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Did You Know? In the first 10 days of the North Bay fire, we posted 390 stories about the fire. And they were shared nearly 137,000 times.
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California should stay

EDITOR: As a California native, I am appalled at the idea of California secession (“Let’s secede,” Letters, May 9). Such thinking demonstrates naivety and a misunderstanding of the benefits we enjoy due to our 50-state union.

We enjoy a rich quality of life in California thanks to many constitutional protections and services provided by our federal government. Disaster victims in California are aided by federal funds. Many of those “unnecessarily small” states provide products and manufactured goods that allow California to be prosperous.

For anyone who supports California secession, I suggest the following: Take a trip into these great United States of ours. Yes, there are differences between states, and they are wonderful. Discover where many items used each day are produced and explore our diversity.

Unfortunately, California doesn’t have the best reputation in much of the country due to such things as a low ranking in education, one-party government control, poor financial management and non-compliance with the law.

The Electoral College gives each state in the country a representative voice. The 2016 election met the needs of the majority of states. Perhaps California citizens shouldn’t consider a radical secession but rather consider the point of view that California isn’t what the majority of our country stands for.

LAURA DILLEY

Santa Rosa

The best choice

EDITOR: Thank you for the May 6 article on the candidates for sheriff (“Bringing change”). A careful reading of this article and the candidates’ websites shows that Ernesto Olivares is the sheriff we need.

The current sheriff’s captain doesn’t present a vision for a more inclusive and safer future. The other choice, surprisingly endorsed by The Press Democrat, is new to the county, has had some bad law enforcement experiences and talks about the fault of others. He wants to push Sacramento for legislation but may not be capable of unifying our own local power.

Olivares has proven capabilities. I served with him on the Youth and Gang Violence Prevention Task Force, where he motivated law enforcement, schools, businesses and community groups to work together. He brought in outside expertise when needed, dug deep into our problems and changed the way we, collectively, looked at our youth.

He has political experience, and as mayor and councilman in Santa Rosa, has demonstrated administrative experience. He is a man we know and can trust to lead the Sheriff’s Office in a way that serves us all. I hope the paper will revise its endorsement in light of this clear best choice.

LYNN GARRIC

Santa Rosa

Ban assault weapons

EDITOR: Action is well past due on gun controls that need immediate updating. Why are assault-type weapons still being made available to people who have no genuine need for them? The people have spoken quite clearly; but those who should be responding are still sitting on their hands.

No one, repeat no one, needs assault-type weapons, unless they are in the military or involved in law enforcement and they have been officially provided such weaponry by those agencies.

R. WAYNE ADAMS

Santa Rosa

The county’s values

EDITOR: I am glad we have a choice for sheriff this June. I’m writing to enthusiastically ask fellow Sonoma County residents to join me in voting for John Mutz for sheriff.

In Mutz, I see the candidate who best represents the values of this county. I would encourage anyone reading this to check out his website (johnmutzforsonomasheriff.com) to see the many community leaders, first responders, business owners and citizens who have endorsed him. Why are so many endorsing Mutz? From what I can tell, it’s because of his commitment to change our Sheriff’s Office by putting the “serve” back into “protect and serve”; saving lives by increasing trust between deputies and the rest of us; and by committing to transparency that local law enforcement needs to function well.

Vote Mutz for a safer Sonoma County.

JOEY SMITH

Santa Rosa

Gaza violence

EDITOR: Where is the outrage? Where is the news coverage of the atrocities taking place? Sixty unarmed people in Gaza have been killed and more than 2,700 shot by Israeli sharpshooters who celebrated their “hits.” These are war crimes.

Gaza has a population almost as large as San Francisco’s, contained in 17 square miles, one-eighth the size of San Francisco. Occupation in this open-air concentration camp leaves youth with no hope of escape or a future. Little outside commerce is permitted. The majority of those willing to work are unemployed. Much of its infrastructure remains destroyed. “What do we have to lose,” these trapped young men say as they demand to be seen as human beings trying to confront their containment, unarmed except for rocks and burning tires. The world is outraged. U.S. media blame Hamas.

The Palestinian’s East Jerusalem, their last bargaining chip, is gone. About 11 percent of what was theirs remains in isolated villages, separated from one another by settlements and their exclusive roads.

Israel’s right-wing majority government wants it all. Land is confiscated, and illegal settlements grow. Half of the population there is still Palestinian. What happens now? More ethnic cleansing? Apartheid? America is committed to Israel’s future. What is the message of the three Abrahamic religions here?

ROBERT D. McFARLAND

Petaluma

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