Letters to the Editor: January 28, 2014

Justice Achieved

I want to say thank you to Leilani Clark for so eloquently and presciently reporting on the issue of restorative justice (“A Better Discipline,” Jan. 22). Her empathy for the students, along with the teachers and administrators, is especially refreshing. Restorative justice is poised to change the way we as a nation discipline our students, and Santa Rosa is squarely at the forefront of implementing it as an alternative to decades of failed punishment. It is a vision for which we can be very proud, but it doesn’t often receive the kind of attention paid in last week’s well-researched cover story.

Thanks again to Leilani Clark and the Bohemian.

Via online

Remembering a Giant

A giant left us this week. Pete Seeger, American folk music lion and vanguard sociopolitical activist, passed away in his sleep at age 94.

Pete started America’s folk music revival of the 1940s, one that continues today. At his concerts, he taught us how to sing out and sing harmony. He made over a hundred albums. Songs he authored include “Where Have All the Flowers Gone,” “Oh Had I a Golden Thread,” “Kisses Sweeter Than Wine,” “The Water Is Wide,” “Waist Deep in the Big Muddy,” “Turn, Turn, Turn” and “If I Had a Hammer.”

He was a master of the five-string banjo and 12-string guitar, and wrote landmark instructional books for both. His playing was confident and driving, but he had a humble, aw-shucks way about his pickin’ that pervaded his persona as well.

Pete added music to the labor union and Civil Rights movements and popularized “We Shall Overcome.” With his wife, Toshi, he started Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, a nonprofit that cleaned up New York State’s polluted Hudson River.

He took it on the chin for his lefty politics. Pete was interrogated by the House Un-American Activities Committee, branded a “red,” blacklisted from TV and ostracized by mainstream media. But he was an outsize personality and he made his voice heard from outside, and in 1994 Pete was awarded the Kennedy Center Honor for lifetime contributions to American culture.

As a teen, Pete had questioned what he was going to do with his life. He figured it out. He changed America with his music activism.


Jenifa, Oh Jeni

I think we are overthinking the fact that this one interview had Jennifer Lawrence and Debra Granik sitting together (“Down By J-Law,” Jan. 22). They were not afraid to have Lawrence sit by herself during the Winter’s Bone press junket, as she did many interviews by herself. It could have easily been that this was her first interview of the press junket and based on how nervous Lawrence gets when having to answer the artsy questions about her work, the team probably felt it be better to have Granik lead the way and give Lawrence an idea as to what she can say in the remaining interviews.

You will see this still takes place today—even though the world loves unfiltered Lawrence, she will allow her director or even one of her other cast members do the majority of the talking when talking about the craft or detailed aspects of the production process.

Via online

Wasted Taxes

There’s plenty of wasted tax money in this area that could easily cover the costs of keeping the library open more (“Long Overdue,” June 19). One example is marijuana arrests. It’s better to spend money on reinforcing positive habits that to suppress negative habits. That technique almost never works—look at the war on drugs. Look at a child who was never allowed to eat candy or sweets. Whenever she could, she binged on those foods, and ended up overweight with an eating disorder. I personally wanted to only eat candy when I was six years old—and my parents let me! I lasted a day. Since that instance, I rarely eat candy.

Spend money on the library and library programs, and our town will use it.

Via online

Write to us at [email protected].

Sonoma County Library