Wednesday’s Letters to the Editor
Aug 31, 2016

Gelhaus and Lopez

EDITOR: Chris Chebahtah and Robert Parry’s Close to Home column (“The promotion of Erick Gelhaus must stand,” Saturday) doesn’t hold water, especially for those of us who live where Andy Lopez was killed. The actions of that day were beyond over-reaction. I counted sheriff’s cars whizzing past my house at record speed. I lost count at 32 from only one direction. The boy was already dead. You would think World War III had started.

While Sgt. Erick Gelhaus’ service to our country is beyond admirable, that doesn’t mean he should be monitoring our streets, let alone given a promotion. My father and brother served in World War II and Vietnam respectively. I honor all men and women who serve in military abroad and police forces at home.

There are two main concerns with what happened to Andy Lopez. One is that if the same scenario happened in a more affluent white neighborhood, the boy would be alive today. That is a hard fact that happens all over this country every day. The other is that just maybe not all servicemen or women transfer over well to local police departments in small suburban towns.

Andy didn’t even know what hit him. That is the cold hard truth.


Santa Rosa

Sack this story

EDITOR: Why would your article about Colin Kaepernick deserve a column on the front page (“Why SF’s QB took stand on anthem,” Sunday)? It belonged on the sports page below or next to the article of the 49ers loss to the Packers.

If Kaepernick doesn’t want to stand up to show pride in the flag, why doesn’t he stay in the dugout until after the flag ceremony?

It’s not only the flag that he dishonors. He also dishonors the men and women who died for the flag — as my father did — and those who are still on the battlefield so his freedom of expression can be protected.

Two thumbs up to Aubrey Huff for his comments. Shame on the 49ers organization for supporting his behavior. I refuse to spend a penny to attend any 49er game nor cheer for the team from now on.

Is Kaepernick saying that the other NFL players who stand up when the national anthem is played are selfish, unlike him? It’s one good way to get attention since his performance on the field does not warrant any.



Bird cannons

EDITOR: Grape growers using bird cannons. How sustainable is that for your community goodwill policy (“Vintners’ good neighbor plan,” Aug. 24)? The noise pollution is rude. Join the rest of us, and put up bird netting. You may have a right to pollute or farm, or whatever. Act in a manner considerate of others.



The teacher shortage

EDITOR: The new school year marks a good time to update the public on local efforts to address the teacher shortage.

In early 2016, the Sonoma County Office of Education opened the North Coast School of Education. By the time it’s fully implemented in 2018, this school — located at the county office of education — will offer the following fully accredited programs: teacher intern programs that provide teaching candidates an alternative path to the classroom; teacher induction programs to support and coach first-time teachers; an administrative credential program; and designated subject programs, including career technical education, adult education and special subjects credentials.

Many of these are already under way, approved by the Commission on Teacher Credentialing.

We are particularly excited to offer the “Be a Teacher” intern program. It enrolled its first teacher candidates in the field of special education in early 2016. Nearly all of them — about 25 — are working as paid teacher interns in classrooms all around Sonoma County. Once approved, additional cohorts will begin this year. Community First Credit Union has helped by offering a special, low-interest loan to teacher interns.

I’m proud of our efforts to create a modern teacher workforce in Sonoma County.


Sonoma County superintendent of schools

Too much attention

EDITOR: A recent letter complained that the Republican candidate for president isn’t getting good attention from the media. On the contrary, the media have managed to give far more, and free, attention by just repeating verbatim what he says. About as fair as one could be, and with so much free coverage, he has not had to purchase ads until recently.

I think the media, in fact, were taking a lazy path, repeating any outlandish off-the-cuff statement that he makes. I think it’s time to not give so much free attention to this man. Just the utterance of his name in conversation gives him more unhealthy attention, enabling his narcissistic tendencies.

Recently someone gave me a sheet with a pledge I am going to keep: I pledge not to write, say or transmit in any way the name of the Republican candidate for president. Refer to the Republican candidate as “the RC” or “RC” wherever reference is necessary. Take the pledge and follow it. You will be making the world a better place.