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EDITOR: Couldn't your headline on the Sonoma hospital bond measure defeat have read: "Sonoma hospital Measure F wins large majority of votes but is defeated by the minority"? This also could have been said about the defeat of the SMART train tax measure.

The majority of voters, or at least 55 percent, should win an election in a democracy. What is wrong with the people of California? Why do they meekly let the minority rule the state? Why does the media ignore this fact? Is this legal? Where are the lawyers?

In fact, propositions should be illegal. Our elected officials should pass laws or voter initiatives, not the minority special interests.

Of course all our elected officials are inexperienced since by the time they learn their job they are out of office thanks to the term limits proposition.

It is time to get some of the wise people of California together and write a new California Constitution. Our California Constitution is not adequate for the seventh largest economic power in the world.

PAT PATTERSON

Sonoma

State of the Union

EDITOR: Recent news items from The Press Democrat:

Highest gas prices on record;

Higher foreclosure rate on record;

Lowest home sales pending rate on record;

Lowest value of dollar against the euro on record;

Only 19 percent of Americans say we're headed in the right direction;

Record number of Americans using food stamps;

Household wealth of middle class has declined over past seven years;

Record national debt.

In summary: Heckuva job, Bushie!

DAVID WILLIAMS

Windsor

It's about fire safety

EDITOR: Regarding the March 29 article, "Bohemian Club's generous land offer may be 'end run' around rules," by Bleys W. Rose: For several years now, the Bohemian Club has engaged in a public process to secure a sensible and responsible timber management plan at the Bohemian Grove near Monte Rio.

Contrary to the overheated rhetoric employed by certain groups and a former member of the club, this timber management plan is designed solely to safeguard human life and property. We have worked closely with state and federal agencies to develop a sustainable plan that meets these objectives.

Our forest is overcrowded, and there are some 25,000 dead and highly flammable trees located at the Bohemian Grove. Without a sensible forest management plan, the risk of a catastrophic wildfire will increase with every year of delay. We have consulted with a number of experts including professional foresters, leading experts in the field of forest management, as well as fire captains from Sonoma County, who concur that the current state of our forest poses a severe fire danger.

It is hard to fathom the logic of self-styled conservationists who somehow see a negative in the club granting the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation a conservation easement to protect, in perpetuity, 160 acres of the largest and most majestic trees on our property. This easement is about protecting old-growth redwood trees -- pure and simple. We are mystified how any truly conservation-minded person would object to such protection.

Contrary to the tenor of the article, no public process, environmental review or mitigation is being avoided in the preparation of this plan.

JAY MANCINI

President, Bohemian Club

San Francisco

Kudos to SR police

EDITOR: We are the grandparents of Jesse Hamilton, a mental patient killed by the police on Jan. 2. We strongly believe that police officers in Sonoma County must exercise more restraint in handling encounters with the mentally ill. Today we offer kudos to the Santa Rosa police officers who answered a call to a halfway house on Tuesday, as reported on Page B3 of Wednesday's Press Democrat. They subdued a mentally ill man, but did not kill him. What a welcome change from the four deadly encounters in just the past year.

Perhaps these officers were better trained than those involved in the recent deaths. We understand that there is a new program, "Crisis Intervention Training," being given to some of the law enforcement officers in Sonoma County. That's a great step forward, and we hope the program will be given to many more of our officers, and soon.

PHYLLIS and BOB CLEMENT

Sebastopol

Assisted suicide

EDITOR: I have now seen a series of letters from writers upset with letter writer Lawrence Lehr taking issue with Chris Smith's lament over the failure of Patty Berg's assisted suicide campaign. It is clear that each of these letters carries a dominant undertone of resentment toward Lehr for his having had the temerity to suggest that human life has intrinsic value transcending its pains and pleasures, and for exhorting his readers to reject cowardice as an option in dealing with it.

One of these missives indeed seems to suggest that euthanasia ought to be acceptable for a human being precisely because we do it to animals. Is that all we are, then -- chunks of meat with hair growing out of them in places?

Carry on, Lawrence. May the depth and clarity of your vision sustain you in your loss, and give you comfort, strength, peace.

MICHAEL ZEBULON

Rohnert Park

Looking ahead

EDITOR: Regarding your front-page article on Friday about cell phone use while driving: I'm all for hands-free devices and don't understand why it took so long to get the law. It's common sense.

One day a woman was in the car behind me, too close, and she had a cell phone up to her ear and then she took her other hand off the steering wheel to gesture, so no hands on the wheel.

As for the argument some people make about phones not to be used at all while driving, I disagree. After all, don't you talk to your passengers?

And then there are the drivers who feel the need to turn around to talk to the passenger beside them or in the back seat. Think about that. I'd rather use my headset and have both hands on the wheel and be looking straight ahead.

NANCY WAGNER

Rohnert Park

It's just a plant

EDITOR: What is our county coming to? People are growing large lilac trees in our very neighborhoods! The sickening-sweet smell is attracting thieves and people may even have dogs that will bite you if you sneak on to their property. These trees use huge amounts of water and other resources, and are useless except for the "pleasure" they afford their owners. Let's do something about it! Vote no on Measure B.

GEORGE HANAMOTO

Willits