What President Obama Should Remember in His 2nd Term: Messages from Berkeley, San Francisco and Elsewhere in California

Barack Obama is sworn in during the public ceremony as First lady Michelle Obama looks on (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Barack Obama is sworn in during the public ceremony as First lady Michelle Obama looks on (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

What do you want President Obama to remember as he starts his second term?

NPR recently put that question to its listeners and online followers and received dozens of submissions, including many from residents of Berkeley, San Francisco and other cities in California. The messages were in the form of a letter that began “Dear President,” and they covered topics ranging from the environment to the economy to gay marriage.

“I hope you change our current higher education system,” Berkeley resident Zora Moniz wrote. “As a student applying to college and searching for my calling, the amount of money it costs to apply to a university and the debt it can give you is, at the very least, intimidating. I hope for a change that will give me the opportunity to become whoever and whatever I want to be, without monetary restrictions.”

Pat Ravasio from Marin County said that the president should focus on addressing climate change in his second term.

“Using even a small portion of our military budgets to pursue new energy technologies and carbon sequestration technologies, we will be able to ramp up the transition away from fossil fuels more expeditiously than otherwise possible,” Ravasio wrote.

A Richmond woman who gave her name as Virginia, meanwhile, emphasized the importance of immigration reform.

I had to live in fear for years that my husband would be deported. I would have had to drop out of school and leave the country I was born in to be with him. Current immigration laws encourage illegal immigration. Why does it take 12+ years for paperwork to be processed for law abiding immigrants? Why does it cost thousands of dollars to file one piece of paper? Deport criminals, don’t split up good hard-working students and families!

NPR also asked those who submitted to the project to include a photo of themselves holding a sign with a key word or phrase the president should remember. Here are some of the photos submitted by Northern California residents; click on their photos to read their messages. You can see all the messages submitted by Californians through Sunday here and add your own submissions here.

"I think we should focus more on taking care (of) our world." - Nandi Finch, Berkeley.
“I think we should focus more on taking care (of) our world,” Nandi Finch, Berkeley.

"The Little People…children…are the face and heart of America in 20 years. The values and experiences they are absorbing right now will comprise our country’s goals in the future" - Catherine Poloynis, Santa Rosa
“The Little People…children…are the face and heart of America in 20 years. The values and experiences they are absorbing right now will comprise our country’s goals in the future,” Catherine Poloynis, Santa Rosa.

"It seems to be harder and harder to get a job in the U.S." - Eli Berson, Berkeley
“It seems to be harder and harder to get a job in the U.S.” Eli Berson, Berkeley.

"I voted for you because of these kids. And the approximately 2,000 other students I have had the benefit of knowing throughout my career... I voted for you because I need to believe that things will be better for every single one of us because everyone suffers when anyone suffers." - teacher Amanda Levin, San Francisco
“I voted for you because of these kids. And the approximately 2,000 other students I have had the benefit of knowing throughout my career… I voted for you because I need to believe that things will be better for every single one of us because everyone suffers when anyone suffers,” teacher Amanda Levin, San Francisco.

"This country has been built by immigrants from day one. We all know this. So why not have an immigration reform instead of separating families," Isaac Soto, Hayward
“This country has been built by immigrants from day one. We all know this. So why not have an immigration reform instead of separating families,” Isaac Soto, Hayward.

"As a consumer, I need information about the food I eat in order to make intelligent purchases," Ansel, Chico.
“As a consumer, I need information about the food I eat in order to make intelligent purchases,” Ansel, Chico.

"Please become the president I have always hoped you would be," Sydney, San Francisco.
“Please become the president I have always hoped you would be,” Sydney, San Francisco.

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