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Sowing distrust

EDITOR: Many want the Andy Lopez incident to be put to rest. My conscience says otherwise.

It’s curious that Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch waited until after her re-election to render her decision, and Sheriff Steve Frietas bypassed consultations, rendered his decision, then promptly left on vacation. It is done. They would put it to rest. I, for one, am bothered.

No boy should be shot dead for carrying a BB gun, wearing a hoodie and walking on Moorland Avenue. Firearms expert Erick Gelhaus shot seven times, claiming he was afraid. Maybe it was an instinctual response of a former soldier in Iraq who was trained to respond against an enemy of another race.

The community that mourns Andy feels unheard and that these decisions target them. They protest with a greater distrust now for law enforcement. We must take this distrust more seriously beginning with some major soul searching.

This is a huge police power problem that the public will not forget. Thank God for Supervisor Shirlee Zane who courageously questioned the timing and lack of consultation on Freitas’ announcement. Whether her bravery effects a small change, at least one conscience is heard. Does your conscience ask you, What if Andy had been my son?

DEBRA CREVELLI

Healdsburg

Nothing to fear but …

EDITOR: It’s become evident that the ultra-conservatives’ favorite tool is fear. Jill Osborne (“Vilifying police,” Letters, Monday) turns legitimate questions about one officer’s actions into “children raised to distrust our police.” Those kids “could easily be drawn not only into gangs but also … radical recruiters, such as ISIS.” Wow. The apocalypse starts because people are concerned about public safety.

Push the fear needle, twist it around, and see what she says next: “And if ISIS arrives in Sonoma County …” Well, ISIS wouldn’t be where it is today if President George W. Bush hadn’t destroyed Iraq, but that’s a discussion for another day.

To suggest that we can’t hold public servants accountable or the terrorists will get us is ridiculous. Sadly, it gets traction with an element of the population that seems happy to buy into whatever the right-wing media outlets are selling. Their best-selling product is fear itself.

MARK MARELLI

Santa Rosa

The out of towners

EDITOR: I am appalled that Colleen Fernald, who doesn’t even live in Santa Rosa, wants to be a member of the Santa Rosa City Council. And the same goes for Keith Rhinehart (“Two SR candidates residency in question,” Sunday).

Are we supposed to believe that people who will stretch a truth to the extent of pretending to live at a homeless shelter or rent an occasional room at a gym have the integrity to act in an honest fashion in the interests of Santa Rosa?

Is there no expectation of integrity in our officials and representatives?

If it’s not up to the registrar of voters to authenticate where people actually live, then who will?

These individuals are probably both already guilty of perjury, yet they fear nothing. As you quote Fernald, “I’m carpet-bagging in full disclosure.” In other words, “I’m cheating, but because I admit it, you must accept me and let me represent you.”

Where is public outrage?

JEAN HANSON

Guerneville

Roundabout roulette

EDITOR: I grew up in New England and New York and lived in the UK. Roundabouts are common in all three places. I live now in Petaluma, which has several turning circles. Thus, I am speaking to the citizens of Healdsburg from experience. Roundabouts are confusing and dangerous. Senior drivers in particular have problems negotiating them.

Come to Petaluma and ask the men and women on the street what they think of the city’s many turning circles. I have yet to meet a Petaluman who likes them.

Google “roundabouts.” You will find many articles praising them, all written by insiders, not the people who use them. Nowhere could I find data proving their efficacy, nor could I find commentary from ordinary people who have to drive around them or walk across the streets.

The articles stress that roundabouts require entering vehicles to yield the right-of-way. If drivers did that, they might be all right. In my experience, a large percentage of drivers do not observe the yield signs, either intentionally or unintentionally. Young drivers often race to get there first.

Construction won’t begin until 2016. Healdsburgers, put a halt to this plan. Do it. You’ll be glad you did.

MICHAEL BURWEN

Petaluma

Wealth and poverty

EDITOR: The 1 percent have largely dropped out of coverage by mainstream media news sources, but there’s new information available that the other 99 percent of us need to know about.

For example, the 1 percent now control $32.6 trillion — nearly 40 percent — of our country’s wealth, while 70 percent of our population lead impoverished lives. Fact is, a mere 0.5 percent of that $32.6 trillion could wipe out poverty for all Americans. But 40 percent of the 1 percent’s wealth — roughly $13 trillion — isn’t being used for anything at all. It’s just sitting idle in already grossly overstuffed accounts.

To make things even worse, those accounts don’t provide the full picture. The 1 percent have trillions stashed away in offshore accounts, the exact figures for which can’t be reliably determined, although the best estimates place the total amount at approximately $12 trillion, enough to wipe out all current debt for all American households.

If these staggering statistics seem overwhelming, you can find lots more at daviddegraw.org, along with all the sources from which these figures were obtained.

Economic inequality has historically been one of the primary causes of political revolutions, including our own. Maybe it’s time for a second American revolution?

JIM LOBDELL

Santa Rosa