<b>Planning a garden</b>

EDITOR: Tribal chairman Greg Sarris confessed that the development of the Graton Resort & Casino is "just a step" toward his real goal of becoming a "keeper of the land" and creating "sustainable organic gardens" ("Casino: A new opportunity," Nov. 6). I'm a big fan of organic and sustainable gardens myself and would like to build one. Before I do, I wanted to check with Sarris to make sure I understand all the steps in the process:

; Buy 400 acres of active farmland and sensitive wetlands in the Laguna de Santa Rosa at inflated prices.

; Pave over these sensitive wetlands to build a parking lot for 5,700 cars.

; Build a 340,000-square-foot concrete structure on top of the recharge area responsible for capturing the region's precious groundwater.

; Drill two 600-foot deep wells into the aquifer, and divert water from local farms to the concrete structure.

; Entice hordes of tourists to get into their cars and buses, spewing greenhouse gases on their way to these sensitive wetlands where they will park on top of the re-charge area responsible for capturing the region's precious groundwater.

; Plant an organic garden. Water as necessary (if there is any left).



<b>Product liability</b>

EDITOR: Toy guns aren't supposed to be dangerous. But playing with toys that look like deadly weapons can be deadly. We don't expect children to have enough experience to understand that, but as adults, we do. We understand why it is so important to make toys look like toys, not real guns.

If toy manufacturers cross that line, they should be liable. They need to be held accountable for what happens when the police mistakenly believe they have to shoot someone as happened with Andy Lopez. When the manufacturer could reasonably have avoided it, the manufacturer is responsible in a civil court of law. That's the way products liability works.

Toy guns are dangerous. Having one puts a child's life at risk. People who give children toy guns that look like real ones share that responsibility.


Santa Rosa

<b>A democratic process</b>

EDITOR: The authors of Sonoma's Measure B drafted their initiative with zero research or evidence to back their arguments. Proponents have waged a campaign based on theatrics, trying to convey their message with scare tactics and words such as "large" and "destroy."

Ask yourself, how does a well-designed, appropriately scaled hotel change our quality of life? Does the existence of MacArthur Place or El Pueblo Inn, so-called large hotels, destroy the character of Sonoma? Shouldn't we be worried about strip malls, high-density housing and mini-marts?

Here are the facts. There hasn't been a new hotel of more than 25 rooms approved in Sonoma for 13 years. There currently isn't one hotel proposal on file with the city.

All proposed commercial developments are reviewed on a case-by-case basis so that we protect the historic district and manage growth responsibly. There are eight councils, commissions and agencies comprising more than 56 elected and appointed community members who protect all aspects of our small town — development, traffic, finances, mobile home parks.

I trust this democratic process. I respect their knowledge and dedication to our community. They enforce a strong and honest process that requires my voice to be heard as well. Facts are facts. Vote no on Measure B.



<b>In deputy's shoes</b>

EDITOR: I'm beginning to get the impression that the mantra "Justice for Andy" is code for both a $30 million check from Sonoma County and a public crucifixion of the deputy in question.

Yes, it was a tragedy. Nobody disputes that. But if the deputy had waited for, let's say, three seconds to confirm, and the replica AK-47 was real, we could have had two dead deputies.

The Press Democrat quoted the Lopez family attorney as saying the one question he would like to ask the officer is, "What were you thinking, the kid was only 13?" The last time I checked deputies don't possess clairvoyance. I can turn the question around: What were Andy's parents thinking when they allowed him to walk the streets with a realistic looking assault rifle and without the orange tip?

The only way for the deputy to ascertain both the age of the boy and the plastic nature of the gun was to do a quick count to three and hope it wasn't real. I would challenge anybody to put themselves in the shoes of the deputy and not do the same thing he did.


Santa Rosa

<b>Another peek</b>

EDITOR: So we have a barely clothed male tampering with a screen at a lone female's residence ("Intruder awakens sleeping Windsor girl," Tuesday). Sounds like another classic case of "peeking" in Sonoma County.


Santa Rosa