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<b>Fair pay</b>

EDITOR: How disappointing to read the article in Sunday's paper in which Sonoma County Fair manager Tawny Tesconi said the fair qualifies for an exemption to overtime requirements, and "every dollar counts" ("Exemption allows fair to not pay overtime").

I'm so tired of people using loopholes to get around doing what is right. So the fair qualifies as an "amusement establishment." Funny, I don't recall seeing halls filled with children's paintings and sculptures, amateur photographer's photos, handmade quilts and home-canned food items at Six Flags or Great America.

The temporary workers who fill the necessary positions of janitors and maintenance workers, ticket sellers and takers, parking lot attendants and others work long, hard hours at the fair — for pay starting at $8 an hour.

Based on an eight-hour day, that would be $64 per day. Denying them overtime pay for additional hours just doesn't seem right. I wonder if Tesconi was paid overtime when she worked at the fair as a teenager.

GAIL AZEVEDO

Santa Rosa

<b>Tasteless cartoon</b>

EDITOR: The Press Democrat ran a very tasteless editorial cartoon on Saturday after the tragic train wreck in Spain a few days earlier. If anyone missed the cartoon, it showed a train with Obamacare written on the side about to have a wreck, as stated by a GOP elephant, which was jubilantly carrying part of the track away. The train even resembled the one in Spain.

You could have at least pulled the cartoon out of respect for the victims and their families.

ENID BRAMY

Cloverdale

<b>Protecting public land</b>

EDITOR: I read Saturday's article about the proposed Berryessa Snow Mountain National Conservation Area with great interest ("Land plan stirs debate"). As mentioned, this innovative legislation (co-sponsored by Reps. Mike Thompson, John Garamendi and Jared Huffman) would establish permanent protections for 350,000 acres of public lands with remarkable conservation values. Spread over portions of five counties and containing three wilderness areas, this little-known region shelters many species of plants and animals, including some that are rare and endangered, offers outstanding recreational opportunities and with careful management can be both a natural and an economic asset for posterity.

However, judging by some of the appended comments at PressDemocrat.com, the article does not seem to make it clear that every single acre in the proposed conservation area is in federal ownership already.

Far from being a land grab that would take private property off the tax rolls, this proposal would provide federal land managers with the collaborative tools they need to do their jobs better and to protect this special place from activities such as the rampant industrial-scale marijuana grows that threaten it with grievous harm.

A national conservation area would be good for the land, good for the economy and good for the people.

VICTORIA BRANDON

Lower Lake

<b>Carrillo's only option</b>

EDITOR: We should not have to be ashamed of our elected officials. Supervisor Efren Carrillo has proven himself to be unworthy of his position and an embarrassment to Sonoma County. Blaming his behavior on alcohol is no excuse. Resigning is the only honorable option.

MEG BRITTAN

Sebastopol

<b>Merit awards</b>

EDITOR: Since 1978, the city of Santa Rosa has been recognizing individuals, organizations and businesses who have contributed to the quality of life here in Santa Rosa. We are blessed with outstanding citizens who believe in our community and want to make it a better place.

Over the 30-plus years we have recognized more than 600 individuals, organizations and businesses. The volunteer committee that oversees the merit awards is again looking for those who make Santa Rosa such a special place to live. It might be someone who has worked hard in his or her neighborhood to create a great place to live, or a young person who has shown by example how to contribute to our city.

If you know of someone, please take a few minutes and fill out the application at www.srcity.org/meritawards. The deadline is Thursday, so please act now.

PAT FRUIHT

Chairwoman, Santa Rosa merit award committee