Monday’s Letters to the Editor

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Charter vs public schools

EDITOR: An article in Wednesday’s paper seemed to stress the fact that charter school parents want their children in schools with other children of similar racial and socio-economic backgrounds, believing their children would learn better, perform better at a higher standard (“Candidates face backlash over charter schools”).

Bad idea. A major aspect of learning for American students has nothing to do with academics. There is an additional vital factor. It is learning to get along with people of different races, religions and cultures. That’s what our country is about. Students spend years in public schools becoming comfortable and making friends with a variety of other young people. Isolating kids who are similar to each other in charter schools doesn’t accomplish this important, worthy goal.

Charter school parents, though, have a point. Could public schools be improved? Of course. Most criticism of public schools could be answered with a bigger budget. The additional money would pay for smaller classes so each student gets more attention and also higher teacher salaries to attract better-trained and respected men and women.


Santa Rosa

Shelter volunteers

EDITOR: In this time of Thanksgiving, much gratitude has been expressed to the first responders who bravely and tirelessly battled the Kincade fire and implemented an orderly mass evacuation. Not to detract at all from this well-deserved praise, we would like to extend it to another group, little- mentioned but equally vital.

Without the many volunteer organizations and individuals who operated the evacuation shelters, the evacuation could have been a disaster. There are too many to name, if even their names were known. But our thanks in particular goes to Calvary Church of Petaluma and its members, who provided shelter for more than 150 evacuees, and to the adjoining Elks Club, which provided three meals a day for the duration.

The kindness, open-armed welcoming attitude and generosity we experienced during our three days there will remain in our memories forever.



Carbon sequestration

EDITOR: I am increasingly impressed by the potential of land-based methods of carbon drawdown to mitigate climate change. Many of these practices could be applied on farms large or small, conventional or organic. Interspersing trees with food crops or livestock adds diversity of nutrients to the soil.

Cover crops like clover, hairy vetch and rye carry nitrogen from the atmosphere into the soil. Rotational grazing (allowing cows or other ruminant animals to intensively graze a pasture, then moving them to adjacent fresh pasture to allow the first one to regrow) adds significant fertility to soil; planting trees in pastures increases soil carbon even more.

No-till farming and permaculture (working with nature’s systems to create multi-layered, compact food gardens with minimal machinery or other disturbance) are among many ecological agriculture practices that partner with Earth and soak up atmospheric carbon.

Plants are carbon storehouses. While living, they turn carbon dioxide into sugar and energy; when they die, their decomposed bodies permanently store carbon in the soil (as long as no tillage occurs).

I ask our state lawmakers to allocate significant funding to agricultural carbon sequestration projects. Our state’s farmers deserve to be financially rewarded for implementing carbon drawdown solutions.



A Christmas wish

EDITOR: What I want for Christmas is a president with class, integrity, honesty, morality, humility, loyalty, competence, patriotism, intelligence, compassion and common sense.

Since Mr. Rogers is no longer with us, then I would be very happy with Joe Biden, Pete Buttegieg or a golden retriever, not necessarily in that order.



Passion for pets

EDITOR: “Impoochment,” the Lexington column in the Nov. 23 edition of the Economist, well describes the pets passion that affects many in the U.S. The most recent pet in our home, Sprinkles Sparkles Smith (no nobler name has a canine ever borne), is gone from our care, yet not forgotten. It’s long been my belief that what’s missing from the Affordable Care Act, and what would have endeared it to many more upon its passage in 2010, is pet insurance. Clearly lots of people care more about their pets than their neighbors. So my advice to Democrats is to step back from “Medicare for All” and instead improve the Affordable Care Act by including a public option with better regulation of prescriptions pricing, plus pet insurance as an available coverage.


Rohnert Park

Nuclear threat

EDITOR: Pope Francis has done a great service to all people everywhere with his recent trip to Japan and his strong stand against nuclear weapons and against our attitudes of apathy and boredom.

It is our passivity in accepting the continued development of nuclear weapons that has allowed the world’s major powers to maintain their terrifying arsenals of hydrogen bombs despite all the evidence from responsible scientists and peace activists that nuclear weapons pose the greatest threat to humanity’s existence that has ever existed in our entire history of over a million years on the Earth.

It is time for the entire human race to unite in demanding that all these nightmarish weapons be destroyed forever.



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