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<b>Jobs at stake</b>

EDITOR: It's ironic that The Press Democrat will one day decry the stratification of incomes and another rail against unions trying to maintain employee positions at courthouses all over the state ("One bill the governor should veto," Editorial, Sept. 26).

The Administrative Office of the Courts, which is pushing the governor to veto Assembly Bill 566, wrote, "These editorials did not appear by accident. They are the result of the hard work of . . . the AOC. They have done an excellent job advocating our position in opposition to AB 566." So when it comes to advocating for a group's goals, unions, which are funded by their members, are bad, but the AOC, which is funded by taxpayers, is good.

The focus of this bill is to keep as public employees those working to maintain accessibility of court proceedings. Many who work in the legal system feel that privatization creates serious concerns beyond the obvious erosion of wages, with no guaranteed savings. Courthouse employees in Sonoma County have not had a cost-of-living increase in four years — agreed to by the union — while the AOC just gave its staff a 3.5 percent raise.

Jeopardizing rights in the name of thrift, while not guaranteeing any savings, does not seem to be a good bargain.

ELLEN MINGST COOPER

Santa Rosa

<b>Politicians as usual</b>

EDITOR: Let's hope a collective rolling of the eyes occurred as readers perused Wednesday's coverage of the upcoming state Senate race ("New candidates jolt state Senate race"). Santa Rosa City Councilwoman Erin Carlstrom's comments stood out if only for their assumption that voters will believe anything you tell them.

As part of her statement announcing her intention to run for retiring state Sen. Noreen Evans' seat, Carlstrom, who is on maternity leave from her post, said: "Now, more than ever, I understand the full meaning of public service . . . . but looking at my son, that knowledge is now personal."

It bears mentioning that she already has an important job. Somewhat reminiscent of a certain Alaskan governor who felt that 2? years was enough of a commitment to her constituency, Carlstrom has served less than a year on the City Council. Apparently she will return to public duties Nov. 5 and hold a campaign kickoff Nov. 13.

She would be well-advised to understand that public service means actually doing the job, not jumping ship. Unbridled ambition is only admirable when it is accompanied by experience and judgment. In truth, her son's message seems to have been "see mom run."

JOHN BRODEY

Santa Rosa

<b>Early wake-up</b>

EDITOR: I was awakened at 7 a.m. Saturday not by the sounds of birds singing or the smell of coffee but by a booming voice over a bullhorn. Was it a police action or public emergency? No, it was an announcer before the GranFondo, more than a mile away. It was so loud I could hear it in my house with the doors and windows closed. Was it really necessary for such an amplified announcer? Isn't there a noise ordinance? So much for a peaceful Saturday morning.

KIM HARTY

Santa Rosa

<b>Fair competitions</b>

EDITOR: A small mistake in Tuesday's story about the Harvest Fair helps to conceal one reason for the drastic decline in attendance: "The judging for produce . . . was folded into the Sonoma County Fair over the summer" ("Harvest Fair in flux").

When we loyal entrants received the announcement that the Harvest Fair was abandoning the produce competitions that filled the entire Kraft Pavilion every year, we were told that these contests would be taken up by the county fair. We growers responded that produce would not be ready for harvest when the fair began at the end of July. We turned out to be right.

It may be that the county fair offered some kind of competition for whatever crop might have been at hand, but it misled readers to imply that the county fair simply carried on the Harvest Fair's long-standing tradition.

Every past year we arrived at the Harvest Fair early and stayed all day, spending our dollars freely. This year we stayed home.

KATHIE MORGAN

Santa Rosa