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Gap in thinking

EDITOR: Do I have this right: The Republicans are comfortable accepting the notion that poor intelligence about weapons of mass destruction was the reason for our invasion of Iraq, yet they can't believe that poor intelligence was responsible for the initial explanation about what took place in Benghazi?

KEVIN CONWAY

Santa Rosa

Levi's regrets

EDITOR: To GranFondo participants and supporters. Thank you for helping to make this year's GranFondo such a success. You and the GranFondo represent the very best things about cycling. You and the GranFondo mean more to me and Odessa than I can express.

I am writing to personally explain the events of the last few days in my own words and with my own voice. Much has and will be written about the USADA Reasoned Decision published on Oct. 10. On Wednesday, I released a formal statement published in the Wall Street Journal taking responsibility for my use of performance enhancing methods in a period which ended over five years ago. For this I have accepted a six-month ban from competitive cycling. I truly regret letting you down.

Jason Gay, a writer for the Wall Street Journal writing about the USADA decision said; "This is what honesty often looks like: messy and painful." And he is right. This admission was terrifying to confront, not because I was afraid of the truth — the truth meant a better sport, after all — but because I was afraid of how those I cared about would react. I didn't know whether they would be willing to understand why I made these choices and whether they would continue to invest and believe in the good that Odessa and I have tried to do with the notoriety this career has provided us.

There have been many changes for the better in cycling over the past five years, and I am committed to doing what I can to make these changes permanent. I don't want today's young riders to be discouraged from following their dreams. I want to do what I can to ensure that future riders are not faced with the same dilemmas I was.

Regardless of the mistakes I've made, nothing lessens my commitment to cycling and the good it can do. I hope you understand that the GranFondo is not about me or my racing accolades, my successes or failures. It's about much more than that. I hope you believe in this as I do, and that you'll join us again next year on Oct. 5 to share in the appreciation of something that has brought people together from around the world. I hope you look forward to sharing that moment with me and others as much I do.

LEVI LEIPHEIMER

Santa Rosa

Being respectful

EDITOR: My parents, while both Christians, did not agree in their politics. However, my father often said, "We vote for the man, not the party." During presidential elections, my brothers and I would get to listen to our parents express their political views. They would discuss the issues and candidates, debate, laugh and agree to disagree. There was no name calling or fighting.

Today, the tone of the election is so nasty, on both sides. It's difficult to listen to the radio, read the paper or watch the news without having to endure savage insults and vicious attacks. I know people who have had their cars and homes vandalized because of a bumper sticker or advertisement and political lawn signs repeatedly stolen.

Perhaps you know people with similar experiences. I can name Proposition 2, Proposition 8 and the presidential choices as examples in 2008 of such instances.

I remain convinced that it's possible to discuss our beliefs and opinions and remain respected and respectful. It's time to relax and put away your tire iron and spray paint.

My brothers and I still admire and respect our parents for being such great role models. Let's be the example the younger generation deserves.

ANN REED

Petaluma

Supporting parks

EDITOR: Len Greenwood ("Mother ocean," Letters, Oct. 5) would have the beaches free to enjoy. I would love that, too, but I would also like the place clean and safe and to have restrooms available when I'm miles away from home or the nearest gas station. Who do you think does the work? Volunteers? Visitors?

No, it is the park rangers, the ones whose salaries get cut when there is a lack of funding. When there is no budget to pay the rangers, the doors to the "potty" are locked, and the trash piles up both next to the restroom and on the beach.

You are willing to pay far more than $8 to see a movie. Even a good hamburger costs that much. If you really love the state beach/park/forest, show your support by paying for your parking space and the time you spend enjoying nature. Better yet, buy a parks pass.

PATRECIA GRAHAM

Petaluma