<b>An independent inquiry</b>

EDITOR: Your Tuesday editorial ("The power of light and transparency") is good as far as it goes, but you failed to point out the inconsistency of having police departments (Santa Rosa and Petaluma) as the investigators of the shooting of Andy Lopez.

Why isn't there an independent investigating body that doesn't only involve other police departments? Of course these investigators will be biased in favor of the police. Would it be fair to have a group of Latino community leaders investigating this shooting without police representatives? Of course not.

What we need is an investigating committee with members from many sectors of the community: school administrators, social workers, elected officials, business owners, civil rights lawyers and, of course, police chiefs. They all could review evidence, hear the testimony of the citizens involved and of all witnesses.

As your editorial suggests, the conclusions of the committee on any wrongdoing and advice on how to reduce the possibilities of such tragic incidents should be made public. Then, hopefully, the public wouldl feel some sense of fairness and resolution.


Santa Rosa

<b>Bodega fire election</b>

EDITOR: Had you sent a reporter to our forum Monday, put on by the League of Women Voters, you would have some sense of the determination of the Bodega Bay community to remedy the financial shortfall ("Fire district incumbents challenged," Wednesday). Instead you quoted the only candidate who did not attend and called it a "contentious" race.

The forum was 1? hours of serious attention; quiet and respectful. As the moderator said, this was democracy at its finest. More than 100 people sat quietly, listening and trying to find a remedy.

We are a fire protection district, but 80 percent of the calls are medical. Of that number, approximately two-thirds are for non-residents. The county has been very stingy in returning the transient occupancy tax (of which more than $1 million is earned in Bodega Bay). This has to change.

No matter which candidates win, we are a community united in approaching this financial shortfall. The county should do its part. We have and will do so.


Bodega Bay

<b>Another lost child</b>

EDITOR: This is a tragedy. Reason needs to prevail. It is easy to be angry given the circumstances. The blame for this tragedy rests not only with the Sheriff's Office but the parents of the child — good and decent people contributing to the death of their children by allowing them to have such toys.

The deputy may have a family of his own and wanted to go home to them after his shift. Police officers lives are on the line every day. I truly believe that this was not a racial incident. When confronted with the choice of kill or be killed, ask yourself honestly, what would you do?

I don't have all of the answers. This shooting was not done with malice aforethought and intent. The easy thing to do is to blame someone else rather than take responsibility for our part in things. This incident is not about placing blame. It is an opportunity to learn.

Everyone is hurting. Let's join hands and hearts and do something positive. Boycott these toys and any business selling them.


Santa Rosa

<b>Alternate scenario</b>

EDITOR: I keep wondering. A reportedly upstanding young citizen is wandering in a residential area carrying, for some unfathomable reason, what appears to be an assault weapon. The police make a reasonable assumption: the weapon is real. Possibly the young man is heading off to kill teachers and classmates. Ten years ago, this idea would be ludicrous, but not now. The result is, of course, a tragedy.

But what if their assumption had been right and the deputies had been killed instead? How many marches, how much lamentation, how much media attention, how many FBI investigations would there be right now? I'm thinking zero marches and investigations, the usual few days of media and the usual memorial with the typical speeches about heroism after which both officers would be forgotten by everyone but their grieving families and coworkers.