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<b>Politics of churches</b>

EDITOR: It has been well over a year since Holy Family Episcopal Church in Rohnert Park closed its doors. Reading Tuesday's letter "The bishop's words" caused an old wound to reopen. Our church closed its doors because the Episcopal bishop of the Diocese of Northern California, aka the CEO, and his staff of bean counters were not transparent with parishioners about their intent. The pastoral leader had already made his decision while we waited for direction and guidance that never came.

The result is that the majority no longer attend church. After attending for more than 22 years, serving as a Eucharist minister and acolyte, I am no longer affiliated with any church. The experience at Holy Family left many of us disillusioned with organized religion, which is on a par with the politics of this country. When the church leaders lose sight that the church is the people, they will lose the people.

Unfortunately, our bishop did not emulate the Good Shepherd. He sold us out for 30 pieces of silver, or whatever amount was realized from the sale of our church. Choosing a bishop is an illusion, as the politics of the church will never allow it to happen.

ROSE KOSTIUK NOWAK

Petaluma

<b>Bikes must share too</b>

EDITOR: In the photo on Wednesday's front page ("Split over bike law"), I notice that the autos are giving the cyclists plenty of room, but Gordon Stewart and his fellow cyclists are doing their best to obstruct traffic. They have a few feet to their right but are riding on or as near as possible to the white line. They could be protected from automobiles if they stayed in that area. Bicyclist should consider that "share the road" applies to them also.

JAMES MALACHOWSKI

Sebastopol

<b>Excessive punishment</b>

EDITOR: The Press Democrat's Monday editorial on PG&E's possible fine tied to the San Bruno gas line explosion was correct ("How much of penalty for PG&E?"). As I understand it, PG&E's mitigation actions were all from its shareholders' bucks as opposed to ratepayers. Under those circumstances, the proposed fine certainly is excessive.

Making matters worse, part of the fine would go to the state general fund and TURN's coffers. If approved by the administrative law judge, the result would mean that the fine will consume PG&E's Public-Utilities-Commission-permitted profit for several years, resulting in a major increase in borrowing costs, which would then increase rates.

TURN, whose role is protecting the ratepayers, should reject any share of the fine if it is to have any future creditability with ratepayers.

KURT HAHN

Healdsburg

<b>Hospice volunteers</b>

EDITOR: I am responding to John Broughton's letter regarding volunteers at Heartland Hospice ("For-profit volunteers," Friday). Heartland Hospice is one of several providing care to terminally patients and their families in Sonoma County. Every hospice that takes Medicare dollars must agree to certain conditions of participation. One of these conditions is that a mandated percentage of work done by the hospice be done by volunteers.

It is the volunteer coordinator's job to see that volunteers are recruited, trained and monitored as they provide service, and document these hours for review by Medicare. This service can be as a friendly visitor, as bereavement support, as a vigil volunteer or as office support. In the office they assist with filing and organizing supplies. They do not take jobs away from paid staff, nor are they a tool of management to get more work done for less money.

Our wonderful volunteers and those of the other hospices in town allow us to do our work and comply with federal regulations. As a point of education regarding hospice, the main difference between a for-profit and a not-for-profit is that for-profits are not allowed to fund-raise.

ANNE MARIE CHENEY

Santa Rosa