Disagrees with drive-thru decision

EDITOR: I disagree with the Petaluma City Council decision to not provide an exception to the ban on drive-thrus for a Walgreens pharmacy pick-up window. The assumption and decision that "greenhouse gas emissions concerns" outweighed the need for the drive-thru. Come on now. Do you honestly think that the emissions from an idling vehicle will have a significant impact on the environment? If that is the case may I suggest that councilmembers stand at the corner of Washington and Petaluma Boulevard at any time during the day and count the numbers of vehicles that sit there idling while waiting for the lights to cycle through. One three-minute cycle undoubtedly puts more emissions in the air than cars waiting in the drive-thru during a 24 hour day.

As to alternatives: having a curbside pickup is fine if there are employees available to run the prescriptions out to a vehicle. And I would imagine that a driver would keep the motor running while waiting. Home delivery services may not be financially doable for the customer or the store.

I also have a concern for people that have to get an emergency late night prescription filled for a sick child. They may not be able to leave the child at home. Is it right to ask them to bundle up the kid and carry him/her into the store? A drive-thru is quick, it is efficient and it is the right thing. I ask the PCC to please reconsider their decision.

Anthony Morgan, Petaluma

Beer fest a success

EDITOR: On behalf of the Petaluma Valley Rotary Club, Petaluma Chamber of Commerce, and our festival committee, we want to thank the community for supporting the inaugural Petaluma River Craft Beer Festival.

Rave reviews! If you were lucky enough to be on historic Water Street last Saturday afternoon for the festival, you experienced why we love Petaluma. It's been many years since a home-grown event of this size has embraced the river's Turning Basin.

Nearly 1,000 people celebrated at this sold-out event with beer tastings donated by 14 unique Petaluma, Sonoma and Marin County craft breweries, food created by Petaluma chefs, and entertainment by local musicians. We appreciated cooperation from the Petaluma Police and Public Works departments, and support from over 50 volunteers. In addition, cheers for sponsors who contributed to make this a first-class festival. Special thanks to the Argus-Courier for publicity, and to "Grand Brewmeister" sponsor Wilibees, to Petaluma Market, Basin Street Properties, and a dozen other local business sponsors.

Now we have the honor of giving back. 100 percent of the Petaluma River Craft Beer Festival proceeds will go directly back into our community for Petaluma Riverfront projects, Lend a Hand to Education teacher grants, non-profit programs, and other community projects and events that benefit Petaluma.

LIBBY FITZGERALD, Rotary Club of Petaluma Valley and ONITA PELLEGRINI, Petaluma Chamber of Commerce

Stop contaminated meat

EDITOR: According to the lead story in a recent Washington Post, the meat inspection program that USDA plans to roll out in meat and poultry plants nationwide has repeatedly failed to stop production of contaminated meat. The program allows meat producers to increase the speed of processing lines and replace USDA safety inspectors with their own employees.

But plants operating under this program have experienced some of the worst health and safety violations that include failure to remove fecal matter and partly digested food, according to USDA inspector general. These contaminants may contain complex strains of deadly E. coli and listeria.

Traditionally, USDA has catered more to the interests and profitability of the meat industry than to the health and safety concerns of American consumers. Consumer interests come into play only when large numbers of us get sick. Having the USDA protect consumers is like asking the fox to guard the chicken house.

The Obama administration must reallocate responsibility for consumer safety to the Food and Drug administration. In the meantime, each of us must assume responsibility for our own safety by switching to the rich variety of plant-based meats offered in local supermarkets.

Pedro Muniz, Petaluma