Unsafe streets

EDITOR: I wanted to comment on how uncomfortable it is to drive in Sonoma County, especially Santa Rosa. Since when do vehicles that have the green light have to wait for three cars to run the red before proceeding? And why do we have to wait at our green light for pedestrians who cross against the crosswalk red?

It appears these things continue to occur because there is no one to ticket red-light violators. And what about red-light traffic cameras? We were told by the Santa Rosa Police Department that Santa Rosa has no active red-light cameras. It doesn't make sense to me. I feel like a sitting duck, just waiting for my turn in the accident pool.


Santa Rosa

Science on our side

EDITOR: Children of low-income families may suffer from poor oral health, but to refer to this as a "staggering burden of suffering" and an "alarming crisis" demanding fluoridation of the water supply is hyperbole ("Confronting county crisis of oral health," Editorial, Feb. 10).

It's hard to imagine that other issues, such as the need for jobs, fair pay, better health care, better access to nutrition, decent housing, safe environments, etc. aren't even more important to those suffering from poverty's ills. Ironically, most of the people suffering from dental caries wouldn't even benefit from fluoridation because they obtain water from private wells and wouldn't be affected by this program.

The editorial posits that the solution is fluoridation of the water supply, even though the recommendations of the county's task force on oral health didn't prioritize this remedy. Rather, it focused appropriately on better access to dental care, education and preventive care, expanded nutrition programs, etc.

Your editorial characterizes fluoride opponents as sounding false alarms about the safety of the practice and accuses them of spreading misinformation out of fear. Those of us deeply concerned about ingesting fluoride on a regular basis are not zealots, fear mongerers or prone to hyperbole. In fact, we, too, encourage the public to be wary of hyperbole, since opponents are the ones with science on their side.



Same-sex couples

EDITOR: There are more lesbian and gay couples in Sonoma County than almost anywhere in the country, and you couldn't find even one for your Feb. 10 feature story on Valentine's Day couples? Next time you write an article on love and commitment and you can't locate any lesbians or gay men, call me and my partner — or any of the 2,255 same-sex couples in Sonoma County — we can help.


Santa Rosa

A supportive town

EDITOR: Three weeks after her first chemo treatment, my partner, Kathy, noticed patches of hair falling out. We went to Al's Sunset Barbershop, and Kathy asked a barber to shave her head.

Another barber said, "You're getting the Kojak. You'll look great!" A waiting customer added, "We used to call that 'high and tight' at Fort Ord, and it only cost two bits." A third patron joined in with, "Oh, hey, you're going to get the chemo curl when your hair grows back."

Four grown men chatted easily. No pity, no judgment, just relaxed, friendly conversation. We had become a momentary community of people who would soon walk out of Al's and into separate lives.

Following the shave, Kathy placed a knitted cap on her head to partially cover her baldness before walking into the neighboring Starbucks. While waiting for her order, another patron made eye contact and smiled. As the woman was leaving, she tapped Kathy on the shoulder and said softly, "By the way, you look beautiful."

You've got to love Santa Rosa.


Santa Rosa

Unequal treatment

EDITOR: They allow commercial operations at the Grand Canyon and Yosemite but not at Drakes Bay. How is that even-handed?



Wal-Mart in RP

EDITOR: After reading Martin J. Bennett's Close to Home column demanding that a Wal-Mart supercenter not be allowed in Rohnert Park ("Time to stop the Wal-Mart supercenter," Friday), I want to add a non-Wal-Mart customer's view to the mix.

I don't shop at Wal-Mart, and you don't have to either.

Pacific Market left because it didn't fit the demographic for the area.

Wal-Mart will leave too if it isn't profitable — that's how a free market economy is supposed to work.

You don't have to work for Wal-Mart; work somewhere else or start your own business or move

Starting wages at a union supermarket are not $19.11 an hour.

The Waltons' wealth is a red herring. Is mentioning this in the article meant to create class warfare?

The main reason Pacific Market is out and Wal-Mart will succeed is that lower-income people need to save money on their purchases, and Wal-Mart provides goods at lower prices.

How can low-income people become high-income people if they can't build up their savings to send their children to college or start their own businesses to become successful like the Waltons?


Santa Rosa