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Capping tasting

EDITOR: Kudos to the Healdsburg City Council for limiting tasting rooms. As vineyards proliferate, the vast pastures once shared by stock and wildlife are disappearing. And abundant wineries and tasting rooms have turned once picturesque country roads into bumper-to-bumper headaches.

Enough is enough.

LINDA LLOYD

Santa Rosa

Waiting to happen

EDITOR: The Santa Rosa Creek Trail is badly in need of maintenance and major repair. This is a multi-use trail and is in daily use by mothers with baby strollers, bicyclists, skateboarders, runners and walkers. However, in its current condition, it represents an accident waiting to happen. The trail is full of gaping cracks and seams, ridges, berms and root protrusions.

The section of trail between Fulton and Stony Point roads is particularly hazardous. Many of the gaping seams can easily engulf a baby carriage wheel or a bicycle wheel causing an accident which may result in bodily injury. Runners, walkers and skateboarders are also vulnerable to the myriad of cracks and open seams.

Repair and proper maintenance of the trail would be less costly to the city than a personal injury lawsuit.

ALFRED MASCY

Santa Rosa

Major health crisis

EDITOR: I often write to thank your newspaper for your consistent coverage of the homelessness crisis and mental health issues. But after your Sunday pieces on the severe state of affairs with mental health care in Sonoma County, I must extend a special thanks. These articles — which profile the complicated legal status of opening and maintaining psychiatric hospitals accepting low-income people and which also show in stark statistics how our jails are filled with the mentally ill as psychiatric units and community mental health supportive units dwindle — hit home.

They highlight a major public health emergency in this county — and in the United States, as well.

What’s needed is more openness about these issues as well as advocacy, public policy and funding that supports more housing and more health care. Your focused and consistent coverage contributes greatly to this cause.

Some may not think these issues concern them, but 20 percent of Americans suffer from mental illness, and severe psychiatric crises impact hospital emergency rooms and the safety of other people.

Of course there are the moral and ethical failures in letting these severely ill people decline — sometimes fatally — right in front of us.

IRENE BARNARD

Santa Rosa

Demonizing charters

EDITOR: There is another perception of the American Federation of Teachers that I believe needs to be examined (“Demonizing school choice does no one any good,” What Others Say, Monday). We progressives have the habit of pulling the race card only when it meets our political agenda. Far too often we fail to hold one another accountable for our own bad behavior.

One of the core principals of the progressive movement is to protect everyone’s rights to the pursuit of happiness. It is all about being able to go about one’s daily life without being unduly restricted. The function of social action organizations is to help society define where one’s rights to the pursuit of happiness ends, and another person’s rights begin.

The problems of the California Teachers Association and the American Federation of Teachers begin with the inability of the adults in our public schools to behave like adults and resolve conflict in a fair and equable manner. When we fail to protect the rights of all children to an equal opportunity to learn, we create a cesspool of discontent. One result is parents forming charter schools and wanting vouchers. Another is that we drive some of our children into gang activity.

Until we place the interest of the children first and focus on what is stopping them from reaching their full potential, we continue to have these societal problems with no solution.

NORMAN SHEEHAN

Santa Rosa

Three messages

EDITOR: Sometimes timing is everything. On Tuesday, The Press Democrat published a letter from David Haynes of Santa Rosa (“Downtown trials”) complaining about the city’s homeless and the costs of expanding a shelter for them.

On Thursday, we read about efforts to house some of the homeless in tiny, low-cost homes (“Activist, architect on a tiny mission”).

That same day a letter from Terry Rowan of Santa Rosa criticized Mayor Chris Coursey’s support of a plan to “jail more homeless” (“SR police plan could jail homeless”). That letter also criticized David Haynes’ letter for the “ignorance and fear” it expressed.

My wife has worked and I have volunteered for several local nonprofits focused on homelessness since we moved to Santa Rosa 13 years ago.

To David Haynes, I’d repeat what I’d been told by every great boss I’ve had: “Don’t complain about a problem unless you’ve got a solution to suggest.”

To Terry Rowan, I’d repeat an aphorism I learned while a practicing Buddhist: “Many paths, one mountain.”

And to everyone, I’d say about our homelessness challenges what a lot of Facebook denizens say about their relationships: “It’s complicated.”

MICHAEL DORTCH

Santa Rosa

How much longer?

EDITOR: By now it should be clear that we have a mentally unstable president. Donald Trump’s most recent careless threats toward North Korea have placed all of us in danger of nuclear war. How much longer will “we the people” allow him to play with our lives?

CHRIS BELL

Santa Rosa