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Letters to the Editor: March 12, 2014

No-go on no prisons, please bee accurate, SNAP cuts

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Where Do They Go?

What I find difficult to understand is, if there are no prisons ("Imagine No Prisons," March 5), then what do we do with all of the thousands of people who commit serious, violent crimes each year? Are they just scolded and set free to go back out on the streets and repeat their crimes? Just let them be and go back out and continue to kill, rape, pillage and steal? I am confused about Steve Martinot's position on this.

Novato

Bee Correct

Thank you for giving the honeybees some attention ("Bees Here Now," Feb. 26). The article, on the whole, was very good. There were some errors I would like to see corrected.

It is not true that "without the honeybee, we'd be eating a diet, basically, of oat gruel." Many things are pollinated by wind and other insects. We would see a limited amount of some of our favorite fruits and vegetables, that is true. For example, walnuts and grapes are wind-pollinated. Bumblebees are the insects that pollinate tomatoes.

If a mouse should enter a beehive and die in it, the bees would encase the dead mouse in propolis, not wax. Propolis is a wonderful substance the bees gather from the sap of trees on their back legs. It is a great sanitizer, and also works as weather stripping for the hive.

The queen is surrounded by the females who feed her and groom her all day and night. The males are not part of the queen's helpers. They are called drones and do nothing but mate with her, as the author correctly states later.

The Sonoma County Beekeepers' Association meets monthly, not bimonthly. I was sorry you did not include the association's web site in the article, as it has a lot of good information about bees and even has an extensive list of plants that are beneficial to their survival. The website is www.sonomabees.org.

Petaluma

Waiting for the Worms

Appreciated your article on bees ("Bees Here Now," Feb. 26), with some hopeful signs. However, I've been wondering about a possible decline in earthworms. Years ago I remember seeing hundreds of them all over this area after a good rain, not so much in the past few years. I've not found anything on the internet on the subject.

Santa Rosa

Participatory Democracy

I appreciate a fellow Democrat's point (Open Mic, March 5), but nothing changes the fact that in this case a vote for the Farm Bill was in fact a vote to cut SNAP. Yes, "balance and tough decisions need to be made," and sure, you can dismiss criticism of the yes vote as arm-chair quarterbacking if you like. I would call it participatory democracy: holding our representatives accountable for their votes (or lack thereof). Everyone in the House voting on this bill had to make those tough decisions referred to. Yet George Miller, Henry Waxman, Barbara Lee, Anna Eschoo, Maxine Waters and a host of other Democrats voted against the bill, with many of them having gone on record about the SNAP cuts being a primary factor for the direction of their vote.

Standing against SNAP cuts was always a principled stand to vote against budget cuts made on the backs of the poorest one quarter of us who need that extra $90 a month in benefits.

Like Alice Chan, I would have preferred Huffman's vote go in the other direction. We're accustomed to principled leadership in this district from Woolsey and Boxer; it remains to be seen if we're getting comparable representation these days. Being somewhat familiar with Alice Chan, I have no doubt that she did make her feelings known to Rep. Huffman prior to arm-chair quarterbacking.

Via online

Dept. of Corrections

In our recent "Hive Minders" cover story (Feb. 26), the name of Katia Vincent, co-owner of Beekind in Sebastopol, was misspelled. We regret the error.

Write to us at letters@bohemian.com.

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