Friday’s Letters to the Editor

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Murder factory?

EDITOR: Regardless of the details of the Rancho Feeding scandal, let’s finally and unflinchingly face what is done to animals in a slaughterhouse, no matter the politics or cover-ups. Forced off trucks, fearful, innocent animals are prodded and shoved to the “kill floor,” shot in the head, bodies sliced open to be bled out upside down and chopped into pieces.

And don’t be fooled: There is no such thing as humane “custom slaughter.” All get the “kill chute.” It is a heinous, horror-filled bloody murder factory, nothing less. Please recognize that if animals are on our plates, we are all complicit to this.

Animals are no different than us. They feel fear, heat and cold, suffer when in pain and want to live. To quote Paul McCartney, “If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian.”

MIRIAM WALD

Santa Rosa

Don’t close center

EDITOR: Your Friday editorial (“Mysteries past and future at Sonoma Center”), was disheartening to say the least. To recall an old incident that was corrected and overlook the many benefits that the Sonoma Developmental Center provides, such as those mentioned by The Rev. Tom Chesterman in Tuesday’s letters, is not fair.

The drum beats to close the center are all about money and show no consideration for the clients, some of whom have lived there for decades. The decreased population is the result of the state mandating that the center stop admitting new clients and also to transfers of clients to community homes.

A recent analysis by the Legislative Analyst’s Office refers to problems at community homes, identical to the problems for which SDC has been vilified: “… incidents at licensed facilities have gained the attention of the media and Legislature. These include incidents of neglect and abuse, as well as evidence in general of inconsistent and inadequate oversight, monitoring and enforcement of licensing standards.”

Unlike Sonoma Developmetal Center, which is inspected every year, these homes are visited every three years and some every five years.

Every institution, be it a hospital, a nursing home, a prison, a school, etc., will experience incidents of abuse and neglect. They are all staffed by fallible individuals subject to human error. The answer is not to close them but to correct the problems, tighten the standards and carry on.

With the sorry state of mental health care in California and across the nation, the last thing we should do is close the Sonoma Developmental Center. We need a plan to expand services at the center, not only to continue serving the present population but to take care of some of the thousands of mentally ill now living on the streets and in our prisons.

HELEN ROWNTRE

Sonoma

Taxing concerns

EDITOR: Thank you for the article about the proposed tax increase by the Mosquito Control District (“District seeks new tax,” Thursday). Readers will be shocked to find that the District’s general manager is paid $153,985, and that field technicians are paid between $65,000 and $87,000. The proposed tax increase is a 59 percent increase.

If you think this is an anomaly, go to www.transparentcalifornia.com, and you’ll see the list of salaries and pensions for public employees, which appears to be about twice what private sector workers are paid! Public employee unions routinely propose “cost of living” increases of 3 or 4 percent, even though there is no inflation, and employees in the private sector have gone without annual raises for years. Public administrators routinely approve these requests, not to mention the low cost “Cadillac Medical Care” that these employees routinely get. Boards are stacked with people who are approved by the unions.

When new taxes are proposed, it should be spelled out how much goes to salaries and benefits and how much goes to operations. If it’s not clear, just say no.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a remedy for “right-sizing” these outrageous pay packages for the public sector, but I’d sure like to hear one.

BRANDES ELITCH

Healdsburg

More awareness, not laws

EDITOR: I am 57 years old, and I have been riding bikes since I was about 7. No helmet, even in the city.

We don’t need another law. Awareness and safety are the responsibility of the individual. Awareness is the biggest part of it — be aware of where you are, and have the ability to see what is around you.

If they make another law, that only serves a false sense of security. I will break it, as with going in the same direction as cars. That is wrong.

You have very limited ability to see what’s coming, and cars almost always cannot see you.

If the riders in Hopland were going toward the cars (as we as kids were taught to do), they would have saw the truck coming at them (“Car hits 5 cyclists on rurual road,” Jan. 31). That tragedy proves the theory of traveling along in the same direction is not a good idea.

The safety of bike riders is primarily the responsibility of the rider.

Trusting cars and people driving them is not good enough for me. I control my safety a lot more. I want to see whats coming.

STEVE McLAUGHLIN

Windsor

Islamic State

EDITOR: We never wonder what to call the president of the United States. We call him what he calls himself.

Why all the confusion about what to call the members of the Islamic State? They call themselves Islamists. The world needs to become unstuck from stupid.

THOMAS FREITAS

Rohnert Park

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