<b>Choosing a mayor</b>

EDITOR: I read Sunday's article about the Santa Rosa City Council mayoral position with interest ("In two-way race for may, one big puzzle"). If a change is needed in the traditions of selecting the mayor, now's as good a time as any to start. But if stability and cooperation during this recession are more important, perhaps this isn't the best time to shake things up.

What is it we expect from the mayor in a growing city such as Santa Rosa, anyway? Is this a political position? A leadership position? An administrative position? Is it suited to a mediator who can elicit all viewpoints and work for suitable compromises or better as a rotation that ensures all approaches are used in turn?

There's a conceit that after reading an overview article we in the peanut gallery should develop firm opinions on this subject. But all our council members, not least of all Erin Carlstrom, have access to a wider and deeper pool of knowledge and experience than your average Press Democrat reader. Seek advice, weigh the options, then make the decision you think will be best for Santa Rosa in the long run.


Santa Rosa

<b>Government interference</b>

EDITOR: I share the sadness of owner Kevin Lunny and his family over the closure of Drakes Bay Oyster Co. ("Oyster farm closing," Friday). It is not only the 30 employees who will lose their jobs. Other businesses, such as those that sell barbecued oysters at farmers market, will also lose a local source of oysters.

This is a perfect example of government intrusion in our lives and livelihoods. Sonoma Foie Gras, Drakes Bay Oyster Co., what business will be targeted next?



<b>Some suggestions</b>

EDITOR: Before Robert Jacob and John Eder ride in on white horses to save the day ("Eder claims Sebastopol council seat," Saturday), I would like to make a few suggestions. As a resident in the city limits of Sebastopol for 47 years, I believe we need to support and encourage new businesses so we can collect more tax money to support city infrastructure such as roads and water and sewer mains and address items such as traffic congestion. Also we need to support city services such as police, fire and public works.

It's not all about the CVS/Chase project. Do we really want a lawsuit that the taxpayers must pay for? I would agree that traffic is bad on Sebastopol Avenue, but hasn't it always been?

I would also suggest that they may want to talk to and meet with a full range of citizens to address some of the other concerns of residents.

As for Vice Mayor Michael Kyes, Councilwoman Sarah Gurney and Helen Shane, they should be ashamed of the way they treated and discredited Councilwoman Kathleen Shaffer in her bid for re-election. I don't think the citizens of Sebastopol will find a more motivated councilwoman ever again.



<b>Doomsday stories</b>

EDITOR: Nothing like a good dose of doomsday on the front page. Monday's headlines included "It could have been worse" and "Falling off the cliff." I didn't know whether to laugh, cry or point a gun to my head. No wonder there are so many depressed people after reading these "stories."



<b>Focus on peace</b>

EDITOR: Joy Danzig's letter ("Hamas and justice," Nov. 27) caused me to re-read the Close to Home column by Susan Lamont ("Strongest must lead the way to peace," Nov. 26). It seemed I must have missed Lamont's "appalling lack of knowledge of history and hard facts." Danzig went to great lengths about the "Jewish people" and their "defamation." But Lamont didn't write about the Jewish people, who we all know are not located in Israel alone but all over the world and simply self-identify as Jewish.

The issue of peace that is central to the work of the Peace and Justice Center has to do with the welfare of all peoples, regardless of nationality, and Lamont wrote about that issue, which she well understands and always writes factually about. The acts of violence by Hamas or al-Qaida or any other terrorist group, including those by our Ku Klux Klan, the IRA, Rwandan Hutus or anyone else are deplorable, and Lamont has said as much.

Let us not confuse the people with their government, here or anywhere. And let us define a nation by its acts, not by its primary religion or even its culture. The past is past; now is now. Let's move on to peace.