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Fentanyl an added
burden for teachers

After reading the article “Fentanyl on campus” (Page A1, Dec. 18), I was left with a couple of reactions.

The first, a big thank you to the Bay Area News Group for the very informative special report on school district and teacher readiness to combat the “deadly opioid scourge.” My children are out of school, but if I was a parent with school-age children, I would find this report most helpful.

The second is my respect and admiration for our teachers. In today’s environment, it’s not enough that they are challenged with educating our children (through a pandemic no less) but now they must be trained in fighting this deadly drug problem on top of being trained in active shooter protocols in order to help prevent any children from being shot.

Frankly, given the above, teachers are vastly underpaid for what we are asking of them.

Gregory Carlsted
San Jose

Green energy spending
should go to fusion

Very informative Mercury News articles “Scientists advance fusion energy” (Page A1, Dec.13) and “Scientific history made in Livermore” (Page A1, Dec.14) describe a promising advance in the development of a clean, safe source of energy that California legislators don’t count as “renewable.”

It doesn’t mean that we are about to see a panacea of nuclear energy production as an instant cure for global warming. Population growth will continue to produce the burning of coal, wood and dung in Africa. It does mean that fusion research has become more promising than solar and wind storage technology and land compression, necessary to make renewable energy viable.

California’s anti-nuclear renewable portfolio goals are misguided. Much of the money wasted on unsustainable solar, ethanol and EV production should be diverted to nuclear research.

Fred Gutmann

Don’t hold your breath
on power from fusion

Congratulations to Livermore Labs on their breakthrough controlled fusion experiment with the promise of cheap, clean, fusion-generated electric power.

I heard a similar story in 1956 while working on a large controlled fusion project at Oak Ridge National Labs code-named Project Sherwood. I was a young electrical engineering student helping design a high-voltage beam accelerator used to potentially create a controlled fusion reaction. With the accelerator were numerous electric power generators (previously used on the Manhattan Project to build the first atomic bombs) creating a strong magnetic field to hold the plasma inside a large vacuum chamber. The scientist in charge of the project told me it would be 25 years before the technology could be used to produce electric power for the grid.

With enough research, a fusion reactor hopefully will produce electric power but don’t hold your breath.

Jim Schultz
San Jose

Palo Alto should be
glad to have Stanford

Re. “Stanford should pay for Palo Alto services,” Page A6, Dec. 13:

As a former Stanford employee who managed its tax exemption filings for almost 20 years, I wish to set the record straight.

Stanford only has tax exemptions on parcels used for academic purposes. Residential properties not used by students are not exempt from taxes. There are numerous parcels on which full taxes are paid. Oh, and by the way, Palo Alto is given use of prime Stanford land for $1 a year.

One should be grateful to have Stanford as a neighbor who pays more than their fair share.

Glenis Koehne

Council abdicates
democracy, meetings

I attended the special Monday meeting held a couple of weeks ago to determine if two new San Jose councilmembers should be appointed by the existing council or be voted in by members of Districts 8 and 10. Although the majority of speakers from all areas of San Jose encouraged a special election, the existing council decided to appoint, showing this council does not listen to constituents but rather places themselves in a we-know-best position.

More disturbing than the vote, I find the lack of council members who do not bother to show up to meetings even more disturbing than the vote. Giving them the benefit of the doubt, I returned Tuesday night for the regularly scheduled meeting. To my astonishment, six members did not show up.

They actively campaigned for their office and are paid a salary. Either resign, pay personal fines or come back to meetings.

Maureen Lennon
San Jose

Dealing with substance
abuse will help homeless

Dan Walters’ column on the real cause of homelessness (“The real cause of homelessness crisis,” Page A13, Dec. 18) makes excellent points, but ultimately ignores a major component of California’s massive problem.


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