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Seize the moment

EDITOR: The National Rifle Association's solution to the U.S. gun problem is: turn us into an armed camp, starting with our schools. Others wring their hands, suggesting we've lost the moment ("Too little, too late," April 1). Still others are taking action.

MomsDemandAction.org has sprung up since Newtown. It offers facts and creative ways to communicate with leaders. Other busy groups include the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence and MoveOn.org.

The need is clear. Mother Jones magazine reports that there have been 62 mass shootings since 1982. Twenty-five of these have occurred since 2006, seven of them in 2012 alone.

The proposed assault weapons ban isn't perfect, but it would have outlawed 48 of the 143 guns used in those 62 shootings.

We need to ban high-capacity magazines. If a shooter has to stop to reload, some people can run to safety or the perpetrator can be overpowered as happened in Tucson, Ariz.

We need universal background checks. In states with background checks, 38 percent fewer women are killed by their partners, according to MayorsAgainstIllegalGuns.org. Responsible citizens will put up with minor inconveniences for the good of all, as at airports.

Seize this moment. The Senate may vote this week.



Out of bounds

EDITOR: Your third article on the Petaluma police officer's scooter accident on the golf course strikes me as a bit "out of bounds" ("Records to be released in officer's scooter crash," Saturday). Golf courses sell alcohol for consumption via mobile drink carts. A golf cart is not street-legal, lacking lights, turn signals, etc. and is driven only on the golf course. The golf cart was not on a public road, so why is this an issue?


Rohnert Park

Local power

EDITOR: Sonoma Clean Power is poised to bring a better option for electricity to Sonoma County over the next few years.

Friday's editorial ("Will county power plan pencil out?") confidently proclaims that "the problem is that paying less or the same amount for such a system is not an option," but anyone watching Marin County know that's not true.

Marin Clean Energy operates a program similar to Sonoma Clean Power, and while its rates started out a bit higher, they are now only 1 percent above PG&E for homes and 3 percent below PG&E for businesses. And instead of paying dividends to shareholders, the program puts several million dollars of its income into new efficiency programs. Marin even pays owners of solar arrays for producing extra power and supplies a mix of 50 percent renewable energy to everyone.

I want a program like that because I want our county to invest in clean power without having to pay extra. Let's make it happen in Sonoma County.


President, Codding Enterprises

Willits project

EDITOR: As a representative of highway workers, I know firsthand how frustrated they have been by the weeks of delay on the Willits bypass caused by unlawful trespassers. These workers have been prevented from receiving pay, and their families have been affected.

Though work has finally started, workers continue to endure daily threats and the fear that someone may harm them or be harmed by jumping in front of dangerous equipment. Additionally, the cost to taxpayers to protect both parties is hundreds of thousands of dollars.

To become a volunteer driver, sign up with one of these programs:

Santa Rosa (Bennett Valley to Roseland)
Catholic Charities St. Rose CARES
Contact: 707-528-2063; srcharities.org/get-help/senior-services

Petaluma, Rohnert Park, Penngrove, Two Rock, Valley Ford
Petaluma People Services Center iRIDE Program
Contact: 707-765-8488; petalumapeople.org/seniors/transportation

West County
Sebastopol Area Senior Center/Volunteer Driver Transportation Program
Contact: 707-829-2440; sebastopolseniorcenter.org/transportation

Sonoma Valley (Sears Point to Kenwood)
Vintage House Local Independent Mobility Options Program (Nonmedical rides only.)
Contact: 707-996-0311, ext. 308; vintagehouse.org/programs-and-services/limo

North County
Cloverdale Senior Center Volunteer Driver Program
Contact: 707-894-4826; cloverdaleseniorcenter.com

Ironically, part of the reason for such a high cost for the project is the tens of millions of dollars spent to mitigate environmental issues raised in community meetings over the past decade. Consequently, Caltrans engaged in a rigorous process that resulted in 2,000 protected acres, creek restoration, a raised highway and a huge net reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Officials have clearly complied with the demands of the bypass opponents. Yet they will still not accept their success.

It's unfortunate that opponents have forced local construction workers to work under a hail of insults and with police protection. But a job is a job.

Thank you, Caltrans, and hats off to the CHP.


Operating Engineers, Local No. 3

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