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A mother’s choices

EDITOR: My chest was ripped open by a beautiful, passionate, straightforward commentary from Gaza City (“Awful decisions I’ve made to protect my kids,” Thursday). Gazan-born, U.S.-educated Wejda Abu Shammala, married to a Palestinian-German, cuts to the heart of a woman’s primal need to protect her children. She wrote eloquently of the “painful contortions” she must endure in deciding how to prevent her children from being blown to bits and living with the consequences of her choices.

She actually has to decide: Should they all sleep in one room to increase the chances of a shell hitting one of the empty rooms? Or, no, better they sleep in separate rooms, so she might only lose one child that night. Of course, if a half-ton bomb drops they’re all dead anyway. Unimaginable choices.

Meanwhile, on the comics page, kudos to Candorville’s Darrin Bell for addressing the issue with smarts and humor. A dialogue between two “bruthas,” invoking the rap war between Biggie and Tupac, speaks to how their “mommas hugged each other and told both sides to cut that (blank) out.” And then concluding that “ain’t nuthin a million mommas huggin it out can’t fix.”

Beautiful.

BOB KLEIN

Santa Rosa

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Questions about Gaza

EDITOR: Lila Hansen poses questions about Gaza’s war on Israel (“Questions about Gaza,” Sunday letters). I, too, have questions about Gaza.

Why does Hamas, the military power of Gaza, launch its relentless rocket attacks on Israel from schools and hospitals?

Why did Hamas take the 800 tons of concrete that donors intended for building schools and use it to build terror tunnels from which to launch attacks on Israel?

With a network of sophisticated terror tunnels in place, why doesn’t Hamas allow civilians to take shelter there?

With the overwhelming majority of Gazan casualties being young men of fighting age, why is Hamas claiming massive civilian casualties? Are they pretending their military is civilians because they don’t wear uniforms?

Do you know of another country that is expected to tolerate years of rocket attacks without fighting back?

For years, trucks have crossed the border between Israel and Gaza every day with food and humanitarian aid, even during the current conflict. Is this what you’re referring to as a blockade?

With the slaughter going on in Syria and many other places where Muslims are fighting Muslims, how is it that your only questions are about Israel’s behavior?

Esther Baruch

Santa Rosa

An alternative to waste

EDITOR: Last weekend, the drinking water of 400,000 Toledo residents was fouled by animal waste. With unfettered growth of animal agriculture and ineffective discharge regulations, it will happen again — this time in our own state.

The problem has become pervasive. Waste from chicken farms has rendered the ocean off the East Coast unfit for fishing. Waste from Midwest cattle ranches carried by Mississippi River has created a permanent “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico larger than that of the infamous 2010 BP oil spill.

Animal agriculture dumps more pollution to our waterways than all other human activities combined. Principal pollutants are animal manure, fertilizers, as well as soil particles, organic debris, and pesticides from feed cropland. Manure and fertilizers promote growth of toxic algae that poison drinking water supplies. Organic matter feeds microorganisms that deplete oxygen and kill fish.

Effective regulations to limit dumping of animal waste into water supplies have been blocked by the meat industry.

Fortunately, every one of us has the power to stop this outrage three times a day by saying ‘no’ to polluting meat and dairy products.

Our local supermarket offers ample alternatives. Entering “live vegan” in a search engine provides useful recipes and transition tips.

Larry Rogawitz

Santa Rosa

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Vote No to Petaluma Tax

EDITOR: Voters of the city of Petaluma need to vote no on any tax increase. Funding without a specific purpose will only allow the Petaluma City Council to spend the funding any way it wants.

I expect the funding will go to filing additional lawsuits without merit opposing the Dutra Asphalt Plant and/or the lost cause of the Lafferty property. There is no guarantee to the public that said funding will improve anything in the city.

Without a specific purpose, the council could use the funding to increase their salary and benefits packages. The Petaluma City Council is a group of amateurs who fail to understand the job they were elected to do. The council has a proven track record of wasting our hard-earned tax dollars we provide.

Vote no to a tax increase in Petaluma, and vote the incumbents out of office in our next election.

Henry Angeli

Petaluma

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A boost for libraries

EDITOR: I am very proud of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors for voting to put a tax increase for our libraries on the ballot. As a senior on a fixed budget, the library has been a valuable resource for my free time. I truly appreciate their thinking of all of us who use and need the library.

An intelligent community requires a modern library with a wide variety of resources and types of books. Our library has a large print collection, far-reaching interlibrary loans and a growing digital collection.

In addition, it has non-English resources for those of us who are learning to live in a new country.

Marnie Schwartz

Santa Rosa