Thursday’s Letters to the Editor

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Death penalty catharsis

EDITOR: Your article about the governor suspending the death penalty recited a bunch of reasons, pro and con, for that decision (“Halt of executions gets mixed reaction,” March 14). Yet the article was silent on an important pro-death argument. That argument exists, I suspect, with the majority of Californians who twice voted for the death penalty: It is that death by the hand of the people at San Quentin conveys a sense of catharsis for those of us who are regularly shocked, angered and seized by a sense of hopelessness when a cold-blooded killer isn’t treated in the same manner as the victim.

I’m not condoning execution for every murderer. I’m thinking of the worst of the worst and, of those, only the ones where not a shred of exonerating evidence exists. I’m thinking of Richard Allen Davis, Ramon Salcido, David Carpenter and others of their ilk.

A personal conviction against execution for each and every murder seems ill-suited to such perpetrators or to those of us who feel society, in some cases, should demand the ultimate punishment.

WAYNE WOLSKI

Santa Rosa

Democracy wins

EDITOR: In 2016, The Press Democrat reported on $195,000 in independent expenditures to influence the Santa Rosa City Council election. The newspaper, its reporter Kevin McCallum and Sonoma State University political science professor David McCuan were sued in a defamation lawsuit filed by Sonoma County developer Bill Gallaher and his son-in-law, Scott Flater. A state appellate court dismissed the suit, unequivocally supporting The Press Democrat’s right and obligation to report on issues of public interest (“Lawsuit against paper tossed,” Saturday). In doing so, the appellate court stood solidly behind the First Amendment rights to free speech and freedom of the press.

A free press, with the resources and will to investigate, combined with the courage to seek and speak the truth, is absolutely essential to protecting and sustaining our democracy.

We may not always agree with The Press Democrat’s reporting or its opinions, but we should all be grateful that we have a Pulitzer Prize-winning locally owned newspaper committed to fulfilling its journalistic obligation to our community and to our democracy.

JERE JACOBS

Santa Rosa

Stopping unethical acts

EDITOR: I was challenged to read the views from various colleges and universities involved in the currently publicized admissions scandal. While excluding the students involved may seem harsh, I agree that it needs to be done if their parents’ actions were ethical violations of stated policies.

It may also be true that the affected institutions need to revise or clarify their policies. I believe that the majority of the students, at least on some level, must have been aware of what their parents were doing. Even if they had no clue, the consequences of exclusion just may be what will prevent their cheating in the future for the sake of their own children.

Let’s take assertive steps to stop the unethical behavior now so that it will not be a continuing issue. Unethical acts always have consequences beyond those for the perpetrators, but future outcomes may improve if an aggressive stance is implemented now.

MYRNA FLECKLES

Santa Rosa

Trump and violence

EDITOR: Saturday’s lead article about the New Zealand tragedy (“Deaths of 49 fueled by hate”) provided good coverage of most of the facts that were known, but one fact that went unreported in your article strikes me as relevant: the positive attitude that the white-supremacist shooter has toward Donald Trump’s “white identity.” Another newspaper in California (the Los Angeles Times) reported this in its front-page lead article:

“One of the questions the manifesto’s author posed to himself was: ‘Were/are you a supporter of Donald Trump?’ His answer: ‘a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose? Sure. As a policy maker and leader? Dear god no.’ ”

What this quote and other quotes from similar perpetrators of extreme violence tell us is that there is a common pattern with recent white-supremacist screeds. Several perpetrators in deadly hate crimes have indicated a strong affinity with Trump.

While Trump cannot be directly implicated in any of the violent attacks, his ongoing use of hateful words that attack Muslims and others sends a clear signal that hate is OK — and that encourages those who hold extreme views to act on their hateful views.

RON SUNDERGILL

Windsor

The new Gold Rush

EDITOR: I received an unexpected cruel and unusual crash course in local civics by attending a Santa Rosa City Council Meeting last week. In my rechristened hometown, the Emerald City, there are flying monkeys aplenty willing to adjust policies in place based solely on a shortsighted revenue philosophy (“Pot dispensary by SR school OK’d,” March 14).

Be that as it may, somewhere over this abundant rainbow is a pot of gold available to create housing for unhoused citizens in our fair city of great wealth, created by a newly minted Gold Rush industry.

And for the record, I am a good witch, and kindhearted.

THERESA M. SCHULZ

Santa Rosa

You can send a letter to the editor at letters@pressdemocrat.com

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