<b>Better uses for money</b>
EDITOR: I am responding to Sunday's editorial on the proposed unification of Old Courthouse Square ("Key to SR core: Restore the square"). All three "historic wrongs" cited were committed by downtown business interests and City Council collusion: the expansion of Highway 101 that divided the city in half, allowing the Santa Rosa Plaza shopping center to bisect downtown and tearing down the courthouse and cutting the downtown square in half for a traffic thoroughfare.
Santa Rosa has made historic mistakes to indulge business interests using other people's money. Thank goodness taxpayer money cannot be used for the latest whim. If Santa Rosa can raise $14 million, it would be better spent fixing potholes, watering and weeding city parks, pedestrian safety on Third Street, etc.
Caring about the public's needs is what gives a city "a sense of identity."
<b>A choice, not a disease</b>
EDITOR: Save for the victim of Supervisor Efren Carrillo's troll around the neighborhood in his underwear and socks, prowling is not the real issue. I hope the victim gets the justice she seeks, and I am sure everyone supports all her efforts. The issue is Carrillo's lack of self-control, his morally reprehensible behavior and his inherent lack of character.
The most embarrassing action he has done along with his followers is hiding behind the self-induced choice to drink alcohol and label this a disease. Cancer is a disease; picking up a beer is a choice. If you drink too much, it is a bad choice, but it's a choice nonetheless. Given the choice of cancer or alcohol consumption, most likely those in the population with cancer would choose the beer. Unfortunately cancer is a real disease, not a choice.
It's time for Carrillo to stop whining about his problems and face the facts. He drinks too much, and he's lucky enough to have a conveniently labeled self-induced problem that received disease status, which in turn provides him with lack of responsibility and a solid excuse.
EDITOR: I have an interesting idea for the homes owned by municipal agencies and leased to employees or others for little or no rent ("SR reveals another no-rent property," Aug. 23). Transfer the homes as an asset into the agency pension fund.
I bet the employees would watch the lease terms closer and rents would increase if the rental income went into their pension fund. Also, if the property value is based on long-term income it would show up as a larger asset for pension contributions.
<b>Thompson's NSA vote</b>
EDITOR: A hearty thank you to the many protesters who managed to take time from their busy day to remind Rep. Mike Thompson that his constituents expect him to stand up for the Bill of Rights 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
His recent vote against the Amash Amendment, which would have curtailed National Security Agency spying upon U.S. citizens, showed a discouraging willingness to sacrifice our fundamental rights of privacy and due process to avoid embarrassing our Democratic leadership in Congress and the White House. Next time it comes up — and Rep. Justin Amash and others assure us there will be a next time — I hope Thompson will have rediscovered his oath of office.