Costly bypass

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.



Annex Roseland

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.


Santa Rosa

Revisiting Wal-Mart

EDITOR: The Living Wage Coalition applauds the request by Wal-Mart that the city of Rohnert Park recirculate the revised environmental impact report for the proposed Wal-Mart supercenter for a 45-day public comment period. ("Wal-Mart asks rp to extend public review period," March 7).

Wal-Mart's request is a victory for good government and public participation in the planning process. The revised EIR submitted by Wal-Mart contains new information about traffic and noise impacts. Recirculating it will ensure that the public has adequate time to study and comment on it.

The request by Wal-Mart will delay the approval process. After the 45-day public comment period is closed, the Planning Commission will hold another hearing and vote again on the project.

However, we believe this delay is warranted given how controversial the project is and how important it is for the public and city officials to carefully weigh the benefits and the costs of the proposed supercenter.

In a recent presentation in Santa Rosa, former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich made the case that the costs of the supercenter clearly outweigh the benefits. A recording of his speech can be downloaded at livingwagesonoma.org.