Irrelevant questions

EDITOR: My first reaction to Jack Rannells' letter ("Catering to protesters," Tuesday) was anger. Then I realized that his statements probably are echoed by others, and they need to be addressed.

Rannells asks for the citizenship status and vocations of Andy Lopez's parents. What possible relevance could Andy's parents' citizenship status or vocations have to his being shot by a deputy? Based on a mention of Andy's schooling, Rannells makes certain assumptions and asks if Andy was a "problem child"? There are multiple reasons for a student to switch schools. What relevance could Andy's schooling have on the situation? It's irrelevant. The deputies had no knowledge of his history to base judgments on, and his behavior on the day of his death was age appropriate. Yes, even if he was playing hooky.

I cannot figure out how any of these questions could possibly be relevant to the situation. The fact is, we are all members of this society, and we all have the right to not be shot without just cause.

I find Rannells' questions to be prejudiced, irrelevant and offensive. I can only hope that the deputies didn't have these same irrelevant questions clouding their judgment on that tragic day.



More than peeking

EDITOR: I read that, in Windsor, a boy entered a young woman's bedroom without his pants after tampering with a screen ("Intruder awakens sleeping Windsor girl," Tuesday). How much do you want to bet he gets charged with more than peeking? Lucky Efren Carrillo.


Santa Rosa

The doctor signs off

EDITOR: On Nov. 2, Larry Slater, the Jazz MD, signed off his final "Jazz Connections" radio show on KRCB. For 13 years, his meticulously researched and articulately presented programs demonstrated his passion as a walking jazz encyclopedia to listeners on the radio and on the Web.

His farewell show, with the theme "Throwbacks," accompanied by compliments from fans around the country and visits with friends old and new, was a great closer.

A life-long jazz aficionado who learned to play the alto sax at age 45, Slater balanced his radio show research, including finding rare recordings, with his day job as a family practice physician. His voice and tunes informed and inspired our community.

Thanks for the music, Doc.



Subverting land-use

EDITOR: Measure B, the hotel limitation measure in Sonoma, is a terrible policy proposal that would have far-ranging, detrimental impacts on our community's economic vitality. Promoted as a people's initiative, its actual effect would be to rob our community of its voice in future hotel development decisions. To vote no on Measure B doesn't support any proposed or future hotel project.

Questions of land use are tremendously complex with myriad short- and long-term issues that must be considered related to quality of life, economics, jobs and neighborhoods. That's why we have a multi-layered process, starting with staff review and continuing on to the Planning Commission, Design Review Board and ultimately the City Council. For the applicant, this can be a drawn-out process, but its purpose is to provide multiple opportunities for public input, analysis, discussion, redesign and compromise. Measure B's arbitrary limit subverts this process, classifying every hotel proposal in stark black-and-white terms.

The underlying presumption is that the citizens of Sonoma aren't smart enough to look after their own interests and therefore must be legally constrained from considering certain development projects on their own merits. Citizens interested in preserving their voice over land-use decisions should vote no on Measure B.



Understanding 'mindset'

EDITOR: Santa Rosa Police Lt. Paul Henry said, "The deputy's mindset was that he was fearful that he was going to be shot" ("Deputies saw gun as real," Oct. 24)

Was the deputy's mindset seeing Andy Lopez as Latino and not a human being, teenager, son, cousin, friend, student, trumpet and saxophone player and the future?

Was the deputy's mindset that because Andy Lopez lived in the Roseland area he was a threat? How could the deputy have known he was carrying an assault rifle when your paper reported one of the seven bullets in his young body was in his butt? It sounds as if he never fully turned around.

If mindset got us here, then we need to look at the mindset law enforcement has about our youth and ethnic groups. We have to ask ourselves about our mindset if we view this as only a Latino issue.

This is every citizen's, parent's, public servant's and educator's problem. All of us must insist that a citizens review board with voting and veto power be established. How else will we know that truth and justice will be served?


Santa Rosa