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PFOR says thanks

EDITOR: The members of Petaluma Friends of Recreation want to extend our deep appreciation to Petaluma voters for their backing of Measure X to improve recreation facilities in Petaluma.

Petalumans of all ages came together to support the campaign for improved and new recreational opportunities for our community. This was a rare grassroots initiative that began three years ago and culminated in the Nov. 6 election.

Your vote helped shape a vision of Petaluma that had been absent from public discussion for a long time. You brought to the city's attention the need for better playgrounds, tennis courts, pools, and trails. You highlighted the demand for safe places to play for Petalumans of all ages.

Although Measure X at this time has garnered only 61 percent of the vote and it needed two-thirds, more than 13,000 voters stood up for the belief that good recreation opportunities add to the quality of life of our town, bring tourism, increase revenue, and deserve to be funded.

PFOR hopes you will continue to share that vision, to communicate the need, and to press for the resources needed. Your voice and your engagement will be key.

With much gratitude,

Carol Eber and Debra Sammon, Petaluma, Co-chairs of PFOR

Defending vote

EDITOR: As one of the Petalumans who voted for Mike Healy, Gabe Kearney and Kathy Miller, I want to correct David Glass's perception that I didn't think about my vote (Argus-Courier Week of Nov. 8). I gave my vote a lot of thought. In the case of our City Council I voted for people who have demonstrated that they can listen to their constituents, work with people of diverse opinions, and come to resolutions to move our city forward.

Perhaps Mr. Glass can pay attention to this and learn something for the remainder of his term as mayor.

At best, he has been divisive. In many cases the reports of his behavior in public have shown him to be bombastic, as it was last year during his confrontation with landscapers at Deer Creek (Argus-Courier June 8, 2011), and when he harassed the assistant city clerk days before his election as mayor in October 2010 (Argus Courier, March 3, 2011).

I voted for the candidates whose opinions I may not always share, but I believe they have and will continue to act responsibly with the leadership we've entrusted to them.

Allan Jaffe, Petaluma

Vets parade a success

EDITOR: Thank you to all the 30,000-plus who attended this year's Veterans Day Parade. Without the generous donors of Sonoma County, this parade would not have been possible.

Six members of the U.S. Coast Guard came to my aid and acted as spotters to align all the entrants. There were actually 190 entries. Several had 15-40 vehicles as one entry.

It was great to see several hundred veterans in the parade and the many who lined the route. Hundreds attended the short program after the parade. Special thanks to Celestial City, who sang the Star Spangled.Banner and God Bless America. To Mayor David Glass, Supervisor David Rabbit, Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey, and Maj. Gen. Gary Medvigy, thank you for your speeches. And, I can not forget all the aircraft flying overhead.

Read all of the PD's fire coverage here

The day was special.

Steve Kemmerle, Petaluma, parade organizer

Occupy the election

EDITOR: For a so-called leaderless movement, recently the Occupy Movement has been doing plenty of leading.

The victims of Hurricane Sandy in the hardest hit areas of New York have praised Occupy Sandy for organizing a massive relief effort of thousands of volunteers. Gallisa Muriente, an Occupy Sandy volunteer, said, "A lot of people have made it very clear we're the only ones helping them out. They say they haven't received any help from FEMA or the Red Cross." Solidarity, not charity, is making a difference.

Occupy also played a crucial leadership role in the elections. While Occupy didn't run candidates, it crafted the winning message for the winning candidates. President Obama depicted his opponent as the candidate of the 1 percent.

Mitt Romney's disparaging comment about the 47 percent wouldn't have had such an utterly devastating effect on his campaign without the popularization of the 99 percent meme. Americans voted in support of the core issue of the Occupy Movement — economic fairness — by re-electing a president who has vowed to fight against the human-made disaster of economic inequality.

For the past year, the public has been led to believe that the Occupy movement lacks a leadership structure and a coherent message. This mistaken belief arises from a widespread dependence on a failed model of top-down leadership.

The Occupy Movement offers a new leadership model that affirms our shared responsibility for the well-being of our communities and the world. We can no longer rely on traditional leadership structures — especially those so easily corrupted by big bucks. Spending six billion dollars on campaigns in the last election isn't democracy; it's plutocracy.

As our economy sputters along trying to get back on track, we can't expect President Obama to make a recovery happen without us. Occupy Sandy and the Occupy movement's role in the elections have demonstrated that we don't need to wait for government to tell us what to do. We are the leaders we voted for.

Timothy Nonn, Petaluma

Sandy and climate

EDITOR: Hurricane Sandy has reminded me of the danger climate change poses. It's time our society takes progressive action to curb the negative impact our practices have on the environment. Today, widespread clear-cutting exists in California, expediting climate change.

Mature forests store large amounts of carbon, helping to contain greenhouse gas. Clear-cutting releases 50 percent of this carbon into the atmosphere, intensifying global warming.

The timber industry claims to off-set the carbon issue by replanting clear-cut areas with forest plantations. These trees, however, will not absorb a comparable amount of carbon for at least 20 years.

The effects of clear-cutting and climate change also endanger California's water supply. Forests provide 75 percent of the state's water. Our climate's rising temperature causes the snowpack of the Sierra Nevada mountains to shrink, melting earlier in the spring. Where forests have been clear-cut, the land grows hotter and drier, storing less snow during the winter, creating summer water shortages.

Our mountains no longer effectively fulfill their natural role of storing water from snow that may be used later in the season when needed.

Clear-cutting is a destructive practice that is inappropriate in this era of climate change. It's time that California ban it to halt the severe and dangerous threats it poses to our planet and its people.

Teagan Thompson, PetalumA

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