<b>Remembering history</b>

EDITOR: I think it's reasonable to compare Iran's new "smile" with events of 80 or so years ago when the British government came up with a piece of paper signed by a chap named A. Hitler, and Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain declared, "Peace in our time." I hope that our well-educated president has read history and will not be bound to repeat it with a smile from the Iran's equivalent. Those who do not read history are bound to repeat it.


Santa Rosa

<b>Court secrecy</b>

EDITOR: Assembly Bill 566 doesn't block courts from contracting out, as your editorial said, "for any reason" ("One bill the governor should veto," Thursday). It does require the court to prove it would save money.

What other reason would there be? To keep workers bidding lower and lower for jobs? Court workers are sworn officers of the court whose careers are tied to the proper functioning of the justice system. Private contractors are just that — concerned with their private interests with no stake in the public's constitutional right to access justice.

Court workers deserve a living wage, and our communities deserve living-wage jobs and service workers who care.

If The Press Democrat is concerned about saving the courts money, it should look at how the Judicial Council and the Administrative Office of the Courts, the bureaucracy that runs the state's justice system, wasted a half-billion dollars on a failed database system and untold hundreds of millions on the palatial new Long Beach courthouse. Since they are the only state agencies not required to comply with California's open government laws, there is no oversight or accountability. They oppose AB 566 so they can continue to operate in secret.



<b>Punishing taxpayers</b>

EDITOR: I went to the Library of Congress online catalog to look up a book, and this is the message that was across the top of the page: "In the event of a temporary shutdown of the federal government, beginning Tuesday, October 1, the LC online catalog website will be inaccessible."

As a webmaster, I know of absolutely no reason why an indexing website should be inaccessible to the public. This sabotage clearly shows the disdain that government employees feel toward those who pay their salaries — the taxpayers. Let's make them feel pain so that we get our gain. And you wonder why we don't trust government.


Santa Rosa

<b>Let us vote</b>

EDITOR: Our right to vote on issues of social and economic importance has been replaced by the agendas of special interest groups and their influence over our representatives. We have three issues that can and should be decided upon by the citizens of Sonoma County:

; Formation of Sonoma Clean Power, a government agency to replace a private industry, PG&E, as our provider of power.

; Removal of plastic bags and an additional 10-cent fee if you require a paper bag.

; Fluoridation of our drinking water.

Most egregious is Sonoma Clean Power's business plan, which is based on taking more than 80 percent of PG&E's customers by fiat, not choice. A small personal poll of 20 citizens revealed that 80 percent weren't even aware of Sonoma Clean Power and its planned takeover.

These issues could have been voted upon on the November 2012 ballot, where they would have been defeated. We don't need to fall into a sense of false urgency as evidenced by the actions of Sonoma Clean Power. These issues can and should be voted upon by our citizens in November 2014 or sooner.



<b>Misplaced bike lanes</b>

EDITOR: Enough with the bike lanes. Traffic has hummed along Yulupa Avenue from the Bennett Valley Golf Course all the way to Montgomery Drive for as many years as I can remember. It passes residences, schools, stores, gas stations and quite a few side streets. It is, or rather, it was four lanes for most of the route. I can count on one hand the number of times I've seen even one bicyclist on this road.

Is it really necessary to reduce traffic in either direction to one lane to accommodate bicyclists? How about we construct some bike lanes on the roads where bicycle riders want to be, you know, those roads that they frequent with no bike lanes, those roads where they're a real danger to themselves and to motorists?

I don't see that a build-it-and-they-shall-come attitude has increased the number of people riding to and from businesses, stores, schools, etc. Personally, I think we've gone overboard on the bike lane issue.


Santa Rosa