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<b>Weekend in the streets</b>

EDITOR: What about a new volunteer project for anyone who feels they're doing well and wants to give back and wants to experience something outside their comfort zone, for anyone who may not have time right now to travel to Costa Rica or Africa, who instead could give a weekend of their lives this autumn or winter to being on the streets with the homeless?

It could be organized in each community by churches, businesses or nonprofits that would loan bedrolls and tarps and even backpacks.

Imagine the new volunteers taking their "weekend on the streets" experiences back into their daily lives and coming up with insights and problem solving ideas in their communities after what they went through.

Imagine the possibilities if anyone from city councils or county boards of supervisors or state legislators happened to do a weekend on the streets.

What is worrisome now to Petaluma as homelessness grows is only the tip of the iceberg.

LESLIE WARREN

Guerneville

<b>Making road less safe</b>

EDITOR: I totally disagree with your statements about the roads being safer as a result of the passage of AB 60 ("Making the roads safer for everyone," Editorial, Sept. 20), and here is why. It is a fact that the majority of illegal immigrants don't speak, read or write English to the extent that driver's license tests are provided in Spanish and other non-English languages. We put people on the roads who are unable to read traffic signs that don't have symbols showing what they mean; and there are a lot of them. I, for one, do not want to be sharing the road with someone who is an accident looking for a place to happen. This bill now puts more of these drivers on the road, increasing the chance for accidents to happen.

TOM MERCURIO

Salinas

<b>Hospice risks</b>

EDITOR: There is no guarantee that dying at home under the "care" of hospice will be peaceful ("Why few of us get to die peacefully at home," Saturday). While it is true that hospice does good for some people some of the time, there are too many cases where hospice overmedicates or medicates inappropriately, and the result is not only a hastened death but a terrible death. The one-size-fits-all drugs that are now part of the arsenal of hospice — methadone, Haldol, oxycodone and Risperdal — can wreak havoc with a sick patient, making his or her last days horrific while the caregiver looks on.

The dying patient's tolerance for these potent drugs should be ascertained before signing on to hospice, not after the process is over.

I'm afraid that hospice is driven by the same forces that Katy Butler mentions in her Saturday op-ed column, that is, financial considerations.

Bottom Line: Dier beware.

ANDREE MACCOLL

Sebastopol

<b>Where are the names?</b>

EDITOR: A photo accompanying a story on the front page of Friday's business section ("Sonic expands its fiber footprint") depicted a hard-hatted construction crew. Where were their names?

In every other photo in the paper, those pictured are identified by name. This was not a big crowd shot — there are only about six guys in the photo. These hard-working men have identities and families. Do they not deserve recognition, just because they wear hardhats and not business suits? Would it have been so hard to get their names?

My son may never get his picture in the paper for winning an award or getting elected to public office; I hope he will never get his picture in the paper for committing a crime. In either case, I know you'd print his name. When I opened my paper to see him pictured doing hard, honest labor, I was delighted. But damn it, I wanted to see his name.

ERIS WEAVER

Cotati

<b>Who decides?</b>

EDITOR: The tea party claims that it is merely attempting to return the United States to the Founding Fathers' intent of a smaller federal government that adheres completely to the original intent of the Constitution. They might better be conceived of as the political equivalent of the Society for Creative Anachronism. Their intent seems to be to "recreate the Eighteenth Century, not as it was, but as it ought to have been." Though they want to be the ones to determine the "ought," regardless of what historians tell us the period was really like.

THOMAS W. JOHNSON

Santa Rosa