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<b>Barlow's lessons</b>

EDITOR: I can hardly wait for the Barlow development to open. Perfect for the space, perfect for Sebastopol, it pays careful attention to the history and architecture of the parcel it sits on. Even as it honors this past, it looks ahead, providing a showcase for local businesses: fabulous food, coffee, wine, art and more. This is the kind of economic engine and development that we need. And it's no accident that this development "just happened" to come along. Our community leaders fought unsuitable proposals for this property, believing that this prominent piece of real estate should reflect the values and vision of Sebastopol.

Like the Barlow property, the Pellini property is a prime parcel that ought to reflect Sebastopol's character and vision: pedestrian usage, local businesses and forward thinking. For me, this vision isn't big box, corporate, traffic clogging businesses. We can get a better project at this site.

The defining issue in our local City Council election is the CVS-Chase development downtown, and it is the issue that differentiates the candidates. We need to remember and carefully consider the lessons of Barlow when we vote. Please join me in voting for John Eder and Robert Jacob, for a prosperous and green small town.

JUDE KREISSMAN

Sebastopol

<b>Keep on cycling</b>

EDITOR: I read the Oct. 12 letter regarding Levi Leipheimer's suspension from pro cycling because of doping ("Forced to cheat?"). That is very sad, but it is no reason to throw out the baby with the bath water, as the saying goes, and discontinue the annual cycling event, as the writer seems to hope will happen.

There are many reasons for continuing Levi's GranFondo despite the cynical reasons given by this writer: "It brings money and publicity to the city of Santa Rosa and the county of Sonoma." The cycling event brings fun, pride and enjoyment to the people who live here as well as the people who come here for the event because they are either cyclists themselves or fans of the sport.

We should not dishonor the sport of cycling because of the transgressions of one, or even many others. There are many reasons to continue this annual event. Let's think positive.

PENNY WOLFSOHN

Santa Rosa

<b>Right to know</b>

EDITOR: I believe that the arguments I have read regarding Proposition 37 miss one very important point. While I am not a Luddite — and I have been consuming GMO foods for years with no apparent ill effects — I intend to vote in favor of Proposition 37, which would require the labeling of GMO raw foods.

Here is my reasoning: While I am satisfied that the GMO foods I consume are safe and healthy, and my wife and I will continue buying and eating them, I believe strongly that accurate labeling is necessary for those who want to avoid GMO foods. Truth in labeling, remember? People have a right to know what they are buying.

TOM WILSON

Petaluma

<b>No need for districts</b>

EDITOR: Two county supervisors endorse district elections for Santa Rosa ("Two supervisors back districts for city," Wednesday). Should they not be minding their own business? Mike Maguire doesn't live in Santa Rosa. Efren Carrillo needs to consider that 30 years ago, most of west and southwest Santa Rosa was unincorporated. History does not reflect the present and should be acknowledged as such. Where are they getting their information?

I believe that districting is a ploy by special interest groups pushing candidates who, for whatever reason, cannot be elected based upon their positions. I don't think representation at City Hall will change. I believe the votes will become more political, more divided and less city-centered. The rancor at the council level will increase, and the morale of employees will continue to decline.

The reason it works in other areas is because the geography is huge, or there are significant ethnic centers (Chinatown, Watts). We have no such situation in Santa Rosa, neither geography nor ethnic isolation. Such arguments are based in emotion, not fact.

I used to love living in Santa Rosa. Now I'm not so sure. After 32 years, with the way the political landscape is deteriorating and taking the city I love with it, maybe it's time to move on.

MAUREEN CASEY

Santa Rosa

<b>Proud of Analy</b>

EDITOR: Peter Henriksen ("Sports and empathy," Letters, Wednesday) would have benefited from actually seeing the football game between Analy and El Molino high schools and not making assumptions from a headline about the score.

If he had attended, he might have seen that Analy was up 21-0 in the first quarter, at which time most of the starters were pulled. We played our back-ups for the rest of the game. If we had wanted to "pulverize" the Lions, we could have. Instead, we played with class, and many players who normally don't get a lot of playing time had the chance to sharpen their skills.

Every one of our players works hard, and we support one another. For that reason, among many, I'm glad I play for the Analy Tigers.

ZAVI GINELLA

Sebastopol

<b>Levi's remorse</b>

EDITOR: "Deceit," "imposter," "cheat," these are what Webster says, in part, in its definition of fraud. Levi Leipheimer committed fraud upon the sport of cycling, its fans and, more importantly, his hometown. I read his "apology" published in the Wall Street Journal, and while it was well written, as most confessions of disgraced athletes are, there was not one sentence that contained the word "cheat."

He said, "I could have come forward sooner. But would that have accomplished anything — other than to end my career?" How about this? It would have shown a man whose integrity and regret for his actions was greater than his career. And what career? One based on deceit and cheating?

Too bad all of the money he has made from his notoriety was not tied to an agreement that if he ever used illegal substances, ever, he would be required to repay everything he earned. Or better yet, how about Leipheimer figure out what he made while cheating and give it to, and be a spokesman for, a cause that will work to end all cheating?

I naively believed that he was one guy who might be the exception to this disgrace.

STEVE MIKSIS

Santa Rosa

<b>Yes on Prop. 34</b>

EDITOR: In Chris Coursey's Oct. 15 blog entry ("Three strikes, the death penalty, and Richard Allen Davis"), he wisely recommended a yes vote on Proposition 34. I could not agree more. The death penalty in California is broken beyond repair. We are wasting billions of dollars on a dysfunctional capital punishment system while our state is so broke we're laying off teachers and firefighters.

Let's spend our money in a smarter way by replacing the death penalty with life in prison without possibility of parole. It will keep heinous killers such as Davis safely locked up in prison until they die. It's swift and sure justice, without the billions of wasted tax dollars. As an added benefit, we would eliminate any possibility of executing an innocent person. I'm voting yes on Proposition 34, and I hope your readers get the facts and do the same.

LINDA FOX

Petaluma

<b>Action in the Springs</b>

EDITOR: As the former mayor of Sonoma and an original member of the Springs Task Force Coordinating Committee (better known as "Swift Kick"), I started working with Supervisor Mike Cale and Sonoma Valley residents more than 25 years ago to advocate for sidewalk and pedestrian safety improvements on Highway 12 in the Springs.

After more than two decades of planning, studies and community meetings and amidst recent news that the state Department of Finance has denied redevelopment funds to complete this project yet again ("State kills Highway 12 hopes," Tuesday), we need strong leadership to see this project to completion.

John Sawyer will take action by working with the state and Sonoma Valley residents to see this project through. His conversations with residents and Highway 12 business owners have helped provide him insight to address this serious issue.

Sawyer has taken these concerns to heart and knows the problem is both a public safety and economic development issue. As someone who has been advocating for a safe path through the Springs for more than 25 years, I urge you to join me and vote John Sawyer for supervisor. He will take this project down the path to success.

DOUG McKESSON

Sonoma