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<b>Food stamp spending</b>

EDITOR: Thanks for printing the commentary about the U.S. Department of Agriculture's lack of accountability regarding food stamps ("Uncovering the secrets of food stamps," Aug. 9). I admit ignorance. This is journalism we need at this stage in our country. Four out of $5? One in seven Americans? Liquor stores that can accept food stamps? An $80 billion expenditure (out of $150 billion)? The strong link between obesity and income? One starts to strongly suspect backroom kick-backs, departmental nepotism, dysfunction and, worst, self-serving bureaucrats — that old-fashioned word.

SUSAN ROSE

Petaluma

<b>Schlock controversy</b>

EDITOR: Regarding the article about the art sculptures at Montgomery Village ("SR public art draws fire," Wednesday), all I can say is, Oh my god, who the hell cares?

I've seen these sculptures, even taken pictures of them. I think the whole project was nicely done. I didn't know there were "originals" versus "duplicates" until the story pointed them out. Art is in the eye of the beholder. Don't we have more important issues to worry about in this town?

KENNY DUNN

Santa Rosa

<b>Courthouse Square</b>

EDITOR: How is the reunification of Old Courthouse Square still on the table? This project has never been popular with the public and would cost millions of dollars with little (if any) benefit. Projected costs were around $14 million back in 2010; what would this cost today? Our severely underfunded street repair budget was recently reported to be around $5 million per year. Isn't maintaining our current infrastructure more important? Is this someone's personal legacy? Who benefits financially from this project? Someone should seriously look into the motivational force behind this issue.

DILLON CROSSMAN

Santa Rosa

<b>Ukiah landfill</b>

EDITOR: Mendocino County has finally ordered the city of Ukiah to cap and seal its landfill and to come up with a post-closure maintenance plan.

This order comes 12 years after the landfill was closed and stopped accepting refuse.

That's 12 years of being out of compliance with state environmental regulations, 12 years of stalling from high-priced city executives and their consultants with all their technical mumbo jumbo that defied plain English and common sense. That's 12 years of pleadings by the City Council for waivers, and 12 years of the landfill's toxic waste sitting in a watershed area and on an earthquake fault. That's 12 years of numerous Mendocino County grand jury reports that noted all of the above, and 12 years of suspicions being raised by the public that the "landfill closure enterprise fund" is underfunded as the city of Ukiah may have raided it to make up for its ongoing million-dollar deficits.

Congratulations to the David A. Jensen, the county's environmental health director.

JOHN SAKOWICZ

Ukiah

<b>Canine therapy</b>

EDITOR: Our daughter spent a year in Gulu, Uganda working with refugee child soldiers. During that time, she adopted a Belgian Malinois puppy to keep her company. The dog went everywhere with her, and she brought him with her when she returned to the states.

While living in Berkeley, she started having panic attacks on the street whenever she was near strangers. Her therapist diagnosed vicarious post-traumatic stress disorder and told her to keep the dog with her when she was out and about. She bought him a service vest online and takes him to class, restaurants and meetings. Her PTSD is vastly improved when he is with her. He has not been trained as a service dog, but he is a good dog and the best thing for our daughter. It wouldn't make sense for her to have any other dog.

I know the rules are bound to tighten up on this, and for good reason, but most dogs do a lot of good for the peace of mind of their owners without being a nuisance. I would hope that people from all walks of life, who need a dog with them for therapeutic reasons, could get one easily and without a lot of red tape.

JOANNE DRANGINIS

Santa Rosa