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Money and tyranny

EDITOR: Money, money, money. How do great sums contributed to a candidate equate to a democracy? Over the years, I've asked myself that many times. Aren't we just buying governance? Or buying anything a particular wealthy interest wants? How does that differ from corruption?

In his March 23 column ("The long reach of the National Rifle Association"), Chris Coursey reported that the NRA gave $18 million to independent campaigns working to defeat Democratic candidates. It sounds like the NRA has the advantage. Politicians don't want to come into its crosshairs, so they fail to act in a responsible way. They just roll over and play dead.

How is it that our leaders are so compromised? Doesn't aggressive power equal tyranny? Can tyranny be an offspring of democracy?

NANCY B. DAVISON

Sebastopol

Willits needs bypass

EDITOR: It was brought to my attention that people opposed to the Willits bypass went on record at the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors' meeting as saying that I oppose the bypass. I had a call from one of the supervisors asking if that was true. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I have supported the bypass for more than 40 years. I testified at California Transportation Commission meetings when we were asking for funding. I have written countless letters of support. It infuriates me when people twist the truth and give misinformation if it seems that it will suit their interest.

The only alternative to the current imperfect design is a continuation of the status quo for the indefinite future. The truth is, the birds will fly to the next tree, the frogs will hop to the next pond and, 10 years from now, life will go on and most won't notice that anything unusual has happened. They will just be happy they can get through Willits and enjoy our downtown area.

MARGIE HANDLEY

Willits

A marriage amendment

EDITOR: Equating sexual orientation with race as the basis for granting same-sex marriage rights is problematic for many given the lack of proof for homosexuality's immutability. But if the Framers truly held that the Constitution was to be a living, breathing document adaptable to any time in which Americans live, then we ought to test that belief by putting same-sex marriage through the amendment process that was established to allow for such change.

Such a process is certainly more democratic than waiting to hear how nine, unelected U.S. Supreme Court justices rule on Proposition 8 — justices who may be prone to the same political forces that appointed them or who are able to exercise greater power, through judicial legislation, than what the Framers intended to give them.

If a same-sex marriage amendment is ratified by two-thirds of Congress and three-quarters of state legislatures, or state conventions, as mandated by the Constitution, just as suffrage for blacks and women was ratified under the 15th and 19th amendments, then "We, the people" will have truly spoken.

DAVE GEOFFRION

Petaluma

Willits tragedy

EDITOR: In his Saturday column regarding the Willits bypass ("The trees are important, but so are the people in them"), Chris Coursey ignored the established understanding that no action will occur on behalf of the average person, and certainly on behalf of the natural environment, unless someone is out on the fringes blaring truth from whatever meager platform is available. Today, Headwaters Forest would not be standing were it not for tree-sitters (I was one of them).

Leaving such critical decisions to a roomful of centrists willing to compromise the health of our natural environment is not "the best we can hope for." The best we can hope for is an informed citizenry willing to stand in the way of bulldozers poised to do irreversible damage to a pristine valley once the deal-makers have provided the project with legal cover.

What rarely gets mentioned is that the Willits bypass is part an ongoing series of Caltrans projects designed to open up the California North Coast to large trucks, thereby creating a through loop to foment the development of Humboldt and Del Norte counties (where these trucks are currently banned).

This is a tragedy unfolding, and we would appreciate it if people such as Coursey would recognize it as such.

GREG KING

President, Siskiyou Land Conservancy