<b>Un-American tactics</b>

EDITOR: Schoolyard bullies often try to justify their aggression by blaming their victims. They continue to threaten others until adults in the school recognize and take the action needed to put an end to such bullying. Today, we are witnessing similar bullying tactics being used by extreme right-wing tea party politicians in their efforts to prevent the extension of basic health care to millions of Americans. They are threatening our entire nation by saying, "You'll give us want we want, or else . . ."

Comparisons to bullying and extortion don't adequately describe their tactics and the danger they pose to our country. Our American system of government is based on laws passed by majorities of duly elected representatives in both the House and the Senate, signed by the president and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. When a minority political group, financed by billionaires, attempts to undermine this process to impose its views on the rest of us by shutting down our government and damaging our economy, we need to call these un-patriotic strategies what they really are — fundamentally un-American.


Santa Rosa

<b>Yet another tasting</b>

EDITOR: About 20 years ago, I started having an annual Sonoma County Harvest Fair party, inviting friends and family from out of town. At the fair, there was something for everyone. Those with children were as happy as the wine drinkers. We loved the haunted house, the petting zoo, the pumpkin contest, apple tasting, the llama parade, the quirky acts — Dan the Paddle Ball Man, Karen Quest and her Cowgirl Tricks — and so much more.

Sadly, I've had to contact my guests and tell them not to come this year. There is no Harvest Fair. It's now just another wine tasting, at $50 a head.

I'm surprised at how many local friends had no idea of the change. Where was the public input? Couldn't we have tried alternatives, such as asking a higher price at the gate, before just scrapping it?

Another community event has quietly slipped away to be replaced with an adults-only wine affair. Is this all we're about in Sonoma County?


Santa Rosa

<b>Outstanding bishop</b>

EDITOR: In regard to Bishop Robert Vasa and his recent interview ("Weighing pope's words," Sept. 21), I would just like to say that Vasa is a fantastic bishop who is more than pastoral. He is approachable, kind and willing to listen with an open heart to any member of his flock. He maintains that wonderful balance of being pastoral and being a good administrator. He rightly pointed out that we need both of these traits in a spiritual leader. Any organization needs a good balance between having structure and order and having heart and compassion. Vasa perfectly balances these two aspects. I am just one of many who wholeheartedly supports my bishop and appreciates all that he does for this diocese.


Santa Rosa

<b>Rider responds</b>

EDITOR: As one of the riders in the picture referred to by James Malachowski ("Bikers must share, too," Letters, Friday), I feel obliged to respond to his criticism of my riding style.

When there is no bike lane, only a shoulder on a road, there are two good reasons for riding close to the white line. First, the rider needs to be able to move aside from any impediment in the shoulder lane (bolts, glass, dead animals, etc.) and so allows room to move left or right if necessary. Second, gravel, broken glass and other odds and ends tend to accumulate on the right side of the shoulder, so the wise rider stays to the left.

If there were a bike lane on Occidental Road, we all would be happy, but there we are.



<b>End checkpoints</b>

EDITOR: It is time to call for an end to drunken driver checkpoints in Sonoma County. This latest checkpoint in Sebastopol was typical — inconveniencing 1,100 drivers to catch virtually no one ("One cited on license violation at Sebastopol checkpoint," pressdemocrat.com).

I'll bet it's a great deal for law enforcement. The last statement in the article, as is typical, implies the stops don't cost us anything because they were funded by a grant, but we all know that we pay for them with our taxes. I would like to know what the checkpoint cost. Regardless, no one should be stopped without cause. That's a basic right in our constitution.

What's next: stop and frisk?


Santa Rosa