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Why I'm still cycling

EDITOR: In response to Matthew Wilson ("Why I'm no longer a cyclist," Close to Home, March 10), I must say that biking has become a major mode of transportation for me over the years. I, too, ride miles at a time and have been through life-threatening situations due to reckless drivers. To think that one second, a few feet of distance and a slam on the brakes could be the difference between life and death for me is terrifying. However, I do not have a couple thousand dollars lying around to buy a 3,000-pound metal shield; therefore, I will stay in my bike lane and hope that the drivers will stay in their lanes.

JENIFER MORETTO SIMON

Santa Rosa

Marriage and values

EDITOR: State recognition of gay marriage falls squarely within our historic Western European values. Since the age of Enlightenment, more than 300 years ago, the trend and theme of our Occidental experience has been emancipation, liberty and individualism.

Liberty of the person, security of property and freedom to love are in fact common-sense views of fundamental human needs, impulses and inclinations. Gay marriage embraces, defends and expands our traditional secular humanistic values.

STEVEN KLAUSNER

Glen Ellen

Abortion restrictions

EDITOR: So the governor of North Dakota signed a bill outlawing abortion of any fetus with a detectable heartbeat, which can be as early as six weeks and could only be detected with a transvaginal ultrasound ("Abortion restrictions become law," Wednesday).

Ironically, learning this news brought to mind a famous quote by the conservative deity, Ronald Reagan: "Government isn't the solution, it's the problem."

I happen to believe that at that stage, the fetus is a living entity. I also know that it is a private part of the mother's body and not yet a member of society, and that is whom laws are meant to protect.

DAN LAZZARINI

Rohnert Park

Puzzling story

EDITOR: I'm puzzled by the attention given to the people who no longer get daily mail delivered to their doors ("Mail-delivery blues," Tuesday). Most of us stopped receiving such service decades ago. How difficult or inconvenient or "infuriating" can it be to walk 50 feet to get your mail, just like the rest of us?

SCOTT MAHONEY

Windsor

People over system

EDITOR: The core teaching of religions should be that people are sacred. Instead, they often teach that the system is sacred and, as such, strive to control their adherents' thinking to oppose birth control, homosexuality, masturbation and other arguably harmless yet important personal and interpersonal behaviors.

Authoritarian-type clergy protect the system in ways that leave many parishioners with emotional "limps," weakened by bully pulpit positions.

Religions can bind us in ways that blind us to the harm done in God's name. Our powerful drive to belong causes people to override their ability to create a healthy distance from an unhealthy system.

A healthy religious system, like a healthy family, is one that allows its people to be different and still belong. As a former clergyman, now a family therapist, I am able to say that a life lived at a distance from unhealthy systems can be a wonderful journey.

DON SCULLY

Sebastopol

Clear-cut highway

EDITOR: I am appalled at how many trees have been cut down along Highway 101 from Windsor to Petaluma. What is it Caltrans is attempting to achieve? A treeless highway that can be seen from every direction?

The trees along the highway serve a purpose — to block the noise and sight of the highway.

When and if Caltrans does any replanting, it is with the smallest, most anemic trees I have ever seen, half of which do not survive. I am all for improving the flow of traffic, but clear-cutting all the redwoods is not acceptable to me. Let's see some replanting already.

DAVIN GOLDSTEIN

Forestville