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Censoring T-shirts

EDITOR: As one of the Santa Rosa High seniors up in arms after senior T-shirts were rejected for slang (“Students’ slogans vetted,” Sept. 8), I’m irritated, to say the least, that this is even an article that had room to be reported.

I respect and appreciate Staff Writer Susan Minichiello’s focus. The implications, though, of the new administration so strictly hounding down on this is kind of insulting. From what I see, there’s an assumption here that all of the slang terms or nicknames are ill-intended or purposed to be unsuitable.

By stopping problems that had limited to no potential to arise, by depriving students of a sentiment to avoid what could maybe be a risk, by seeking out the worst connotations and definitions certain terms can colloquially take on, administrators are telling me that there isn’t any trust there. They aren’t giving us the benefit of the doubt. Are you kidding me?

Yes, I’m sure there were some that were intentionally crude. I mean, we’re the closest to being thrown into the real world, but we’re still high schoolers. Toilet humor has its occasional appeal. But deal with that as it comes, not before the idea has even had an opportunity to grow in the students’ heads.


Santa Rosa

Taking a knee

EDITOR: Kneeling in the Catholic tradition (and other modalities) signals prayerfulness, reverence, supplication. It is difficult to understand how some find “taking a knee” as willful disobedience or abject disrespect.

Why can’t we honor our fellow citizens’ need to change wrongs against them and work together to make our world safer for all? One does not have to be the recipient of wrongdoing to perceive honestly what is going on around us and cooperate with healing our nation.

Concerning the national anthem, the “Star Spangled Banner” is a militaristic song born (1814) out of the hostile conflict against the British during the War of 1812. It has a complicated history and isn’t the testament to unity and national cohesion that it is meant to be.

The author Francis Scott Key was an anti-abolitionist who was angrily pro-slavery during that war. He wrote the poem (later set to music) in four stanzas. In the third stanza, he bitterly chastised the slaves who fought for their freedom.

The respect and reverence of our beloved flag is right and good, but taking a knee doesn’t negate that. Certainly this peaceful protest does not warrant sportsmen being called sons of bitches. No man’s mother should be verbally abused in that manner, even if that abuser is the president.


Rohnert Park

Kaepernick and voting

EDITOR: Colin Kaepernick doesn’t vote. His position is “the oppressor isn’t going to allow you to vote your way out of your oppression.” Maybe. Maybe not. There are still many non-oppressors in positions of political power. Thanks to them the vote is still available to us as a tool of change. Vote for the non-oppressors. Though less dramatic, collectively our votes for non-oppressors can have an impact as great as or greater than taking a knee.



Trump’s economy

EDITOR: Michael S. George claims that “Donald Trump has achieved more in his term to date than Barack Obama did in eight years” (“Out of the doldrums,” Letters, Sept. 7). Yes, in less than two years, Trump, through his tweets, rants, raves and less-than-intelligent decisions has achieved the lowest rating of any president in recent history.

George claims that Trump has “achieved the best economy in decades.” Yes he has — for the already wealthy, the 1 percent of the United States — who are getting wealthier on the back of the other 99 percent of us.

He claims that under the Trump administration “employment is at the highest levels and overseas money is pouring back into the country, creating even more jobs.” Really? Where? Employment has been at a high level since the Clinton administration. President Obama did his best to sustain that. As for money pouring back into the country, yes, by imposing unwarranted tariffs and forcing cutbacks in the steel and automotive industries, resulting in layoffs and plant closures, thereby damaging that high rate of employment George claims Trump created.

Yes, what “Trump delivered cannot be denied,” but can it be repaired? Probably not in our lifetimes.


Rohnert Park

Voting for Pocekay

EDITOR: I write in support of Dennis Pocekay for Petaluma City Council. He is intelligent and wise, caring and engaged. His candidacy is “driven by a desire to make people healthier and things better.” Pocekay is an advocate for a full-service hospital for Petaluma. He has served as board chair of Mentor Me, which empowers at-risk youth, and on the Petaluma City Youth Commission.

I know Pocekay from his leadership in the Rapid Response Network created to protect the estimated 29,000 undocumented immigrants in Sonoma County. And I have witnessed his commitment to tenant rights, such as just-cause eviction. He is steadfast.

I admire Pocekay’s academic and career achievements, not only his undergraduate degree in engineering and dedication as a local Kaiser physician and department chief but his continued efforts to educate himself as well as his students in public health sciences and internal medicine at UC Davis.

Pocekay has been endorsed by the Sonoma County Democratic Party and the North Bay Labor Council. He is trustworthy. You will know where he stands. He has a positive outlook and encourages the best in others. Please join me in voting for Dennis Pocekay for Petaluma City Council.



Hurricane deaths

EDITOR: Does Donald Trump think that 2,975 funerals were held for Americans who didn’t die in Puerto Rico? Would that happen just to make Trump look bad?



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