Bikes and cars

EDITOR: Once again, the rivalry between bicyclists and cars has raised its ugly head. And if we are truly honest, there is plenty of blame to be shared by all. How Sonoma County drivers were ever rated the "safest" in a recent survey, I'll never know. At the same time, the blatant and utter disregard for laws and safety by cyclists, from the Lance wanna-bes to the teenagers who just don't care, is also atrocious.

We now have an ordinance, pushed by a select few, that will allow this war to escalate.

Come on drivers, obey the laws and realize you are behind the wheel of a large vehicle that can hurt people. At the same time, you bicyclists must yield the right of way, ride in a safe manner and obey the laws designed to protect us all. Just do it.


Santa Rosa

Public criticism

EDITOR: I have a family member who is a Rohnert Park public safety officer. I cannot and should not comment on methodology or training of firefighters. However, the decision by individuals in leadership positions from local fire departments to publicly criticize Rohnert Park public safety officers through the media was at best, a poor one ("Department under fire," Sunday).

Consistent, clear, accurate and direct communication between public agencies such as police and fire is critical to promoting cooperation and problem solving. Potentially life-threatening situations require interagency cooperation to maintain the safety and trust of the public and personnel involved. How does public criticism of one agency by another promote and improve the cooperation and coordination of services?

I would suggest those who chose to publicly criticize the Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety be assigned training in media relations and interagency cooperation and communication. The continued safety of the public as well as law enforcement officers and fire fighters is at issue here.



Abolish death penalty

EDITOR: Now that Maryland has joined 17 other states in abolishing the death penalty, and substituting life without parole in its place, isn't it time for California, often the nation's leader in compassionate legislation, to do the same?



Don't blame McDonald's

EDITOR: As the obesity problem continues to grow in America, people continue to blame McDonald's, Coca-Cola, Doritos, Snickers and other junk food companies. As a male teenager, I know how tempting a Big Mac and a Coca-Cola can be, and I know how easy it is to blame the companies that create and sell unhealthy products.

However, these companies aren't at fault. Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York tried banning large, sugary drinks sold by restaurants. A judge rejected it. According to Judge Milton Tingling, the ban was "arbitrary and capricious;" these companies are simply creating products that customers consume and enjoy every day.

The products may be unhealthy, but it's ultimately the consumer's choice whether to eat them or not. Now, fast-food restaurants have healthier options on their menus. You can choose salad, water, or other low-fat options rather than a Whopper and Dr Pepper. Personally, I don't believe that these companies get enough credit. They employ millions and feed billions.

It's time to start pointing the finger — at ourselves. We need to stop blaming these companies for the obesity epidemic and start spending more time losing weight. Don't blame McDonald's because they make your favorite burger.


Santa Rosa

A solution?

EDITOR: The conflict between Bishop Robert Vasa and teachers in Catholic schools arises from (1) his mandate that they endorse his proposed addendum to their annual contracts and (2) the teachers, both Catholic and non-Catholic, who are morally or ethically troubled, as a matter of conscience, by endorsing, through their signatures, the "beliefs" stated in that addendum.

If the motive for the addendum is the bishop's intent that the teachers be aware of the contents of the addendum (which media coverage suggests is his intent), I respectfully suggest that the bishop resolve this conflict by requiring only that teachers acknowledge the contents of the addendum. By presenting the acknowledgment for signature, the bishop conveys his pastoral message; by signing the acknowledgment, the teachers state their awareness of its statement of beliefs.

Both sides truly can win here.


Santa Rosa

Sponsoring pledges

EDITOR: I humbly suggest Bishop Robert Vasa leave the pledge business to Grover Norquist.