<b>Constitutional rights</b>

EDITOR: Free speech and the right to peaceably assemble trumps decorum any day in my book. Having attended hearings for many years at the courthouse as an attorney, I have never seen any free speech activity that impeded the court's business. Cellphone usage, inappropriate dress and chewing gum have never been allowed in the courtroom, so it's not a problem. Our Constitution is alive and viable and expresses the democracy we cherish. Any attempt to whittle down free speech, to make things nice, should make a citizen seriously pause.


Santa Rosa

<b>Health care threat</b>

EDITOR: I am writing as a concerned citizen, a voter and as a leader of UNITE HERE Local 2850. Our union represents thousands of hotel, casino and food service workers across the state.

During this summer recess for members of Congress, it is important that our representatives, Jared Huffman and Mike Thompson, understand our views on the Affordable Care Act. When Congress and the president sought our support, we were told that if we liked the health plans we have now, we could keep them.

And we are strong supporters of affordable health care for all Americans. Sadly, the promise made to us is under threat. Unintended consequences of the Affordable Care Act are poised to shatter not only our hard-earned health benefits but destroy the foundation of the 40-hour workweek that is the backbone of the American middle class.

We believe there are common-sense corrections that can be made that will allow our members to keep their current health plans and benefits just as Congress and the president pledged. Unless changes are made, however, that promise is hollow.

The government needs to make changes to the Affordable Care Act so that it works for everyone.



<b>Carrillo's future</b>

EDITOR: I was happy to read Sandy Eastoak's letter ("Apologies accepted," Aug. 29) as well as other similar letters on behalf of Supervisor Efren Carrillo. A premature guilty verdict is neither right nor fair. I would like to tell Carrillo that whether he chooses to step down, which I hope he does not, or is forced to do it, he needs to dry up, maybe grow up some, regroup and come back. He has a lot to offer as a politician and has been a good representative who seems to care for his constituents. God knows we need more of those. Let us not throw the baby out with the bath water.



<b>True compassion</b>

EDITOR: Frankly, I'm a little tired, not to mention offended, by all the Efren Carrillo supporters behaving as though those of us who think he should resign are nothing but anti-Carrillo types with no compassion.

I might even turn it around and ask all those supporting his continuing to be a county supervisor how compassionate it is to keep pushing this man to perform in a high pressure and challenging job when he is recovering from what he himself has called a "life-threatening disease."

Insisting that Carrillo can continue to be a good supervisor in light of the life challenge before him is at best lacking in common sense and, at worst, demonstrates no real compassion at all.

The truly compassionate advice for Carrillo is to get himself out of the limelight and focus on his recovery. The truly compassionate position is to want Carrillo to work harder on saving his life than you would have him work on saving his career.


Monte Rio

<b>Help refugees</b>

EDITOR: Regarding the problem in Syria: Yes, we can do something, but let it not be more death and carnage. Let the United States show its concern for all those millions of refugees by immediately sending food and shelter and medical assistance, instead of bombing or using missile strikes.

And send material aid to those in need, not money to local governments, which have a tendency to squirrel away aid funds into Swiss bank accounts. That way we look good and don't risk making the local problem worse.

Even President Barack Obama might improve his image both here and abroad.


Santa Rosa

<b>Morals and war</b>

EDITOR: Much has been said recently about our moral obligation to go to war with Syria. I propose two other moral questions. First, if you have a moral obligation to go to war but are unwilling to risk your own people's lives to kill others, should you perhaps rethink your reasons for going to war? Second, if we kill and destroy with remote-controlled missiles, bombs and drones, how is that morally superior to a remote-controlled truck bomb on a military base in the United States?