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A modest question

EDITOR: About the photograph on Saturday’s front page of a uniformed soldier holding his weapon in his left hand and, in his right, holding up the toy he apparently liberated from the debris of the downed civilian airliner at his feet: What kind of a medal will he be awarded for this gallant action? And from whom?

GENE ANDERSON

Petaluma

Moral blur, not clarity

EDITOR: No blockade in Gaza?

Tell that to families of those killed by Israeli military when Mavi Marmara sailed towards Gaza.

Tell that to Gazans who live without fuel for electricity to clean up sewage before it goes into the Mediterranean.

Tell that to fishermen who are shot at by Israeli military within international fishing limits.

Tell that to Gazans who have poor medical treatment and physicians whose diagnostic equipment fails because repair parts can’t enter Gaza.

Tell that to those who prepared 11 ships to enter Gaza in 2012. The Audacity of Hope is still at a Greek dock.

Tell that to those who refurbished a boat to become Gaza’s Ark. Filled with products to sell, it was to sail next September, breaking the blockade from inside. Gaza’s Ark is a ruin – a direct hit on July 17.

I’ve been to Gaza. I saw the blockade and, believe me, it exists and is cruel.

When Charles Krauthammer says, “and there was no blockade” in discussing the horror in Gaza, he calls into question his facts, opinions and moral clarity (“A picture of moral clarity in Gaza,” Saturday). And when The Press Democrat writes the headline you wrote, you tell readers you agree that he has moral clarity. Shame on you.

BARBARA BRIGGS-LETSON

Sebastopol

Drakes Bay lawsuits

EDITOR: I read that another lawsuit aimed at keeping the Drakes Bay oyster farm running has been filed by “local farmers, foodmakers (?) and restaurant owners” (“New suit aims to save oyster farm,” Saturday). Why is it that The Press Democrat has neglected to report on the involvement of the Koch brothers in this controversy?

These lawsuits are expensive, and contrary to the implication that they are “local,” they are funded by large, national right-wing conservative interests that have selected this issue as a test case in their plans to further commercialize publicly held resources for their own profit. How about an article that investigates how these lawsuits are funded?

I have to chuckle whenever I see one of those “Save our Drakes Bay Oyster Farm” signs that are so cleverly designed to look homemade. Who is meant by our? Follow the money. Do your job.

THOMAS GLYNN

Santa Rosa

Downtown at risk

EDITOR: Steven Abbott is correct (“Restoring the square,” Letters, Tuesday); Old Courthouse Square’s west side has been a dead zone for the entire 34 years I’ve had a store on Fourth Street.

Ten years ago, Santa Rosa applied for an MTC grant for a simple concept with “real streets.” The cost was $3 million to $4 million, but the application was unsuccessful. Soon after, then-Planning Commissioner Scott Bartley started meeting with colleagues about a streetless square. This alarmed the business community, specifically because of the problems on the west side. That controversy led to the design competition, the entry designs of which were chosen by Bartley’s committee. The winning $13 million plan was the only entry with real streets.

The recession has left our city with many service shortages, including reduced maintenance downtown. Additionally, we’re in a historic drought. Does a $17 million plan with a $2 million water wall make sense today?

If council members think that answer is no, then how can they consider ratifying the document enabling that plan? I urge the council to step this back. The price is obscene, the details are still vague, and the mayor’s urgent need to hurry and build incrementally will greatly injure downtown.

BERNIE SCHWARTZ

Santa Rosa

Precious water

EDITOR: Every bit of water you waste will hasten the day you’ll have to do without. When that day comes, it will be too late to change your attitude. Don’t wait. Do it now. Life is a matter of attitude.

MEL EHLERS

Santa Rosa

World War II service

EDITOR: Although Pete Golis’ Sunday column (“Shame in remote places”) was full of interesting and insightful material, there is much more that should be included in the story, including the fact that 120,000 Japanese Americans, living on the West Coast, were deemed potential enemies and forcibly moved to 10 relocation camps.

Along with military security concerns, many other factors played a role in the relocation, including racial bigotry that resulted in the passage of the California Alien Land Law of 1913, which prohibited ineligible immigrants from owning agricultural land, and the Asian Exclusion Act of 1924, which limited immigration.

Six-thousand Japanese Americans served in the Military Intelligence Service. In June 1942, an MIS Language School opened its doors to military students at the Presidio of San Francisco. Many of the students were Japanese.

Because of Executive Order 9066, which excluded Japanese from the West Coast, the school had to be moved to Camp Savage, Minn. and later to Fort Snelling. MIS linguists were instrumental in breaking enemy codes and intercepting messages. One of the most important messages intercepted resulted in the shooting down of an airplane with Adm. Isoroku Yamamoto, the Japanese fleet commander, on board.

JACK WITHINGTON

Petaluma