Friday's Letters to the Editor

<b>Memorial Hospital strike</b>

EDITOR: I remember the Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital strike of 1986. I had been hired just six weeks earlier as a new graduate and was asked if I would support a strike. I replied that my father was president of an independent union at a factory in New Jersey for 25 years, and, of course, I would strike. The union took my dad away from us every Friday night after he worked his full week as a machinist. But he brought incredible changes to his fellow employees, including mental health coverage and rehab for alcoholics, to name just a few.

I hit the picket line in 1986 with my 2-year-old twin daughters in a double-stroller, and I traveled to San Francisco with my coworkers for night shifts. The unfortunate part is that strikes do leave a scar on your heart. But they also bond you with the nurses you work with in an indelible way.

My youngest daughter is a nurse in Southern California where there is a nursing shortage. That lack of qualified registered nurses will soon be a reality in Sonoma County. The basic issue is that unless Memorial nurses are compensated fairly, commensurate with their colleagues in the area, Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital cannot continue its mission.



<b>Diluting votes</b>

EDITOR: Measure Q would split Santa Rosa into seven as yet undefined areas, each having about 25,000 people. These are not neighborhoods. They are about the size of Windsor. Each area would have just one City Council seat. We could not vote for the other six. We would go from having seven votes in four years to one vote in four years. Why in the world would we give up our right to choose and hold accountable those other six council members? Their actions affect us so much.

Council members now are accountable to the whole city. Under a district system, each representative would be concerned with just a fraction of the city. Who would look out for the whole city?

All interested people should be encouraged to run for City Council. I would hope they are now. If proponents of Measure Q think not, then the answer is simple. They should work within the present system and put their considerable talents to work providing campaign help to those they feel are under-represented. Instead they gamble that districting will do this, and they ask all of us to give up 86 percent of our voting power.

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