No threat from oysters

EDITOR: Chris Kuhn (“Time to move on,” Letters, Tuesday) said that he appreciates the Department of Interior’s efforts to keep his land and water as clean and natural as possible (“Oyster bid rebuffed,” July 1). Apparently he does not realize that the oysters would not survive if the water wasn’t clean.

Point Reyes joined the national park system 53 years ago. All of the owners of the oyster farm, the present and former ones both, have provided employment and good food to the people of this area for 40 years. Why is Drakes Bay Oyster Co. suddenly a threat to the environment? Kuhn needs to take another look at who is really suppressing who.



Sheriff must act

EDITOR: District Jill Attorney Ravitch concluded that the facts supported the perception of Deputy Erick Gelhaus that a 5-foot-2 13-year-old walking in a field with a perceived weapon represented an imminent threat to his life. Gelhaus fired eight shots within seconds of perceiving this threat, resulting in Andy Lopez’s death. This is how Gelhaus responded, despite his many years of experience as a deputy and in the military.

The incident didn’t occur at a school or a crowded public place with potential danger to others. The perceived danger was to this experienced deputy outfitted in body armor.

Accepting Ravitch’s conclusion, one wonders about the state of mind that formed this perception. Questions concerning Gelhaus’ mental state and fitness for duty arise. I would urge Sheriff Steve Freitas to show leadership and address the issue.

This level of response seems far from appropriate, and although apparently not criminal, I believe that Freitas could send a strong message to the community by dismissing Gelhaus, demonstrating that his actions aren’t indicative of what generally is a fine group of officers.

Strong leadership was shown by the Board of Supervisors in creating the task force on gun violence, and the sheriff needs to lead by condemning the actions of this deputy in a consequential way.


Santa Rosa

Young migrants

EDITOR: I read that President Barack Obama wants an appropriation of $3.7 billion for assistance to the migrants. Do we really need to spend that amount of money?

I am sure that there are many recently closed military bases that could be rendered useful. The Army could deploy a battalion to assist these migrants while they await processing for proper deportation. We already pay these members of the armed forces, so the only cost would be feeding and housing, which would be markedly less the $3.7 billion.

For those who feel this is the wrong direction, I can only ask, Where does it stop and at what cost?



School donations

EDITOR: The inequality of donations and volunteering at local schools should come as no surprise, as open enrollment allows students to change schools at will, and those parents take resources with them (“Donations to SR schools vary widely,” July 5).

The French American Immersion School raised $61,000 this year while Brook Hill Elementary raised $176. The French school has an organic chef with an annual salary of about $95,300 of taxpayer money (“Chef to fix lunch for French charter school kids,” May 23, 2013) while Brook Hill students are mostly free-lunch recipients.

The east side schools start their new year by sending letters to each family requesting hefty donations and getting them, while having a low percentage of free-lunch students.

As the president of the parent teacher group at Santa Rosa High for five years, and an active volunteer for 14 years, I heard every excuse for why parents couldn’t/wouldn’t get involved in spite of statistics showing success for students whose parents are involved.

Hopefully, local-control funding will level the field, but it would help if students would stay in their own neighborhood schools and work from within.

Please, when asked to donate or volunteer, consider the consequences of not getting involved. This is our community, and they are our future. No gesture is too small.


Santa Rosa

Willits bypass

EDITOR: I have had it with opposition to the Willits bypass (“Caltrans to stop bypass work,” Tuesday). First we get bleeding-heart protesters in the valley. When that failed, they resorted to asinine lawsuits.

Well guess what, they haven’t stopped the bypass. They just slowed it down, and that costs us all more money.

If I was running things I would say, Red tape be damned, I am finishing this project without permits.

What would opponents do then? Tear it down? The valley will heal. Caltrans will make good on creating new wetlands, and traffic will disappear from town. It sounds like a win-win to me. Get over it and get out of the way. The bypass will go on. I for one am glad to see it.



Police privilege

EDITOR: I bet Wyatt Earp and Elliott Ness would have thought they had died and gone to heaven if they could shoot a 13-year-old boy walking down the street and get away with it. And then post up on the freeway, pull over a profile and take his or her money and keep it in the name of justice. Then go to a City Council meeting and hear the council is giving the department a million bucks of surplus budget money. From the looks of things here in Santa Rosa, you’re more likely to be murdered or robbed by law enforcement than by your fellow citizens.


Santa Rosa