Speaking for the trees
Patricia Lynn Henley's article about Sudden Oak Death (SOD) was very informative and helpful ("A Changing Landscape," Sept. 12). For seven years, I have observed the effects of this disease at the Fairfield Osborn Preserve in the oak woodlands of Sonoma Mountain, and it is indeed very difficult to see oak trees suffering and often dying from SOD.
As noted in your article, many plant species are infected by the same pathogen, but most experience mild leaf symptoms that cause little harm. Research conducted at Sonoma State University and other universities suggests that the disease spreads among these "foliar" hosts far in advance of oak infection.
I do not believe that the disease is expanding because forests are unhealthy. Oaks in old, dense woodlands, which grow close to infected bay trees appear to be most vulnerable to disease.
Unfortunately, it seems that the organism that causes SOD is here to stay. Our best hope to cope with it is to develop methods to manage our forests in ways that minimize the spread of this disease, and minimize its effects in areas where it already occurs.
Department of Biology
Director of Fairfield Osborn Preserve
Sonoma State University
Just Say No to Neville
Alarm! (Letters, Sept. 19) is correct, just too many of us are ignoring it. Mr Newell asks, "When are we going to wake up?" Many, like Newell, bemoan war and rightly so. However, we can disagree about it using words, not knives. War is always the last choice, but what do you do when you are given the choice of agreeing-with-us-or-we-kill-you?
Those Wahabists in the Islamic world who want control will do anything to get that control. Their roots come from Amin el-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusaleum who had direct ties to Nazism and was supported by Hitler. Their views and methods are the same. To those who say pull out of Iraq now, when do you want to fight this enemy? Only after another 30 million die? We cannot afford to act like Neville Chamberlain.
Michael Sturm, Santa Rosa
Talking about Cheap Shots
The latest column by Peter Byrne ("Fish Wrap," The Byrne Report, Sept. 19) is just another example of yellow journalism at its best. Everyone (including Mr. Byrne) knows that the Santa Rosa Press Democrat has a separate section devoted to local news and the front section usually covers national and international news. But Cheap Shot Byrne once again ignores the facts and gives us his distorted view of reality.
Every column Byrne has ever done consists mainly of half-truths and lies. The rantings of a left-wing lunatic belong in a weekly published in Cuba.
Do your readers a favor and dump him.
Sam Zuech, Rohnert Park
An ill system
Have you needed the services of a hospital? No one seems to plan to, if they can help it. The fact the medical care in our culture has become a corporate endeavor is at the root of the problems facing healthcare. I imagine my fellow nurses being heartsick over the idea of a Sutter strike, yet languishing in increasingly difficult positions: being legally responsible for untrained or poorly trained unlicensed staff, for instance; and working in positions hazardous to their own and their patient's health with not enough staff—not to mention doing work family members would not even do for their own—at wages not keeping up with the economy. I have seen the changes over 30 years and can attest to the fact that, since medicine became corporate, quality of care has deteriorated. If you want to change the system, take informed action. Watch the documentary The Corporation, not to mention Sicko, take a hanky to catch your tears and write our senators.
Pamela Lewis, RN Sebastopol
You know how it is when your office is in a pre-moving uproar and even your parents are moving and your sister gets married and you're a little dizzy from all the damned carrot sticks it takes to get into a proper wedding outfit and your copyeditor goes on vacation and there's really only two of you there full time anyway and the interns need direction and the ArtQuest kids begin a project and the proofreader position was eliminated six years ago and all you really want to do is go camping in the last burst of summer's wan warmth?
Yeah, us too.
You know what happens when that happens? You produce papers similar to the Sept. 19 issue in which errors begin on the front page and meander, like Oberon leading his fairy attendants through the cowslip, all throughout the paper.
You know what the best fix is for all the moaning and gnashing of teeth that follows such a public riddle of folly?
A contest! To wit: Name All of the Errors in Last Week's Paper for a Chance to Win a Sony Pictures Classic Art House Film Screener We Don't Want to Pack.
Write Errors! firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll probably even be organized enough to check.
Covered in cardboard cuts and odd bits of tape