Each year, Sonoma County Democrats sponsor a booth at the Sonoma County fair to register citizens to vote, provide information about candidates for public office and share our political beliefs with anyone interested. Volunteers from our party travel from throughout the county to staff the booth in Grace Pavilion and have open and honest communications with fairgoers.
But each year, these volunteers are harassed or intimidated by certain fair employees who disagree with our opinions. They are often subjected to demands to remove certain bumper stickers from view or to not hand out bumper stickers at all. Some fair managers have personally threatened to remove self-deemed objectionable bumper stickers or even close down our booth should we not comply.
However, our Republican counterparts seem free to display and distribute controversial material with such offensive slogans as "Ted Kennedy's Car Has Killed More People Than My Gun" at their booth just two rows over from the Democratic Party site.
Democrats alone should not be subjected to the thought police of the county fair and their hypocritical application of rules to exhibitors. Fair officials need to apply these standards equally to all exhibitors, and not favor one political affiliation or set of beliefs over another.
Terry Allan Elverum, Sonoma County Democratic Central Committee
Let the Fur Fly
Our agency has a front row seat to see the revolving door of recidivism and its effects on the community. Hence, our mission statement: "To break the cycle of crime, violence and delinquency in our community."
Two local children are accused of having set a trapped kitten on fire. The kitten was given a second chance and a name, Adam. The two children have names, faces and life stories—just like Adam does. We do not know what the two children's stories are, and yet we imagine they could be trapped in difficult circumstances themselves. Picture what might be the hurts, frustrations and disappointments that underscore the lives of any young people who cause lethal harm to innocent and helpless victims.
Clearly, here is an opportunity for our partnerships to offer healing for the cause of the condition rather than seek vengeance for its symptoms. Our community has the tools to train these children to see themselves and other beings in a nonviolent, more compassionate light. It does not make sense to bind ourselves to the concept of retribution when, in truth, rehabilitation can be more productive. The children should be given a second chance, also.
Kate Jenkins, executive director, Friends Outside In Sonoma County
When was the last time Sara Bir actually wrote about something relevant to the North Bay? More and more I feel like I'm reading a 14-year-old girl's Myspace blog ( July 18). I hear more about her boyfriend or eating habits than about anything going on locally. Does this belong in the local arts and entertainment category? What a waste.
Gerry Stumbaugh, Santa Rosa
I rarely write to a publication, but you bring out the critic in me. Your article about Barry Eisler ( July 18) was the poorest excuse for front-page coverage I have ever read. When you choose a topic or personage, think about the many people who will pick up the paper for no other reason than to learn something. It seemed like an interesting article to me, one at least warranting the paper I would be disposing afterward, but I was wrong. Not only was the article boring, but the last line said it all: "If I hadn't been born, these books would never have been written. And that's a great feeling."
What, Barry? To have been born? I wouldn't call this printable. At least not in my book!
Carolyn Robbins, San Rafael
Strangely, we welcome letters extolling all the many different ways in which we suck, particularly when we agree upon the odoriferous whiff of suckiness. Close readers saw that we apologized for in the July 18 issue (Table of Contents). Summer doldrums and took their terrible toll that week. We'll try not to suck so bad in the future!