<b>Vineyard dispute</b>

EDITOR: Paul Hobbs ("Vineyard conversion cleanup begins," Monday) was quoted as saying, "Some people who oppose this, there's nothing that we can do to make them happy." I'm sure that he can find someone he cannot please, but I'm certain that many folks would be pleased if he kept his word and didn't break the few laws that are protecting the environment near his land. The majority of parents and neighbors who I have spoken with would be happy if he used organic farming practices. It appears that it's not that there is nothing he can do to make people happy. It's that he'd rather pay small fines than make the larger financial investment in organic farming.



<b>Immigration holds</b>

EDITOR: I want to thank Sheriff Steve Freitas for taking a firm stand on the issue of cooperating with the federal Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agency ("Protest targets jail inmate deportation," June 28). He knows that despite the picture the anti-ICE lobby is trying to paint, the reality is that all those arrested and turned over to ICE were suspected of a crime and not cited to appear.

He also knows that the court system, in effort to be expedient, will wheel and deal to get cases closed. That means a person arrested for a felony may only be charged with a misdemeanor. So once it's known that someone has an ICE hold, misdemeanor charges might be pleaded down even further, or outright dismissed, all "in the interest of justice."

The anti-ICE lobby points to several other counties that don't cooperate with ICE. Just because some other counties are willing to interpret the law in their own way doesn't necessarily make them right.

My advice to anyone in the country illegally is this: Don't violate our laws, and you won't have a problem.


Santa Rosa

<b>Minimum wage</b>

EDITOR: While the big bankers and speculators who wrecked our economy are getting ever richer, many of our neighbors are falling further behind. Fifty percent of Mendocino County residents meet the low-income eligibility criteria for food stamps. Nationwide, 30 million minimum-wage workers now make one-third less today than they did 45 years ago. Had the federal minimum wage kept pace with inflation since 1968, it would be $10.56 instead of $7.25 per hour.

While critics say that raising the minimum wage would increase unemployment, harm small businesses and that most minimum-wage workers are just part-time teenagers, studies show that previous increases to the minimum wage did not increase unemployment, two-thirds of minimum wage workers are employed by large, profitable corporations, and more than 75 percent of minimum wage workers are at least 20 years old.

A report from the Economic Policy Institute shows that raising the minimum wage to $10.50 could add $60 billion in consumer spending to the economy. Numerous polls show that 70 percent of Americans support increasing the minimum.

Please contact and urge our representatives — Rep. Jared Huffman and Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer — to co-sponsor or at least support the Catching Up to 1968 Act of 2013.



<b>Critical thinking</b>

EDITOR: Rick Groff ("Santayana's warning," Letters, Wednesday) described himself as a "thinking man" and "critical thinker." He seems to believe that anyone whose conclusion differs from his own is incapable of critical thought. We all know that two people can look at the same set of facts and come to different conclusions.

He implies that anyone who disagrees with his opinion of the George Zimmerman trial is incapable of critical thinking. I believe that if Zimmerman had stayed in his car as the police instructed him to, Trayvon Martin would be alive today. Who is to say that Martin was not standing his ground because he was being stalked? The jury's decision was based on Florida law and may well have been different elsewhere.

Santa Rosa police say that Supervisor Efren Carrillo was found in his underwear, in the early morning hours. Why should we doubt that?