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<b>Useless protests</b>

EDITOR: After reading about all the useless protests and marches for Andy Lopez, I can't help but wonder why don't the demonstrators put that energy to good use and march through their own neighborhood and collect all the plastic guns so this does not happen again?

SUSAN MOECKEL

Cazadero

<b>Unique resource</b>

EDITOR: I placed my medically fragile daughter at Sonoma Development Center 12 years ago ("Sonoma center faces shift in mission," Saturday). This was after she had spent three months in an acute-care hospital and after an exhaustive search for a residential health care facility for her. With the exception of Sonoma Development Center, we found no resource that would not result in her suffering and probable death.

Since my daughter has been there, options in the health care market have gotten worse. I come to this opinion not just as a parent and consumer but as a professional working in health care for the past 35 years. Adequate resources have not been developed.

If the state closes Sonoma Development Center, the residents would be thrown out into a health/residential market already flooded with seniors, deinstitutionalized mental health and corrections patients, wounded veterans and so on. Not only would this cause suffering for the displaced developmental center residents, but it would negatively affect these other vulnerable groups competing for care resources.

Is this the kind of state we want? Is this the way we want to live, the people we want to be?

PAT WALTER

Napa

<b>Spare the air</b>

EDITOR: It seems the only thing you were able to burn this past weekend was hooch. I want to thank The Press Democrat for force-feeding me the pot brownies this weekend — two days of front-page Mary J articles and pics. I, for one, would rather smell and inhale the smoke of a wood fireplace than the particulate stank of skunk weed. At least in Colorado you can still burn wood in your fireplace. Brrrr.

M.E. GORMAN

Rohnert Park

<b>Rules of engagement</b>

EDITOR: When I was deployed during Operation Enduring Freedom, the rules of engagement for Army personnel were that we could return fire. Under no circumstances were we to shoot first. Why should the rules be any more relaxed for law enforcement officers here at home?

HILARY SMITH

Cotati

<b>Carriers in the dark</b>

EDITOR: Mail delivery is getting dangerous. A carrier in another state was shot and killed on the job recently, and our neighborhood carrier is now subject to the dangers of delivering mail after dark. Despite a flashlight, she has tripped and stumbled over darkened curbs and uneven sidewalks, all of which would not be a problem in daylight.

Many other carriers around Santa Rosa apparently are delivering mail in the dark. This has been going on in our neighborhood since early November, so it is not necessarily connected to the Christmas rush. More likely it is due to the irrational rules inflicted on the U.S. Postal Service by Congress. If the Postal Service was allowed to truly manage itself as a business, it could easily be in the black.

We urge Santa Rosa's acting postmaster to do all in her power to stop placing carriers in danger through after-dark mail delivery.

DAVID and MARGARET MACPHAIL

Santa Rosa

<b>City Hall hostilities</b>

EDITOR: The unwillingness of Santa Rosa City Attorney Caroline Fowler to offer any explanation for her demands of silence from our City Council members regarding the shooting death of Andy Lopez, the closing of city offices and the cancelation of the council meeting on Oct. 29 created an atmosphere of secrecy and mistrust that Councilman Gary Wysocky is rightfully questioning

Wysocky is known for asking the right questions — sometimes tough, but appropriate questions. As a resident of this city, I am grateful that he pursues transparency and honest answers. In this instance, he is asking questions to which, we, his constituents, deserve answers. In short, he is doing his job.

The complaint that Mayor Scott Bartley filed against Wysocky is a distraction and adds to the perception of council dysfunction, potentially creating apathy on the part of voters. The residents of Santa Rosa deserve a council that conducts business in a clear, transparent and professional manner. That is what Wysocky is seeking, and he is being thwarted and discredited by Bartley.

I hope that the voters are paying close attention and will recognize the unnecessary drama created by our mayor in this present conflict as it plays out.

GALE DE LONG

Santa Rosa