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<b>Fluoride debate</b>

EDITOR: How many people in Sonoma County are aware that the Department of Health Services has recommended that our tap water have fluoride added to it? How many know that the Board of Supervisors will be voting on this recommendation this coming March?

I recently learned about this by attending a debate by two dentists who oppose the idea. The two who favored it didn't show up.

I came to see that this is a controversial topic. Many health professionals say this will improve our children's dental health. Many others say that fluoride is a neurotoxin that can cause kidney, brain and endocrine damage.

Ninety-seven percent of European countries have rejected its use in their water.

When something is so uncertain, why should we be mandated to drink it every day? Why can we not be given the choice by a vote and be able to decide with our doctors whether we wish to prescribe it to our children? These are questions I hope everyone will be asking themselves and our Board of Supervisors.

HALLY DeCARION

Santa Rosa

<b>A fair exchange</b>

EDITOR: The Democrats, who hold a majority in the Senate, ought to negotiate with the radical tea party fraction of the Republican Party in the House. An agreement could be reached not to fund the Affordable Care Act (even though it was an expression of the will of the people as evidenced by the election of President Barack Obama over Mitt Romney, passed by the Congress and ratified by the U.S. Supreme Court) in exchange for greater gun control, fair immigration legislation, the re-institution of women's rights, particularly in some of the Southern states, a prohibition against gerrymandering political districts and passing legislation to re-instate the Voting Rights Act provision struck down by the gang of pro-corporate politicians in black robes who now sit on the Supreme Court.

GENE COLOMBINI

Santa Rosa

<b>Apportioning credit</b>

EDITOR: Susan Adams ("The right direction," Letters, Sept. 23) gives full credit for the improvements that have taken place in the Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District to Superintendent Robert Haley. What Adams didn't mention was that our district was saved from a state takeover in 2011 when teachers took a 2 percent salary cut, agreed to work six fewer days per year and agreed to pay significantly more for health care benefits. All of these contributions took place well before Haley's arrival.

Smaller classes at the primary level are the result of initiatives taken by the state Legislature with the support of the California Teachers Association and by the voters of Rohnert Park and Cotati who helped pass Measure D. The restoration of three workdays for professional development was the result of Common Core funds the district received from Sacramento and a memorandum of understanding reached with the Rohnert Park Cotati Educators Association.

Yes, Haley deserves credit for bringing a positive, can-do spirit to our district, but let's not forget the sacrifices and contributions made by the educators and community members of Rohnert Park and Cotati who are the backbone behind our district's turnaround.

RICHARD NEFFSON

President, Rohnert Park Cotati Educators Association

<b>Unfair trash charges</b>

EDITOR: Do you live in an apartment? If so, read on. I recently moved to Creekside apartments near Larkfield. There are 86 units here. My July trash charge was $18.99. I am one person in an apartment. Two people were charged $30.38, four in an apartment were charged $41.78 in July. I asked the manager what could be done about this outrageous charge for trash service and she said, "There is nothing we can do." I decided there is one thing I can do, and that is making others aware of the unfair charges allowed by the county's trash franchise.

Why should apartment dwellers pay substantially more than single-family homes for the same service? I checked the rates on the Redwood Empire Disposal website, and it's $10.65 a month for a 20-gallon container, and a 32-gallon container is $12.71.

If you live in an apartment, check your monthly trash charges. Granted, we have large dumpsters, three for regular trash and two for recycling, but it seems to me that these five containers can be emptied in a short period of time compared to emptying up to three containers for each single-family residence.

RICK STROBEL

Santa Rosa

<b>Shutdown or shakedown?</b>

EDITOR: I just wanted to make a small correction to Wednesday's front-page headline "GOP takes new angle on shutdown." That headline should have read "GOP takes new angle on shakedown."

DAVID MacPHAIL

Santa Rosa