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Sunday’s Letters to the Editor

Future needs

EDITOR: The editorial on the November sales tax measure addresses an issue that needs the thoughtful attention of our citizens (“Any tax will be a tough sell in November,” May 14). I see two questions before us: Can we pass it? And should we pass it? The first is obviously problematic, and the second gives us the answer. The reason I will vote for the measure is because transportation and roads won't disappear as basic needs in the future. They will not only remain, but worsen if funding is denied.

Right now we see only daunting losses. Any thought of paying more taxes seems out of sight. Regardless, the future will be waiting when we come out of our sheltering, but with changing realities. We cannot measure what may be ahead by what we see at hand.

The pandemic has already started some potentially significant changes in lifestyles, economic policies and our politics. I believe that our nation will arise from where we are now, chastened and wiser, reinvigorated to build on what has collapsed and with new sources of power that are already appearing. The struggles will be great, but as history has taught us, changes never come without them.

GILBERT H. VIEIRA

Petaluma

Mean-spirited column

EDITOR: I attended a California State University campus back when my quarterly fee was $69. Now, I'm an English professor at Sonoma State, where the tuition is now many times that. Thus, I share Jonah Goldberg's dismay at the cost of higher education and some wonder over whether the cost is worth it (“Virus could shake foundations of higher education,” May 16).

Unfortunately, Goldberg falls into two painfully common traps: equating “higher ed” with “Ivy League” and erasing the value added by a good college education. It suits a cynical age to reduce higher ed to the “sheepskin effect,” the value of the diploma alone. But everywhere, each year, from thousands of diverse campuses, millions of young people - not to mention many returning students - emerge from college as competent nurses, computer techs, biologists, marketers, psychologists, teachers, not to mention critical thinkers, competent writers and thoughtful readers.

On May 16, if all were as normal, I would have gone to campus to congratulate another commencing class. I'm sorry that The Press Democrat couldn't find a better way to celebrate the very real heroism and achievement that is completing a college education than to print Goldberg's mean-spirited column. Thankfully, the students know their own achievement - who they have become, how far they have traveled and what new possibilities await. I congratulate them heartily.

SCOTT L. MILLER

Graton

Watching the curve

EDITOR: So we are reopening. I have followed the daily stats in The Press Democrat and see that our active cases doubled between April 3 (78 cases) and May 16 (158 cases). As of Thursday, there were 225. And that is with our shelter-in-place regime. If our doubling time is 6½ weeks, we are going to see more than 1,000 active cases within four months. Can we handle it? How many active cases with associated hospitalizations can our medical system bear? Wear your mask.

BILL AMBORN

Santa Rosa

Tilting the courts

EDITOR: George F. Will's rosy picture of the Federalist Society and its influence makes this group seem like a nice, cheerful group of law school frat boys and their professors (“Excluding conservatives from the legal debate,” May 17).

Their members network and develop conservative ideas “rather than directly influencing the actions of government itself.” Oh, except insofar as creating and ensuring the implementation of lists of their “chosen” for the uber-right to nominate for every open judicial seat in the land, kept open when the Republicans refused to let the duly elected Obama administration's judicial appointments proceed.

The damage of the appointment of hundreds of judges at all levels who espouse views far to the right of the average American's will resonate in this nation for decades, as the members of the Federalist Society are well aware. Popular, long-standing norms such as women's access to safe abor-tion, health care and fair voting rights may be about to fall to the ax of these ideologues.

“Excluding conservatives from the legal debate,” Will says? Spare me your crocodile tears, and get back to excoriating the dangerous lawlessness of Donald Trump and William Barr. These are dangerous times. Vote for Joe Biden to re-set the ship of state.

CHRISTINE BOYD

Redwood Valley

Stereotyping runners

EDITOR: I take exception to the stereotyping of runners and cyclists in Kerry Benefield's otherwise informative and well-written article (“Protocols for outdoors,” May 16). Characterizing runners and cyclists as rude, gross, expectorating spreaders of COVID-19 in the first several paragraphs is false and misleading.

For those readers who continue the article, it is later revealed that these same runners and cyclists pose little threat to other slower-moving trail users, especially when all are careful and courteous.

All trail users, including walkers, need to be better at following good old-fashioned trail etiquette as well as the new social distancing and masking guidelines.

Over the past several weeks, I have seen as many courteous and careful runners, cyclists and walkers as otherwise.

Please do not turn this into another us-and-them situation. Focus on what we all need to do so that we can continue to enjoy our parks and trails and leave the stereotypes behind.

DALE M. PETERSON

Santa Rosa

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