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Letters to the Editor: April 4, 2012


Housing in Marin County

Rachel Dovey's article on housing in Marin County is excellent ("For Richer or for Poorer," March 28). Her stories were so impactful. Congratulations on a job very well done.

Supervisor, Fifth District

Marin County

I so appreciate the personal perspective on the need for reasonably priced homes in Novato and Marin. Marin has a proud tradition of preserving our open space and resisting sprawl. And now as a caring community, we must also continue to provide well-designed homes for our seniors, working families and persons living with disabilities.


Thanks for a beautifully presented story. You did justice to the need of senior and disabled housing in Marin County. I challenge people to see this need and be an agent for change. Please join Stand Up for Neighborly Novato or other groups that represent affordable housing.


Flip This School

On March 15, the Santa Rosa Board of Education voted 4–2 to close Doyle Park Elementary and give the site over to a new French-American Charter School, which plans to offer a French immersion program for K–6. The vote will in effect displace the current Doyle Park students, who are mostly Latino and poor, with a whiter, more affluent student body drawn mainly from other school districts.

The board majority claims its action saves money and even increases revenue to the district. But its own analysis shows it will do neither.

The French charter begins in the hole with an immediate expenditure of $52,461 for a half-year's salary for a new principal. With a projected enrollment of 260 students, the charter school loses $84,431 in its first year. But the estimate of 260 enrolled students is based on an astounding assumption that 91 percent of all parents expressing interest in the school will actually send their children there. If actual enrollment slips by only eight students, the French school loses more money than Doyle Park would have lost had it remained open.

But don't worry; the board assumes that the French school will turn a profit in just one year! How? The enrollment will simply increase by 20 percent in the second year.

The board's analysis is an exercise in wishful thinking. At heart, it is a speculative bet. During the real estate bubble, people used to flip houses. Now the board is playing "Flip This School" with tragic harm to the Doyle students and future damage to the taxpayer. It is bad enough that the board is gambling with money it doesn't have—what's unforgivable is that this is at the expense of Doyle students who will never benefit, even if the long shot comes in.

Could Doyle have been saved? Had it remained open, it would need an additional 25 students to close the financial gap. One way to get there could have been a Spanish language immersion program.

But some board members were too busy playing "Flip This School" to allow that to happen.

Santa Rosa

Bari's Bombing

In reading Leilani Clark's commentary on the new Judi Bari film ("A Tangled Web," March 21), I was both stunned and disappointed to see movement "chatter" being elevated to the level of news. As a member of the "aging activist community" (a category which the writer does not seem to hold in very high esteem) who was not in the area during the events in question, it is clear to me that the bombing of Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney—regardless of the personal motivations of key players associated with the event—is yet another near deadly assault on movement leaders which remains unsolved.

Although I usually find Leilani Clark (may she never grow old) to be an insightful and relevant public affairs reporter, in this case I suggest that her efforts might better be directed toward reporting on the effort to uncover the true perpetrator(s), rather than weaving a speculative web of gossip, conjecture and a sarcastic comment made by one of Judi's disaffected friends.


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