To the Editor:

Re “Dianne Feinstein, Oldest Sitting Senator and a Fixture of California Politics, Dies at 90” (, Sept. 29):

Dianne Feinstein was my senator for 10 years when I was in a seminary in Northern California. I remember her role in the L.G.B.T.Q. rights movement. She was the one who found Supervisor Harvey Milk after he was assassinated, along with Mayor George Moscone, at San Francisco’s City Hall in 1978.

From her role as San Francisco supervisor to U.S. senator, I have followed Ms. Feinstein’s inspirational public service. In Los Angeles in 2006 we lost three youths in three days from gang violence. Ms. Feinstein made a significant financial contribution to one of the victims’ funeral expenses.

From that tragic day in San Francisco to the rough streets of L.A., Ms. Feinstein was always present for the healing work and to offer hope for meaningful change.

I will always be grateful for Senator Feinstein’s decades of public service and her witness to the “better angels of our nature.”

Howard Dotson
Fridley, Minn.

To the Editor:

The news just broke that Dianne Feinstein has died at the age of 90. As a die-hard, lifelong yellow dog Democrat, I am saddened by the news.

I am also astounded by how quickly the perception of Senator Feinstein has changed. Up until Friday morning, all one heard about Ms. Feinstein was the criticism regarding her staying in office while frail and in ill health. And behind her back, Democrats whispered that she should step down.

Now the news of Ms. Feinstein is filled with glowing praise and pictures of a young, vibrant senator making important speeches and decisions. Her achievements shower the airwaves.

Only death, it appears, could stop the criticism.

Leisa Taylor
Bellvue, Colo.

To the Editor:

The death of Senator Dianne Feinstein removes from the country’s leadership a most consequential and successful office holder who should be celebrated for her accomplishments and contributions.

But it also puts Gov. Gavin Newsom in an awkward situation. No matter whom he names to the Senate in her place, he will disappoint powerful people who seek the seat. He will also, in a party almost defined by identity politics, alienate important constituencies that are crucial to the governor’s political leadership and future.

The answer to this dilemma is to name an outstanding Democrat who will agree to fill the seat until January 2025 but not run for election in 2024. Leave it to the people of California to choose who should run in that election to represent them in the indefinite future without the governor putting his thumb on the scale.

Richard H. Kohn
Durham, N.C.
The writer is professor emeritus of history and peace, war and defense at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

To the Editor:

Re “The Only Way College Sports Can Begin to Make Sense Again,” by Jordan Acker (Opinion guest essay, Sept. 23):

Mr. Acker begins his essay with a reflective assessment of the college sports scene, admitting that the “grown-ups in the room” have failed to keep an appropriate focus on the student-athlete in college sports. But his so-called solution of paying the “workers” (the athletes) is way off the mark.

Paying coaches outrageously more than university presidents and squeezing in exams and study time to fit into game schedules — this is making a mockery of the “student” part of “student-athlete.”

I’ve heard the term “farm team” used to describe this practice, and it is sadly appropriate.

As a retired educator, I can see the damage it does to the students involved (proportionately so few college athletes go pro), and it is heartbreaking, with lifelong negative consequences.

Susan Greenberg
Murrysville, Pa.

To the Editor:

Colleges are for getting a real education. So-called student-athletes who are paid or on athletic scholarships are taking a place from academically motivated and qualified would-be students. Here’s the solution to Jordan Acker’s problem/dilemma/conflict: Create football and basketball trade schools.

Richard Rosenthal
New York

To the Editor:

Re “There’s Still Overwhelming Cultural Pressure to Get Married and Have Kids,” by Jessica Grose (newsletter,, Sept. 16):

The impulse to marry, to parent or not — and we should not conflate the two — runs deeper than cultural pressure. I grew up in traditional, patriarchal environments but never felt the desire to marry.

I can imagine reasons to do so, including the intimacy and growth possible in a committed marriage. But I have always wanted autonomy and freedom more — and space to develop my full potential. I cherish being single in a somewhat free society.

Do I wish all women everywhere could be as free in heterosexual marriage, or that I could experience intimate sexual love and partnership on a par with those sharing a bed, a home, a family and a future? I find this difficult to imagine.

For many women, equally valid needs — for love and independence, family and solitude — conflict. Our struggles and desires lead us to choose among incompatible paths. But in a more equitable world, I might envision and desire more.

Jessica Grose seeks common ground among women, irrespective of our choices. But we can also learn from difference.

For instance, I gain skills from managing and problem-solving every aspect of my own life, from health to finance to safety, whereas a married friend gains different lessons. For women to truly connect across our disparate experiences, we need to address the reasons for our choices, and seek more possibilities in each.

For the time being, I cherish the contentment of a life made alone.

Catherine Elizabeth DeLazzero
New York
The writer is an academic researcher and instructor of university writing.

To the Editor:

Re “One Million Tibetan Children, Indoctrinated by China,” by Gyal Lo (Opinion guest essay, Sept. 21):

Regarding the campaign of cultural genocide conducted by China toward young Tibetans, I hope that everyone (including the Chinese government) realizes exactly what is at stake.

As I once heard the Dalai Lama explain at a public teaching, Tibetan Buddhists, over the centuries, have received and maintained the most complete and thorough transmission of the Indian Buddhist tradition, which has mostly died out. Translation into the Tibetan language has played a key role.

So, this campaign by the Chinese government is potentially harmful not only to the Tibetan people, but to our world religious and spiritual heritage as well. These teachings could greatly benefit our very troubled and materialistic world, including China itself, which has deep historical Buddhist roots.

While China seeks recognition as one of the world’s great nations, these shortsighted policies toward Tibet do not strike me as an indication of anything remotely resembling “greatness.”

James Culnan
La Crescenta, Calif.

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