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Trading places

EDITOR: I lived through the civil rights era in the 1950s and ’60s. Not many of us are left to remember the logic and language of the Democratic governors who ruled the segregated Southern states at that time. Words like sovereignty, states’ rights and nullification were bandied when arguing against federal laws. It’s interesting to listen now to a Democratic governor, Jerry Brown, claim California sovereignty and argue for state laws that contradict federal laws.

In effect, the Democratic Party, which owns and operates the state of California, has declared states’ rights to nullify federal law.

Ironically, the media (including The Press Democrat) give this new iteration of states’ rights and nullification a pass since it suits your political agenda. What would your paper have said about nullification in the early days of the civil rights movement?



Responsible seniors

EDITOR: As a gerontologist, I read with interest the article about evacuation lawsuits (“Senor home disputes charges,” Tuesday). As a geriatric care manager, I had many clients at Villa Capri.

I was surprised by the defendant’s response with 34 reasons why the company shouldn’t be sued. It is inconsistent with the culture of Villa Capri both in marketing and staff attitudes. Villa Capri was positioned as an assisted living facility not a reasonable, prudent and responsible facility. Being reasonable, prudent and responsible was never mentioned in marketing brochures, and the culture was more enabling than empowering.

A reasonable, prudent and responsible person exists at any age, but after one’s ninth decade, it’s better defined by experience. Elders are unique. Residents were reasonable, prudent and responsible when they decided to locate to Villa Capri. They paid well for daily assistance and were taught to expect it.

The fire created a difficult situation, and survivors are lucky to be alive. Attorneys should resist binary solutions and accusations and get real, so other facilities and elders can learn how to be more reasonable, prudent and responsible in the face of future disaster.

As a gerontologist, I intend to inform, not take sides. Aging is a sadly maligned stage of life when elder advocacy is more useful.


Santa Rosa

The gun threat

EDITOR: Guns, guns and more guns. You know what and whom I am not worried about? All those people who already have a bunch of firepower, may belong to the National Rifle Association and/or belong to a survivalist group.

Why worry about them? They have their community. It may be different than mine or yours, but as a community, they understand one another and, in that sense, they police one another. It’s the young outsider with access to that same firepower we should fear.

These kids would not have access to these weapons in a small community, such as a survivalist group in some rural place off the beaten path. The community would have the sense to keep these weapons away from those with serious mental problems. Why can’t we?



Had Wallace won . . .

EDITOR: As a young newspaper reporter covering the grim election of 1968, I wondered what would happen if Alabama Gov. George Wallace were elected president.

Now I know.

Instead of a president sending justice officials into states to enforce federal nondiscrimination policies, we have a president sending his Justice Department and Immigration and Customs Enforcement goons into states to enforce a poorly disguised white supremacist agenda. It’s no surprise that the attorney general who arrived in Sacramento this week to “declare war” on our state’s efforts to protect immigrants is a former Alabama senator known for his racist sympathies.

Wallace used the federalist argument of “states’ rights” to justify the South’s historic discrimination against people of color. Now, California, and other states that seek to defend the human rights of their residents, find themselves arguing for a “state’s right” to do so.

In 2008, a George W. Bush administration ICE official said in a speech to sheriffs and cops that “if you don’t have enough evidence to charge someone criminally, but you think he’s illegal, we can make him disappear.”

This is precisely the strategy employed by ICE under Donald Trump and why Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf should be praised and thanked for her courage to stand up to what might better be described as America’s Gestapo.


Rohnert Park

Threatening schools

EDITOR: Since these local teenagers think it’s a joke to scare students, parents and all our communities with threats, I believe their names and pictures should be printed in the newspaper.

Other people who make threats about shootings, bombings and so forth are listed in the paper. Just because they are underage doesn’t mean they should be handled with kid gloves.

If these fools think it’s so funny to scare people, send them down to Florida and see what these students have to say about threats. I’m sure the students in Parkland, Florida would have a different view of this sick behavior. Act like an idiot and pay the consequences.



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