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Placer County priorities upside-down

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So Placer County Sheriffs have a $4 million helicopter that flies 30 percent faster than the free surplus chopper they used to fly. Its glorious mission – rescuing snowmobilers who run out of gas. Why not use a snowmobile with headlights (they have ’em) to take gas to him and escort him home? This $4 million is 80 years of salary at $50,000 per year – 80-plus years of public employees’ salaries. And the monumental Bill Santucci Justice Center, megamillions spent, just in time to lay off about 40 county court workers, features good-looking empty offices and lovely seats to wait two hours for service at the half-staffed windows. And we just broke ground on a new $98 million prison – well, phase 1 anyway – with a nifty subterranean connection to allow direct access to an inmate holding center in the new South Placer Courthouse. We wouldn’t want prisoners to catch a cold or get wet. In the meantime, schools are closing, art and music programs are going away, class trips are gone, school class sizes are ballooning to 35 and more, and California is fourth from the bottom in the U.S.A. for per student spending. Ignore luxuries for criminals and start spending money on our kids and schools! Better education and jobs will mean less need for prisons, so supervisors, get your priorities straight. Richard Dann, Auburn