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SR High’s hot classrooms

EDITOR: Did you know that the music building and the science wing at Santa Rosa High School don’t have air conditioning — and never have had it? The science wing was built in 1963-64 and remodeled in 1998-99. The music building was built in the 1930s and remodeled in 2001. That’s a lot of years without air conditioning.

School begins in mid-August. On hot days, temperatures inside classrooms can reach 90 degrees. This is a violation of the Williams Act, which addresses unacceptable conditions in our public schools. But we don’t need the Williams Act to tell us this isn’t OK for students and their teachers. It’s miserable.

Summer turns to fall, fall turns to winter. Temperatures may dip into the 30s and 20s. Heat waves, cold snaps: welcome to Sonoma County. The heating systems also need to be replaced. It can take days for teachers to get the heat up and running.

As you can see, there’s never been a suitable learning environment in these buildings. Let’s support our students and teachers and ask that our district address these issues, once and for all.

MAVIS JUKES

Cotati

My mother’s wisdom

EDITOR: Years ago when I was a youth I would occasionally listen on a radio program that started with, “I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to my dying day your right to say it.”

Sometimes I would scream, “It’s a free country, I can do anything I want.” Then my mother, who had great wisdom, would say, “Yes, it is a free country, and you can do anything you want, but you must learn to take responsibility for the results of what you do.”

Today, there are people in high places who would do well to heed my mother’s wisdom. They seem not to give a tinker’s damn about the results of what they say — whether it is rattling a saber or trying to deny someone their right to express their feelings in a nonviolent manner on a subject that they feel strongly about.

Yes, it would be an honor to be invited to the White House if the person extending the invitation was honorable.

LEE O. McCANN

Petaluma

Waiting for the bike path

EDITOR: Applying logic to SMART management’s gleeful exclamation of more bikes on SMART than expected, it is obvious that they are there because there isn’t a bike path going the length of the rails as was promised to win votes from cyclists.

There are many more people waiting to use that bike path to bike, run and skate along, not just using SMART. When will the funds be sought and secured to complete this vital function?

ARNOLD LEVINE

Sebastopol

Teachers’ pensions

EDITOR: The Press Democrat missed an opportunity for promoting understanding in Sunday’s hit piece against public pensions (“What is being squeezed to pay public pensions?”). Excluded from Paul Gullixson’s argument were a few critical details regarding public school teachers.

The first omission was in relation to CalSTRS teacher pensions. Teachers contribute 10 percent of their salary toward their pensions, matched by employer contributions. Second, STRS members, unlike CalPERS members, aren’t eligible for Social Security benefits.

What teachers do get after years of service is a modest pension that will likely not cover basic expenses without supplemental retirement savings. To equate or even compare CalPERS and CalSTRS is erroneous and misleading to public opinion.

Finally, Gullixson connects budget underfunding for local services to pension systems. While this may be an effective rhetorical device to fire up the public, there is no concrete evidence that CalSTRS is the root cause of Santa Rosa City Schools’ current budget problem or any other funding issues.

There’s been ample press lauding the wine, beer and weed industries in Sonoma County. Why not encourage these economic powerhouses to check societal deterioration by sharing the wealth with schools, parks, libraries and infrastructure instead of attacking educators who promote social stability for a modest compensation?

WILLIAM HUNTSINGER

Santa Rosa

A disgraceful leader

EDITOR: Once again, Donald Trump takes a non-issue — a handful of sports figures following Colin Kaepernick’s lead and kneeling during the national anthem — and makes it about himself and what he says is respecting or disrespecting our country.

By calling them names, which is the only thing Trump seems to be good at, he united the NFL teams to support each team member and to call Trump on his own hypocrisy. Trump disrespects our country by saying he’s smart for not paying taxes, by making fun of veterans and disabled people, by ridiculing women for how they look, by lying about anything from crowd sizes to imaginary missiles being launched from Iran, by promoting polluting forms of energy, etc. The list goes on and on.

I believe the majority of athletes kneeling now are only protesting our disgraceful leader.

JOHN METRAS

Cotati