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30 extra minutes
unlikely to help students

Re. “Later class start times may add pep,” Page B1, July 18:

Give me a break. Does any educator really believe that starting school at 8:30 a.m. rather than 8 a.m. will improve student performance? When the student needs to report for work in the future at 8:00 a.m., one wonder if the boss is going to adjust the start time. Are we preparing students for the real world of work?

Having dealt with teenagers as a teacher and a high school principal for more than 40 years I honestly don’t believe that changing start times by 30 minutes will actually change student academic outcomes.

Many teenagers will view this as extra time to play games on their computers for an extra 30 minutes or go to Starbucks for a coffee in the morning before school.

John Sellarole
San Jose

Bloom Energy plant is
hardly green energy

Re. “Bloom Energy launches its new factory in Fremont,” Page B1, July 23:

Unfortunately, Gov. Gavin Newsom understands the product they are implicitly endorsing. It is not green.

The Bloom Energy process as explained on their website produces carbon dioxide. Yes, there is no flame. Moreover, the infrastructure for delivering natural gas or biogas leaks as much as 4% of the gas. The leaking gas effectively doubles the carbon dioxide associated with the process.

Someone in Newsom’s office needs to do their homework. We can’t afford backward investments.

Susan Latshaw

State has double
standard on fire risk

Re. “Wildfire threat becomes tool to fight home builders in California,” July 14:

Thank you for fairly presenting the competing arguments about housing developments in high-fire-risk settings.

Unfortunately, the state has adopted a reckless double standard. The state sues to stop brand-new developments in high-risk areas, yet uses regional housing requirements and bills such as SB 9 to force existing communities in high-risk areas to build new housing. If there is a safe way to add housing in high-fire-risk areas (and that is an open question), it is with brand-new developments which can follow the latest standards in building construction, water supplies, fire station locations and escape routes.

The most dangerous approach is to stuff more housing, people, and vehicles into existing communities that were built according to the fire threats and standards of the 1950s and 1960s.

Neal Mielke
Los Altos Hills

Keep up pressure
to close digital divide

Re. “Free internet for 48 million U.S. households under plan announced by White House,” May 9:

First aid etiquette dictates that pressure to stop bleeding should be applied until the issue is resolved. Why is it then that activists stop applying pressure before the wound has been disinfected? That as soon as a minor piece of legislation is passed that everyone believes the bleeding has stopped?

The digital divide is an example of this phenomenon. An Associated Press article discussed expansions to the ACP, which provides eligible families with $30 discounts on internet bills. After that success, journalists lifted their feet off the accelerator, believing that technological access was finally democratized. As a result, a few months post-pandemic the issue has again become sublime. It is at this time that accelerating rather than decelerating is more crucial than ever.

Putting the digital divide at the forefront of media such as The Mercury News is the only chance of stopping the bleeding once and for all.

Ayush Agarwal
San Jose

Trump’s real crime
was that of treason

I’ve heard numerous thoughts about whether Donald Trump has committed crimes, and if so, which crimes. Some say a dereliction of duty. Others say he incited an armed mob. Others say he failed to carry out his duties under the Constitution.

I say there is one outstanding crime, and that is treason. I don’t want him to pay with his life as some of his victims did, but five to 10 years certainly seems appropriate.

John Schmitz
Morgan Hill

Tighten up requirements
to run for president

After the near collapse of our federal government on Jan. 6 of last year, it is now obvious that we must amend Article II of the U.S. Constitution to require that candidates for president have more qualifications than just being 35 years old and able to feed themselves.

I would suggest that all eligible candidates have won at least two contested elections at the city or county level, or higher.

As for the voters, they will get the leaders they deserve.

Bob Caldwell
San Jose