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<b>Three for Petaluma</b>

EDITOR: As a longtime resident of Petaluma (46 years), I find it almost unbelievable that the citizens of this community would even consider voting for Tiffany Renee, Jason Davies and Alicia Herries for City Council unless they want to set this city back 50 years.

I have watched this city digress because of the actions of council members who claim to have the city's best interests at heart. Look at our streets and the amount of business diverted to Rohnert Park and Santa Rosa because of the lack of places to shop. The next thing you know, we'll be riding around in covered wagons and stage coaches.

Right now, we have nothing but bars, churches, banks, restaurants and antique shops. I ask, does this make a community or city? I think not, when you have to leave town to buy a piece of lumber or other building supplies.

I hope I have struck a nervr and that true Petalumans will cast their votes for Mike Healy, Kathy Miller and Gabe Kearney and show California what the real Petaluma is all about: a place for our children to want to come back and live and raise their children.

RICHARD W. SHARKE

Petaluma

<b>Free speech</b>

EDITOR: It is perhaps ironic that the recent violent anti-American demonstrations in the Middle East and Central Asia led to the death of some of the demonstrators as they vociferously exercised their freedom of speech. But in a larger sense they were fulfilling a noble principle, often misattributed to Voltaire, embodied in the statement: "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." Thus we should be proud of those impassioned and now deceased rioters who religiously defended our American freedom of speech but disapproved of what we said.

MICHAEL F. HEIMAN

Sonoma

<b>Police state</b>

EDITOR: The officer was at fault when he and his buddies plugged an unarmed guy in front of his wife. Cost: $500,000 ("SR officer found at fault in killing," Sept. 21). A 16-year-old Sebastopol kid overwhelmed a couple of cops and gave one a bloody nose. Cost: $1.9 million. This is getting expensive. Maybe it would work to have the police culture return to the "protect and serve" mode from the present "at war with the public" position? Either that or hire some cops who know how to fight. Shooting as option No. 1 isn't working well.

If I plug some intruder in my backyard when I fear for my life, I sure wouldn't get a free pass. The district attorney would be outraged at my use of excessive force and prosecute me, guaranteed.

Here's something else to consider: the Department of Homeland Security, the bumbling, untrained, amateur-hour bunch who gave us the Petaluma shootout, is arming all of the TSA workers who strip search grandma at the airport. "He wouldn't take off his shoes, so we had to shoot him" or, "We were afraid for our lives when he threatened us with his belt; we were forced to shoot."

What police state?

DAVID HAYNES

Santa Rosa

<b>Short-sighted measure</b>

EDITOR: As a Cotati resident for more than 20 years, I'm shocked that we will be voting on something as ridiculous as Measure U, the measure banning any future discussions of roundabouts in Cotati.

I'm glad that our elected officials are examining all possibilities for making our town more beautiful, safer and environmentally friendly. I have seen the before-and-after effects of roundabouts in the city of Sedona, Ariz. (population 10,000), and I can say for a fact that the traffic flows far better with roundabouts than with the previous four-way stops and lights. They also lessen the carbon emissions of cars constantly stopping and starting, and they are more aesthetically pleasing.

I urge Cotati residents to vote no on Measure U to allow and encourage dialogue about all issues concerning our town.

JOHN METRAS

Cotati