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Spreading misinformation

EDITOR: Brenda Adelman ("Science on our side," Letters, Feb. 17) claims science is on the side of fluoride opponents, but nothing could be further from the truth. The overwhelming weight of scientific evidence confirms fluoridation's safety and effectiveness, and hundreds of peer-reviewed studies on fluoride have discredited anti-fluoridation propaganda. For many years, panels of experts from different health and scientific fields have provided strong evidence that water fluoridation is safe and effective. Fear-mongering and the spreading of misinformation will probably continue, but the scientific community is solidly in favor of fluoridation.

RON HARRIS

Windsor

Too costly

EDITOR: I see that adding fluoride to the water is expected to cost "up to $8.5 million in capital upgrades to the county's central water system, plus ongoing upkeep starting at $973,000 a year" ("County moving ahead on fluoride," Friday).

It is outrageous that the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors is even considering spending this amount of money on such a project Our water is already extremely expensive, and water use is not optional.

If dental health of low-income children is the issue, imagine how far this money would go in topical fluoride treatments, health education and possible nutritional supplementation.

In addition, the debate about the safety and efficacy of adding fluoride to water continues, and many communities worldwide and in the United States are ending fluoridation of water.

ELLEN VAN ALLEN

Santa Rosa

GOP challenge

EDITOR: We as Republicans have to get out of the moralistic quicksand. We must realize that to be moral is a personal decision not a political statement. No political party or government has the right to regulate the morals of anyone's personal life.

The Republican Party has lost its way and left many young people, single women, African Americans, Asians, Latinos, secularists, atheists and humanists by the wayside. They either drop out or join the progressive Democrats. Republicans should not be voting to force others to comply with individual moral standards. A person should be able to live the life they have chosen if that lifestyle does not encroach on the rights of others.

Morals and ethics are generally perceived as positive words, whereas words such as moralist, moralize and moralism may have threatening or radical interpretations. We should all familiarize ourselves with the definitions of these words so we can be more respectful to our fellow citizens.

Let us concentrate on strengthening the economy, ensuring individual liberties, freedoms and rights. These are the most serious and compelling concerns for all of us. This should become a center- ground where our country can join together during these difficult and confusing times.

ROGER JACK YOUNG

Sonoma

Ill-considered change

EDITOR: When a small number of decision-makers isolate themselves from their stakeholders and the general public, they're capable of coming up with spectacularly bad decisions. And thus we have the new Harvest Wine and Beer Orgy, excuse me, the new and improved Harvest Fair.

Making such a radical change in this long-time successful family event, an event that celebrates the diversity of Sonoma County agriculture and educates both young and old in the wonders of our natural heritage, is a step that should never have been taken in secret and announced as a fait accompli. This lack of proper process was bad enough, but the resulting decision is a travesty.

As great as the harm this decision will do to the fair exhibitors and to potential fairgoers, it will do even more harm to our county's culture. We are already on the path to becoming an ecological monoculture, where pastures, forests and open space have succumbed to acre upon acre of vineyard. Now we're on the verge of becoming a social monoculture as well, where wine and beer drinking and gambling will be the main drivers of our social life and economy — family events not welcome.

The Harvest Fair has been, and is, a success just as it is. Don't change it!

FRED BAUER

Petaluma

The &‘real' Harvest Fair

EDITOR: I was sad to read that the real Harvest Fair will no longer be part of Sonoma County — the largest pumpkin contest, draft horses that gave an old-fashion hayride, a variety of homegrown vegetables, local garden clubs, carefully arranged flower arrangements, kids stomping grapes, sheep dog trails, the sounds of old machines going pop! pop! pop!, dairy cow milking demonstrations, delicious apple samples, livestock to view, photography/art about agriculture and much more. Families, students and tourists learned so much about Sonoma County agriculture by attending the Harvest Fair and taking part in these educational opportunities.

Yes, it will become an adult event if all that is offered will be wine, beer and gourmet food. However, our society/community is in desperate need of providing more outdoor/agricultural activities for families and kids. Thank you to all of those who have contributed to making this charming, one-of-a-kind Harvest Fair happen for the past 35 years.

MEM POZZI

Sebastopol