A positive influence
EDITOR: I grew up in Sebastopol and went to St. Sebastian's Church with my family. When the Rev. John Crews came to our parish in the early 1970s, he was just out of the seminary. His love of God was at the core of his being. He started a youth group at the church, of which I was a part. He encouraged a youth mass with guitars and upbeat music. As a result, more young people and young families came to church. Families stayed after church to visit with fellow parishioners and Crews. The church grew and became a more welcoming environment.
Crews treated each of us with respect. He encouraged us to do well in school and to respect our parents and each other. He was a positive influence in my life. He was a friend to our family and was welcome in our home. He still is welcome today.
Crews had my respect and friendship as a teenager. He still has it. I personally don't believe the stories in the paper. This is not the person I knew.
CATHIE GOSS WHITTEN
EDITOR: Many folks who shop at Wal-Mart may be looking forward to the expansion of the store in Rohnert Park to a super center. They shop there because of the great savings they believe they gain. In the short term, they do save. In the less short term, the community loses, and so do they. Wal-Mart detracts from the economic recovery of the world.
Wal-Mart creates a false economy of cheap products by undercutting their workers on wages, health care and manageable secure jobs they can count on to support their families. And Wal-Mart refuses to let workers organize to gain a voice in workplace. The Wal-Mart expansion will create more poverty level jobs as it sucks the life from smaller local businesses. Local businesses cycle profits back into the community; Wal-Mart does not.
Wal-Mart prices do not reflect the real cost of resources, especially human resources anywhere in the world. Stop the expansion of Wal-Mart.
EDITOR: I read with astonishment Friday's article about fluoridating local water supplies ("County moving ahead on fluoride"). I can't believe Sonoma County officials are thinking of spending this kind of money — $8.5 million in capital upgrades, ongoing upkeep "starting" at $973,000 a year and more than $100,000 just for studies and analysis. Are we rich all of a sudden? I thought Sonoma County was in a mode of frugality. After all, we can't even fix our potholed, choppy roads that even lack clearly painted center lines. That is something that is of benefit to all citizens, whereas fluoridation is a contentious issue and many people think it is unnecessary.
It's obvious to me why there is such a dental crisis among children in our County. Just take a look at what's in people's shopping carts the next time you're in the supermarket. Even the poorest people are buying big bottles of soft drinks, sugary pastries, candy etc. How much water are children really drinking? Why don't we address that issue?
The people who want fluoride can get it in their toothpaste. Let's review our priorities and address longstanding needs that benefit everyone.