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Working-people pledge

EDITOR: In Thursday's editorial ("The best pledge: Keep an open mind"), the special interests referred to are working-class people, not corporations or the very wealthy. The Grayson-Takano pledge supports the health care of working people and opposes any increase in the retirement age or reduction of cost-of-living adjustments. This is anything but a virtual bookend of the Norquist pledge.

If the so-called big issues when taken off the table, like "no new taxes," will only result in failure, why has this been such a smashing success for Norquist and the Republicans, all of whom seem to be on board?

The addition of information about Rep. Jared Huffman being one of 49 who haven't signed, along with the reference to Norman Solomon favoring it, indicates to me clear support of Huffman. This editorial also tells me The Press Democrat's position in opposition to the content of the Grayson-Takano Pledge.

I'm wondering if The Press Democrat wrote an editorial criticizing the Norquist pledge at the time it was created.

JIM STOOPS

Sebastopol

Holy Week's focus

EDITOR: Much has been made of the letter that Bishop Robert Vasa initially proposed, then ultimately elected not to be a requirement to be signed by Diocesan teachers. Indeed, this has become quite a topic of conversation locally — as evidenced by the top billing that the story was given in The Press Democrat just last week, relative to the latest development concerning the issue ("Bishop relents on vow for teachers," Friday).

Certainly, it will continue to be a source of much discussion and opinion; very deservedly so. However, during this Holy Week, that which is considered most sacred to not only those of the Catholic faith but to Christians in general, perhaps we can take the time to acknowledge that there is a bigger picture to all of this and, for this week at least, focus our respective and collective time and energy reflecting on that.

DOUG CAESARE

Santa Rosa

Sharing the road

EDITOR: I, too, am a cyclist, and I have had my share of close calls with drivers who weren't paying attention or were just showing blunt disregard for bike riders. I do obey all the rules of the road because it's the right thing to do, and it's for my own safety.

Having said this, I also ride a Harley, and I am usually out there on Sundays with a few fellow riders. We usually ride the back country roads; you can hear us coming a long ways away, and when I see a cyclist ahead of us, I always warn the guys behind me. But I couldn't tell you how many times I have come upon a group of cyclists riding three to four abreast, blocking the whole road. Even though I know that they hear our motorcycles, they refuse to move over. A lot of times we have to pass on the wrong side of the road, and when we do so we get some nasty looks from these guys.

I get tired of reading how it's always the driver's fault. If we are to coexist on the road, we have to have mutual respect for one another.

CHARLES BORG

Santa Rosa

A nation united

EDITOR: America is an awesome country because it is a strong democracy that encourages legal immigration. I immigrated legally 58 years ago from Denmark. I learned English and about my new country before I became a citizen.

We currently have a backlog of aspiring legal immigrants, yet we are talking about giving legal status to immigrants who came to our country illegally. This is a reward that keeps illegal immigrants, largely from Mexico, coming to this country. Unfortunately, too often immigrants refuse to learn English, and we enable that by translating everything.

Americans are a wonderful blend of cultures from all over the globe. Our country is strong because we have a diverse population that retains its heritage yet also blends into our unique democracy, making us one united country where everyone speaks English so we can communicate well with one another.

KIRSTEN CUTLER

Santa Rosa