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<b>Funding schools</b>

EDITOR: Both Proposition 30 and Proposition 38 are designed to increase funding for children's education (while paying down state debt). There are good arguments on both sides regarding which one will help children more, but what we know for sure is that if neither proposition passes, our children will be in trouble. We need at least one of these propositions to pass to protect funding for schools.

We urge you not to let the arguments for or against either of these propositions keep you from voting on them. You can even vote yes for both; if both pass by a majority, the tax increases from the proposition with the most yes votes will be enacted.

Polls show that voters are ready to pay more taxes if they're for children's education; on Nov. 6 we have a fantastic opportunity to act. We know that investing in our children means investing in our economy, our society and our future. It is the smartest investment we can make.

The Child Care Planning Council of Sonoma County urges you to vote yes for kids on Proposition 30 or Proposition 38 or both.

CAROL SIMMONS

Child Care Planning Council of Sonoma County

<b>Right to know</b>

EDITOR: I will be voting yes on Proposition 37, because there's more to the issue than The Press Democrat's Oct. 2 editorial would have you believe ("No on 37: Label this one over-regulation").

You say that "families can't afford (GMO labeling)." Currently, a mom's only option for GMO-free food is to buy premium organic products. After Proposition 37 passes, she'll be able to purchase less expensive, conventional non-GMO food. How is this not a win?

Next, the paper said "science simply doesn't warrant it." What you didn't say is is that the U.S. government does little testing of GMOs, instead relying on the results of studies conducted by the manufacturers. Remember when DDT was harmless and cigarettes were good for you? It's no different this time.

The environment and the human body are simply too complex to say definitively whether or not GMOs have negative long-term effects. This is our food, our bodies and our choice. Isn't it better to be safe than sorry?

Don't be fooled. The only ones who benefit from GMO food are the corporations who don't think twice about destroying our health and our planet if they can make billions in the process.

We have the right to know. Vote yes on 37.

BEN GARLAND

Santa Rosa

<b>No role model</b>

EDITOR: Supervisor Shirlee Zane's comments about the Graton Rancheria's casino are as sad and disheartening as the child of an abusive parent who keeps quiet with the promise of a new toy: "Without a doubt, I think it's the best agreement between a tribe and a local government," and the tribe has "been continually trying to put their best foot forward in terms of negotiating" ("Tribe to pay $9 million a year to county," Oct. 20). Best foot forward? How about their only foot right through the door of Sonoma County.

I imagine Zane would have lauded the thugs that charged for "protection" in 19th century New York or Chicago, declaring "at least they fixed the door after they broke it down." Nothing about how this unrelated group of Native Americans (backed by Las Vegas dollars) has weaseled its way into town is honorable or a role model for anyone.

I remember — not too long ago — when Sonoma County was known for farms, grapes, apples, cows, small towns and world-class horticulture. Now we'll be known as a county that gets pushed around — but at least got paid. A role model, indeed.

ALDEN OLMSTED

Cotati

<b>Sawyer vs. Gorin</b>

EDITOR: To be called a politician is not the most flattering thing. We have a healthy contempt for politicians. At best, we support certain politicians while vilifying their opponents. The debate between John Sawyer and Susan Gorin on Oct. 18 in Sonoma gave me a different perspective.

Beneath the spirited jabbing at one another, both candidates were intelligent and experienced, well informed on a variety of subjects and full of energy and passion to serve their constituency. I was particularly impressed by Sawyer's moral integrity that sometimes bordered bluntness. If his integrity displeased some, Gorin's insistence on her solutions often invited doubts as to their unintended consequences. The living-wage issue was a case in point: Gorin wanted to pass a living-wage ordinance so every wage-earner can immediately live comfortably in the expensive valley, whereas Sawyer wanted to help business survive first, then prosper, so that wages may rise. Similar differences were aired over the environment, project-labor agreements, agro-tourism, pension reform and a host of other subjects.

Each candidate has a different world-view. It is our turn as voters to shed our prejudice and hypocrisy and study carefully which candidate holds better truth.

TITO SASAKI

Sonoma

<b>Reversing course</b>

EDITOR: The future of Sebastopol may well be determined by who is elected to the City Council. As a 40-year resident, I find the CVS/Chase development a defining issue for Sebastopol.

The project, approved by a 3-2 vote of the current council, allows these businesses to relocate to downtown Sebastopol. This will mean horrific gridlock at one of Sebastopol's most prominent and heavily traveled intersections. The approval also means that powerful corporate entities can influence local decision-making by threatening lawsuits (as was reported to be the case with CVS/Chase) at the expense of the vast majority of residents.

Two very fine and impressive women, incumbent Kathleen Shaffer and candidate Kathy Austin, are unfortunately in favor of the project. Candidates Robert Jacob and John Elder oppose it. Jacob and Eder want to create a more pedestrian-friendly town and support sensible growth as reflected by the Barlow project.

If Jacob and Elder are elected, they will join current council members Sara Gurney and Michael Keyes, who are also opposed to the CVS/Chase project. Perhaps a newly constituted and more progressive council could reverse this ill-advised decision and prevent future development from being hijacked by a few large corporations.

TULA JAFFE

Sebastopol

<b>Tax initiatives</b>

EDITOR: Why is that every election cycle we are allowed to vote on initiatives that would raise our taxes but never on ones that would lower our taxes? Even the "notorious" Proposition 13 only limited the increases each year in property taxes that the state could levy.

We are hapless sheep who can only ask that our shearers of various governments leave us enough wool to get through the winter.

TIMOTHY McGRAW

Healdsburg

<b>A voice in the city</b>

<MC>EDITOR: Recent articles, letters and Chris Coursey's column succinctly brought forth the issues surrounding Measure Q. Santa Rosa is not going to lose population. We will very soon no longer expect our City Council members to be available and knowledgeable for all neighborhoods of our city. District elections will cost less for the city and the candidates. Community residents will then have a specific resource on the council. More residents will have a voice in city issues. Vote yes on Measure Q.

NANCY SWEARENGEN

Santa Rosa