<b>Pension reform</b>

EDITOR: My thanks to The Press Democrat for keeping the issue of county pensions in the public limelight ("The tricks and gimmicks that pad pensions," Editorial, Tuesday). Our current county supervisors must understand that they were elected as gatekeepers and guardians of the public welfare. It is now their duty to undo the misdeeds and mistakes that have gotten us into this unsustainable fiscal dilemma. Drastic change is needed to right our sinking ship and to install effective checks and balances to prevent such fiscal shenanigans in the future.

It is most disappointing that past elected officials, such as former Supervisor Mike Kerns and former Auditor-Controller Rod Dole, have greatly profited at the taxpayer's expense — and continue to reap the reward of their spiked pensions. Foxes have been guarding the henhouse. It's time for a change.


Santa Rosa

<b>SR Plaza parking</b>

EDITOR: Honestly, for a mall representative to say "there haven't been any problems" with the new pay-for-parking system is ridiculous ("Mall starts pay for parking," Wednesday). I was there Monday evening for under an hour, and I saw several problems in that short time.

There was a backup of cars to get into the garages and a backup to get out. I saw two cars that couldn't back out of their parking slots because cars were stacked waiting. Two people of the four in front of me needed the attendant's help, while a third had to get out of his car to insert the ticket. What if you don't have a debit or credit card to pay to get out? I'd be ticked if I had to pay more because I was waiting with my car idling just to get out.

I hate the idea of paying for parking when I'm at the mall to spend money, and I will look for ways to avoid spending my money there during the holiday season when these situations will be even worse.

Why not set aside an area on the third level for downtown employees and charge a reasonable monthly rate?



<b>Akin and science</b>

EDITOR: As removed from reality as Missouri Rep. Todd Akin's view on the sperm-killing powers of a woman who has been raped seems, these misogynistic urban myths are common within the radical anti-abortion crowd and have made their way into politicians' mouths before. As Mother Jones magazine points out, this type of junk science is so widespread that Planned Parenthood includes it as a frequently asked question on its site: "I've heard that a woman can't get pregnant from getting raped. Is that true?" The irony with Akin is that he sits on the science and technology committee and believes global warming is a liberal hoax.



<b>Slaughterhouse cruelty</b>

EDITOR: I was pleased that you printed the article about the feds investigating the Hanford slaughterhouse ("Feds probe slaughterhouse," Wednesday). It's important that the public knows what is going on in these torture chambers and realizes that hamburger doesn't just come on a styrofoam plate wrapped in plastic wrap in the grocery store. It comes with a very sad history.

What I didn't agree with is how the writer pointed out that the main issue of the investigation was to see if the meat was unfit for human consumption. After the detailed descriptions of the treatment of these innocent animals whose only purpose is to feed humans was described as absolutely inhumane and disgusting, how could that be the main issue? What about how these animals were treated? This is an everyday occurrence for any factory farmed animal. Happy cows live in California? Are you kidding me? Go to a slaughterhouse for just one hour. I guarantee you will think twice about eating meat.