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Fire trial

EDITOR: The prosecution of the Santa Rosa brothers who tried to reach their mother’s home after the fire is infuriating (“Brothers could go to jail,” Thursday). Excuse me, but I know many people who “snuck” onto their property to check on their house and their animals, for crying out loud.

As a matter of fact, I know someone who broke through two barricades during the fire to rescue a friend of mine who was waiting in a wheelchair.

You know who should be on trial? The so-called authorities who were partying at a conference in Yosemite and made the decision to not send an alert about the fires, resulting in the death of innocent souls, including hundreds of pets. When does that trial start?

TERRI PAULSEN

Healdsburg

Scaling back monuments

EDITOR: President Donald Trump’s action on national monuments requires some explanation. The 1906 Antiquities Act requires the president to reserve “the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be protected.”

By reserving 1.7 million acres, President Bill Clinton far exceeded the territory needed to protect the objects and locked up many acres of livestock grazing land that provided tax income to the local county and the state of Utah. A Utah State University study published in 2015 concluded that grazing on the protected lands had provided “significant economic benefits” to the region. The value was in the tens of millions of dollars.

In addition, the New York Times reported that the monument encloses the largest coal field in the nation, the Kaiparowitz Plateau, which contains at least 7 billion tons of coal worth over $1 trillion. It would have created 1,000 jobs, $1 million in annual revenue for Kane County and $10 million per year in state and federal taxes.

This coal is low sulfur, low ash — hence low polluting — the kind in demand for power plants. The only other place that produces coal of this quality is owned by the Lippo Group, an Indonesian conglomerate owned by the Riady family who raised and funneled millions of dollars into political campaigns.

KENNETH LARSEN

Calistoga

Trump’s disparagement

EDITOR: Presidential use of profanity had nothing to do with the outcry that has, for the moment, derailed DACA talks (“Profanity upends DACA talks,” Friday). The leader of the free world disparaging neighbors and indeed entire continents on the basis of skin color has everything to do with it.

Only the most racist among us could possibly defend Donald Trump’s comment or pretend that it was just another salvo in the war against political correctness. The ballot box is the best place to end this kind of behavior, and I encourage all who bemoan the president’s continued assaults on decency to focus their efforts on turning the House and Senate this fall.

MATT STONE

Petaluma

Media bias

EDITOR: Media bias? Of course, I expect it, only I wish the media were more upfront about their biases. Let me elaborate.

Good anecdotal evidence is provided by William F. Buckley in his book, “The Unmaking of a Mayor,” about his 1964 campaign to become mayor of New York City.

A much more thorough indictment can be found in Edith Efron’s 1971 book, “The News Twisters.” This book was a result of the contentious 1968 presidential campaign between Hubert Humphrey and Richard Nixon. The research focused on the three major TV networks at that time: ABC, CBS and NBC.

In reviewing the networks evening news broadcasts during the critical two months preceding the election, the research found stark evidence of media bias. For example, on support for the war effort (Vietnam), just five cases of support for the war and 69 cases against.

To bring this issue up to date, just read stories and count how often the conservative/right-wing view is characterized as such versus how often is the liberal/left-wing view. Count how often the words extreme and far right are used versus extreme and far left.

JAMES OGLESBY

Santa Rosa

A salute to Feinstein

EDITOR: I think Sen. Dianne Feinstein deserves a huge tip of the hat for standing up to the grandstanding by Republican Sens. Charles Grassley and Lindsey Graham and their attempt to protect an inept president (“Feinstein releases text of dossier firm’s interview,” Wednesday). Shame on them, and way to go, Sen. Feinstein.

MICHEL MONAHAN

Santa Rosa

Republican stress

EDITOR: This is an open letter urging my fellow Democrats to please start showing a little consideration to our Republican neighbors. Recent letters from them indicate that they suffer great stress when we make fun of their leader, and one can only imagine the trauma they experience when each day’s paper contains letters from liberals.

I say this, admittedly, as one of the worst offenders. After all, the current scene is so rich with material. But my mother was right when she said, “It’s not nice to make fun of the afflicted.” And Wanda Sykes put it even more poignantly when she compared satirizing a previous Republican president to “booing at the Special Olympics.”

These are human beings, folks, and their whiny hypocrisy notwithstanding, we need to take the high road and stop fighting their manure spreading by piling on more manure.

If we do, maybe the letters column can go back to airing gripes about the increasing popularity of the SMART train, and our conservative friends can stop being afraid to open their papers in the morning.

DIMITRI PAVLOFF

Sebastopol

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