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Hiring deputies

EDITOR: Sonoma County Sheriff Steve Freitas can’t find qualified people to fill vacant positions at nearly $70,000 a year to start and 3 percent at 50 retirement (“Sheriff airs grievances over deputy pay,” Wednesday)? Really? Doesn’t Santa Rosa Junior College have a law enforcement program? Isn’t there a police academy?

OK, the sheriff wants a salary increase for his people. Give it to him, but only if it comes out of overtime dollars. Since overtime is paid at time-and-a-half, he should be able to get nearly 1½ new straight-time hours for each hour less of overtime, even with a modest pay increase for all deputies.

This overtime scam has got to stop. Maybe then we could fill a few potholes.

MAXENE SPELLMAN

Petaluma

Surplus food

EDITOR: I have been told that it is dangerous to leave the windows down this time of year — someone may deposit their surplus zucchini in your car. I have a better suggestion: Call FISH (Friends In Service Here) at 527-5151, or visit at 2900 McBride Lane in Santa Rosa. Or call the Redwood Empire Food Bank at 523-7900, or visit at 3320 Industrial Drive.

Both gladly accept volunteers. When you see what a great job these people do, you may want to be part of it. Anyway, think about sharing your surplus in a positive way.

NADINE AMOSS

United Methodist Women Santa Rosa

Speculative stories

EDITOR: Why are so many “may” and “could” articles on the front page? Especially those articles that are opinions that are unsubstantiated with any statically proven facts. No names of the individuals with credentials who are putting their futures on the line, individuals who provide only important facts not just opinions for may and could articles.

As an example, the processed meat article (“Processed meat linked to cancer,” Tuesday) didn’t provide any facts, only opinions. The last line implies that the article may be fiction, and it is on the front page.

From the facts presented in the article, one person in 205,000 of the earth’s population may get cancer from eating processed meat. With a circulation of 54,000, it would then be very possible that no reader of this paper would get cancer from eating processed meat.

These kinds of articles belong on the editorial pages along with other opinion-only pieces.

RAY SMITH

Windsor

Protecting animals

EDITOR: What a gut punch to read the story of Gus, the severely abused and neglected English bulldog (“$5,000 reward offered for tips on abused dog,” Oct. 24).

Sadly, we can’t help Gus, and we hope the responsible party is found and brought to swift justice.

Someone knew Gus was being abused and suffering. Please, if you know an animal is being neglected or abused, alert your local shelter or animal welfare group, and ask them to intervene. You can do so anonymously.

For pet owners who aren’t aware of the needs of their pets, which is not uncommon, animal welfare organizations can help with medical care, support and education. In cases where people are heartless and their treatment of an animal is a crime, getting animal control involved to remove the animal is timely and essential.

Let’s not let Gus’ tragic life be in vain.

PAM INGALLS

Board president, Wine Country Animal Lovers Calistoga

Fighting Big Tobacco

EDITOR: We agree with The Press Democrat’s Oct. 14 editorial (“Healdsburg backs down from a fight”). There’s a tobacco control saying that is apt here: Fight the good fight.

Big Tobacco is up to its old bag of tricks — threatening lawsuits despite the urgency to improve the community’s public health. Scientific studies clearly demonstrate the health dangers of tobacco, including the fact that 443,000 people die from smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke each year. This is undisputed.

One year ago, the Healdsburg City Council voted to raise the minimum age to 21 to buy tobacco. Santa Clara County and Berkeley followed.

This summer, the state of Hawaii enacted a law that raised the minimum age to buy tobacco to 21. Because most smokers start smoking in their teens, raising the age to purchase tobacco is wise public policy.

The tobacco lobbyists are using a smokescreen. They don’t want Healdsburg’s precedent-setting ordinance to stand. Big Tobacco is once again at work against the greater good of all residents.

We at the American Heart Association will continue to fight the good fight. We hope that you will join us in our stand against Big Tobacco and literally save lives.

JUDY COFFEY

Board member, American Heart Association

Western States Affiliate

Troops in Middle East

EDITOR: They promised. They promised, and they promised. No boots on the ground. So I guess our Special Forces in Iraq and now Syria are walking on their hands?

EMORY WINSHIP

Sonoma

Restoring services

EDITOR: Now that the dust has settled from the Valley fire, I would like to commend PG&E, AT&T, Davey Tree and countless others for the great service to our devastated area. The majority of us were evacuated for seven or eight days, and the power was on when we arrived home, and the telephone lines were working within a couple of days. Next time my power fails because of a storm or an accident, I will not be calling and complaining about that or my bill.

JANET EMIGH

Hidden Valley Lake

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