Petaluma vs. business

EDITOR: Adrienne Larson, who wrote a letter regarding the sustainability/green/anti-business/bike crowd destroying business in Sebastopol ("Driving business away," Letters, Wednesday), might well have written the same letter for Petaluma. With lawsuits to prevent businesses from coming into town and large awards of cash to those who filed the suits, Petaluma has managed to destroy its traffic flow and failed to fix its deteriorating street system.

Even worse is the fact that the city is now wasting funds it does not have to finance the appeal of a proposed asphalt plant to be located outside the city limits. Since when did our communities abandon the business of running a city and embark upon social and environmental engineering?



Doublespeak in Cotati

EDITOR: The Cotati City Council decided to ignore voters by appointing someone to the open position instead of giving it to the runner-up as determined by the voters. You might ask why. Well, because they don't like him. "This is a different time, this is many months later," Mayor Mark Landman said ("Cotati council to fill vacancy by seeking applicants," Thursday). Wasn't the election in November, two months ago? Landman went on to say, "I think we have a better chance for the public to have input this way." Isn't the public the voter?

Making matters worse, a Sonoma State political scientist said council members are entitled to see their responsibility as acting in the city's best interest, even if that diverges from preferences registered by voters. Translation: whatever they want, without regard to you — taxpayer, voter, citizen.

Professor Andy Merrifield also said "they have every right as trustees of the voters to select the person they think most qualified. You are elected to represent the interests of the community. Translation: not the interests of the council, but of the community as determined by the vote.

If we are to have any respect left for the process, let's stop letting "them," our elected officials, disregard our votes just because it does not meet what they want.



U.S. aid to Israel

EDITOR: Does anyone care that Palestinian homes are bulldozed on a regular basis? Does anyone care that tear gas was shot into the densely populated Aida Refugee Camp, which is bordered by a wall with a guard tower that monitors every movement in the camp? Does anyone care that the Israeli government continues to confiscate Palestinian land to enlarge illegal settlements or build new illegal ones?

We Americans should care because we help finance these activities and many more that terrorize the Palestinian people. Our government gives Israel $8.5 million a day with no restrictions. Israel ignores the U.S. government's requests to stop confiscating Palestinian land and building illegal settlements. It is time to place restrictions on the $8.5 million a day.

On a recent trip to Israel/Palestine, I witnessed the crudity imposed upon the Palestinians by the Israeli people. The Israelis don't want us to forget their Holocaust. However, the Israelis seem to have a short memory when it comes to others.



Value in all religions

EDITOR: I was disturbed by the bigotry expressed by the Rev. David B. White ("Invalid philosophy," Letters, Monday) concerning immigrants. He seems to only welcome immigrants who are Christians or Jews, citing the "perpetuation of our Judo-Christian religion." I welcome the diversity of ideas and values of our immigrant and native-born American neighbors who teach the mysticism of Islam, the compassion of Buddhism, the regard for nature of our original Americans who lived in this land for thousands of years, the wise teachings of the Hindus and the ideas of newer sects such as New Age, New Thought, Wicca and myriad other religions.

The First Americans could rightfully take issue with his Eurocentric ideas. I urge him to learn more about the wonderful variety of faiths in our great land, blessed by the Founder's wisdom in guaranteeing us the freedom of religion. He may learn from his neighbors that there is wisdom and value in all religions.