<b>A witch hunt</b>
EDITOR: Thank you for Friday's editorial highlighting the Gary Wysocky report ("There in black and white — but mostly black"). The hypocrisy of Santa Rosa Councilman Jake Ours' comment — "Everyone needs to know what's going on here, not just little bits of it" — is incredible in light of the fact that the report was so heavily redacted.
Since the City Council wanted to publish the report, it should have been published in its entirety. This whole affair has been a tempest in a teapot. It should have been resolved quietly, in house, behind closed doors and without the expenditure of tax dollars.
I agree with Councilwoman Julie Combs that this was a witch hunt. Certain council members saw this as an excuse to go after Wysocky. It doesn't pass the smell test. I hate injustice wherever it occurs.
EDITOR: It is inhumane that we have children working on tobacco farms, some as young as 7 who are getting sick from absorbing tobacco through their skin. Working long hours harvesting nicotine- and pesticide-laced tobacco leaves, children aren't being protected.
According to a Human Rights Watch report, U.S. agriculture labor laws allow children to work longer hours at younger ages and in more hazardous conditions in the tobacco industry than in any other industry. This is the U.S.in 2014? Nearly three-quarters of the children interviewed reported vomiting, nausea and headaches while working on tobacco farms. These symptoms are consistent with nicotine poisoning.
Paul Hornback, a Republican Kentucky state senator, said, "People get pretty extreme trying to protect everybody from everything. It hard manual labor, but there's nothing wrong with hard manual labor." Never mind that these are children.
This was covered in the business section of The Press Democrat ("Report highlights child labor on tobacco farms," May 15), but it should have been front-page news. People other than those interested in business should be more aware of this.
All of our children need our support to end this type of exploitation. It is hard to believe this is not 1914.
<b>Mayor on Measure G</b>
EDITOR: I would like to correct a statement in my recent Close to Home column ("Measure G will keep Cotati viable," Sunday) in which I wrote that the Sonoma County Taxpayers' Association decided not to oppose Measure G in Cotati after hearing about financial cuts made in recent years and our adoption of a two-tiered pension plan. I have since spoken with representatives of taxpayers' association and wish to correct any misunderstanding I may have created. The association has, in fact, taken no position on Measure G but for reasons of its own having nothing to do with our financial cuts or adoption of a two-tiered plan. I want to be transparent about this and apologize for the misunderstanding.
<b>A second chance</b>
EDITOR: This letter is not a defense of Supervisor Efren Carrillo. In fact, even Carrillo has made it clear that he is not defending his actions from July 13. But in the onslaught of negative public reaction to his recent acquittal, very few have spoken up to say enough of the piling on. We have found those few letters from folks such as Carol Mills ("West county's rep," May 7) and Dan Hamburg ("Let Carrillo do his job," May 13) to be thoughtful and welcome in the midst of such outrage. While it is not quite a lynch mob mentality, there is a faint whiff of a holier-than-thou strain running through it.