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SMART bike path

EDITOR: The Measure Q sales tax approved by voters in 2008 obligated SMART to provide a bicycle/pedestrian pathway between stations along with its rail service from Larkspur to Cloverdale, but local cycling advocacy groups now contend that SMART is not meeting that obligation (“Bicyclists upset at pace of progress on railside path,” March 25). The article’s comparison of the length of completed pathway to its projected completed total is neither the only nor the best measure of SMART’s failure, however. Measure Q’s Table 1 shows capital costs of $91 million for the “bicycle/pedestrian pathway” compared to $450 million for the “train project” — in other words, almost 17 percent of the total $541 million. So, Measure Q funds spent for pathway construction should be about 17 percent of the total spent for all construction.

Measure Q does not give constructing the rail line priority over constructing the pathway, and further provides: “If additional funds become available, the SMART Board will prioritize completion of the bicycle/pedestrian pathway.” SMART should account for additional funds received and what amounts went to prioritize the pathway.

SMART should show that it is fulfilling its obligation and honoring Measure Q’s commitment to the voters for a pathway.

JAMES L. DUNCAN

Santa Rosa

Locked up

EDITOR: Jason Rezaian’s column about visiting San Quentin State Prison struck home (“Visit a prison; it sticks with you,” Wednesday). I became a prisoner sponsor back in 1984 and spent a lot of time visiting in San Quentin. Five years later Tony was released and I went from sponsor to friend. Many years later psychiatric drugs would tip the scales and result in the death of Tony’s beloved uncle. When he realized what he’d done, Tony wanted the death penalty. He got life without parole.

Nowadays we are merely brothers who talk on the phone. He’s living, permanently, in a North Carolina state prison. He wishes he was back in California. As bad as our prisons might be, they’re better than North Carolina. The origin of Tony’s travails is inextricably tied to a long history of slavery, Jim Crow and segregation. It doesn’t excuse his behavior, but it helps to explain who we have locked up all over this country. During his brief freedom in California years ago I showed him around downtown Tiburon. I asked if he felt looked upon with racial inferiority. He said no. What bothered him was feeling looked upon with fear. Until you’ve taken a journey inside, as Jason did, you may never realize there are some sweet souls living inside those cages. For now, you may just have to take my word for it.

BRIAN NARELLE

Rohnert Park

Support Global Fund

EDITOR: At the height of the AIDS crisis nearly two decades ago, the world came together to fight back, creating the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. This international partnership has helped save 27 million lives since 2002. This is stunning progress, but we cannot claim victory yet.

HIV and TB treatments aren’t reaching everyone who needs them, and progress on tackling malaria has stalled. Since the beginning, the U.S. has played a leading role in the Global Fund, providing a full one-third of its financial resources. That must continue.

I urge our members of Congress and President Trump to continue strong support for the Global Fund by recommitting to provide at least one-third of the total $14 billion needed to step up the fight, save more lives and move us closer to ending these diseases.

RACHEL DOCHERTY

Boyes Hot Springs

Russian ties

EDITOR: Robert Mueller’s report revealed no collusion. That doesn’t mean there was no collusion, only that within the confines of the law nothing appears to have been legally defined as “collusion.”

Journalist Craig Unger writes in his book “House of Trump, House of Putin” of many individual Russian operatives who have visited and resided in Trump Towers. No one knows the nature of any conversations, but isn’t it curious that Donald Trump associates now and in the past have been identified as some pretty dangerous fellows? Mueller could only investigate what he found when something was documented. Trump cannot say, “Well, yes, many persons of Russian origin are my business comrades, but never did we discuss politics.” Many foreign-born people live and work in Trump Towers. And let’s not forget the two Russian ministers, Sergey Kislyak and Sergey Lavrov, with two Russian journalists, who met in the Oval Office in May 2017. No Americans were invited to witness that meeting.

BARBARA RENICK

Willits

Lying and bullying

EDITOR: These are some things I know about Donald Trump that I didn’t need a two-year investigation to tell me:

1) He is a liar. He lies about big things and small things, and then he lies about the lies (see Tim Apple).

2) He is a bully. The childish and cruel nicknames he uses for those who disagree with him would get your average child grounded for a week.

3) He is a cheat in both his personal and professional life. Trump University and the Trump Foundation are prime examples. He cheated on his first two wives publicly and bragged about it. He cheated on his third wife with a porn star right after their child was born. He cheated the people who worked for him and the banks he borrowed money from. He mocks the disabled and those who served their country honorably while bragging that “his Vietnam” was avoiding venereal disease.

So, here is the question I ask people to whom none of these things seem to matter. Would you (or did you) raise your children to be liars, bullies and cheaters? If not (and I am fervently hoping that the answer to my question is “no”), then why is this behavior fine with you in the president of the United States?

NANCY J. FLOM

Petaluma

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