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RICHARD RUGE

Sebastopol

Youthful activism

EDITOR: Women throughout the country have rallied around the anti-sexual harassment cause — with impressive results so far. Now, teenagers are similarly rallying around the gun violence cause.

Dismissing the teachers-with-guns solution as demented, they are demanding action — such as substantive background checks, banning assault weapons and bumpstocks and raising the age for purchasing guns. Supportive rallies and marches have been scheduled all around the country.

What causes come next? Climate change? Racial equality? Social justice? With the midterm elections coming up (and youth participation in recent elections historically low), this is the time to encourage young people to register and vote.

With record numbers of female candidates running for political office, there is the potential for increased female leadership. Maybe it’s also time for more of us males to get off the bench.

In the meantime, let’s all join in the youth marches.

MORGAN LAMBERT

Santa Rosa

Bay tree risks

EDITOR: Kate Frey neglected to mention important negatives to planting California bay trees in her Feb. 24 column (“Spring cascade of bloom”): They are very flammable. Even the green leaves burn (according to a neighbor who is a licensed forester). Someone whose house was spared in the recent fires said that a huge bay tree on their property literally exploded when the fire reached it. They found pieces of it all around their property.

Bays carry the fungus that causes sudden oak death. Growing one within 35 feet of the following plants is likely to cause their infection and death: coast live oak, California black oak, tanbark oak and several other oaks (from “New Sunset Garden Book”).

It is known as a climax species. That means that, if not kept under control, bay trees will crowd out all other plants.

I asked a local bird expert about bay trees and birds. She said that they offer nothing for our bird populations.

We live surrounded by woods and have had to spend substantial sums of money removing California bay trees. Unfortunately, they stump sprout and reseed prolifically.

JEANNETTE GRANT

Occidental

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