<b>Trains vs. bikes</b>
EDITOR: It seems a sham — sorry, shame — that another train car has priority over roadside bicycle safety improvements ("County shifts $6.6 million to SMART," Tuesday). Are we not reading every week of a bicyclist being injured or worse? Are we not promoting Sonoma County as a world-class bicycle destination?
Determining priorities is both an art and science. Expert testimony, consultant recommendations, circumstances and personal bias do not, and in this case did not, add up to common sense. The negative publicity this decision will surely provoke should have been cause to abandon the suggestion.
I truly appreciate those in public service, a difficult job it is acting on behalf of constituents. But I, for one, cannot understand or explain the romance this train seems to have placed on our elected officials and the to-hell-with-everything-else priority it has become.
EDITOR: The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to consider the issue of gay marriage. I believe it's time to consider this controversy in a modern context. Everyone should be free to legally marry anyone they want. Marriage is simply a contract between two people to share their lives. Of course, there are significant religious and financial considerations.
Religious organizations opposed to gay marriage should not be forced to marry same-sex couples. It's their right to conduct their religion however they choose, within the law. Same-sex couples can have a civil marriage or find a religion that will marry them.
Regarding finances, heterosexual couples get a tax break and other advantages. I believe there are significant cultural and biological reasons for this. Humans are compelled to reproduce or the species will disappear. Couples should be awarded tax breaks and other advantages to have children, not simply for being married. This benefit should apply to all couples, gay or not.