Opinions mixed on public tributes to victims of crashes or crimes

  • 8/21/2006: B1: Maricela Cornejo, left, and Yadira Ruizzi, neighbors of slain 16-year-old Jose Ayala Ramirez, pass by a roadside memorial at the corner of Lance Drive and Guerneville Road on Sunday.

    PC: Maricela Cornejo (cq),left, and Yadira Ruizzi (cq),neighbors of slain 16-year-old Jose Ayala Ramirez pass by a roadside memorial at the corner of Lance and Guerneville Roads Sunday afternoon August 20 in Santa Rosa. Ramirez died early Saturday from a single gunshot wound to the head after being shot about 10:30 pm Thursday while riding with three other teens. (Press Democrat/ Mark Aronoff)

It's no surprise that people have passionate opinions about the roadside memorials that dot Sonoma County.

These remembrances are a public airing of private grief, and invite reflection and comment.

We invited Press Democrat readers to offer their opinions in reaction to a story by Staff Writer Derek J. Moore about roadside memorials that have been carted away recently by an unknown person or persons.

Are they fitting tributes, or eyesores? Are they distracting to drivers, or reminders to be safe on the road?

What, if anything, should be done about them?

More than 100 readers responded in e-mails, or in online forums on pressdemocrat.com.

Here are some of your thoughts:

"I UNDERSTAND that some prefer to have these roadside memorials maintained as a reminder to others. We felt that it would only serve as a point for vandalism and decay and we could not endure that.

"I did not want my son's memory to serve as a painful ongoing reminder of the evils of speeding and alcohol. Perhaps selfish in my feelings, but I couldn't handle it."

-- Benita Jeppson, mother

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