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Marijuana and health

EDITOR: It was jarring to see the large photo of the late Dennis Peron smoking marijuana, adjacent to the text of the article revealing that he died of lung cancer at the young age of 71 (“Peron: Unrelenting, defiant,” Thursday).

Peron was apparently a tireless lifelong advocate for the decriminalization of marijuana and, no doubt, a hero to many. His passing is tragic, to be sure. However, we are reminded that, in a weed-friendly county such as ours, it is easy to overlook that smoking has its risks as well.

On its website, the American Lung Association states that “smoking marijuana clearly damages the human lung” and the AMA “strongly cautions the public against smoking marijuana as well as tobacco products.”

We should be particularly concerned when it comes to smoking and our youth (who are also at higher risk from marijuana’s potential negative neurological and cognitive effects).

Peron was a passionate man, committed to helping others. My sincere condolences to his family and friends.

ANN CLARK

Sonoma

Assessing Nunes’ memo

EDITOR: When reading Rep. Devin Nunes’ report, one’s first duty is to consider its purpose. Was it written to be informative or persuasive? Then consider what might be the motive for this document, for the purpose and motive will determine the approach to the writing of the document.

Thus we must ask ourselves: Was it written as intelligence analysts or scholars would — confronting conflicting materials in an unbiased way? Or was it written in a propagandistic way with bias? Was the conflicting evidence weighed in an attempt to decide which had the most validity, or were the most beneficial points chosen to persuade us — with even omissions of evidence to ensure we accept the biased viewpoint as truth?

In addition, be sure to know if the document was shared with all of the committee, representing the input of all. Were changes made without the consent of members of the committee?

Lastly, it is important to consider who wrote the report. Has the writer in the past been a person of independent thought or the lackey of others?

Before my judgment is made on the report, I will want to know the answers to these questions. Let us be critical thinkers, not partisans.

LILA HANSEN

Santa Rosa

Fertility cliff

EDITOR: Ariana Eunjung Cha’s article about women’s fertility was interesting and well written (“Promise of frozen eggs often unfulfilled,” Monday).

However, in her discussion of the difference between men’s and women’s fertility, she presumptuously describes the difference as “an unfortunate and unfair twist of nature.” Says who? Perhaps she was simply trying to be humorous.

This got me thinking about Donald Trump (doesn’t everything these days?). His mother, Maryanne, was, at 36, over the fertility cliff that Cha described. If only the unfair twist of nature had manifested itself a little more forcefully, we may all have been spared the Donald.

Apparently, at times, one can fool Mother Nature.

JEFFREY A. RAPP

Healdsburg

Promoting public service

EDITOR: Sunday’s paper was overwhelming in detail about Sonoma County’s nonprofits: various missions, their efforts, fundraising, advertising, human commitment and emotional energy; the challenges of cost-benefits impact on measurable improvement in human life here in Sonoma County.

On and off for 28 years, this veteran has asked various people, leaders and institutions to consider the “make America great again” ethos impact of a federal law proposed in 1979 by then-Rep. Pete McCloskey. His bill proposed maintaining the Selective Service System as a national emergency insurance policy but using the registration requirement for both boys and girls as a means to encourage a one-year thinking process about the merits of participation in civic service/activities. It is deeply unclear to me why my efforts have ended up with blank stares and zero thoughtful dialogue.

So the 50 pages of stories, advertisements, promotions and fundraisers in your Sunday special section made me very sad and numb but happy to announce a new two-year public federal commission, the National Commission on Military, National and Public Service — inspire2serve.gov. Its mission is to review possible changes to the Selective Service System and how its registration process could help inspire each new generation toward productive civic service. I welcome dialogue on this national priority.

PETER P. JESELLA

Windsor

The nastiest column ever

EDITOR: The left side of the spectrum in Sonoma County is very quick to criticize Donald Trump and anyone who supports him. We apparently are all racist, homophobic and misogynistic. In other words, we are not nice people.

Congratulations to The Press Democrat for carrying a column by Maureen Dowd, which was one of the most vitriolic, nasty columns to ever appear in the paper. Dowd has written an entire article about Melania Trump, including calling her names. What class (“Who can blame Melania Trump for vanishing?” Tuesday).

Let the dislike of the president be transferred to his wife, including conclusions about the state of their marriage. This column isn’t even good enough to be described as yellow journalism. But, of course, the women’s solidarity movement only applies to liberal women. All other women can be attacked.

NANCY MAIER

Santa Rosa

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