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Letters to the Editor

Published: Sunday, March 13, 2005 at 8:05 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, March 13, 2005 at 8:05 a.m.

Saving lives

EDITOR: Did letter writer Nancy Wagner really mean that jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge would be a "nice last sight to behold" and that jumping off such a beautiful structure would be something going right in an unhappy soul's favor? These words made me weep

My beautiful, talented, 25-year-old daughter took her own life last year. In the United States, every year there are 30,000 suicides. For each suicide there are at least 10 people who are deeply affected by the death -- parents, sisters and brothers, sons and daughters, spouses and friends. That's 300,000 people every year. Over the past 10 years, three million Americans have become suicide survivors.

Most people who kill themselves use methods that are available. Most Americans kill themselves with guns. In Canada, where guns are less available, most people use poisons or hanging.

Shouldn't we make the Golden Gate Bridge unavailable as a suicide method? To those who would say, "If someone wants to kill him or herself, don't you think that person will just go and do it somewhere else?" Maybe. But what would it be worth to save even one life?

KAREN RAYEUR MAZZO

Healdsburg

Wasting resources

EDITOR: One of the Sonoma County Taxpayers' Association's main goals is to combat the wasting of public resources by government officials. Last week, the Rohnert Park City Council became the latest poster child for a regrettable wasting of taxpayer resources. It's hard to see how replacing a city manager who is doing a good job of managing, at a cost to the taxpayers of $250,000 (plus lifetime health benefits), achieves any good for the city. Carl Leivo was a guest speaker at one of our meetings last year, and his report on accomplishments and efficiencies achieved in his short tenure was impressive. The person who asked, "What program are they going to cut to pay for this" was right.

JACK ATKIN

President, Sonoma County Taxpayers' Association

Santa Rosa

A danger to all

EDITOR: Your Thursday story on Page B3 regarding William Schilling, who wrecked his car in a suspected DUI incident, prompts me to write. You report that Schilling was driving while on probation and with a suspended driver's license after eight DUI convictions. If the report is true, Schilling will drive drunk no matter what he is told to do by the courts. He is a danger to all other drivers and pedestrians. If, indeed, this incident proves to be alcohol-related, he should be incarcerated, not let free to flout the drunk-driving laws yet again. What is amazing is that he hasn't managed to kill himself along the way. It appears to be up to society to put him away, as he will assuredly kill or maim some innocent person unless we do.

KENNETH R. SUSMAN

Fort Bragg

Liberal trend

EDITOR: Is it really wrong for students to protest when instructors teach material that is forbidden by existing educational code? Especially when they feel the instructors, under the guise of "academic freedom," are adding spin that reflects their personal political positions? It seems to be more and more difficult to get what used to be considered a good fundamental education these days when the schools are progressively eliminating what used to be considered important core subjects. This pattern has been well documented in many studies of the country's top 50 universities. Add to this the political and intellectual bias indicated by the fact that instructors reflecting a left-leaning liberal identity outnumber their conservative contemporaries by a ratio of 19 to 1.

Although many students do not realize what is happening, a few are perceptive enough to realize this trend has been under way for many years and have finally reached a point where they are no longer afraid to speak out. Some of this nations so-called great schools such as Harvard, Princeton, Duke and Stanford, to name a few, are now bastions of liberalism, multiculturalism and diversity as the basis of their so-called educational offerings. If this is what parents want, and are willing to pay for, so be it. However, let us not condemn a few students and ask that they be reprimanded for protesting this abysmal shift in the direction of supposed advanced education.

DON APPLEBY

Santa Rosa

Wealthy advantages

EDITOR: Thank you for putting Molly Ivins' remarks about the bankruptcy bill on the March 6 Forum front page. Everyone should be aware of how only the rich will (still) be able to declare bankruptcy while hiding assets, while anyone poor or middle class hit with a medical disaster will not be able to take advantage of that loophole.

Also, I can understand why property owners are tired of the constant propositions to raise taxes for schools, but we have to realize that the federal government needs all our tax money for our defense system. And someone or something has to fill the holes created by all the billionaire and mega-corporation tax cuts. At least we can rest assured the extremely wealthy will not suffer like our children and our communities. For this administration, the real meaning of "family values" is "corporate values." It's all about protecting the wealthiest. I can only hope that not all Republicans feel this way.

PAT WILSON

Santa Rosa

Stark realities

EDITOR: I'd like to "congratulate" our "thrifty" voters who decided against the parcel tax education initiatives. Their shortsighted voting now results in the following stark realities:

The firing of dozens of dedicated teachers, librarians, coaches, counselors and custodians.

Ridiculously crowded classrooms making teachers "warehouse" monitors versus effective educators.

Elimination of many advanced college prep, vocational, sports and music programs.

This "frugal" minority voted against the retention of many of these programs for what amounted to a little more than what many spend per week on a carton of cigarettes, or a drive through one of their favorite fast food restaurants. And please, spare the argument about how us Californians are already so over-taxed. The fact is that we spend a pittance on overall property and local taxes in comparison to those states that lead the nation in quality public education.

California is one of the world's largest economies. Yet, some of our citizens choose to educate our children as if we were a Third World country. We get what we pay for, and by not choosing to properly fund our schools, we are setting our children and our state up for failure to compete globally.

GREG DUMAS

Sebastopol

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