<b>Bags aren't cheap</b>

EDITOR: Thirty years ago, I was a college student living in Germany. I remember the first time I visited the grocery store down the hill from the dormitory. I was stunned when the checker charged me for each bag I needed for my groceries. What? I pay for bags? They aren't free? After about a month of trekking to that little grocery store, I started to reuse my bags.

Recently, there have been many articles about whether to ban plastic bags in Sonoma County. It seems that stores and shoppers must have their bags, and the Legislature will be the only force to change people's habits.

As you probably guessed, I cart my bags to stores. In reply to those who say, "Oh, I just can't remember my bags," it took me about a year to completely solidify the habit. And, if I forgot them, I would penalize myself by buying a bag at the grocery store.

How many people realize that we are already paying for single-use plastic bags? Our taxes are paying people to help keep our communities, oceans and open spaces clean.



<b>Friends or bullies?</b>

EDITOR: How can neighbors be friends when one lies to, devalues and deflects the fact-based concerns of the other ("Neighbors, not always friends," Pete Golis, Sunday)? Easy: require a socio-economic impact assessment for consensus.

One can walk through empty county and city office spaces and easily imagine a safe haven for homeless of all ages. Each office could become an apartment. Gosh, what a wonderful way to help them.

No, instead find a subset with high percentages of addiction, mental problems and behavior resulting in judicial corrections and rent to them in a free building needing millions of dollars in upgrades. Have a tiny staff, just 30 percent of them professionally licensed. Upsize a 1970s housing model that results in frequent police intervention. Make weekly police calls the norm.

Next, rent to other nonprofit social services to expand your political power and income. Create a business center in a low-density residential area, an hour's bus ride from the junior college and jobs, and don't meet the general plan. Brilliant.

Social Advocates for Youth's public-relations offensives, failure to address the reality-based concerns of social services professionals and residents of Bennett Valley and lack of regard for its new neighbors speak volumes.

No one likes a bully, especially a political one.


Santa Rosa

<b>Built-in drought</b>

EDITOR: Did anyone else see the irony of these two articles on in the Empire News section of Monday's paper -#8212; "Cities struggle as reservoirs dry up" and "Sewer hookup cost slashed"?

It is looking particularly grim for our water reservoirs to keep up with the current load of houses and people they have to supply. If we continue to build houses and bring in more people, we are all going to be in a bad situation soon, if we are not there already.


Santa Rosa

<b>The real question</b>

EDITOR: Regarding David Comfort's questions ("Unanswered questions," Letters, Monday), I believe the answers are:

Andy Lopez' race had nothing to do with his death. Sonoma County police officers have killed people of all races.

Police officers do seem to be quicker to shoot in high-crime areas. Just ask the armed (with a real gun) man in Fountaingrove who was given 11 hours to comply with police orders, as opposed to the few seconds that Andy was given.

A similar tragedy actually did occur in 1987, well before Columbine and Newtown. A teenage boy was killed by a police officer in Rancho Cucamonga who mistook a Lazer Tag gun for a real gun.

Parents should never allow children to carry a look-alike gun. However, we should also never again allow police officers to use lethal force as readily and with such wanton disregard for human lives (other than their own) as they have heretofore.

Why weren't Andy Lopez (and Jeremiah Chass and Richard DeSantis and Kuan Chung Kao, et al.) afforded the same degree of caution and patience by the police as James Provost was in the Fountaingrove standoff? That's the real question we need to be asking.


Santa Rosa

<b>Help, don't hinder</b>

EDITOR: I would like to thank columnist Pete Golis for sticking up for Social Advocates for Youth. I have friends who are homeless, and I sometimes set them up in my garage.

It's sad that NIMBYism is going on in Bennett Valley at the expense of our youth. They're not there by choice. They are there because of their parents' choices. We should be setting a good example for these youth and supporting SAY.

If some residents are concerned about crime and graffiti, then I suggest we close down Santa Rosa High School and Ridgway Continuation School because the police are there on a regular basis, and my neighbor has had two cars in her front yard, both driven by students.

We're here to help our youth, not hinder them. So let SAY do its job and help those who need our help.


Santa Rosa