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A vote on the square

EDITOR: Spending $17 million to re-unify Old Courthouse Square will be the death of Santa Rosa’s downtown. Not only will the inconvenience during the construction of this folly hurt business, but the nightmare of navigating around the square once it is done will be the demise of downtown, not the vitalization hoped for.

Furthermore, to consider spending this kind of money on an experiment doomed to failure is unconscionable when we have far more serious problems facing us. Just think of the good that $17 million invested in affordable housing and dealing with homelessness could do for this area.

I recommend shutting off that block between Fourth and Fifth streets, re-routing traffic for a while and putting the issue to a vote of the citizens. Let the people who live and shop here and travel this route decide what they want. This is a democracy, isn’t it? Or is this the dictatorship run by a microcosm of the populace?

IRENE DURHAM

Sebastopol

A question of consent

EDITOR: As a cofounder of the Sonoma County Water Coalition and as a member of the Sonoma County Health Services’ fluoridation advisory committee, I was distressed to read the polarizing editorial on water fluoridation (“Defending Healdsburg’s dental health,” Oct 8).

There is no evidence that children’s teeth in fluoridated Healdsburg are any better than children’s teeth elsewhere in non-fluoridated Sonoma County. All the solid peer-reviewed science now indicates that dental health correlates more closely to family income and access to dental care than to drinking fluoridated water. Moreover, the Centers for Disease Control say that fluoride works when applied topically to tooth surfaces, not internally.

By voting no on Measure P, Healdsburg citizens will give themselves clean water again. They can then decide whether they and their children should use fluoridated toothpaste or any of the many other sources of fluoride that were not available 62 years ago when Healdsburg began fluoridating its drinking water. They will have that choice.

Medical treatment is for physicians to give with our consent. It’s not the job of our elected representatives or for our public health officials to medicate anyone without his or her own individual informed consent.

STEPHEN FULLER-ROWELL

Santa Rosa

Bishop’s reaction

EDITOR: The latest document to come out of the Catholic bishops synod meeting at the Vatican makes a significant change possible. It talks about welcoming gays and lesbians and remarried people in the church. Santa Rosa Bishop Robert Vasa’s response is to stick to his guns and go against the basic tenet of Christianity: to love one another (“SR bishop: Doctrine not being changed,” Wednesday). Does anyone get the irony in his comments? The bishop doesn’t sound as if he believes this commandment and would rather stick to his guns continuing to be out of touch and disrespectful of the longings of many to return to the church.

MARIANNE THOMPSON

Santa Rosa

Re-elect Kristof

EDITOR: It’s baffling that Ron Kristof wasn’t endorsed for the Santa Rosa school board because of one vote out of hundreds (“Carle, Pugh and Medina for SR schools,” Editorial, Oct. 3). After initially praising him, you decided he should be sent packing.

If we are to judge candidates by a vote, how do we decide which is the most important one?

Look at the chaos, pain, anger and accusations of racism and classism generated by the closing of Doyle Park School. How much taxpayer money did the district have to pay in legal fees for this fiasco?

Or how about the decision to pay then-Superintendent Sharon Lidell a $25,000 bonus to keep her in Santa Rosa? The ensuing public backlash, which blindsided a clueless board, forced Lidell to return the money.

What of the board member who, when asked by a news anchor if it was ever OK for a teacher to hit a student, responded: “How hard are we talking?” Stunning.

The effects on the community of the above examples were much more egregious than that of Kristof’s vote. But apparently the editors disagree.

Ron Kristof is the only incumbent to receive an endorsement from the

Santa Rosa Teachers Association, and he more than anyone, deserves to be re-elected.

LAURA GONZALEZ

Member, Santa Rosa school board

Lake County pot fight

EDITOR: The Earth is flat. Little green men live on Mars. This will hurt me more than it’ll hurt you. The Moon landing was a hoax. Measure N is a failure.

Lake County’s Measure N from last June is a real success; that’s why growers are so desperate to replace it with one that lets marijuana grows back into every neighborhood. When growers stop lying about Measure N, we’ll stop telling the truth about Measures O and P.

ANNIE GUTHRIE

Lakeport

A vital institution

EDITOR: Where can you go to spend time in the company of books, pay nothing and leave with merchandise giving only your promise to return it later? The Sonoma County Public Library, of course. The library provides a service to the community that is like no other. From the wine library in Healdsburg to the genealogy library in Santa Rosa, from audio books to e-books to DVDs, from the classics to the latest thriller, our library has it all. It gives us programs that engage toddlers, teens, adults and seniors. It increases literacy and education. It gives us librarians to answer pressing questions.

With all our library does for us, shouldn’t we at least make sure it is adequately funded? On Nov. 4, you have a chance to do just that. Vote yes on Measure M.

JULIA FREIS

Santa Rosa

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