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<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."

GRETCHEN DABEK

Santa Rosa

<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.

GARY REYNOLDS

Sebastopol

<b>Rental management</b>

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.

MATTHEW ANDERSON

Santa Rosa

<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.

Back home during their summer recess, our elected representatives across the country have been getting an earful from their constituents, demanding to know why the NSA has been allowed, even encouraged, to conduct blatantly illegal, sometimes unauthorized, and consistently unconstitutional spying programs, often targeting U.S. citizens and our supposed allies.

It's high time Thompson and other intelligence committee members join Sen. Ron Wyden in fulfilling their constitutional responsibilities.

CHRISTOPHER FISHER

Petaluma

<b>A higher standard</b>

EDITOR: Supervisor Efren Carrillo's supporters are missing a fundamental point about elected officials. They say he has not been adjudicated for the events of July 13, therefore, we must wait to determine if he should remain a county supervisor. This is a matter of community confidence and trust. Either criminal or poor judgment, his actions were unacceptable for a public servant.

Neither Carrillo nor his lawyer has disputed the facts as reported. He was arrested, intoxicated, only in underwear and socks, after attempting to enter an apartment. If Carrillo is not a sexual predator but instead has a serious alcohol problem, which results in irrational decisions that have culminated in two arrests within ten months, he deserves our compassion but clearly is unsuitable to serve.

Carrillo stated, "Little of this criticism relates to the performance of my official duties." However, seven weeks in seclusion as the business of the Fifth District goes unattended is dereliction of duty. Unwilling to face the public or press to answer obvious questions, he is only available for "internal county business."

The Board of Supervisors and the Fifth District deserve far more. I ask Carrillo to take full responsibility and resign now.

MARY GOE

Santa Rosa