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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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