cries of, “Let her speak!” It was a disturbing and rather appalling disruption in what should have been a joyful ceremony.

If the principal’s clumsy mishandling of the situation was sanctioned by the school board, the board members should be embarrassed. It came off an egregious form of public bullying and has given Petaluma High, its principal and the board a black eye far worse than any they might have received from letting the young woman speak.

JANE CAREY

Paso Robles

Hurricane damage

EDITOR: The focus has rightly been on the pathetic disaster response in Puerto Rico from the federal government. It turns out there are thousands of other American citizens in the same predicament from the same hurricanes. Friends on St. Thomas, in the American Virgin Islands, have had no running water since September and are rigging up rainwater for bathing. One friend has died since. They only have text capabilities — no phone, no email. The main airport still has a tarp roof. It’s a small island, can’t we even get that right?

ARNOLD LEVINE

Sebastopol

Paper, not plastic

EDITOR: So much has been said recently about the harm being caused by disposable, plastic straws, along with so many other things made from the ubiquitous, oil-based product. Someone has even designed a metal straw that can be cleaned and reused, a great $20 Christmas stocking stuffer for the conscientious brown-bagger, perhaps (“In pollution fight, he’s Miles ahead,” May 29). But how many parents — or school cafeterias — would invest in such easily lost items for children’s lunches, and how many would be needed to get through a school year?

What about paper? I remember using paper straws at the corner malt shop. They may have collapsed a bit when I tried to suck down a thick shake, but I could always double up if it was really thick. I remember when plastic straws began replacing them and just about everything else.

The manufacturers (oil companies) touted plastic as the greatest thing ever. Use it once, throw it away, and buy another one. After all, plastic was cheap and inexhaustible. They might even have started the whole save-a-tree thing. The civilized world became a throw-away society.

Maybe paper straws could even be improved enough to suck down a thick shake without creating a nightmare of indestructible pollution.

WAYNE MINSON

Santa Rosa

A nightmare scenario

EDITOR: The Department of Homeland Security’s aggressive “security-focused agenda” at the border with Mexico is intolerable. Forcibly separating children from their parents is pure terror and reverberates as trauma for a lifetime.

It is irrational and inhumane to allow this nightmare scenario to be used as policy against desperate people. This new American authoritarianism, with its strict-father worldview, drags us all into fascism.

Security? I’m worried for the security of the American soul. My homeland was founded on a vow to bear out Enlightenment doctrine on the sanctity of human dignity. Our moral leader, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., admonished us to create a more peaceful and loving society. “Love is the only way,” he said, and that is true.

The Department of Homeland Security is so devoid of love and reason that it resembles some depraved foreign society denounced in our history books. It’s alien to America. This unnecessary policy is nothing but hateful. If we don’t reverse it, then we are the criminals, not the refugees who are being so labeled and who have simply chosen the most sane option for their families: to flee deadly violence at home while “yearning to breathe free” in ours.

KATE FOLEY-BEINING

Healdsburg

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