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The public interest

EDITOR: Realistic air riffles have been around for decades. They are very common. What is extremely uncommon is for a kid to be shot for carrying one.

I hunt and own air rifles, and I do not feel safe having a deputy sheriff on the street who shoots kids with BB guns. Am I supposed to tell my son, when he goes out with the air rifle, to watch out for deputy sheriffs?

Maybe it’s just me, but knowing how hard it is to get a real AK-47 tells me that if I see a kid carrying one, it’s probably a toy.

Deputy Erick Gelhaus may not have broken the law, but he should not be allowed to make a mistake like that and keep his job. It’s not in the public interest.

MARK HAMILTON

Santa Rosa

Drought and development

EDITOR: The Windsor Town Council is to consider granting building allocations for almost 200 new units. How can Windsor, or any other town in California, justify adding more units to our already overtaxed water supplies?

We are all being asked to cut our water use by 20 percent. Maybe the Windsor Town Council should read the signs that are posted everywhere about the severe water shortage. Where is the water going to come from for these new housing units? Maybe the new units just won’t have plumbing?

Until the water situation improves, there should be a moratorium on any new building.

ANNETTE FLACHMAN

Windsor

Being prepared

EDITOR: I was asked to go to a preparedness talk years ago. My first reaction was, no way, that is the job of first responders. I went anyway. What I learned was it is my job. It is our job — as important as buckling our seatbelts and brushing our teeth.

Our planet is not static, though we deny it. Sonoma County has a population of about 500,000, and 20 percent of us are elderly and/or disabled. We have approximately 1,500 first-responders and 20 serviceable ambulances. After a disaster, first-responders are busy with traffic, roads, buildings, injured, departed.

Our culture is in the beginning of a cultural shift from dependency on others to individual and communal self-sufficiency in the event of a disaster. One of the most effective things you can do is organize your neighborhood. You may rescue your neighbor. Your neighbor may rescue you. Fortunately, Sonoma County is blessed with excellent programs, such as COPE, Map Your Neighborhood, etc. To learn more about these excellent programs go to www.thejoyofpreparedness.com.

RICHARD RUGE

Sebastopol

Unqualified for office

EDITOR: Columnists Maureen Dowd and Leonard Pitts criticize the president from the left because of his inability to take a stand and jump into the fray on virtually every major issue. Forget that he had virtually no leadership or management experience before his election. Barack Obama was a community organizer, attorney and law professor. Articulate, handsome, beautiful wife, two photogenic daughters, and he reads a mean teleprompter. If the presidency required a resume vetted by an objective screening committee, I believe he would be rejected for a lack of qualifications. But that wasn’t the case. Racism became not only a factor, but the factor in his election. Why else would he receive 90 percent of the vote from one race?

Six years later, the left has had the Damascus scales removed from their eyes. They realize that they probably elected the wrong man at the wrong time. In an era when it is finally time to elect a man or woman of any race to lead our country, why didn’t we pick one of the many better qualified men or women of color, creed or ethnicity?

Perhaps we have learned our lesson and will choose a truly qualified candidate for our next president. May the spirit of Jefferson guide our leaders until then.

CHRIS SORK

Santa Rosa

Writing off Andy Lopez

EDITOR: Deputy Erick Gelhaus has been returned to duty and may patrol the Moorland Avenue neighborhood again. Every excuse possible has been advanced to make this result happen after Andy Lopez’s killing. Six shoots hit Andy. The Sonoma County district attorney hired an expert on the question of justified homicide by lawmen. The shooting and death were justified by this supposedly unbiased expert. Our tax money used to cover up the truth. Next, the district attorney slipped around the Sonoma County grand jury. We need another district attorney, one who doesn’t write off the killing of a 13-year-old walking down a road.

JOE BOYLE

Rohnert Park

Road repairs

EDITOR: On Aug. 17, I sent an email to Supervisor Efren Carrillo and his assistant, Susan Upchurch, asking if they could send me the name of the county road repairs office so that I could get help with the huge pot holes on Redwood Glade near Ridgecrest Road. That section of Redwood Glade is traveled by most if not all our neighbors in this section of 60 houses in Monte Rio. The lack of repair these past four years has greatly impeded safe driving. Well, Carrillo did not send the name of the head of the department; what happened instead is the road crew was out three days later and patched not only those incredibly deep pot holes on Redwood Glade and Pine Glade but most of those throughout the entire Rio Campo neighborhood. In other words, he took care of the problem himself rather than just handing it off to his constituents to let them try to resolve it.

ROBBI ERNST

Monte Rio