Extremism vs. patriotism

EDITOR: Too often, extremist views lead to bad public policy or stalemate. Gun control is one of those issues. Polls show that a majority of Republicans, Democrats and independents support a ban on assault rifles and high-capacity ammunition magazines. Most reasonable people who believe in the Second Amendment also believe these weapons should only be in the hands of the military and police. Yet vocal and powerful extremist groups characterize those of us who support an assault weapons ban as un-American. Un-American is often defined as deviating from American cultural and political values.

If anyone is acting in an un-American way, it is the extremists who support the proliferation of assault rifles.

How dare they question the patriotism of the majority of their hard-working friends, neighbors and colleagues? Being an inflexible fanatic doesn't make you a patriot.

We need background checks for sure. But when it comes to assault rifles and high-capacity magazines, the real patriots are the first-responders and brave survivors who lived through the senseless destruction of innocents caused by assault weapons in Colorado and Connecticut.

I commend the brave politicians in these states and others who are standing up to the extremists in support of tighter gun controls and working toward sensible laws.



Sonoma Clean Power

EDITOR: I would like to address last Friday's editorial ("Will county power plan pencil out?").

First, Marin County has a similar program that is working well. Power is cheaper, greener and starting to boost the local economy.

This type of program is called community choice aggregation. This program will provide Sonoma County residents with choice in energy providers and, in doing so, create competition that should drive prices down and encourage better customer service.

We can expect Sonoma Clean Power to produce millions of dollars every year that will be kept in our community. This money will support energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in homes, schools and businesses. It will provide jobs, real cost savings and cleaner air. In Marin County, rates are within 1 percent of PG&E, and businesses are paying less.

PG&E's current mix has 20 percent renewable energy. Sonoma Clean Power will kick off with 33 percent and an option for 100 percent renewable (yes, this costs more).

The program is voluntary. No one has to participate. We should approach this with an open mind. When the rates are released, we will all be able to make an informed decision.


Sonoma County planning commissioner

Abortion trial

EDITOR: In Philadelphia, a doctor by the name of Kermit Gosnell is on trial for the murder of seven new-born babies. He is alleged to have killed them by severing their spinal cords with a pair of scissors. Had this man been accused of going into a day-care center and shooting seven toddlers, his trial would be front-page news in every newspaper and the lead story on the network news. However, this trial is virtually unreported, including in The Press Democrat. Why? Is it because these seven babies had the misfortune to be born alive in a facility that exists to perform late-term abortions?


Santa Rosa

Humane behavior

EDITOR: This is in appreciation of Alyssa Moore, the young lady who took a stand for a frightened chicken being chased in a spirit raising "game" at Maria Carrillo High ("Alyssa stands by the chicken," Tuesday).

When I was a child, we raised chickens. My parents would never have allowed us to chase or frighten them, and we would never have thought it fun to do so. They were the gentle creatures who pecked in the dirt and gave us fresh eggs.

I now have the privilege of volunteering at the Sonoma County Humane Society's amazing Forget Me Not Farm, a therapeutic setting where at-risk children garden and work with animals. Many of the youngsters who come to the farm have serious challenges, but they quickly integrate our first rule, "Treat all living and non-living things with respect." It is a joy to see how loving they are with all the animals, from the smallest chicken to the biggest horse.

I am very impressed with Moore for trying to teach kindness to her fellow students. She will go far.


Santa Rosa