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<b>Selling out the poor</b>

EDITOR: What is it with these so-called progressives? Rep. Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, my representative in Congress, voted for the farm bill. So did Reps. Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer and Debbie Wasserman, all so-called progressives. The farm bill will cut $8.7 billion from the food stamp program, which had already been cut with the agreement of Democrats last year to the tune of $5 billion. It also subsidizes billionaire corporate farmers with billions of taxpayer dollars. This sickens me.

Our government, led by Barack Obama, has bailed out banks and financial institutions, health insurance companies, agribusiness, pharmaceutical companies and defense contractors, but it put the screws to the poor and working poor by failing and refusing to help distressed homeowners, the unemployed and those who need governmental assistance to survive. The true victims of our economic distress continue to be victimized by our bought-and-paid-for politicians, Huffman included, sorry to say.

But Republicans are worse, you say? At least it's obvious what they are all about -#8212; lowering taxes on the wealthy and gutting regulations (and endless war). Democrats talk a good game but still side with corporate America against the interests of the poor and middle class. Disgusting.

STEVE FARNELL

Sebastopol

<b>Water rules</b>

EDITOR: I am writing regarding limits being imposed in our area due to water shortages. Requiring everyone to reduce their water usage a certain percentage compared to last year ignores the fact that many people already minimize their water use.

It will be much harder for households such as ours to reduce our water use by 25 percent, for example, because we are already doing all the "right things" -#8212; turning off the water while showering and taking short showers, getting rid of the lawn, installing low-flow toilets, using a high efficiency front-loader washing machine, only running the dishwasher when it's full, not hosing down the sidewalks, etc.

Someone who wastes a lot of water now might only have to change one or two habits or fix a few leaky faucets to meet these new requirements. If penalties are imposed at some point for failure to reduce, I hope that the amount of water a household was using before the current crisis will be taken into account.

BARBARA SNYDER

Sebastopol

<b>Seeking excuses</b>

EDITOR: I'm certain that the politicians who abhor the Affordable Care Act love that columnist George F. Will has joined the voices of opposition ("Is this Obamacare's four-word Waterloo?" Friday). But as with the majority of those who dislike the law, Will's opposition is spiced with legal niceties that defend those who hate it.

Instead of dealing with the need for quality and fairly priced health care, Will seeks excuses for destroying it -#8212; ignoring the good it does and has the potential for doing. None on the right who are against the Affordable Care Act have offered solutions for our health care system -#8212; the costliest among developed nation. They only rant on about how bad the Affordable Care Act is. Lost in this opposition is concern for folks who desperately need reasonably priced health insurance.

As is the case with most right-wing ideology, the needs of the people are ignored. Will's rhetoric proves that he is far more concerned with legal gotchas than with care for the nations' health. He mentions the Internal Revenue Service's "breezy indifference to legality." Where was his concern for the previous administration's indifference to legality when it waged an illegal and disastrous war?

RICHARD SANSOM

Sebastopol

<b>Focus on rain</b>

EDITOR: I hope everyone read Gaye Lebaron's Jan. 26 column ("Those who think this is the first drought have short memories") reminding us that this is not the first time in Sonoma County's history we have experienced this kind of shortage of rain. And it won't be the last.

Yes, it is important for us to conserve our usage. But do it out of respect for our current situation, not fear. And expect a wet spring. The Native Americans had it right -#8212; the rain dance was a focus on what was wanted. Conserve out of respect, and focus on a long wet spring.

KAYTE RYANN

Santa Rosa