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<b>Pot perspectives</b>

EDITOR: Saturday's article "SR may relax rules on pot" seemed to forecast marijuana's gradual evolution to legality. Santa Rosa's marijuana dispensaries want longer hours, greater revenue, permission to sell drug devices, larger advertising signs and for their workers to use pot on the job. How are our laws and regulations being twisted?

On Tuesday, Santa Rosa Councilwoman Erin Carlstrom will propose changes to loosen dispensary regulations. Carlstrom tipped voters off to what she sees as the future of pot distribution and sales in the article's concluding sentence, "For now, I think it's a nice balance." Carlstrom needs to tell us what she sees as the real end of that story.

For a contrast, read David Brooks' Saturday column ("Stoned, and all the stupider for it"). Brooks revealed his silly and stoned experiences as a high school student. He expressed sadness for former pot smoking friends who dropped out, and he praised those who dropped their habits to live rewarding lives.

Brooks' concluding statement contrasted with Carlstrom's. Brooks referred to a state closer to legalization, but his words could eventually apply to our community. Brooks wrote, ". . . they are also nurturing a moral ecology in which it is a bit harder to be the sort of person most of us want to be."

DON HOLDEN

Santa Rosa

<b>No fluoridation</b>

EDITOR: Dr. Jeff Miller ("County on right track in addressing dental problems," Close to Home, Thursday) suggests limiting sugar, but children eating the free breakfast and lunch at school get 50 percent of the calories as carbs (which convert to sugar). Remember, we evolved on hunter-gatherer diets that were only 5 percent carbs.

As for fluoridation, consider the source. Miller is a board member for First 5, which gets $5 million in Proposition 10 money. Are we surprised that funding comes with strings attached?

I know First 5 board members must support fluoridation because a few years ago my application was rejected despite my prior experience on boards and my interest and knowledge in the area. I'm a teacher who also was a licensed day-care provider.

Most dentists are too busy to research fluoridation so they adopt the American Dental Association's out-of-date assertions. But holistic dentists investigate the status quo, including fluoridation. In fact, many don't even offer topical fluoride application in their office.

You just can't be cynical enough about fluoridation. I.F. Stone's one-sentence motto is, "Governments lie." Another journalistic truth is, "Follow the money." The Press Democrat has forgotten both. (Plus it's embarrassing to have to eat your hat.)

But the masses don't want fluoridation. Let's see if the supervisors listen.

LAUREN AYERS

Sonoma

<b>Before dying</b>

EDITOR: The heartbreaking news of Jahi McMath gives us another reminder of how precious life is. Have you, your parents, children or significant other had "the conversation"?

What might you want done if your spirit was trapped in a lifeless body that will never return? Who would speak for you if you couldn't? Are you and your family willing to selfishly keep your lifeless child on artificial life support, even if that child told you he or she would never want to be in a place like that of Jahi?

I've had numerous experiences in end-of-life care, many with good endings, some filled with extremes of confusion, suffering, anxiety and guilt. I found the more patients and family were educated and had an advanced directive in place, peace and dignity often accompanied that process.

This is my initial step, inviting our county to spearhead the conversation about advanced directives, durable powers of attorney and living wills. Death is truly something we could embrace if an effort was made to have all involved on the same page. All that would be left at that time would be for the love that was always intended. Have the conversation.

MICHAEL KRISTIE

Petaluma

<b>Effort, not luck</b>

EDITOR: Robert Plantz's ("Main problem," Letters, Dec. 28) claim that "income is largely a matter of luck" is not only absurd, it demonstrates a complete disconnect from reality.

In every walk of life, I see that those who are willing to pursue additional levels of training and education, are willing to expend extra efforts to perform at a higher level, are willing to take some greater risks or are simply willing to serve with a higher degree of enthusiasm and optimism are the ones who tend to earn more and progress more rapidly.

Is his premise that we can ignore any drive to succeed but rather just wait for a little good luck to fall upon us?

ERIC ZIEDRICH

Healdsburg

<b>Lake maintenance</b>

EDITOR: Since Lake Mendocino is going dry and is sure to be dry in the future, why can't the powers that be who control the lake hire a contractor to remove the years and years of silt that has been filing the lake? I'm sure it would cheaper and faster now than if the lake was full.

It may be too late for this year, but if the government could get all its ducks in a row (permits, money and environmental concerns), it could be done the next time we have a bad drought. This would add a lot more volume to the lake.

STEVEN OLIVER

Cloverdale