EDITOR: A free press is essential to our democracy. According to your Sunday editorial ("A change in PD policy on elections"), The Press Democrat is no longer free to endorse candidates as it must follow rules laid out by its new owner, a southern newspaper syndicate. The rationale is a Rupert Murdoch/FoxNews "fair and balanced" approach.
I have watched with concern gradual changes being made to this fine newspaper. Even the political cartoons often lack their usual punch. On several Sundays, two of the five in the cartoon gallery were by the very unfunny Lisa Benson, who either bashes President Barack Obama or Gov. Jerry Brown.
Enough, I say. Stay true to the liberal spirit of Sonoma County, and don't let Halifax change our Press Democrat.
<b>Paper's new policy</b>
EDITOR: Your election policy change is a step in the right direction. A better start would be a change in the name of the newspaper. I always say, "They don't call it The Press Democrat for nothing." Also, your comment that "those who write opinions and those who write news stories are not even on the same floor" is less than convincing. Especially since in the next sentence you say, "We are all coming from the same place."
LARRY D. JOHNSON
<b>Romney and Big Oil</b>
EDITOR: Mitt Romney promises energy independence by 2020 and less regulation of oil companies. Beneath that promise rests the greatest catastrophe our country faces, but Republicans will never deal with that.
Industrial countries pour carbon emissions into the atmosphere at a rate increase of 3 percent annually. Continuing that would lead to a planet hell very shortly. We should look at the evidence being presented by the scientific community instead of discounting it as both Republican candidates do, ignoring the warnings about the speed and effects of global warming.
Big Oil spends tons of money to prevent the regulation of carbon dioxide. Carbon in the atmosphere is money in the pockets of these reckless companies. They know what they are doing and do not care.
What is meant by smaller government is one that does not regulate. As to carbon emissions, regulation is essential for our existence. But the Koch brothers, oil men worth $50 billion, will spend their money to ensure the election of the party of deregulation.
A Romney victory will give Big Oil everything it wants and will give us calamitous global warming and greater world disaster. Our present economic problems will pale in the face of that.
EDITOR: What Harry Smith allegedly did (chase down a cyclist) was wrong, wrong, wrong. But not all drivers in Oakmont "have a chip on their shoulder" ("Time to crack down on cowards who target bicyclists," Chris Coursey, Saturday). Offending drivers can be identified by their license plates and the make and model of their car. How can an offending cyclist be identified?
Cyclists are not always innocent. They ride through stop signs, ride three and four abreast and make illegal turns. Yet there is no way they can be identified; maybe they should have license plates.
It is not fair to always blame the driver. I am not defending Smith, but I am defending Oakmonters and drivers in general. We are not all bad, just as all cyclists are not perfect. Each incident should be judged separately and without prejudice.
Coffey Park Chronicles
As part of an ongoing series, The Press Democrat is following the residents and recovery of Coffey Park, the Santa Rosa neighborhood destroyed by the Tubbs fire. Read all of the stories here.