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<b>A day late</b>

EDITOR: As far as wise and reasonable content decisions go, The Press Democrat has never been a stellar example. But I was truly offended by your choice not to recognize Sept. 11, 2001 on the 12-year anniversary, until Page B7 in an op-ed.

Syria, of course, should be front-and-center coverage. But when a debate over a plastic bag ban and a story about Lee Harvey Oswald's landlord, while fascinating, take priority over honoring our country's most horrendous event, it's appalling.

And then, to run a front-page article featuring 9/11 on 9/12 feels like a slap in the face. Wow, how sad and unfortunate, even for you.

HEIDI ARGUE

Santa Rosa

<b>A public purpose</b>

EDITOR: I have yet another perspective on the Ruth Asawa fountain in Old Courthouse Square. I was principal of Burbank School when the fountain was conceived and created, and Asawa selected us to be involved in the project.

Asawa often involved students in the making of art. She, her son and artist Nancy Thompson worked with the staff and students to help them understand public art and the creative process. All students learned about the sea life of the Sonoma Coast, about creating clay-do figures, about how public art gets approved and installed.

The three artists worked with students and teachers, providing a community purpose to our school year. I remember taking the third- through sixth-grade students to San Francisco to see Asawa's work. She hosted the students at her Noe Valley home to see her studio and talked with them about the life of an artist.

I am not an authority on what constitutes great art. I do know for one year Asawa gave inspiration to students and a hardworking group of teachers and staff. That was art with a public purpose.

WALLACE A. TRUJILLO

Rohnert Park

<b>Political scandals</b>

EDITOR: Eliot Spitzer. Anthony Weiner. Efren Carrillo. Two down. One to go.

ALLEN GIRION

Rohnert Park

<b>Abridging rights</b>

EDITOR: I am ashamed of the judicial order that attempts to do something no court has the right to do: abridge the U.S. Constitution ("Judge bans protests at SR courthouse," Aug. 27).

A court has a duty to ensure that its orders are enforceable, lawful and limited enough to effect its purpose without infringing upon the rights of the populace. This order is overly broad, vague and clearly infringes upon the First Amendment and the rights of assembly and speech.

This order also prohibits "proselytizing" within the "perimeter." "Proselytizing" is defined as advocating or promoting a belief or course of action. As an attorney, it's my job to advocate for my client's position. It's my job to attempt to influence the judge. Yet, in doing so, I'm in violation of the court's order.

This is only one example of the order's over-breadth and vagueness. Our First Amendment rights have been hard won by the blood of our patriots. This court doesn't have the right, and shouldn't use the color of authority, to trivialize and abrogate them.

I took an oath when I became an attorney to uphold and defend the Constitution. Until this order is repealed, I will no longer be volunteering for this court. Further, I encourage and challenge every member of the Bar to do the same.

ROBIN M. ESTES

Santa Rosa

<b>At-risk youth</b>

EDITOR: Fewer than half the people quoted in Sunday's full-page ad against the Social Advocates for Youth/Warrack project had the courage to sign their name.

At-risk youth don't equate with gang members. Many of those who would be served are homeless youth who were in the foster care system through no fault of their own. Sixty-five percent of foster children experience homelessness after emancipation.

Residents at SAY's Tamayo House must go through an application process, sign a contract, pay rent, follow house rules and be actively employed or in school. SAY provides a vital program to help needy young people become responsible, productive taxpayers.

I've been helping a Tamayo resident who was placed in foster care at age 6. His mother is a homeless alcoholic, his father is deceased, and there are no other family members able to help him. He had a summer job, attends Santa Rosa Junior College, pays his rent and is trying hard to improve his situation.

How many 19-year-olds from Bennett Valley could make it on their own without family support? Isn't it less dangerous to help these young people with supervised housing than to have them on the streets? Have some compassion for these less fortunate kids.

BARBARA JOHANSON

Sebastopol