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Thursday's Letters to the Editor

School traffic

EDITOR: Santa Rosa parents experience daily traffic jams at schools when dropping off their children. A principal explains, “Yes, it's madness twice a day, but parents are concerned about safely.”

What if kids walked to school? Exercise — twice a day. Breathing air, instead of idling auto exhaust. Fewer bouts of asthma. Less chance of lung diseases in the future.

“Sounds great,” parents would say, “but our children's safety trumps everything else.”

Solutions? Divide school attendance zones into quadrants and decide on a central meeting place within each quadrant. Adult monitors could teach safe walking practices and supervise the walk to school.

Besides the health benefits, children and parents would be building friendships with their classmates and neighbors.

It sounds like a win-win solution, doesn't it?

MARILYN NELSON

Santa Rosa

Unmatched leader

EDITOR: I taught at Sonoma State University from 1967-97, and I was fortunate enough to know to a degree every president from Ambrose Nichols to Ruben Armiñana. None of them was the equal of David Benson (“Former SSU president Benson dies,” Saturday). He had a clear vision of where Sonoma State could go and how it could get there, but he also might slip out for lunch with faculty friends or critics and discuss matters over with them as they dined.

In a time when Sonoma State seems to have developed an aristocratic administration, it may be difficult to imagine Dave and Betty Benson socializing with faculty and staff. The many times provided pleasant settings where serious issues could be discussed openly. He was an excellent listener who thought before he responded. His office door really was open to all, and he would discuss his decisions openly. He took his job seriously but not his own status.

With Betty, he established a social tone and communication style that moved Sonoma State back on track. We were fortunate indeed for his service. I feel honored to have been his colleague and pal.

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