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Missing leadership

EDITOR: When POTUS tweeted that Puerto Rico “is an island surrounded by water,” I wondered if he’s too stupid to know that an island is, by definition, “an area of land surrounded by water.” Petty? Maybe. That aside, the worst aspects of his response to the devastation there are his blatant lies about the great job he’s doing and the “great reviews” he’s getting. He’s concerned about his “reviews” when people are dying because he isn’t acting fast enough or strongly enough to save their lives?

And he tweet-attacked San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz — from the comfort of his New Jersey golf course — for her “poor leadership,” while she’s wading through waist-deep water with a bullhorn to find hurricane victims who need help — help he’s not providing — to stay alive.

Some people believe he has the American people’s support because he was wildly cheered by his own supporters at a political rally in Alabama. I want to know why he was there at all, basking in those cheers, instead of working to save the suffering and dying American citizens in Puerto Rico. If this is leadership, we need to change our “so-called” leader to someone we can truly support.


Santa Rosa

Glorifying violence

EDITOR: Following in the wake of the horrific Las Vegas massacre, we now have countless opportunistic politicians and news show cognoscenti telling us what should be done to curb growing gun violence. Why do so many blame the tools of destruction and not address the underlying causes that desensitize the mind to tolerate (or, worse, imitate) such violent, despicable acts?

What simple things could be done? How about taxing profits from Hollywood producers for any grossly violent movie, video game or song where assault weapons, explosives, handguns or other killing instruments are glorified in non-stop killing sprees (seemingly a successful theme for boosting sales)?

I’m not sure when gratuitous violence really accelerated, but Californians might start by looking at our former governor (Arnold Schwarzenegger in “Commando”) as a template for the current industry profit model for movies. Do we really need more senselessly violent media if that might translate into more real life violence?


Santa Rosa

Bend the knee

EDITOR: Some people seem to have forgotten (or perhaps they never learned) that peacefully protesting the war in Vietnam was neither unpatriotic nor disrespectful. Likewise, when athletes and others peacefully protest racism and inequalities within our nation, those actions are neither unpatriotic nor disrespectful. Our flag and national anthem are symbols for promoting free speech, not suppressing it.


Santa Rosa

Sessions and speech

EDITOR: Your Sept. 28 editorial (“Is free speech really in such jeopardy?”), in an inelegant attempt to make a point, conflated two issues that are superficially similar but actually are quite different.

Moreover, you are wrong on the facts. There certainly is a free speech problem on many university campuses. Much of what I know about this subject, ironically, comes from reading The Press Democrat. If, as it now seems, the paper cannot be completely trusted on this matter, interested readers may want to Google the subject. They will find numerous articles and references, including from the ACLU, that confirm my point.

Some, like Milo Yiannopoulos, do not deserve to be taken seriously. Many others do.

I agree with your criticism of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and other know-nothing Republicans in this harrowing administration. However, your ad hominem (and factually incorrect) argument that suppression of free speech doesn’t exist on campus because Sessions says it does is, well, sophomoric.



Domestic violence month

EDITOR: I left the Family Justice Center through a side door recently and practically bumped into a woman holding a toddler. She asked if this was the family center and I said yes, looking over her shoulder to see another woman with significant injuries on her face. Another toddler stood nearby.

I walked them to the front entrance, asking if the police had been contacted (they had not). The receptionist took over as the older child headed for the toys in the waiting room.

I learned later that the victim and children had been sleeping in her car for two days. Since coming in from the darkness of domestic violence, this family has found a safe place to sleep, criminal charges have been filed, and they are receiving wraparound services to assist them on their path to a happier and healthier future.

This is only one story among the over 6,000 clients who have been served at the Family Justice Center. October marks domestic violence awareness month. Take a moment to think of those who have been harmed or who are at risk of being harmed. Together we can help bring hope to many and put the smile back on children’s faces.


Sonoma County district attorney