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Value who you are

EDITOR: The Jan. 27 article titled "The question of race" disturbed me. I am bi-racial. My mother is Japanese and was born and raised there. My father was of German and Dutch descent and born and raised here. The comment about traditional racial characteristics being diluted due to bi-racial and multiracial marriages is extremely bothersome. People should be together because they want to be, not because they should be preserving racial characteristics.

I understand that Latinos may face a dilemma. If I were them, I would mark "other" on a census form and put in bold letters whatever they identify with that is what I do.

In closing, I want to say that it's important that families share their heritage and traditions with their children and be proud of who they are. My children adore their Japanese grandma and call her "Grandma Takemoto." I commend Michelle Farkas for sharing her Mexican heritage with her son.

SUZIE LEWIS

Rohnert Park

Women passed over

EDITOR: Every January for the past four or five years, I have written to the newspaper to ask why so few women are included in the year-end "They made their mark" feature ("Noteworthy passings," Dec. 30). Writing this letter has become a holiday tradition, but not one I enjoy.

Sonoma County is packed with dynamic, powerful, compassionate, resourceful and unforgettable women who lead, govern and inspire us all.

Yet, this year, out of nine "lost leading voices" of Sonoma County, only one was a woman, and she made her mark when she was three years old and survived the 1906 earthquake.

Come on, guys. You can do better. It's time.

C.D. GRANT

Cloverdale

Thanking voters

EDITOR: Spring is fast approaching, and I look back on 2012 with a great deal of appreciation and optimism for the future.

I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank my dedicated supporters during this last election, both those working closely on the campaign and the voters who agreed with my message.

It was a long and at times difficult journey but one filled with new, rich and rewarding experiences and relationships for which I will always be thankful.

It is rare one has the pleasure of becoming so familiar with a community in such a short period of time. Though a fourth generation Sonoma County resident, never had I ventured into many of the neighborhoods I visited during my campaign.

I consider myself very fortunate to have had the distinct honor and privilege of running for the 1st District seat on the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors and wish the new board, my fellow 1st District residents and our entire county all the best in 2013.

JOHN SAWYER

Santa Rosa

Preventing abuse

EDITOR: Elder abuse ("Elder abuse in U.S. rising," Jan. 28) is both potentially devastating and often preventable. In 2012, nearly 4,000 reports of elder or dependent-adult abuse were made in Sonoma County — a number that has been significantly increasing in recent years.

Elder abuse investigation and prevention are priorities for the Sonoma County Human Services Department. Together with the long-term care ombudsman through Senior Advocacy Services, the Area Agency on Aging Advisory Council, the Council on Aging, the Family Justice Center and other community partners, we work to ensure older adults exercise their rights and advocate for their own interests.

Reporting hotlines are available 24 hours a day; calls are confidential and anonymous. Social workers evaluate concerns and offer voluntary services, connecting seniors and dependent adults with resources to keep them safe and address their needs. If you suspect that an elder or dependent adult is being abused or neglected, please call Adult Protective Services at 565-5940 or (800) 667-0404. If you suspect abuse in a licensed facility, please call the long-term care ombudsman program at 526-4108 or (800) 231-4024.

DIANE KALJIAN

Sonoma County Human Services Department

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