<b>Modern-day slavery</b>

EDITOR: This is modern-day slavery ("County teens rescued in sex sting," July 30). The pimps are slave handlers who have broken down the will of the children and teens through extreme emotional, physical and sexual violence. Calling child victims "prostitutes" is not only a misnomer but an assault on reality, and it does not do the victims justice for what they endured.

Kudos to the FBI for making the arrests, but they need to change the language they use to describe the victims. If they want to understand why the children go back, they need to hire more in-house psychologists who specialize in Stockholm syndrome and mind-control techniques because that's what these slave handlers are using.

Study the past to understand the present. Slavery is still alive and well in America. This is a billion-dollar industry that brutalizes children and cannot be confronted if truthful language isn't used. These are child sex slaves not prostitutes.


Santa Rosa

<b>Winery protest</b>

EDITOR: Well, he's at it again. Have we forgotten that Paul Hobbs, "the Steve Jobs of wine," illegally clear-cut 10 acres of ridge-top forestland near Pocket Canyon and then "bought" John Jenkel's property and cut all the old-growth pine trees to put in yet another vineyard on Highway 116? Now he's "shocked" that the riparian corridor was destroyed in his latest project. Gosh.

I am deeply disappointed in our District Attorney's Office for its lack of environmental oversight. I haven't heard of any punitive legal action being meted out for Hobbs' environmental degradations. Where is Ann Gallagher White? She promised environmental activists in 2011 that she'd look into it, regarding Hobbs' clear-cutting episode in Graton, but there was nothing written in The Press Democrat about follow-up. What, if anything, happened to Hobbs?

As long as environmental predators get a mere slap on the wrist instead of jail sentences and heavy duty fines, this rape of the land will continue. It makes me sick. It should make everyone in west county sick. We should be demanding answers. I am.



<b>Fair isn't cruel</b>

EDITOR: I am the girl pictured in your paper's pig scramble photo on July 29, and I am writing in response to Debra Crow's letter ("Cruel to animals," Sunday). Farmers' Day is not cruel. We do not hurt the animals.

The original purpose of the fair was the competitive judging of farm goods. It hasn't a higher purpose like a church for the worshiping of animals or the Earth. In fact, the competitive use of animals is a kind of celebration of the animal's abilities. Besides, the fair is about having fun.

I have never seen an animal hurt at Farmers' Day. When Farmers' Day is over, the animals go back to the farmer and are eventually sold. If an animal were "broken," as suggested, a farmer would never lend it for Farmers' Day.

Growing up on a ranch has taught me the value of caring for animals. I am not cruel, and I do not hurt them.



<b>Community support</b>

EDITOR: The Sonoma community is like no other, and I am proud to have lived and raised my three sons here since 1972. Those were the days of dusty Little League hotdogs, free parking and a soda fountain in the pharmacy. The town has grown and changed, but good caring people still live here.

Chicuchas Wasi — a nonprofit founded in Sonoma 26 years ago for abandoned children in Cusco, Peru — just sponsored the film "Girl at the Sebastiani Theatre together with Baksheesh. The producers said no many times, but we kept up the pressure. We knew people here care greatly about the plight of girls and women globally, that they have supported Chicuchas Wasi school for girls all these years. People came and filled every seat in the theater. I doubt that the larger venues did that.

I am grateful to the Sonoma Valley community and greater Sonoma County for the many years of support for our students and for the concern for oppressed girls everywhere. Sonoma cares. I knew that, and now the producers and marketers of documentaries will know also and include Sonoma more easily next time.


Founder, Chicuchas Wasi