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Gays in Scouts

EDITOR: Wow. In Brad Potter's letter ("Terrible mistake," Thursday) regarding allowing gay youth into the Boy Scouts, he manages to provide some amazing images in three short paragraphs: homosexual militants with a (presumably malevolent) agenda; indoctrinating children into a (presumably malevolent) gay lifestyle; allowing Sodomites to put their (presumably malevolent) foot in the door; and encouraging pedophiles to infiltrate who knows what. And then he is certain this entire drama will be covered up by a presumably liberal media.

I can't help but think he may be watching too much Fox News — which will gleefully cover every facet of this evolving spectacle.

BILL TURNER

Forestville

Nursing profession

EDITOR: I admire Juliane M. Schmidt ("Three strikes and I am out," Close to Home, Wednesday) for her courage to present to the public and her colleagues why she chose not to participate in a fourth strike at Memorial Hospital.

My concern is with her view of nursing as a profession. She states that she is only "an employee." She is more than just an employee, she is a licensed professional with standards of practice, a legal scope of practice and responsibilities for the health care environment in which she practices.

Schmidt says that she is a staff nurse and therefore can go home "and forget about her job." This is an attitude that limits her professionalism. She has responsibilities to be informed about the policies and practices of her hospital and the care provided there.

I don't think she has a "lousy attitude." I think she has a limited understanding of her crucial role as a professional nurse to help make the much needed changes that face health care delivery.

This sequence of strikes may not be the issue that she chooses to be involved in, but as a nurse I hope she will choose to be involved with changes that are needed in health care.

SANDRA DEBELLA BODLEY

Emeritus professor of nursing

Sonoma State University

Put the kids first

EDITOR: Santa Rosa High teacher Ron Reichmuth had to pull the plug on a program for special education students after Mike LaPointe, president of California School Employees Association, complained ("Special ed project curtailed after union complaints," Thursday). It appears that the union doesn't like special ed students raking leaves, weeding and collecting recyclable materials. Shame on the union. The last time I looked, there was plenty of work to do around every high school in Sonoma County. Shouldn't the kids come first?

STEVE FENNER

Santa Rosa

Gitmo: Time for change

EDITOR: Victor Chechanover's letter ("Downward spiral," Tuesday) placed the issue of what we should do about Guantanamo prison front and center. Petty politics thwarted President Barack Obama in 2009.

As was noted recently in the Economist, prisoners are on hunger strikes to protest inhumane treatment there. The military is force-feeding protesters. If this isn't torture, what is? When there is no struggle, the procedure takes about two hours. First, a tube is inserted through a nostril into the stomach. If the personnel aren't careful, this can involve a good deal of bleeding and trauma to the nasal passages and back of the throat. A full liquid diet is forced into the prisoner's stomach.

Costs are mounting. Each year costs $3 million. The Pentagon seeks $450 million to upgrade the prison. What about the Geneva Conventions? Indefinite imprisonment is a form of cruel and unusual treatment. The Founders tried to stop it.

Some will say, "A terrorist deserves to be tortured." The 9/11 attack was horrible and tragic, yet retribution through torture only leads to more terrorist attacks. It's time for a change.

FRANK BAUMGARDNER

Santa Rosa

Healthy habits

EDITOR: In response to Harriet Palk's letter ("Misplaced menu," Wednesday) deriding the Santa Rosa school board and its decision to alter the menu for the French American Charter School, are you kidding me? Have you seen our children lately? Child obesity is prevalent throughout the United States and getting worse.

Our school menus are not necessarily the example of health. There are a small number of formative years to guide children to make healthy eating decisions. Sonoma County has an abundance of great food and cultural diversity. Once children are introduced to those elements, will they be clamoring for fast food? In all sincerity, I truly doubt it.

Our eating habits need to change, and it starts with our children. If parents are willing to pay extra for their children to eat healthier food, what's the problem? I applaud the school board for its decision, and I am thrilled that the school system is trying to give our children healthier choices. Hopefully, this program can get the support it needs to move forward in other schools.

CAZZ DELUCA

Santa Rosa