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<b>The wrong priorities</b>

EDITOR: I read Tuesday's paper just shaking my head — again.

The big story was that metering lights installed 10 years ago may get turned on in March. OK, so what?

Page A4 had a photo of a homeless man, wrapped in garbage bags against the cold, crossing a street in Los Angeles.

Page A7 reported that the Mega Millions jackpot was nearing a new record — standing ready to randomly make someone a multi-millionaire.

Page B1 had a report about the body of a homeless man found near a shelter in Petaluma.

And a letter to the editor asserted that 40 percent of the food in this country is wasted.

Where are our priorities as a society? We installed metering lights that sit idle while homeless men wrap themselves in garbage bags and die on our streets? And some lucky lottery player becomes a millionaire?

Think about this — and what our society could be — then vote someone into our country's leadership who will do something of, by and for the people rather than their greedy selves. And just for kicks, take care of one another.

Now that would feel like Christmas.

KEITH YOUNG

Santa Rosa

<b>Focus on transit</b>

EDITOR: Extending the SMART train to the airport is a no-brainer, as would be an extension to the Larkspur ferry terminal. Regional transportation should be a priority, and while I appreciate the need for improvements to our highway system, I am tired of seeing constant highway projects that don't really address the long-term need of getting commuters out of their cars. An integrated, comprehensive transportation system should be a priority and not viewed as a pet project that needs special consideration.

DEL GUIDINGER

Santa Rosa

<b>Immorality of SUVs</b>

EDITOR: The devastation being caused by Americans' addiction to gas-guzzling SUVs and other fossil-fuel energy use is nowhere more apparent than in the planet's oceans.

Global temperatures are rising deceptively slowly because the oceans are absorbing the extra heat and a big chunk of carbon dioxide emissions. Cold water wells up from deep in the ocean unevenly and absorbs atmospheric heat, so the inexorable global temperature increases appear uneven.

The tragedy is that people see temperature variations and imagine that warming isn't really happening. Most alarming, the ocean's absorption of atmospheric carbon dioxide and heat causes the ocean water to become more acidic. Ocean water acidity has already increased 30 percent due to mankind's activities, and it is going up. A massive die-off of sea life is under way and will rapidly increase.

Reducing damaging fossil-fuel consumption by not driving gas-guzzling SUVs and by every other method is urgent. To do otherwise in light of the indisputable fact of man-made environmental damage borders on sociopathic, criminal negligence.

ANDY FERGUSON

Petaluma

<b>Toy guns</b>

EDITOR: Manufacturers will stop making toy guns when people stop buying toy guns. Start here, start now. Imagine.

LINDA THOMAS

Guerneville

<b>Experience teaches</b>

EDITOR: I find it unsettling that some citizens of Sonoma County are complaining that the deputy sheriff who shot Andy Lopez is getting his job back. I say he must have learned a lot from this experience and will come back a better officer and a better human being. If he loses his job, he will become bitter and possibly a threat to the society that shunned him.

Where is the forgiveness? If we fire everyone who makes a mistake, no matter what venue, we lose the people who have learned from their mistakes and may hire someone who will then repeat the mistake. How do we grow wise? From experience — usually the bad ones.

JESSIE GORDON

Sonoma