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Coastal monument

EDITOR: The March 24 editorial ("Hidden treasure on Mendo Coast") reflected the enthusiasm of local businesses, including Visit Mendocino County members, who are eager to secure permanent protection for the Stornetta Public Lands.

Rep. Jared Huffman called these lands "a national treasure" and introduced legislation to try to protect them as part of the California Coastal National Monument. The openness, grandeur and accessibility of our coast makes it more appealing than other parts of California. With permanent protection for the Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands, Mendocino County's south coast would become even more attractive, not only for locals but for visitors as well.

How often do you visit a place with your family where you can unplug from life? Where your kids can be kids and you can teach them about the world around you? As I told a National Geographic editor recently, this is a place of grand beauty you have to experience during your lifetime, as it will not only inspire and change your child's life but your own as well.

SCOTT SCHNEIDER

President, Visit Mendocino

Police state

EDITOR: I just heard the news that the National Rifle Association is proposing guns as protection for each school in the United States ("NRA report urges armed staff at schools," Wednesday). This is quite an insidious endeavor for a number of bizarre and invasive reasons: gun manufacturers would make out as literal bandits as per the increase in their revenue; invasive surveillance takes precedence over privacy; the expense is outrageous; legislators as proponents would impose self-serving and exclusive mandates; potential criminals would identify yet additional targets; academic leaders and teachers would be faced with the rationale of a police state.

Most important, what a defeating message to students as this concept is considered protective of their safety and well-being. Instead, it's the culmination of fear without addressing the causes of a society that has failed to provide services and resources for those whose distress and illness becomes violent. Creating scary environments doesn't solve the problems.

BARBARA HARRIS

Sebastopol

Not a simple question

EDITOR: During this Passover and Passion season, it might be well for us to reflect on the question put to us in Reuben Navarrette's March 24 column ("The price illegal immigrants should pay"). Did the immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally do something wrong?

I was fortunate in most of my adult life to work with immigrants. I didn't ask whether they had completed the immigration process. Many or most of them were probably undocumented. They were just people to me. They were mostly young people who had left their homelands and families to find work to feed their loved ones. They worked hard — aware that their families depended on the money they sent home. It meant food and medical care — the difference between health or illness, sometimes life or death. It's hard for us to imagine the kind of poverty their families often live in.

I'm sure that most, if not all, of the good fathers and mothers and sons and daughters I know, if faced with that situation of dire poverty, would do anything they needed to do to feed and care for their families. It's not a simple question, "Was what they did wrong?"

JOYCE HIGGINS

Rohnert Park

Remember the victim

EDITOR: I take exception to the remarks made by the lawyer of Harry E. Smith ("Plea deal for SR man who hit cyclist," Saturday), who ran down a bicyclist in a fit of road rage. He said, "Mr. Smith is a good man who lived a good life, unfortunately, this has happened to him at the end of his years."

I contend that this did not happen to him, this happened because of him. As the article goes on to state, Smith was a suspect in two road-rage incidents in the past year, and he was convicted of reckless driving with alcohol in 2006.

The good man in this scenario appears to be the injured cyclist, Toraj Soltani, who just wants to put this behind him. Let's not forget who the victim is here.

JEFF ADAIR

Ukiah