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Stories of the homeless

EDITOR: It’s too bad that it took his death for most in our community to learn a bit about Stephen “Song” Sheridan (“Gentle singer favorite at park,” Sunday). Perhaps The Press Democrat could lead the way in humanizing our local homeless men, women and children by regularly featuring them and telling their stories. And perhaps that would finally spur our elected officials to implement real housing solutions in Sonoma County instead of destroying their makeshift sidewalk and park homes.

TOM FENDLEY

Sebastopol

Pot and public assistance

EDITOR: Shame on me for putting a face on some of the people lined up at every new legal pot store, but I’m just wondering. Should people who are on any subsistence payments or food stamps or unemployment or any taxpayer-funded financial assistance be allowed to spend any of their leftover income on $300-an-ounce pot?

Aren’t taxpayers funding that lifestyle luxury and the vicious circle of the rich getting richer as the poor keep spending their money on fool’s gold?

NEIL DAVIS

Sebastopol

Media credibility

EDITOR: A recent letter said “the press is the biggest threat to California and America” because they’re all liars (“The biggest threat,” Friday). I have questions for the people who throw out the words liars and fake news. First, what examples are there for the press being liars? You didn’t give any.

Second, if you believe they are all lies, why do you read it? I know the National Enquirer is fake news, so I don’t read it. And third, if the press is all fake news or all lies, then the article in Saturday’s paper regarding the Clinton Foundation (“FBI revives Clinton probe”) should be one big lie too, right? Or is it just lies when it doesn’t re-enforce your opinion?

It is every citizen’s responsibility to research and get information from several sources, not just one cable TV station or one radio station but all types of news sources.

How do you determine what news is a lie? Donald Trump says anything negative about him is fake news. Do you just blindly trust him? Or is everything from a particular source a lie? What if the New York Times and Fox News report the same story the same way? Is one lying, or are they both lying? And all Trump is doing is deflecting and trying to cover his backside.

ADRIENNE LARSON

Sebastopol

Dancing with the devil

EDITOR: The arrival of Michael Wolff’s book about Donald Trump, fraught with inconsistencies as it may be, is one heck of a compelling story. I mean, here we have Steve Bannon, who only a year ago was the spawn of the devil. Now we’re cheering him on like a hometown hero as he dishes Trump’s dirty laundry with reckless abandon.

It’s a trifecta: Bannon’s sleazy turncoat act on Trump; Wolff’s complete disregard for journalistic integrity, and Trump … being Trump.

We left-leaners are gritting our teeth as we stand behind Bannon, hoping his dirty work will upend Trump. But with a cast this tawdry, we’re only fooling ourselves into thinking any good will come of it.

BOB KLEIN

Santa Rosa

Arctic drilling

EDITOR: I am a college student who envisions an America with politicians who protect and respect our wilderness. I also acknowledge that we have some work to do in order to realize this goal.

Currently, the oil and gas industries and their friends on Capitol Hill would love nothing more than for us to quietly allow the destruction of America’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The inclusion of oil drilling in the Arctic refuge in the tax bill was a blow to my heart and many others too. We must keep a spotlight on the refuge, and let the industry’s oily allies know that we aren’t going anywhere.

By writing letters and making phone calls, we can hold those legislators who voted for drilling accountable while thanking the champions who stood up for the refuge. Let us be personal, polite and passionate in our outreach to all political leaders. We can show them and the fossil fuel companies that the American people stand against further destruction of our environment.

Finally, I encourage my fellow citizens to oppose Donald Trump’s recent proposal to allow offshore oil drilling in most continental-shelf waters, including in protected areas of the Atlantic Ocean.

REBECCA CANRIGHT

Sebastopol

SR parking rules

EDITOR: Here we go again, changing parking regs for the umpteenth time — premium rate; three-hour max and charging to park until 8 p.m. Way to go, city of Santa Rosa. Hit the merchants where it hurts.

Now no one will go out to dinner downtown because instead of a 6 p.m. cutoff on fees, it’s 8 p.m. And a “vehicle must leave the block for the day, upon expiration of time limit”? So, is the city going to hire meter readers with white chalk to make sure a customer didn’t put more money on their meter? Because that’s cost-effective. How absurd.

Well, I’ll volunteer to go through lots with a spray bottle and brush to wipe off the chalk marks.

DEB McGAULEY

Santa Rosa

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