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<b>Petaluma drive-thrus</b>

EDITOR: It's interesting that Petaluma's powers cannot grant Walgreens a drive- thru pharmacy at Lynch Creek Way and McDowell Boulevard while, less than a mile down the street, Safeway is going to be permitted a gas gusher station ("Walgreens, city at impasse," Jan. 10). Strange, I thought the city banned these drive-thru lanes several years ago.

Check out the Ignacio Safeway store's gusher lines of gas getters, which in turn cause emissions created by idling vehicles. In comparison, I doubt if there would ever be that many Walgreens customers waiting in their cars to fill their prescriptions to improve their health.

Let's welcome Walgreens and the health services they could provide to the people of Petaluma.

MOLLY CREASY

Petaluma

<b>Carlstrom's ambition</b>

EDITOR: It seems odd that a political newcomer, in office on the local level for only one year, would announce a run for state office ("Carlstrom announces bid for Assembly," Wednesday). Why would a Santa Rosa City Council rookie feel entitled to run for state office?

Her answer came back in August when she told a Press Democrat reporter that she was interested in running for the state Senate because the Second District has "a strong legacy of female leadership from the area."

This sexist belief is the popular dogma of today, where most women and men believe that women are the morally superior sex. Feminist scholar Katha Pollitt has criticized this "difference feminist" philosophy popularized by writer Carol Gilligan. Pollitt points out that this is actually "demeaning to women as it asks that women be admitted into public life and public discourse not because they have a right to be there but because they will improve them."

Hence, to move forward hating all things male because we hate "patriarchy" and loving all things female because we love "the goddess" is regressive. Realistic empowerment comes from recognizing that the gender equality that some want -#8212; an androgynous society -#8212; has never existed and never will.

JOE MANTHEY

Petaluma

<b>Combating bigotry</b>

EDITOR: Charles Krauthammer's Saturday column ("Standing up to academic bigotry") caught my eye with mention of classical pianist Evgeny Kissin. I learned that Kissin combats anti-Semitic bigotry by proclaiming his Jewishness, a strength-in-numbers approach similar to that of gay rights advocates who chanted, "We're here, we're queer, get used to it," and a response that Krauthammer endorses.

That's one way to gain public awareness, but it's not the only way to address the problem. For a different approach to combating bigotry, I urge readers to Google another musician, Daniel Barenboim, an Argentine Jew (now Israeli citizen) and world-renowned conductor and pianist. He has worked to transcend entrenched antipathies through the universal language of music.

An early success was his being the first conductor in Israel to include a Richard Wagner composition on a program -#8212; and not without significant Israeli opposition. It was a watershed breakthrough. More recently, he founded the West-Eastern Divan orchestra composed of Israeli, Palestinian and other Arabic musicians.

His premise is humanistic participation in a common passion will bring about realization that any differences (religion, for example) obscure our shared humanness. This approach may take time, but in the long run I believe it will bear the more lasting fruit.

PHILIP EDINGER

Cloverdale

<b>Swinth's departure</b>

EDITOR: Kudos to Santa Rosa City Councilwoman Robin Swinth for her intentional and heartfelt decision to prioritize and ultimately honor the needs of her family, especially her daughters ("Swinth won't seek re-election to SR council," Wednesday). As a parent, balancing work both in and out of the home is, at best, a delicate teeter.

Her valuable contributions to the council will be missed. She works hard, plays fairly and asks important questions. What an important role model for our community.

ANNE VARCO

Santa Rosa