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May 2-8, 2007

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Letters to the Editor

Sad commentary

Although more than a month has passed since 16-year-old Jeremiah Chass was shot to death by Sonoma County deputy sheriffs, the legacy of this tragedy lives on. Yesterday, as we drove by several sheriff's cars pulled over on the side of the road, my daughter said, "They're probably shooting someone."

No longer does she believe that the police officer is her friend. Instead, the lesson she learned last month is "Beware of the police because they're dangerous--even to kids who need help."

What a sad commentary on our society.

Lisa Shulman, Sebastopol

We knew that one would provoke

So Noelle Magnell is "thrilled" that the five Roman Catholic Supreme Court Justices have colluded to bow to the dictates of the Pope in Rome rather than follow the law and precedents established under the Constitution of the United States (Letters, April 25). So-called partial-birth abortion, a misnomer invented by the anti-choice movement for its inflammatory effect, is in reality named "intact dilation and extraction." As a surgical procedure, it is inherently bloody and this rarely used procedure involves the destruction of the fetus, including the evacuation of the brain and the crushing of the skull, in order to remove the fetus from the birth canal. Time will tell whether Ms. Magnell will be equally thrilled if a dead or dying fetus is jammed in her birth canal, threatening her future fertility or even her life and she is unable to be served legally by physicians, thanks to this decision by the religious fanatics on the Supreme Court.

Jay Williamson, Santa Rosa

Thanks from the climate

On behalf of the Climate Protection Campaign, I want to thank all who attended the April meeting regarding the Community Climate Action Plan. This plan is Sonoma's blueprint to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2015. Additionally, thank you to the Bohemian for its coverage of the event. Well over 200 people came to the Finley Community Center in Santa Rosa to learn about the plan, find out how to get involved and discuss how to foster the public will to ensure we hit our bold target.

In the coming months, the Climate Protection Campaign will develop a set of recommended actions to meet our goal. These recommendations will be developed and evaluated by community representatives and local experts, and will be presented to the public and local governments in late summer and early fall. While everyone knows Sonoma County alone cannot mitigate a global phenomenon like climate change, the Climate Protection Campaign intends to do something locally that is so inspiring that we become a model for other communities everywhere. Join us. You are part of the solution.

R. Alden Feldon, Project Manager, Climate Protection Campaign

Vegan's view

Finally, the conversation on global warming has advanced from debate and question to the scientific reality that human activity is warming the planet. As we look for personal solutions to our everyday impact, most think of driving less or turning off the lights more. What we don't realize is that we have a far greater impact every time we eat.

The United Nations recently released a report ("Livestock's Long Shadow") revealing that factory farming has a greater impact on global warming than all the world's transportation combined! Raising not only the 1.5 billion cows worldwide, but pigs, poultry, goats and other species are putting tremendous strain on our atmosphere.

Animal agriculture emits a combination of greenhouse gases. Methane, which affects global warming 23 times faster than carbon dioxide, is produced in the cow's digestion and released into the atmosphere through flatulence. Nitrous oxide, found to be 300 times more potent then carbon dioxide, is emitted from the mountains of excrement on the factory farm. Excessive energy is wasted with automated milking machines, feeders, lighting and the intensively mechanized slaughterhouse. Add to that the destruction of the rainforest for grazing and growing feed for animals, and you have a recipe for catastrophic damage to the atmosphere.

Eating meat is the equivalent of driving an SUV. A vegetarian diet is like driving a midsize, car and a completely plant-based diet (vegan) is like riding a bike. Can't afford a Prius? Grab a veggie burger with soy cheese instead.

Hope Bohanec, Santa Rosa

Kurtz is ishmael

Ahoy, mateys! What a well-written and entertaining piece on yet another mystery of the deep ("Here There Be Monsters," March 14). Weird to get hungry, disgusted and intrigued all from one article. Kind of like Moby Dick meets Apocalypse Now. Nice! Keep up the good ink!

Marina Andriola, Bodega Bay


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