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Being a mom

EDITOR: On Mother’s Day, The Press Democrat had a feature on mother/daughter look-a-likes (“Like mother, like daughter”). In truth, the resemblance was sometimes almost uncanny. However, there’s a small part of me that finds articles like this offensive. As any adoptive mother can tell you, mothering is way more than skin deep.

If you look up “to father” in a dictionary, it’s a one-time event. (Sorry, guys, I know that’s unfair.) “To mother,” on the other hand, implies sustained action.

I don’t look anything like my adoptive mother, a tiny, curly-haired brunette who freckles the minute the sun hits her.

My adopted daughter doesn’t look anything like me. She’s a petite, dark-haired beauty with big dark eyes. (Thanks, Bob Seger; I know I stole that.)

We are, all three of us, however, tenacious, smart, kind, open-minded women brave enough to follow our hearts across continents.

So, with Mother’s Day having just passed, ask yourselves how you really resemble your mom.


Santa Rosa

A make-work boondoggle

EDITOR: This is regarding the zillion dollar Gleason Beach bridge (“Coast road cliffhanger,” May 8). At the eroded portion, Highway 1 and the septic field can easily be moved over 20 feet, which will solve the problem for 50 years, at which time we’ll no longer be using cars. This proposed bridge is a complete Caltrans make-work boondoggle.


San Rafael

Picking a new sheriff

EDITOR: One would think a law enforcement officer and past president of the Sonoma County Deputy Sheriffs’ Association would be above trying to insinuate blame on a police reformer for the bad conduct of police officers he worked to reform (“Choosing a sheriff,” Letters, April 27). Bill Focha went on to wonder what a sheriff “would do if no one was looking?”

Perhaps Focha and his candidate, Sheriff’s Capt. Mark Essick, would like to reveal what they were doing about excessive-force incidents involving Sonoma County deputy sheriffs over the years:

— A $1.75 million settlement paid in the Jermiah Chass death case.

— A $1.25 million settlement paid in the Esa Worth serious injury case.

— Additional settlements relating to 16 other excessive-force cases between 2007 and 2017.

— Allocating $4 million in attorney’s fees (thus far) during four years of the Andy Lopez litigation.

— Major litigation alleging torture through “yard counseling” at the Sonoma County Jail.

— The current investigation of Assistant Sheriff Randall Walker, who is head of the Sonoma County Jail.

We’ve all heard Essick say he’s worked in the Sheriff’s Office for decades and everything is fine. Is everything fine?

And why won’t Essick talk about any of this, despite the fact he wants voters to make him sheriff?



Thompson’s vote

EDITOR: Congressman Mike Thompson said that immigration issues are also important, voicing support for continuing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program (“Thompson talks strategy for Dems,” May 5). Which is interesting, because back in February, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi announced that Democrats would refuse to vote for the big GOP spending bill unless there were protections for Dreamers in it. These protections were omitted and most Democrats, indeed, voted against it. Thompson, however, voted against Pelosi and the Democrats and against Dreamers

In the interview in the May 5 paper, he also mentioned gun control as being very important to him, but it’s interesting to note that his bill leaves out a ban on the AR-15, which the people have been demanding. Banning this one weapon isn’t unconstitutional, and Thompson ought to represent the wishes of his voters.


Green Party congressional candidate

American Canyon

Changing the culture

EDITOR: If better training in de-escalation tactics is the default law-enforcement criteria for addressing the distrust (and frustration) of the county’s minority communities in interactions with the police, then any of the three candidates running for sheriff can do that job.

But if — as Santa Rosa police Chief Hank Schreeder believes — it is the attitudinal culture of police work that also needs change, then I believe John Mutz is the standout candidate.

Mutz is an admirer of retired Montgomery, Alabama police Chief Kevin Murphy, who had exposed his Police Academy students to courses in the history of race relations in the United States, the civil rights movement and the social and psychological consequences of treating members of minority communities with disrespect (and worse).

Murphy’s educational effort was positively reflected in a significant drop in the number of fatal police/community encounters in Montgomery compared to the national average.

Mutz, too, understands that culture — an unconscious body of patterned beliefs, values and attitudes that influence human behavior — can get in the way of the best-intentioned reforms for tackling police interactions with the minority communities they serve.

That’s why I’m casting my vote for John Mutz for Sonoma County’s first publicly elected sheriff in 25 years.



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