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<b>Homes for vets</b>

EDITOR: I'm sure we're all tired of reading about the discovery of yet another rental property owned by the city of Santa Rosa ("SR reveals another no-rent property," Aug. 23). Then we read they're being rented for little or no money under the premise that they're in need of repair, bordering on uninhabitable.

Many of these properties are worth $500,000-$700,000. The occupants are ex-city employees, city employees or friends of city employees. It is hard to believe these situations are nothing more than an oversight due to staff downsizing and budget issues.

I have an idea. I believe the city should evict the tenants who have profited handsomely for too long and rent to homeless veterans such as those featured in the Aug. 25 paper ("Vets' housing plight"). I bet those properties could handle multiple tenants and the veterans would be glad to maintain the land and structures. It's a win-win. What better way for the city to say thank you to those who have served.

DAVE ARGENTO

Petaluma

<b>Carrillo's day in court</b>

EDITOR: The Efren Carrillo whom I know loves our diverse west county and has worked tirelessly to make our area better. I don't condone drinking and making poor choices, but we don't know all of the details. We only know what has been printed in the newspaper. I would want people to let me have my day in court, and I think that Carrillo deserves that respect from us. Let's wait until all of the cards are on the table before we ask him to fold his hand.

LORETTA CASTLEBERRY

Sebastopol

<b>Dangerous balconies</b>

EDITOR: At a recent performance at the newly remodeled Well Fargo Center for the Performing Arts in Santa Rosa, we were seated near the edge of the balcony. I noticed that the wall at the edge of the balcony is less than three feet high; i.e., low enough that a person losing her balance or tripping, or a child scuffling, could fall over the wall to the seats and floor below.

No doubt, the height of the wall was kept low to maintain the line-of-sight from balcony seats to the stage below but at a terrible price in reduced safety. In contrast to this low wall, where the balcony steps come down to the edge of the balcony, short sections of steel bars holding tight cables are used to provide safety lest someone descending the steps trip and fall toward the edge of the balcony. The cables allow line of sight to the stage.

I suggest that the steel bars and cables be extended along the entire length of the balcony wall before someone falls over the edge of the balcony. A similar problem exists at the balconies of Weill Hall at Sonoma State University.

CLAIR KENASTON

Santa Rosa

<b>Jobs, jobs, jobs</b>

EDITOR: Gretchen Morgenson ("New jobs! If only it were true," Aug. 25) nailed an important tool used to promote dubious projects. It's the "jobs created" term. This was used to promote our very own shopping center project in Petaluma. Jobs, jobs, jobs was the chant. They didn't say where those jobs would actually fall.

The fact is that many of the touted jobs here went out to other states, some as far away as Georgia. I met two guys who drove their work truck to work, for low wages here in Petaluma finishing the center — probably a five-day ride plus $1,000 for gas. They were using their truck, their tools, paying rent to live here, and they had to purchase materials with their credit cards to be reimbursed by the people who hired them.

This is what they meant about jobs when the shopping center was promoted. This doesn't make any sense at all. It's only a better bottom line for the promoters of this lie; nobody else benefited. Not even the poor workers who netted a small paycheck after huge living and travel expenses just to keep working. Anywhere.

BRUCE MALLON

Petaluma

<b>Visual pollution</b>

EDITOR: Shame on the City Council of Rohnert Park for contributing to the uglification of the Highway 101 corridor by approving an even larger and more distracting electronic billboard ("Sign of bigger things," Aug. 21). All Sonoma County cities are dealing with financial challenges, but I would hope we could find ways to meet those challenges that do not involve visually polluting our beautiful region.

LEAH GOLD

Healdsburg