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Open the curtain

EDITOR: Is Santa Rosa a town you would like to visit, or is it forgettable? What happens to towns with no culture, no center? We fly over them, drive through them as quickly as possible, we let sprawl low-density subdivisions where manufactured culture is watched privately.

Bring on Courthouse Square’s reunification (“Talking in circles on a square,” Sunday). In cities such as Essex, England there is a commitment to introduce the public realm, to challenge the “net curtain” — life lived privately, cities locked up after 10 p.m. mentality — and inject the public realm with signs of movement and life.

We can project our local culture, from art student’s images to the Green Center and Wells Fargo Center’s live performances, even show the many good deeds of our police on a beautiful sheet of soothing water.

Water is precious, but look at Rome, Vienna and Paris. Water has a timeless way of uniting, calming citizens into meaningful conversations. I say less smog for a little water, this is what makes a high quality public realm. Shopping, not just driving though as quickly as possible, makes a place vibrant. I would rather have a traffic jam coming to Santa Rosa than leaving it.

WARREN J. HEDGPETH

Santa Rosa

Sloppy thinking

EDITOR: One of my progressive neighbors told me she favored closing the Drake’s Bay oyster operation because, “I just don’t like the idea of a private business in a national park.” A conservative friend told me, “This is just another example of big government being anti-business.” Both started with their political bias, then drummed up reasons to back it up. Sloppy thinking.

Without going into the ridiculous idea that a park, with its ranches, trails, parking lots, camp sites and lots of people, can be magically converted into wilderness by the stroke of a pen, here are some questions that should be asked:

How would removing the oyster beds improve the quality of a park visitor’s experience?

Are the oysters damaging the ecology of the estuary?

What are the positive and negative effects of the oyster operation on the economy?

As a long-time environmentalist, I am glad the Point Reyes peninsula is a national park instead of another Malibu, but can’t we just consider the facts related to this particular oyster operation in this particular place, and not start with political bias? Can’t we at least make objectivity a goal?

MAT KELLER

Occidental

Finding ambiguity

EDITOR: A panel of judges found the phrase in the Affordable Care Act that says “subsidies (are) available only on exchanges established by states” to be ambiguous and subject to interpretation (“Conflicting rulings raise questions on health law,” July 23). This conclusion reminded me of an event that occurred years ago when Bill Clinton found the definition of the word “is” to be ambiguous.

MERRILL LOUKS

Petaluma

Poor judgment

EDITOR: When Daniel Zamora’s tractor-trailer failed, the logs snapped off and fell onto a car (“Close call for family in care,” Thursday). He said, “There was nothing I could have done. I guess you could say it was lucky. Here’s my problem with that:

You are driving a log truck and you need supplies. Do you include a horrendously busy parking lot such as the one at Costco as part of your route, or do you do it on your own time? I think the answer is clear here. Public safety should be paramount for those driving such vehicles. There is no place in Santa Rosa’s Costco parking lot for logging trucks. It is hard enough to navigate through this pedestrian-filled parking lot for a standard car.

I was in this parking lot when the accident happened. It was beyond crowded. I was sick to my stomach thinking someone might have been killed. Zamora claims there was nothing he could do. He could have finished his route, then taken care of supplies. The trailer may not have failed before it was safety checked if it was not exposed to the crowded conditions and sharp turns needed to navigate the parking lot.

CINDY JENKINS

Santa Rosa

Time to close center

EDITOR: Your Friday article indicated that Sonoma Developmental Center has 1,200 employees (“Developmental center falls short of target”). And, in an article in Saturday’s paper, the average annual cost of treating a patient was indicated to be $400,000 (“Developmental center’s future clouded”).

At that cost, the management of the facility and the care given should be outstanding. Instead we see a pattern of repeated patient abuse (one reported resulting in a pregnancy with bruising on the victim). The developmental center is an example of a neglectful, bureaucratic government-managed house of horror.

We hear about the plight of developmental center employees who may lose their jobs (due to woeful constant mismanagement?). Where are the cries for an investigation of criminal neglect on behalf of those patients not able to care for themselves?

It’s time to close the center down and make sure the patients receive good treatment.

DICK LAMBERT

Sonoma