Stay out of Syria
EDITOR: Whether we defeated the British on our own or with help, that was more than 200 years ago and the world is far more complicated now. I would hope that we have learned something from our involvement in Iraq. Syria is a manufactured country with ethnic groups that do not get along. Whoever wins the civil war there, it is unlikely that they will be any more peaceful or democratic than the current regime.
We should stay out because it is a no-win situation. Both the rebels and Bashar al-Assad's regime are enemies of our ally Israel, and Israel can take care of itself. Israel has already taken out missiles meant for Hezbollah in Lebanon. The best we can do is not to interfere with Israel's actions, which are designed to keep Iranian-supplied weapons from reaching Assad's terrorist ally Hezbollah. Let's stay out of this fight.
EDITOR: Your article about residents protesting the conversion of another Sebastopol apple orchard missed the wider picture by a mile ("Residents protest orchard-to-vineyard plan," June 18). The fact that Paul Hobbs winery is "working with local officials" and "following regulations" only points out that regulations need to change, and maybe local officials need to change too.
People protesting this vineyard conversion are talking about our quality of life, just like the people pushing to keep the Farmers Market in the plaza and those protesting the CVS project and its effect on traffic and congestion and the people working to keep the family friendly Gravenstein Fair alive.
Apple orchards, even those whose family farmers used pesticides in the generations before we were aware of their dangers, are part of our community. Their kids go to local schools, they coach Little League teams, they ride tractors in parades, they produce food that we all can eat, and they contribute to the quality of our lives in our community.
Tax revenues from vineyards shouldn't be the ends rather than the means for serving our community. We all need and want beauty, trees, good food, wildlife and biodiversity. We don't have to choose between apples and wine. We need a balance, and we need our elected officials to make sure we have it.