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Ravitch's plea

EDITOR: Jill Ravitch's Close to Home column defending the Andy Lopez investigative process ("A need for accountability, process and patience in Andy Lopez case," Feb. 15) quietly points to an elephant in the corner. She said, "The sole responsibility is to determine criminal liability — not to evaluate the Sheriff's Office protocol or training procedures."

What are we all so anxious about? The Sonoma County prosecutor has never charged a sheriff's deputy with criminal liability for the death of a citizen and probably never will. That is the elephant in the corner.

Where is the forum for holding the Sheriff's Office accountable for its protocols and training programs? Clearly it won't be our District Attorney's Office. RIP, Andy Lopez.

KURT LANGDON

Sebastopol

Raptors and pets

EDITOR: It's nesting time for red-tailed hawks. Because of drought conditions and a lack of their natural prey, they are moving into our cities and towns looking for their next meal. This change in hunting patterns can put our pets in harm's way; especially small dogs and cats.

I live on the west side of Petaluma, and I am experiencing this hawk intrusion. During a month's time, I have seen up to four red-tailed hawks hunting in our neighborhood. I am very aware of their presence when I take my fox terrier out in the backyard. One hawk dived down over us.

I contacted animal control and the state Department of Fish and Wildlife. They said there is nothing they can do because of state laws against trapping, harassing or killing these raptors. So please be aware when you let your pets out by themselves as these raptors are on the hunt.

LOREN BROWN

Petaluma

Climate choice

EDITOR: Overcoming the gag reflex, I've managed to get through another column by Charles Krauthammer ("The myth of settled climate science," Saturday). Drawing from his usual quiver of innuendo, half-truths and outright lies, he managed to show both his ignorance of science and his devotion to ideology over reason.

Science has transformed society. We have satellites in space, medical miracles and abundant food that come from the expertise of scientists. However, scientists become bad guys when scientific knowledge conflicts with unreasoning ideology or greed. Hence, we deal with those refusing vaccination, fights against evolutionary biology and attacks on climate science.

Climate science threatens an ideology of limitless growth on a finite planet and the profits of some wealthy individuals, so the big guns come out. Using the Heartland Institute, which fought the science behind the hazards of tobacco use, an ideological minority with little scientific credibility has invested millions of dollars to discredit honest scientists. Krauthammer, ideologically driven, follows its talking points.

Who should you trust to define the issue of climate science, expensive PR from the coal and oil industries which combine ideology with greed, or the trained and experienced scientists who have brought us the miracles of the modern world?

That is the choice.

JIM HOUSMAN

Sebastopol

Caregiving business

EDITOR: I found the article "Age of Opportunity" in Sunday's business section very interesting. As a caregiver to the elderly for many years, I agree that this is a growing business — the operative word being business. If you are the owner of an agency, it seems there is good money to be made. My experience as a home caregiver has been that I have not had a raise in pay in close to 10 years, I never accrue more than five vacation days a year, benefits are nominal, and yet I try to give the best care I can.