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<b>Nation of zombies</b>

EDITOR: It was recently announced that "The Walking Dead" was the most-watched cable TV series in the United States, which is ironically appropriate since the American public, after decades of brain-washing, has become little more than animated corpses who lack conscious awareness of the capitalist winner-take-all political-economic agenda, the corporate-serving global economy or U.S. imperialism.

And then there is the reality of the world-class city of Napa. On a vote of 3-2, the City Council refused to approve a proposed ordinance that would have allowed the sale of medical marijuana within city limits. Because of harsh and irrational drug laws, some 750,000 citizens have been arrested in the U.S. on marijuana charges over the past decade, and cities such as Napa — with numerous drug arrests each day — have become mini-police states.

Meanwhile, the United States continues to claim to be a beacon of freedom for the rest of the world. Wake up, fellow zombies, and reclaim the democratic spirit and principles of Franklin Roosevelt and John Kennedy. Take back America before it's too late.

AL CARDWELL

Napa

<b>A stake in the rules?</b>

EDITOR: The unprecedented string of Spare the Air days made me wonder. Are the directors and advisory council members for the Bay Area Air Quality Management District prohibited from owning stock in PG&E and other energy companies? My issue is not with the notices, but it does seem to me to be a conflict of interest if the members are allowed to profit by these doldrums.

STEVE TORNQUIST

Santa Rosa

<b>Helping schools</b>

EDITOR: The Windsor School District and other school districts in Sonoma County have been in financial crisis year after year. I was impressed by your article about Matt Stearn, the CEO of iiiTTT ("New, online way to support schools," Dec. 13). He has developed an online company that will provide funds to our schools from electronic vouchers linked to local businesses. I checked out his website, www.iiiTTT.net, to get the information and instructions for contributing to our schools. What a practical, simple way — a great solution to help kids in schools. As a bonus, merchants get new customers, another boost for our local economy.

We need this kind of business to prosper. The benefit is great: schools win, merchants win. I'm glad that the paper recognized the value in featuring this new company. People, it's all about the kids.

MYRNA BROWN

Santa Rosa

<b>Fighting poverty</b>

EDITOR: How would you feel if you only had two diapers for your baby? Women across the country who live in poverty are faced with this problem. Once they have used the diapers, they clean them and use them again.

A study of 900 low-income women has shown that not being able to provide the necessary materials for their babies causes them to develop mental problems. Other research has shown that children born into a low-income family are more likely to have smaller brains. Poverty is an issue all across the country, and it is reaching the same high level as it was when the war against poverty started in the 1960s.

There are organizations in the United States that are fighting poverty, but there needs to be more people helping in our community to end this problem. People who take things for granted should share some of their wealth. If was all pitch in by donating a small thing we own, such as clothing or blankets, it would make a difference for someone who doesn't own those things.

ANDREA MARTINEZ

Sebastopol

<b>Is there a quota?</b>

EDITOR: I am troubled that while traffic citations countywide dropped anywhere from 20 percent to 30 percent, the drop in the citation rate for drivers in Santa Rosa was only 2.3 percent ("Ticket slowdown," Nov. 26). What your article failed to look into or even mention can be summed up in one word that police and sheriff's departments avoid like the plague because of its illegality and the historical civil liability (See Los Angeles) associated with it. The word is "quotas." Is this not also a possible explanation?

ALAN ANDERSON

Santa Rosa