Nanny-state rules

EDITOR: After reading Thursday's article about soda ("Drinking problem?"), I am convinced that Americans have finally capitulated and given over all decision-making to the government. What has happened to this country when parents cannot or will not tell their kids the difference in good nutrition vs. bad or a whole list of other lifestyle issues?

Why should they? The so-called nanny-state politicians will make laws and rules that will absolve parents and other adults of any semblance of responsibility for their actions or control over their lives. Why must we be taxed into oblivion to pay for the poor choices chosen by the careless?

It is pretty sad that colleges are filled with students who must be "educated" as to what to eat or drink. I just hope that none of these people are standing over me with a scalpel ready to perform surgery. They will probably have to check the government-supplied rule book first.

Kudos to student Monica Waldron of Santa Rosa for limiting herself to a common-sense approach to soda — one a day. She was right on the money in saying that she wouldn't pay attention to the warning label. How many people do?



Fluoride use

EDITOR: Has anyone figured out how many of the fluoride proponents' intended targets actually drink city tap water?


Santa Rosa

Meat processors

EDITOR: I find the reporting on the recall of beef processed by the Rancho Feeding Co. unfair to the slaughterhouse owners and the local livestock industry. It smacks of trial by innuendo to continually refer to "diseased animals" when there has been no documentation or testimony of contamination or illness.

Unfairness aside, perhaps there is an opportunity here. Sonoma County is acknowledged to be grossly underserved by facilities needed to bring meat to market. Aside from Rancho and Panizzera (which slaughters goats and sheep only), there are no local slaughterhouses to process the meat that local farmers grow for our local customers, restaurants and farmer's markets.

That grass-fed steak on your plate or roast in your market bag has to be inspected and certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But does it need to hold up to the same scrutiny and audit trail as beef for a Hot Pocket in a Wal-Mart freezer in North Dakota?

Today's mantra is "know your local farmer." How about "know your local slaughterhouse?" Why not develop a set of transparent inspection standards and procedures for locally grown meat that will be eaten and enjoyed by our neighbors but not shipped across the country?


Preston Farms


An accomplished life

EDITOR: It's with great sadness I read of John LeBaron's death ("Beloved SRJC teacher dies," Thursday).

I was a student of his in photography classes at Santa Rosa Junior College back in 1981 and 1982, and I really enjoyed his instruction and style. He did have a keen eye for detail and a good sense, and his advice and opinions about photography were always on the mark. He made learning about the subject fun and enjoyable, especially since it was more hands-on with developing the film and using enlargers, none of that digital computer manipulation.

LeBaron's career as a successful Sonoma County photographer, maybe the best or most famous, is evident when I continue to see his work displayed to this day. His specialty, of course, was black and white, and many a local barn and landscape or tree didn't escape his attention.