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Erasing history

EDITOR: Who are we to erase history? I refer to the removal of monuments to the Confederate dead that have been in place for as much as 150 years.

In his second inaugural address, President Abraham Lincoln spoke of reuniting a nation “with malice toward none, with charity for all.” I’m sure this included Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

I support the erection of a statue to commemorate the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. but not at the expense of existing historical monuments.

Should we advise Egypt to blow up the pyramids because the pharaohs built them with slave labor? What kind of history are we teaching our children?

BRUCE JOHNSON

Healdsburg

Ecstasy for Congress

EDITOR: The Washington Post article about the experimental use of Ecstasy to treat veterans with post-traumatic stress syndrome was compelling (“Promising treatment for PTSD,” Aug. 27). Who cares if it has been used as an illegal rave drug if it can help vets with PTSD “because of its unique ability to flood users with intense feelings of euphoria … it also reduces fear and imbues users with a deep sense of love and acceptance of themselves and others.”

Right away, I could see that this is just what Congress needs to reduce polarization and infighting. Actually, the executive and judicial branches of government could use it, too, couldn’t they?

WAYNE KELLAM

Santa Rosa

Commercialism prevails

EDITOR: In the aftermath of the denial of the Knights Bridge Winery appeal, Sonoma County must already deal with this applicant’s trail of carelessness (“Supervisors back Knights Valley winery,” Aug. 23).

The Knights Valley hillside is scarred with an oversized building labeled as a house — right before our eyes in our scenic corridor — and more building to come. Neighboring properties report their wells have been reduced since the applicant built the 10-bedroom, 10-bath lodge and planted additional vineyards on a property with too many vineyards to begin with. Bidwell Creek restoration efforts taking place nearby are offset by Knights Bridge taking too much water from this already challenged creek.

Recognizing the area’s special nature, the intent of the specific plan governing Knights Valley was preservation and to protect this rural area in the 4th District from this type of commercialism. Responsibility for allowing this tragedy to occur lies in the 5-0 vote.

All should ask why this project wouldn’t require an environmental impact report under the California Environmental Quality Act.

MILLIE BISSET

Knights Valley

Mental health coverage

EDITOR: Thanks for your stellar coverage of the state of mental health care in Sonoma County. I appreciate your newspaper’s continued focus on the intractable and complicated issues of poverty, homelessness and mental illness.

I especially valued your first-person accounts from people with mental health issues and family members as well (“Families, patients share stories,” Aug. 27). These people are brave for speaking from the heart about their struggles with these diseases — made all the more devastating by the lack of services and sufficient health care facilities and resources here. I grew up with a mother who had schizoaffective disorder and know that feeling alone and stigmatized, as well as having little knowledge about mental illness or available resources, made our experience tough to survive.

But survive we did, and I salute those who shared their experiences, especially specific details about what was and wasn’t helpful to them in their stories of recovery (and, tragically, of not recovering). We can’t take for granted the urgent need for emergency care beds, longer-term care units, education and advocacy and a strong support network of family and friends and routine talk therapy and exercise.

Please continue to publish stories like these (and include contact information for crisis and emergency lines. NAMI — www.nami.org — is helpful in connecting with education and resources).

IRENE BARNARD

Santa Rosa

Honoring evil

EDITOR: A state that permits white people to own black people is condoning a shameful outrage. And people who direct the killing of their countrymen to defend this practice are defending evil. Why did we ever allow monuments honoring Confederate officers?

STEPHEN HAWKES

Healdsburg

Power of attorney

EDITOR: Barry Litholtz’s column about lottery winners (“How to deal with a $759 million jackpot,” Aug. 26) stated unequivocally that you should “never give power of attorney to anyone, ever.” Readers should research this topic among the following reference books for information about power of attorney:

First, “The Executor’s Guide” by Mary Randolph gives an overview of powers of attorney and medical directives. Second, “Plan Your Estate” by Denis Clifford devotes an entire chapter to “Incapacity; Making Medical and Financial Decisions. Third, “The Complete Retirement and Survival Guide” by Peter J. Strauss and Nancy M. Lederman provides an entire chapter on property management systems, including the quote: “The power of attorney is the single most important document you can use to protect your interests.”

Finally, “How to Probate an Estate in California” by Julia Nissley and “Get It Together” by Melanie Cullen with Shae Irving contain insights on health care directives and durable power of attorney for finances.

PAUL LOUNIBOS

Petaluma