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<b>A downtown market</b>

EDITOR: On Wednesday, I read about a wine museum being built at the old AT&T building ("Tribute to the grape"). Really? When the city started talking about doing something with this building, I suggested a market with local merchants. We need a downtown market. I wrote to the City Council. Noreen Evans suggested my idea. Yes, it was a long time ago. The developer at the time struck it down, and nothing else was said about it.

I feel the council is not listening to the people who live here. Instead, council members are listening to people who don't live here, or people with money. A market would bring in tourists as well as a museum. We had one in Rohnert Park years ago. Guess what happened? It's gone. It didn't work. I guess they will find out eventually that this will not work either. Sad.

MIKE SHEA

Santa Rosa

<b>Propaganda victims</b>

EDITOR: I have only pity in my heart for those who spew hatred and derision toward President Barack Obama, calling him an evil fascist with the destruction of America as his agenda. I say pity, for they are brainwashed, manipulated victims of propaganda.

Listening to Obama for five minutes makes it abundantly clear how untrue all this fiery rhetoric is, even to those who oppose his policies. But the right-wing echo chamber, bought and paid for by moneyed interests, has promoted this disingenuous assault in a desperate attempt to limit his power to govern.

Those who become obsessed with this false image veer sharply from the commonly held view that, regardless of policy, Obama is a good man. And those who believe his policies represent some kind of epic battle for freedom and liberty are far removed from the mainstream.

Rapidly shifting demographics in America are no doubt scaring the heck out of this small but vocal minority, which may account for their vulnerability to this skewed portrait of our president. Unfortunately for them, this demographic shift will only get more pronounced going forward.

PATRICK NAGEL

Ukiah

<b>Changing Congress</b>

EDITOR: I'm disgusted, angry that our elected officials would toy with U.S. credibility and the economy in pursuit of their narrow objectives. President Barack Obama was re-elected, his health care legislation is being implemented; those who would gamble our financial stability don't serve the people.

There was never any doubt that the tea party's game of chicken would end badly for Republicans. Still the purists fought the good fight at our expense, leaving important issues unattended in their futile attempt to undo Obama. And, incredibly, they're set to repeat their strategy in January.

Citizens have every right to be mad as hell, and we have the power to make changes. But it takes focus effort to change the rigged-districts environment of Congress.

In the coming months, I will learn about those few Senate and House seats that actually are contested. I will send contributions to those candidates who have a chance of unseating a tea party incumbent. If millions of us send $20 to a candidate who has a chance of defeating a radical idealist, we can and will make a difference.

If the Arab Spring could manifest such tectonic changes against entrenched dictatorships, Americans, with the powerful communication abilities we possess, can influence the election of rational players.

MARK DOWNING

Santa Rosa

<b>Fluoride options</b>

EDITOR: I feel compelled to respond to Ron Harris ("Safe and effective," Letters, Sunday) who tells me to drink bottled water if I have an irrational fear of fluoridated water.

If I want fluoride, I can go to Wal-Mart, where I can purchase a 16.9-ounce bottle of fluoride rinse for kids that costs $2.38 and lasts more than six weeks. That's far cheaper than implementing a program for the unwilling public costing a million dollars in start-up costs and millions more to maintain all at the public's expense.

Harris' right to drink fluoridated water ends when I am forced to drink it, too. Subsidize the product for those children in need, but stop serving me baloney sandwiches and telling me that it's steak.

KEN PASEK

Santa Rosa