EDITOR: How can we afford $357 million for a Willits bypass? When state services — education (14 positions in Willits alone), child services and health care, law enforcement, fire protection and parks — are being slashed, how can we afford a boondoggle that will not benefit Willits' current traffic problems?
In fact, if allowed to proceed, this project will compound traffic circulation in Willits for at least six years. Six years of construction will produce the equivalent of 80 years of carbon and dust pollution. This increased pollution in the Willits bowl will affect the respiratory health of small children, the aged and those with existing respiratory problems, without improving the Highway 20 intersection.
Frequently, Willits' Little Lake Valley is shrouded in dense fog. It chills me to imagine a two-lane freeway-speed runway of death with no median barrier and no emergency access for six miles. Head-on collision in the valley, fuel spilled, CHP nightmare.
EDITOR: In the southwestern corner of Santa Rosa lies the county jurisdiction of Roseland. The residents don't have the opportunity to vote in city elections, nor do they have the beautiful parks, libraries or community centers that residents of Santa Rosa can enjoy every day. Roseland's law enforcement is divided between Santa Rosa police, county sheriffs and the CHP. It's in serious need of reconstruction and repair.
Home to the highest concentration of Latinos in the community, Roseland has yet to be offered annexation by the city of Santa Rosa. Instead of embracing diversity, it seems as though Santa Rosa is ostracizing the Latino community.
For the past seven years, Roseland has been lobbying for annexation, but the City Council responds by congregating and discussing Roseland's revenue and expenses. However, areas around Roseland have been annexed, leaving a hole in the map of Santa Rosa.
Santa Rosa is thought to be a city that values acceptance and tolerance. But not when it comes to this issue. It is time Santa Rosa took action, instead of wasting time in meetings discussing economic problems that only grow larger as the years go by.
Car sales and the pledge
EDITOR: Eric Lindenbusch's analogy to the car salesman is inaccurate ("Vasa's responsibility," Letters, Thursday). A better analogy for Bishop Robert Vasa's pledge would be if the Chrysler dealership required its employees to only own and drive Chrysler automobiles. In addition they would be required to have a picture of the Chrysler CEO on their mantel at home and adhere to his social and political beliefs as a condition of employment.
I understand the bishop's stand with regard to teachers of religious studies classes. I don't understand why teachers of math, English, U.S. history, etc. should be required to adhere to Catholic doctrine in their personal lives. The bishop's insistence on this pledge is liable to cost the Catholic schools some very good teachers, or force the teachers to do something dishonest in order to keep their job.
While I am a person of faith and honesty, given the choice of being employed or not, I might very well sign the pledge knowing I disagree with some of the things it stands for. After all, it's just a piece of paper. I'd also probably start the search for a new teaching position.
Find out more at www.joelbennett.org.