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Feb. 18 Letters to the Editor

Wal-Mart responds

EDITOR: More than 23 million Americans live in what are known as "food deserts," and while it's an issue of growing concern, a few are actually working overtime to block attempts to be part of the solution.

As The Press Democrat reported, the Living Wage Coalition essentially forced the Santa Rosa City Council to drop an ordinance designed to cut red tape and make it easier for grocery stores to open in these areas ("Deal paves way for SR grocery," Tuesday).

Rescinding the ordinance only adds an unnecessary layer of bureaucracy to further delay healthy, affordable food choices from coming to struggling neighborhoods that need them most. Blocking economic development also cuts off access to jobs and benefits while keeping food prices higher.

At Wal-Mart, we want to help improve access to fresh food. That is why in 2011, we committed to opening 300 additional stores in federally designated food deserts in just five years. It's a cause we take seriously, and it's a shame that groups such as the Living Wage Coalition want to make it more difficult to carry out this mission.

STEVEN RESTIVO

Senior director of communications,

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

Teen suicide

EDITOR: Thirteen-year-old girls don't normally carry around guns, nor do they usually have routine access to them. Why do you not mention how the girl obtained the gun she used to kill herself ("Annapolis girl, 13, uses gun to commit suicide," Feb. 7)? Particularly at this time, when these issues are so in the public's mind? I think you should reveal how the girl obtained the firearm.


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