Rethinking the court
EDITOR: A lot of talk is floating around about increasing the size of the U.S. Supreme Court, and I have given the subject about 30 seconds. I have concluded that it would be far better to reduce the size of the court to seven than to increase the size from nine. This would make Republicans happy as it would reduce the size of one branch of government, and we know how much they like to reduce government. The Supreme Court would need 22% fewer justices, clerks, office space and robes to dry clean. Think of the cost savings. The Democrats would be happy as their two worst nightmares would go if they followed the old rule — last in, first out.
You see, everybody wins.
ALLAN G. TILTON
Assisting the homeless
EDITOR: I’m writing to demand better care for the homeless population of Sonoma County. It seems since the pandemic hit, the homeless population has been pushed to the side instead of prioritized.
For the homeless community, sheltering in place isn’t a possibility, making them most vulnerable to contracting the virus. Social distancing is unrealistic for some, sanitary measures are difficult to maintain, and free services that folks have relied on are closed or severely limited in capacity.
There has much backlash to the Project Homekey initiative, whcih would allow vulnerable, homeless individuals to safely shelter in place at the Sebastopol Inn while also offering them supportive services to stay healthy and stable. We need to support individuals experiencing homelessness and approach this Sebastopol Inn initiative with compassion and realistic expectations.
Housing the most vulnerable of individuals and struggling families during a pandemic is the right thing to do. I have grown up in Sebastopol and seen the emphasis our town consistently puts on compassion, community and sustainability. I can only hope these same principles of thought will be applied when considering moving individuals into permanent supportive housing in the Sebastopol Inn.
Saying no to tax hikes
EDITOR: It is good to see that, after some 42 years, Howard Jarvis, who never met a tax increase he didn’t abhor, is alive and well ensconced on the editorial board of The Press Democrat, which recommended and encouraged defeat of nine Sonoma County tax and related measures.
Census and Constitution
EDITOR: Why count everyone, citizens and noncitizens (“Census and Congress,” Letters, Wednesday)? Because the 14th Amendment says so: “Section 2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed.” It doesn’t say the whole number of citizens; it says the whole number of persons.
Kids are still learning
EDITOR: I read with interest your Oct. 30 article about grant money being used in Santa Rosa to address school anxiety (“$500,000 to address anxiety at school”). This makes sense since learning and teaching are an interactive, three-dimensional experience, and Zoom screens offer two dimensions at best.
However, I believe the exuberance and enthusiasm that is inherent in children’s souls can be trusted. It is their natural condition and one that I believe will persevere through these confusing and frightening times. Teachers and parents need not fear. The children may not be learning what the curriculum dictates, but they are still observing, thinking, feeling, discerning and exploring. They’re hard-wired for this.
Perhaps adults can give children their undivided attention without an agenda — listening, encouraging and, most of all, celebrating the curiosity that is intrinsic to every child’s nature. Especially with teens, adults can allow periods of silence so teens can question and, in that questioning, find their answers.
This might be uncomfortable, but it gets easier each time. What it requires is for adults to put down their screens and their expectations, take a deep breath and say to the child in front of them, “I’m here, you have my undivided attention for the next 15 minutes.”
EDITOR: Monday’s article on the coronavirus seemed to say that only two members of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors support enforcement of mask rules and the $100 penalty for not wearing one in public (“County leaders urge new approach”). Why did they pass such a law if there was no intention of enforcing it?
I am at high risk, being 86 and a kidney transplant patient taking immunosuppressive drugs. Seniors generally are at higher risk. Community pressure to get masks on faces isn’t working. Many stores are. When I walked into Big John’s Market in Healdsburg, having forgotten to put on my mask, I wasn’t there more than a minute before Big John himself stopped me and presented me with one.
My wife and I went to a regional park recently. A ranger was there writing down license plate numbers of cars without a pass but said nothing to visitors passing by without a mask. Cyclists in parks don’t seem to think the law applies to them, although exertion causes them to expel more droplets.
Clarify the law and enforce it.
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