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<b>Census queries</b>

EDITOR: I read with great interest that the Census Bureau will be dropping the word "Negro" and redefining some racial/ethnic terms ("Changing how we define race," Thursday). I think I have a solution to the problem. How about if the Census Bureau just drops all of the racial and ethnic pigeonholing? All that serves is to divide us, rather than unite us. It is way past time that we see us all as Americans rather than encouraging the endless, and pointless, division.

Or is that too simple and elegant for the bureaucrats?

JOE LOVELL

Rohnert Park

<b>21st century taxes</b>

EDITOR: Thursday's paper had a letter crying about fees being assessed for fire protection ("State money grab") and fines for traffic violations ("Phony amnesty"). Welcome to the Republican world of no taxes but still provide government-sponsored service. You will pay taxes no matter what if we are to have any government. Fines and fees are the taxes of the 21st century.

Proposition 13 was the first mortal wound to fair taxation. Now, layoffs of government employees leave a hole in services to citizens. This is including fire protection to rural farms and estates. Many of these estate families pay less in property taxes than most homeowners who recently purchased their American dream home.

Government needs money to function. We have the most imbalanced tax system in the world. Get used to it, or elect patriotic politicians who want our nation to survive. We need leaders who aren't bribed with corporate money to fulfill their selfish desires. The 1 percent need to step up and contribute to American values, not corporate greed and personal selfishness.

BRUCE MALLON

Petaluma

<b>CVS project</b>

EDITOR: Thank you so much for having the courage to stand up to the pesky citizens of Sebastopol and defend the poor, put-upon corporations just trying to make a profit ("It's past time to approve CVS project," Tuesday). I am sure Chase bank, CVS Pharmacy and Armstrong Development appreciate your efforts. I am not sure why you want to turn Sebastopol into Santa Rosa, but I am sure you have your reasons as well.

ABRAHAM ENTIN

Santa Rosa

<b>Price of fuel</b>

EDITOR: If one must cast blame as to why we have high-priced fuel in California, one must look in the mirror. Two specific voter issues regulate the price of fuel in this state. The first is the amount of taxes we pay on a gallon of fuel. You vote on a tax increase, or vote in your representative who increases the fuel tax. We have one of the highest taxes per gallon in the United States, which is all voter responsibility.

The second issue is establishment of the California Air Resources Board. Reformulated fuels are required by CARB for sale in this state. It required California refineries to make modifications to their facilities, and the cost for modifications was passed on to consumers.

There are no suppliers outside of California importing CARB-specification fuel into our state. So the price of fuel depends on the amount of fuel available on the market to sell. Lose refining capacity in our state, and supply and demand will raise the price of fuel. When you stop and fill up next time, and you are unhappy about the price, please take a second and look in your rear-view mirror to see who is responsible. It's just that simple.

HENRY ANGELI

Petaluma

<b>Yee's sham bill</b>

EDITOR: On Aug. 5, the Associated Press reported on Sen. Leland Yee's assault weapons bill ("Bill seeks to tighten law on assault weapons") that is working its way through the Assembly. The article said, "When it passed the Senate earlier this year, his bill would have banned just the use of one variety of &‘bullet button.' " That's not true, and this can be verified by a simple search at LegInfo.ca.gov.

When SB 249 was heard in the Senate, it was an innocuous bill dealing with agricultural districts, purely an insider's issue. Before it got to the Assembly, the bill was rewritten to address the current issue, assault weapons. The only similarities between the bill passed by the Senate and the bill introduced in the Assembly are the bill number and the author. All of the other language of the original bill was deleted and replaced with new language. The revised bill has never been heard by a Senate committee or voted on the Senate floor. It almost seems as if Yee planned this con job from the beginning.

Legislative shenanigans such as this are what infuriate the voters. When you ask yourself why the voters hold our lawmakers in such low regard, I present Exhibit A.

JOE GAFFNEY

Rohnert Park