EDITOR: Drunken driving and texting while driving are similar crimes. Each involves a decision by the driver to ignore the law and the safety of everyone else. The first has penalties; the second, a mild tap on the wrist with a plastic ruler. Both are crimes, and the driver must be held responsible for the crime.
Several people have been killed or injured in Sonoma County by cellphone-distracted drivers with only mild punishment for the driver responsible, like the “oh, isn’t that too bad” response years ago for DUI accidents with mild punishments.
When a driver is distracted and imperiling others, whether it’s through use of texting, alcohol or drugs, the crime needs to be similarly punished: loss of license, prison time, restitution and loss of voting right.
SOPHIE BETH PETTIGREW
EDITOR: I, too, am concerned our country is reaching a tipping point where frustrated, scapegoated and disenfranchised citizens push back at the authoritarian ruling class.
However, I couldn’t differ more with Randy Thomas (“Tipping point,” Letters, Tuesday) on who and what’s to blame. President Barack Obama has been hamstrung by conservatives who have worked tirelessly to ensure that little if anything gets done.
Time and again, he has offered to compromise (often against his own party’s base), and they have rebuffed him at every turn. Proposing conservative ideas such as the individual mandate and cap and trade, he has been filibustered and vilified. Meanwhile, far-right state legislatures have used their political capital shutting abortion clinics, expanding gun rights and disenfranchising minorities, the youth and the elderly with strict voter ID laws.
Conservatives have proposed nothing to build up the middle class, put the country back to work or humanely solve our immigration crisis.
The conservative movement seems to be content to hasten the destruction of what little hope we have left that government can offer substantial solutions to the country’s problems. When that hope is snuffed out completely, look out. Ferguson, Mo., will look like a garden party.
The pitchfork test
EDITOR: Here’s what we should do about the Courthouse Square remodel. Put temporary barricades on Third and Fourth streets so cars can’t use that section of the street to get from Mendocino Avenue to Santa Rosa Avenue. Keep the temporary barricades up for at least a year. If at the end of that year there have been no groups of people attending a City Council meeting with pitchforks and torches, then rebuild Courthouse Square.
EDITOR: As a 20-year resident of Santa Rosa and an avid cyclist, I find the push for conversion of the Highway 12 right-of-way in southeast Santa Rosa to a greenway unnecessary, shortsighted, redundant and unaffordable (“Greenway gets closer,” Friday).
We already have designated Santa Rosa Creek as a pedestrian and cycling path. This path is awaiting funding for completion. If and when completed, it will create a beautiful nature trail connecting downtown to Channel Drive and Oakmont.
I object to the Highway 12 conversion for the following reasons:
First, it will detract attention and funds from the Santa Rosa Creek project.
Second, as growth is inevitable, the time will come when Highway 12 will need to become a freeway, connecting Sonoma County to Interstate 80.