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A toxic stew

EDITOR: I heartily agree with the PD’S editorial about Oakmont and the pickleball mess (“Oakmont dispute is no longer about fun and games,” Friday). The only piece that I think was left out of the commentary is the fact that incivility and outright rudeness reigned, stirring a toxic stew in this wonderful community I call home.

I have been in and out of the public arena my entire adult life. I can’t count the number of committees, councils and commissions that I have led over my career. I can honestly say that I have never seen such outright venom and meanness on display at a public meeting. I have presided over issues of homelessness, affordable housing, downtown parking, multi-county mass transportation initiatives and have never witnessed such public disdain for civility and mutual respect.

Whatever happens with this new reconfigured board of directors, one thing is certain. This can never be allowed to happen again, no matter what issue is being deliberated. Not now, not ever. And those who have fed that beast, should be ashamed of themselves.



Incomplete story

EDITOR: I feel your article about the artist painting over the mural section that shows law enforcement in a positive light suffered from incomplete reporting (“Park mural gets face-lift,” Wednesday). This is especially true where it says, “Lopez was walking on the sidewalk past an empty lot carrying an Airsoft BB gun, which Gelhaus reportedly mistook for a real weapon.” What you forgot to include was the fact that the orange tip that is on an Airsoft BB gun to alert people (and law enforcement) that it is a toy, was taken off. Yes, it did not look like a toy and was intentionally modified to look like an assault-type weapon.

I feel toy companies should not market BB guns that look like assault weapons. Having an orange tip that can be easily taken off does not relieve them of liability. I also feel parents have a responsibility not to let their children walk around with toys that can be made to look like guns.



Look inside

EDITOR: Roger Cohen’s column on Wednesday summarized our president as a “braggart and poltroon” afflicted with “vanity and vulgarity; pout and pettiness; neediness and nastiness; anger and aggression.” We may believe that no president has ever been quite like this, but we would be wrong.

While history books tend to overlook the shortcomings and emphasize achievements of presidents, clearly, even recently, we have had presidents with such faults: Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon to name a few. We cannot expect a president to be better than the people he serves. Rather he is a reflection of our weaknesses. The extraordinary public display of these weaknesses gives us an opportunity to examine our collective shortcomings and recommit ourselves to the greater ideals that we as a nation have not yet truly or properly embraced and do not yet truly exemplify.

Rather than mock the president, we should strive to improve ourselves.


Sea Ranch

Proud of event

EDITOR: The word “awesome” is perhaps the most overused in the English language these days. But it is the best single word to describe the scene at Old Courthouse Square where athletes from all over the world completed their 140.6-mile journey through Sonoma County. Other words might be “joyous,” “passionate,” “inspiring,” and “fierce.” I’ve participated in countless triathlons and other endurance events, and I have never before seen the level of enthusiasm that I saw at the finish line. It was truly a thing of beauty.

Santa Rosa can be proud to have hosted this amazing event.

As with all human endeavors, though, there is room for improvement, particularly in regard to managing traffic along the bike course. We saw significant improvements over May’s Ironman 70.3-mile race, but we can do better. It appears that not enough people got the message that there would be detours and road closures, despite the news articles, mailers and informational road signs that were sent out.

Perhaps we should use robo-calls to every resident, or add PSAs to traffic reports or encourage word-of-mouth communication. We can do a better job of minimizing inconvenience to our residents while enjoying the positives of this wonderful race.


Santa Rosa

Hearing from Trump

EDITOR: As a fellow scout, I was disappointed with Stephen Stromberg’s column about President Donald Trump’s appearance at the 2017 National Scout Jamboree (“President Trump insults everything the Boy Scouts stand for,” July 26). I didn’t find it to be helpful, courteous or kind.

In the fifth paragraph, he lists the three reasons he believes boys join the Boy Scouts of America. After reading his article I found it difficult to rule out the possibility that his motivation for joining was either love of the outdoors or parental coercion.

Somehow I believe the scouts attending the 2917 National Scout Jamboree appreciated the opportunity to have seen and heard the president of their country — an opportunity lacking, I believe, for the previous eight years.