Excessive force of law

EDITOR: The killing of minority men, from of Santa Rosa to Ferguson. Mo., shows that police, prosecutors and the entire law enforcement establishment feel they are above the law. When confronted with their acts, they react with massive and unconstitutional displays of force; they close ranks and keep silent; string us along to suit their political ambitions and produce evidence to show that they are the victims and that the dead deserved such treatment in the first place.

Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch’s report says that Andy Lopez had been smoking marijuana before he was gunned down as if to say that explains everything. Michael Brown was unarmed and walking with a friend to his grandmother’s home. The police are so desperate they now say he may have been involved in stealing cigars from a local store moments before his death.

Our police departments have received a lot of war gear from the feds, which they seem determined to use. Shock and awe right here at home. We need to speak out forcefully and non-violently while keeping our hands in the air.


Santa Rosa

A strong legacy

EDITOR: Dianne Thompson came to Cotati eight years ago as assistant city manager (“City manager plans to resign,” Tuesday). Soon after that the city manager left, and she was asked to move up. As city manager, she has coped with a number of complicated and difficult situations, including the worldwide depression that drastically changed our city’s ability to provide appropriate services to the citizens.

Thompson has risen to the occasions repeatedly, including working hard to help Cotati pass sales tax measures that allowed to support our Police Department and provide many other services that help make Cotati the pleasant place it is.

She also was a big help to the Cotati Historical Society, introducing us to contractors who were willing and able to assist us with remodeling the old police department into the Cotati Historical Museum. She also gave our nonprofit society permission to use the museum, requiring only that we pay for our insurance and telephone service.

Her architectural expertise has resulted in numerous attractive additions to our city, including benches and trash containers downtown, musical notes on the freeway overpasses and color details on our new railroad depot.

I believe Thompson deserves some well-earned leisure, and when she begins a new career, I wish her great success and happiness.



Perpetual drought?

EDITOR: What happens if we don’t receive normal rainfall this winter? Things could get ugly. We have to ask ourselves if there are contingency plans so that life can continue without a significant reduction in our standard of living.

Conservation is useless when there’s nothing to conserve. It would be foolish to plan on getting water from somewhere else when somewhere else doesn’t have water either. Can we live with rationing? This is the time for our leaders to step up and do some planning. Tell us what they are going to do, and what we are expected to do. They need to address new supplies from the only place that has it: the ocean. (Check out the desalination plant in San Diego.)

Sure, there are environmental impacts, but lack of water has them too. Think what it would be like to not worry about rainfall for water supplies. Climate change is here, and we have to adjust. Normal might now mean less than average. The consequences are dire if we do nothing. Not all of us can move to somewhere where there is water.


Santa Rosa

Drive-thru needed

EDITOR: Petaluma Mayor David Glass and two cohorts continue ignoring the plight of the sick and the lame who need a prescription-only service window at a pharmacy. The reasoning as to why one shouldn’t exist — pollution — is strange coming from the folks who voted for a traffic diet downtown that causes more auto exhaust every day than a pharmacy could create in a month.

The fact is CVS needs a competitor for us to have a choice in drug stores. Placing a Walgreens pharmacy next to a shopping center, near doctors’ offices and across from the hospital is just common sense.

Could I suggest that Councilwomen Kathy Miller and Teresa Barrett and the mayor rent crutches and experience navigating a minimum of 400 yards, the minimum round-trip distance in Petaluma between handicap parking and a pharmacy counter. That’s what they are forcing others to do. Or maybe they would like to do it in an arm-powered wheelchair.

Come to think of it this, could be a great publicity stunt for their re-election, or it might just be a great lesson in compassion, which these three need



Wilderness’ value

EDITOR: Hurrah! The Drakes Bay Oyster Co. is finally closing. This area will become part of the Drakes Estero Wilderness as intended by congressional action in the 1970s.The former owners were given a 40-year lease with the provision that it would not be renewed and the area would become wilderness.

In 2012, then-Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who was given sole authority, made the big decision not to renew the lease. He said that oyster farming wouldn’t be compatible with wilderness status. That is my view: Wilderness areas have greater value to all the people of this nation than a private commercial business in a national park. Drakes Estero nourishes a rich diversity of plants and animals and should be free of disruptive commercial activities.

The current farm owner, Kevin Lunny, who took over the lease in 2004, has been financially successful and has been operating rent-free since the 2012 closing date due to his legal maneuvers to extend the lease. He has received pro bono legal help from several sources; it would be interesting to follow the money. But a contract is a contract.


Professor emeritus of biology, College of Marin