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<b>Better decisions</b>

EDITOR: In regards to the Andy Lopez case, I have heard very little discussion of justifiable vs. necessary actions. Let me explain.

If a person takes a swing at a police officer and is arrested, that arrest is justified. However, if the officer was belligerent and caused the situation to escalate, the arrest was never necessary.

Since my time as a police officer in the 1980s, I have seen an increase in aggressive tactics and an almost us-vs.-them attitude by police. The taser has replaced reasoning with people, and deadly force is often far too quickly used.

When I lived in Idaho, I protested the shooting of a man who was asleep in his estranged wife's house after being invited over for dinner in violation of a court order. While it was known the man was asleep, Meridian police threw open the door and startled him awake. He jumped up with a knife, and they shot him dead. The shooting was "justified" as he was a threat, but good decisions by police would have made his death unnecessary.

This is my attitude about Andy Lopez. The deputy may have had to shoot at the time but better decisions up to that point may have prevented it from reaching that point.



<b>Misplaced fears?</b>

EDITOR: With all the dire predictions of drought, the photos of a relatively bone dry Lake Mendocino and everyone talking about how awful it is, a simple look at the Farmers Almanac might shed some insight. And yes, an actual farmer told me the prediction, so I looked it up. Here it is: "Winter will be much rainier and cooler than normal, with mountain snowfall much greater than normal. Most of the rain, snow, and storminess will come in January and February, when storm damage will be a concern. The coldest periods will be in mid-December and mid-to-late January."

In this day of uber-technology, the tried and true Farmers Almanac seems to still have its finger on the pulse of the weather. I plan to prepare for a very wet January and February and take precautions now. Care to join me?


Santa Rosa

<b>Gun control</b>

EDITOR: How ironic. After one tragic death involving a toy gun, everyone (including our legislators) is talking about gun control for toy guns. What about the real ones?



<b>The U.S. role</b>

EDITOR: Our president has done a great job of keeping us out of the internal conflict in Syria. The problem is theirs, not ours. Wars based on religious beliefs can never be won, but respect for others can be developed with time and education. Here is a golden opportunity to change the hate-Americans attitude and do some good for oppressed people who live with little but the basic needs to survive.

With so many refugees fleeing Syria, our support should be for those who have nothing but their families and want freedom and a better way of life. We should be sending humanitarian aid, supplying medical staff and letting the people know that we are there for them. We did it for Germany when the Soviets blockaded Berlin. Why aren't we doing it for those displaced in the Middle East?

We need to send teachers who not only teach children but also teach trade skills to the adults. Our country was built on the ability to overcome oppression and build within by a working class.

A lot of rebuilding is needed. We should not send companies over there to do it for them. We need to send people who will train the people into a strong work force, and they will rebuild their country.



<b>A living wage</b>

EDITOR: People who tout $10-$11 an hour as a living wage don't have labor's interest at heart. Fifteen dollars an hour is a living wage in today's world, as it is in the city of Sonoma and as it's recognized in Australia. Ten to eleven bucks an hour is a minimum wage, as that amount and better is the standard in other industrialized countries. However, that wage still puts a family of four at the U.S. poverty level.

Considering the basics of the costs of living, no ethical employer should pay less than $15 an hour, full- or part-time. And don't give us that jazz about tipped workers. Why should someone else subsidize a business' owner?

Considering the chasm between what corporate CEOs make and what they pay in wages, it's a sin to pay anyone less than a real living wage. The county chambers of commerce, the vintners and growers, the hotel industry, the fast-food franchises and all our local employers should get behind paying a living wage. Now.

Even Scrooge learned this.



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