Wary, but still riding
EDITOR: Matthew Wilson's Close to Home column ("Why I'm no longer a cyclist," Sunday) was a chilling bracer before I headed out for my morning ride. After 30 years of cycling the North Bay back roads, I could easily identify with all of his harrowing encounters. I'd have to extend his list to include my own near misses with erratic cyclists and speeding racers on their fantasy tours. In fact, his depiction of having his hand hit by a car was almost identical to one I had recently, except I was hit by a speeding cyclist who zoomed past with no warning and made no attempt to stop. Cars are a lethal danger but not the only one we face on bicycles.
I've had days when I returned home and wondered if it was time to hang up my helmet for good. I've modified riding times and routes, but so far I've overcome that feeling when another beautiful day dawns in our glorious county. More riding requires more responsibility and more care dealing with the crumbling asphalt patches that pass for rural roads around here. Great responsibility, great care, and the reward is the best exercise in the best place on Earth. That's a trade off I'm still willing to make.
EDITOR: It appears that Bishop Robert Vasa has chosen to disregard recent Santa Rosa Diocese history. Approximately 35 percent of active Catholics left the church after the Bishop Patrick Ziemann mess, after the child-molester priests were caught and after the complicit bishops were exposed. But the rest of us stayed to rebuild our broken church. We've kept the faith. We've reconfirmed our faith in our parishes, in our Catholic schools, in our lay ministries and with one another in our daily lives. We didn't need some out-of-town guy wagging a paper as confirmation of our faith. We acted with deep-rooted faith for our Catholic faith.
Vasa tried the sign-my-document tactic before, with disastrous results, in his previous posting in Oregon. Why would he try it again, especially considering the recent history of the Santa Rosa Diocese? Perhaps this tactic of his is more about intra-Catholic politics than anything pastoral or spiritual.
Tobacco's odd ally
EDITOR: Imagine California legislators at a hearing on Assemblyman Marc Levine's proposal to protect people in multi-unit housing from second-hand smoke. Picture people shaking hands and making introductions. Imagine that after 15 minutes, members of the public pull out cigarettes, light up and continue listening while smoking.
There'd be bedlam. Security would be called. Legislators would exit waving hands in a futile effort to disperse the smoke. Even those who smoke would call it an irresponsible imposition on people's right to breathe clean air.
Consider how hypocritical this seems when, after clearing the smokers, they sit down and, with the blessing of the Western Center on Law and Poverty, vote to keep smokers in multi-unit housing smoking indoors, forcing whole buildings to smoke involuntarily — pregnant women, children, everyone.
The tobacco industry isn't the main rock in the path toward smoke-free air for California tenants, the majority of whom don't smoke. The rock is "social justice" representatives worried about the imposition on smokers to use nicotine gum or to step outside to avoid exposing low-income, nonsmoking renters who can't afford to move. Thousands of nonsmokers die yearly because of the social justice rock in the road, the oddest ally the tobacco industry ever had.