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Tuesday's Letters to the Editor


Fluoride numbers

EDITOR: Fluoride is most important for cavity prevention during ages six months to 16 years. However, the Sonoma County Water Agency's proposal doesn't cover all children. In 2012, Sonoma County's population was 491,829, and the Water Agency served 350,000 consumers in six cities and the Valley of the Moon. Subtracting 27,600 for three cities not served by the agency leaves 115,000 supplied by private water wells. Some 21.4 percent of the county's population is under 18 years, so 25,000 children wouldn't receive fluoridated water.

For those on Water Agency water, fluoridation has been estimated to reduce cavities in children by between 18 percent and 40 percent (Wikipedia) — relatively low effectiveness. For example, if a child were to get five cavities with non-fluoridated water, the same child would still get three or four cavities with fluoridated water.

In fiscal year 2011-12, the Water Agency delivered 11.2 billion gallons of water to its 350,000 consumers, of whom 80,000 were children. If these children drank six-eight glasses per day, they would have consumed 0.13 percent of the total water, resulting in 99.8 percent of fluoridated water not being used for its intended purpose.

Fluoridation costs are projected in the millions of dollars. There has to be a different approach.

JEFF LEWIN

Santa Rosa

Special treatment?

EDITOR: One can't help but wonder what the charges would have been and how fast the trial would have happened if Sonoma County Supervisor Efren Carrillo were a Republican.

DENNIS MARVIN

Santa Rosa

Taking responsibility

EDITOR: Sonoma County Deputy Erick Gelhaus followed procedure in the Andy Lopez case. I have no problems with the procedures. The problem was Gelhaus' implementation of them.

Deadly force is used after a rational evaluation of the situation. Gelhaus didn't do that. The subject was walking calmly down the street, and others near him weren't alarmed or fearful. There were no reports of shots fired or any disturbance, the deputies heard no shots, there were no bodies or blood, and the subject didn't have the weapon shouldered and was not aiming it. It wasn't rational to believe the subject was a deadly danger.

What happened next was poor communication by Gelhaus and irrational fear of anyone with a gun. Gelhaus made a tragic mistake. To call it reasonable is an insult to the many officers who correctly judge situations and control their reactions to their fear. Gelhaus needs to stop hiding behind fear and take responsibility for this horrible situation. He needs to go to jail.

PHILLIP TEXTOR

Dayton, Ohio

Flu shots

EDITOR: As flu season manifests itself annually, consistently vicious, why do many abstain from the readily available flu shot?

My brother is a Type 1 diabetic, and I have seen how brutal the flu can be for someone with a compromised immune system. I recall my parents keeping him home during flu season in a desperate attempt to protect him. Illness runs rampant today, and high-risk people such as my brother receive my highest level of sympathy.

It seems one thing is more contagious than the flu: stubbornness. This epidemic of hardheadedness runs rampant. People around Sonoma County simply aren't getting flu shots. Why? Understandably, some abstain for religious reasons. And in tough times, some can't afford the shot. However, these reasons alone can't account for the whopping 40 percent exemption rate for vaccinations in some school districts.

People seem to be more closed-minded than anything.

Vaccinations clearly work. They have fought fatal diseases such as polio and worse. Avoiding a flu shot seems borderline arrogant. Let's hope that those hardheaded members of society lower their guard a bit — enough to administer a small, life-saving prick on their arm.

EMILY FEHRMAN

Santa Rosa