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<b>Too much spending</b>

EDITOR: Now that we know Rep. Lynn Woolsey gets her news from the satirical, left-leaning Onion, we can be glad she's retiring ("GOP must disavow dictatorial pledge," Dec. 10). In decrying the Republican platform of no tax increases without serious cuts in spending, Woolsey spews the same destructive class warfare and social bigotry we expect from the economically unschooled extremists on the left.

Using the "fiscal cliff" as a lever for her bombastic rhetoric, Woolsey demonizes "the rich," baselessly proclaiming that if we don't take their money, the deficit burden will fall on the middle class, the elderly and the poor. What about puppies? Will they be asked to pay more, too?

Democratic leaders owe us more than preaching that the most recent election represents a "mandate" to penalize through taxation anyone making more than $250,000. She dishonestly fails to notice that nearly 61 million Americans voted against her "mandate."

Excessive taxation of "the rich" will not even put a dent in the deficit; substantive cuts are required in the outrageous spending so prevalent in Washington to move the needle at all. The government does not "generate revenues," it taxes the revenues created and earned by hard-working citizens. As Ronald Reagan said, "The problem is not that people are taxed too little, the problem is that the government spends too much."

DOUG NICKLE

Sonoma

<b>Choose Ba?elos</b>

EDITOR: This is in response to the Dec. 8 letter from former Santa Rosa Mayor Jane Bender ("Crossing the aisle"). Comparable civility and respect should be shown in making the appointment for Councilwoman Susan Gorin's seat. It's time to come full circle and honestly demonstrate the ability on both sides to work across the aisle.

The new Santa Rosa City Council can firmly exhibit cooperative leadership by selecting Caroline Ba?elos to fill the vacancy. She has the depth of experience the council needs to move forward. She is a community leader, a nonprofit professional and can provide the diversity the council sorely needs. She served with me for years on the Social Advocates for Youth board and as my appointee to the Planning Commission. We've worked together to advance community events and involvement, such as the safe Cinco de Mayo celebration.

Choosing Ba?elos would validate that the entire council is genuinely committed to working together. In the spirit of bringing positive change and working for the best interests of all the people of Santa Rosa, I urge the appointment of Caroline Ba?elos.

MARSHA VAS DUPRE

Former city councilwoman

Santa Rosa

<b>Good riddance</b>

EDITOR: Sometimes, it's difficult to understand and reconcile the statements coming from elected officials. Sonoma County Supervisor Shirlee Zane, a self-professed reformer of the county's out-of-control pension program, called retiring Supervisor Valerie Brown a "mentor and role model" who has "made a huge difference" locally ("Board says goodbye to Brown," Wednesday). Zane's fellow reform advocate, Supervisor David Rabbitt, went even further, taking of the "indelible mark" Brown left on the county.

Yes, Brown has left a mark all right. But it was never mentioned in the article. Brown strongly embraced, advocated and ultimately voted for the very retiree pension and benefits system Zane and Rabbitt proudly boast they have been striving to change. This is a system that has left the county's budget in tatters and its roads in serious disrepair but that will soon reward their role model with an attractive pension and benefits.

For many of her constituents and others throughout Sonoma County, goodbye isn't appropriate in Brown's case. It's good riddance.

GARY KOZEL

Kenwood

<b>Cohn tells it like is</b>

EDITOR: Uh oh, looks like grouchy sports fan Bill Barger ("Cohn's &‘negatorials,' " Letters, Dec. 10) didn't get his morning "cup a' joe." His letter bashing Lowell "tell it like it is" Cohn made me think of the classic line from a Simon and Garfunkle song: "Man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest."

Relax, Bill. I don't always agree with Cohn, but I always appreciate his perspective. He doesn't pull any punches. He doesn't sugarcoat reality. (I do feel uncomfortable for Jim Harbaugh when Cohn grills him, but I'm glad Cohn asks the tough questions).

In my opinion, the goal of a good sports columnist is not to win any popularity contests. It's to provide unique, thoughtful commentary that might challenge, and yes, frustrate the reader. With Cohn's columns, I think the glass is half full, and it's up to the reader to top it off.

STEVE BAKER

Santa Rosa