Misbegotten war

EDITOR: The Iraq war was not about freedom in Iraq. It was about President George W. Bush's ego. Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction or even a competent army.

Many Americans still believe that Iraq had atomic weapons. Many Americans are unintelligent.

Bush pushed the U.S. military into a mud hole, and we're still in it. So it's not surprising that much of the American public would just as soon forget the whole thing ever happened. But that would be wrong. When you make a horrible mistake, you should never forget it, or you might repeat it.

The war drained our economy, and now young people can't get jobs. The military is where most of our tax dollars go (when you include military benefits.) If your relative died or was injured in the Iraq war, don't blame Saddam Hussein, blame Bush.



Rail budget

EDITOR: Dan Walters ("California bullet train faces new challenges," March 7) rightly noted that critics question high-speed rail's planned engineering for the Southern California mountains — questions about which we rarely hear. It sounds pretty serious.

But that is almost beside the point when one considers that a fraction of the total high-speed rail budget — estimated at as much as a half-trillion dollars — would not only upgrade the existing north-south line to support better, faster passenger traffic, but it could also accomplish much-needed urban projects: connecting SMART to the Larkspur ferry terminal, connecting BART's Fremont line to downtown San Jose, eliminating grade crossings for CalTrain's Peninsula service and upgrading the heavily used Los Angeles-San Diego Amtrak line.

Of course, some of this would require difficult negotiation and planning with private rail-carriers and track owners, a task the state's leaders and bureaucrats don't relish. Better, instead, to create an entirely new bureaucracy and vacuum billions away from densely populated areas choking in traffic and under-resourced transit systems?

The question is not whether high-speed rail is a worthy project; it is that. The question is whether California will apply monies to reduce its carbon footprint in a rational manner that balances the state's short and long-term interests.


Rio Nido

Save the media center

EDITOR: The Santa Rosa City Council is going to be deciding the fate of the Community Media Center of the North Bay today. Please show your support for an invaluable facility that has been in our community for 15 years.

Ask the city: Why fix what's not broken? The media center is asking the city to extend its contract at least until the end of June and not close it as soon as the end of March. Why not extend the contract for five, 10, or another 15 years? Why waste all this time and energy on something that is not causing a problem. Aren't there any bigger problems facing the city than closing public and education access TV in Santa Rosa and moving government access in-house? Who is going to oversee this in-house government access, the city? Isn't this a conflict of interest?

If the doors of the media center close, it's very unlikely that they will ever open again.


Santa Rosa

Promoting safety

EDITOR: Certainly cyclists are vulnerable. We do need education and protection for them. I don't ride the county roads simply because they are not suitable for shared traffic. Roads with blind corners and no shoulders are very dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists. I think people who do cycle on the county roads are either very brave or very ignorant.

The education needs to go both ways, and it is, with the recent ad campaign on the radio.

To my frustration as a driver, I often have to take action due to pedestrians and cyclists who don't pay attention or take aggressive action against cars. Jaywalking busy streets, walking through red lights and not stopping with traffic are just a few of the offenses. Pedestrians and cyclists are likely responsible for many accidents. It's not just the drivers.

While we are making improvements for cyclists such as bike baths and protection laws, we should also be sure that cyclists are educated and responsible just like drivers.

This should include licensing for cyclists and taxing bikes to pay for these improvements.