One man's story
This letter is a cry for help. My name is Dennis. I am 48 years old and have been a law-abiding, taxpaying citizen for longer than most of the officers and quite possibly all the city councilmembers in Petaluma.
I fell off a roof last year and now have a permanent disability with my foot. They only pay a third of your pay while on disability; there is no chance of a 40-hour week, a raise, overtime, bonuses or any other source of income.
If you didn't know this already, Sonoma County is one of the most expensive places in the nation to live. Due to my condition and lack of income, I couldn't afford my rent. I became homeless, living in a tent. But I saved my money for months and bought a van. In the last two months, I have been woken up in my van by police at least 15 times. They keep threatening to impound my van, take my dogs and put me in jail. I've had my dogs for over 10 years. I don't drink or do drugs. I'm not wanted anywhere, and I don't break the law.
This just isn't right.
Anyone who has ever fallen on hard times could be in my place. Somehow, the powers that be in Petaluma think that a homeless person can instantly acquire a job, car and apartment, and never have any transition.
It's OK for truckers to pull over and sleep. It's OK for RV'ers to sleep. But don't you dare sleep in your van in Petaluma. I guess if I lose my dogs, van and possessions, that would be OK with them.
We need to take the powers that be out to the woodshed.
Dennis Gabel, Petaluma
Dawn's early fight
I have to agree with Terry Popp's letter bemoaning the lack of real peace and quiet in our community ( Letters, Aug. 9). I am a frequent caller to the police department regarding early morning construction, leaf blowers, power mowers, superloud car stereos and, most recently, garbage trucks.
Apparently, noise restrictions are extremely arbitrary and only sporadically enforced. One recent case in point: garbage collection at 5:30am. I live in an apartment complex near a large commercial area, and garbage collection frequently begins at dawn. The trucks automatically pick up the large containers, unload them and then slam them down on the concrete. By the time it's over, it's pretty hard to get back to sleep. I have called the property management company that runs the shopping center, and they said that they have no control over the issue. I called the police, and they said noise-restriction laws didn't apply; even though our apartment complex contains over 100 units, the trucks are picking up in the adjacent commercial area. I then called Santa Rosa Recycling, but they did not return my calls. Apparently, the next step is to call the city council or Public Utilities Commission.
I didn't think simple peace and quiet at dawn would become a political issue. Is that asking too much?
Sleepless in Santa Rosa
America's Great Gift
As of Aug. 6, over 958 people had been killed and 3,369 injured--mostly civilians, about a third of them children--in the newest conflict in the Middle East. Many bodies are still under wreckage. More than 1 million have been displaced. Seventeen major cities have been bombed, six of them with over 16 strikes. More than 70 roads and 94 bridges and over 20 gas and fuel stations have been destroyed. Many food factories, warehouses, dams, schools, TV and radio stations, churches, mosques, hospitals, ambulances, a defense center and a U.N. base have been bombed. Thousands of civilian houses have been destroyed, and over 10,000 tons of heavy oil now pollutes over 80 kilometers of seacoast.
It is important to remember that the bombs that have been destroying Lebanon and the Lebanese people are America's "gifts" to Israel, paid for with our tax dollars.
Jim Stoops, Sebastopol
Ask Sydney Debuts! Last Week!
It's summer--what can you do? Cuz in the summer, we sometimes space stuff out. For example, sometimes we engage a new writer, launch the writer's new column and then--omigod--forget to say a single word about that writer. That's just so summer.
And so it is with "Ask Sydney," the new real-life advice column written by a real-life North Bay resident that began last week. Whether it's sex, relationships, child-rearing, friendships, politics or those terrible rashes that Sumo wrestlers are prone to that have you concerned, ask Sydney. Not only was she here last week, she's here again this week. All bets point to next week, too. Comforting, isn't it?
We urge you to shake the summer spaceys and take an avid glance at . Write to her early and often at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Asleep at the Real