Stream flows

EDITOR: From looking at the water storage charts on the back of the Empire section, the water shortage is obvious. The graph that catches my attention, however, is the last two weeks of 2013. A great deal of water was released downstream at flows significantly larger than inflows. No doubt this was because of flood concerns. However, that water would be an asset if we had it today. I don’t pretend to know the criteria water managers use nor would I blame them, but perhaps a review of the criteria is in order. If rainfall is going to be less predictable with climate change, then a review is imperative.

St. Helena

Gelhaus returns

EDITOR: I am shocked and angered to learn that Deputy Erick Gelhaus is returning to patrol duties. While the district attorney’s decision obviously means that he can return to work, that doesn’t mean that he should. I strongly disagree with his attorney’s statement that “his nearly 25 years in law enforcement will continue to serve the community.” This is a man who pulled a gun on a motorist for failing to signal a lane change just weeks prior to brutally gunning down a 13-year-old boy. This is not someone I want patrolling my streets. The fact that “he will continue to (do so) proudly” speaks volumes of Gelhaus’ utter disconnect from the community he is supposed to serve. As a mother of a teenage son and a teacher of southwest Santa Rosa youth, I repeat: I do not want this man patrolling our streets.

Santa Rosa

Tipping point

EDITOR: Malcolm Gladwell’s first New York Times best-selling non-fiction book is called “The Tipping Point.” As Gladwell points out, there is a tipping point that accelerates a movement or action in our society.

The current situation in Ferguson, Mo., is a tipping point. The continued looting and protesting is much deeper than the latest police shooting. It is a tipping point of people frustrated by a failed Obama administration, which has 30 percent of Americans living at or under the poverty level. Besides a lack of jobs and opportunity, this administration has provided a complicated and, unfortunately, expensive health care plan that many people, especially those living under the poverty level do not understand. They are fed up.

One can only hope this tipping point does not expand to violence and looting in other areas of the United States.

Rohnert Park

Shelter temperatures

EDITOR: Thanks to Odessa Gunn for her concerns about kennel temperatures at the Sonoma County animal shelter. However, Sunday’s article (“A push for change at animal shelter”) is based on false information.

The article has a photo of a thermometer Gunn is holding reading 101 degrees Fahrenheit, which she alleges was the temperature within the dog kennels that day. Close inspection reveals the device to be an infrared thermometer with the reader beam pointed at the ceiling. The temperature that is shown, therefore, is being read at the ceiling where the rising warm air will make the temperature easily 10 degrees or more above the temperature where the dogs are at floor level.

I wish that either Staff Writer Derek Moore or Gunn had been observant enough to notice this mistake before publishing these accusations.

Yes, let’s monitor the kennel temperatures but accurately. Let’s install misters fans, or other measures, if needed to keep the animals comfortable.

Please, let us neither spread misinformation nor seek to pit the Humane Society and the county shelter against one another. Both are fine organizations that work hard and have worked well together toward a common purpose.

Santa Rosa

Health costs

EDITOR: Should Joe Clendenin’s last paragraph (“High-priced medication,” Letters, Aug. 11) also read: Congress and the president should pass a law stipulating that Americans will pay no more than the average world price for our physicians, hospital services, medical devices, etc. Medication costs alone will not bankrupt our health care system.

Santa Rosa

Militarized society

EDITOR: With Homeland Security’s help, the Marin County sheriff buys a $700,000 tank, and our supervisors don’t say a word. They just write the check. The sheriff told the Peace & Justice group that his office isn’t just a police force but a “paramilitary force.” Do we intend our taxes to pay for this?

Our government at all levels has become terrified of citizens. This is a cruel irony as Americans are a pretty mild bunch: generous, concerned, willing to take a lot of stuff off the people who run things, be it government officials or Wall Street.

Police are meant to protect and serve; soldiers are meant to kill. Outfit police like soldiers, give them a military posture, you create a dangerous element as our forefathers recognized when drafting the Constitution. There was a reason for insisting on no standing army. Prior to World War II, uniformed officers were not allowed on the Capitol grounds.

The Pentagon itself was a mistake, institutionalizing war and subverting our language by renaming the War Department the Defense Department, creating such anomalies as the national security state, the oddly named Homeland Security Department and, now, a mishmash of 20 spy agencies, which are out of control.

Why isn’t our congressman standing up to this excess?