<b>Voting for Measure A</b>

EDITOR: I will be voting yes on Measure A in Rohnert Park. I supported the original Measure E tax measure, and I will support this extension. I give my support for two simple reasons:

When Measure E came to the ballot, the country had just experienced the worst financial meltdown in our history. Even though the recession officially ended in June 2009, the economy hasn't recovered at rates one would normally see coming out of a recession. Like it or not, city revenues depend on a growing economy, expanding employment and new businesses opening up. We have not seen much of that in Rohnert Park.

To add insult to injury, the California Legislature stripped away the redevelopment monies that the city relied on the complete various projects and to backfill the general fund when people worked on those projects. An end to this blatant money grab by the state does not seem to be on our horizon.

I feel that these two reasons justify a yes vote on Measure A in the special election.


Rohnert Park

<b>End the secrecy</b>

EDITOR: Once again we are confronted with the anguish of another killing by law enforcement. Once again we are asking why, after all of the investigations conducted by police and district attorney, do they keep happening?

The problem is that these are secret criminal investigations, asking only if enough evidence exists to charge the officer with a crime. Ignored are our community's questions: Was the officer properly trained? Were the most effective procedures used? Did the officer follow them? Should the officer be disciplined? How can we prevent these killings from reoccurring? Why can't the investigation be conducted in a transparent manner so public can learn what happened?

These questions have only been independently examined once, when the U.S. Civil Rights Commission held a hearing here after numerous deaths by law enforcement. The commission recommended that independent civilian review boards be established that could issue subpoenas and take testimony under oath. This recommendation has been ignored by our local governments and fought by law enforcement. And the deaths have kept mounting. It is time to follow the commission's recommendation and establish civilian review boards. It is time to end the secrecy. We cannot afford to wait as more lives are taken.



<b>Shoreline election</b>

EDITOR: I am writing to support the re-election of Tim Kehoe and Jim Lino to the Shoreline Unified School District board. I have had the pleasure and privilege of working closely with both of them over the past six years as a trustee to the board. They both bring a tremendous amount of knowledge and dedication to the district. The fact that they are re-running is a testament to their continued dedication to the children of our district. Kehoe and Lino have been effective and tireless advocates for our schools and therefore deserve our votes. I urge you to join me and support both of them on Election Day.



<b>Gelhaus' service</b>

EDITOR: Deputy Erick Gelhaus saved my life ("Deputy who shot SR boy identified," Monday). I have known him for almost 13 years, but about eight years ago, Gelhaus put himself in harm's way to protect me. The specific details are not important. What is important is that he was wearing a sidearm, and he didn't use it. He had every reason to.

As a responding paramedic, I was being attacked by a mentally unstable patient and was being steadily forced backward into traffic. Gelhaus stepped in and subdued the patient, using only the amount of force necessary. He was able to control the situation without adding any additional injuries to the patient.

Despite being hit, kicked and almost bitten by the person, he used restraint and calm good judgment.

A lot of people say things like "I owe you one" and "you really saved my life," but I mean it. I nearly died that day. If it hadn't been for the presence of Gelhaus, and his intervention, I would probably not be here today. Thank you, Erick. You have my unending gratitude and support in this trying time.


Santa Rosa

<b>Shared responsibility</b>

EDITOR: This country is so steeped in the gun culture that as a society we ignore the obvious. Is there any doubt that the tragic shooting of Andy Lopez would have been avoided if he had not been carrying an identical replica of an AK-47?

The Press Democrat, Sonoma County Supervisor David Rabbitt and Sheriff Steve Freitas are only a few of the local leaders who have either ignored this issue, or made a passing comment about the realistic nature of this "toy."

For the young people who have stormed the doors of the sheriff's office, take this tragedy and honor Andy Lopez's memory by giving up your toy guns. Boycott the companies that make realistic replicas of assault weapons.

Local community leaders should have a discussion about what if anything can be done on a local level to do the same. Change must happen at the local level. Parents should refuse to buy guns that mimic and glorify multiple killings. Classroom teachers should have a discussion with students about the role of gun culture in this country and how it contributed to this shooting.

We all bear a responsibility for this event.


Santa Rosa