EDITOR: Some citizens argue that the most logical, fair, and obvious decision would be to appoint Don Taylor to the Santa Rosa City Council vacancy. However, as your editorial pointed out, in the seven instances of mid-term vacancies since 1954, the council has never appointed the runner-up ("The good and bad of filling SR vacancy," Jan. 10).
Furthermore, only 17 votes separated Don Taylor and Caroline Ba?elos — and Ba?elos is the candidate whose positions are more similar to those of departing Susan Gorin. (But I suppose if Ba?elos had been 17 votes ahead of Taylor instead of the other way around, as a Ba?elos supporter I would be tempted to put forth that "no-brainer" argument myself.)
I understand that Taylor's supporters want him to get into office, but we've had the choice of Taylor for City Council before and have always selected other representatives. Why would the council automatically appoint someone who had been defeated by the voters four times?
EDITOR: I was stunned by the excellent article on Sonoma State University's ethics program ("Sonoma State launches ethics center," Jan. 17). I have a doctorate in ethics, and I felt ashamed that a colleague would grossly misrepresent the purpose of ethical study. The implications of sacrificing academic freedom in the name of ethics are mindboggling.
What if a corporation based in the South had provided a grant to a university's history department but forbade teaching the history of slavery in America? Would the grant make the surrender of academic freedom acceptable?
Sadly, we are witnessing the privatization of reason. Once reason is sold to the highest bidder, it ceases to be reason and becomes propaganda. Once morality is sold to the highest bidder, it ceases to be morality and becomes tyranny.
I had always assumed that a university existed to free, not enslave, minds. In this case, I was wrong. Undoubtedly, the popular motto on the walls of many universities throughout the world, veritas vos liberabit (the truth shall set you free), will never adorn the walls of SSU.
Breaking the circle
EDITOR: It was heartening to read that new director of California's prison system, Jeffrey Beard, supports more programs to combat recidivism. Some people must be kept separate from society; most will be released, however, so it benefits everyone when prisoners have access to effective rehabilitative services. Some people believe that this restorative work is soft on crime, but I see it as life-changing for all involved.
Having served and facilitated restorative justice circles in juvenile, young adult and school systems, I've seen victims arrive angry but leave with a sense of understanding and, sometimes, forgiveness. Offenders with chips on their shoulders have become committed to making amends to victims and the community. Police officers appreciated their valued role as peace officers.
Our human nature is to bump up against one another. It is important that we come together as a community to make sense of actions against each other and work to correct them as much as possible. This allows us all to learn, grow, and see good in our shared humanity.
How timely that the Sonoma County Season for Nonviolence will be promoting programs that prevent and reduce violence. This will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday at Santa Rosa's Veterans Building.