Kap and the anthem
EDITOR: 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand during the national anthem Friday. Until Kaepernick is off the team, the 49ers are dead to me. I’m speaking for myself and my son, both of us lifelong 49ers fans. Unfortunately my son, Sgt. Ryan Connolly, who served with the 173rd Airborne, was killed in Afghanistan in 2008, and he can’t speak. So I’ll speak for him.
We find Kaepernick’s actions highly offensive. Our citizens of many different races and religions have fought, sacrificed and died for the words that are represented in the song. Listen to it sometime. If Kaepernick has an issue with this country that made him a millionaire, he can refund the tax dollars used to educate him and gave him an opportunity to become an NFL quarterback, or he can donate time and money to any cause of his choice. That’s something my son can’t do.
Dental care for vets
EDITOR: This is in response to the letter that implied that the services provided by the mobile dental clinic were unsanitary and disrespectful (“Careless treatment,” Aug. 22).
More than $38,000 worth of care was given to members of our community who often get overlooked — veterans and those experiencing homelessness. There is a direct correlation between oral health and systemic disease. Unfortunately, veterans don’t receive dental benefits even if they qualify for health coverage.
This event, co-sponsored by Michael Ottolini Amvets Post 40 and Rohnert Park Smiles, was created to meet this enormous need in our community. Vital dental care was provided to 41 patients, the majority of whom were veterans. This was all done in sterile, sanitary conditions by licensed and insured dentists.
The folks who were outside in “lawn chairs under trees” were only receiving dental cleanings. Everything was covered, and tools were sterilized between patients. The actual dental procedures were done in the very hygienic mobile clinic van. Many of the patients who had thought their only option was multiple extractions walked away with crowns instead.
This was a successful project that brought relief from pain to many who have suffered for years. We look forward to future collaborations with our community partners, providing more opportunities to serve the underserved.
HELEN FRATER and MATT JENSEN
Veterans Wellness Council, Santa Rosa
EDITOR: Let me reassure the brain trust planners at SMART headquarters that they will have plenty of parking available. Why am I so sure? Money.
I just visited Los Angeles and rode its new Metro Expo line for $1.75 one way. The train takes you all the way from downtown to Santa Monica. It’s a civilized means of commuting at a great price, and it takes you to some desirable places.
SMART, at $9.50 one way, goes where? At best to a ferry that will cost more money if you want to get to the city. That’s well over $100 round-trip for a family of four. Good luck with that.
Friends in Los Angeles said people initially felt the Expo line fare was set too high. When I told them about our (not so) SMART train fare, they laughed. I drive a hybrid, which costs me an average of $40 per month to fill up. That’s two round-trip SMART rides. Why ride? What’s the incentive?
So best of luck. I hope I’m wrong. We need some real, viable commuter transportation options up here. But don’t fret planners. I predict plenty of parking will be available.
Display of courage
EDITOR: Congratulations to the Santa Rosa police officer who didn’t shoot the 21-year-old last Saturday morning when he brandished a gun and started to raise it toward the officer (“Police say man pulled gun on officer,” Aug. 21). It took great courage and restraint to take cover, and that is what we citizens except of our law enforcement officers. This is one small step toward some healing our community needs in police relationships with those of us the police are expected to protect. Thank you again, from a white, middle class man, for some peace of mind.
PAUL W. HARRIS
GOP and democracy
EDITOR: Although Donald Trump won the presidential nomination in a democratic contest, the Republican Party forfeited its democratic credentials long ago.
Hijacked by fossil fuel and casino billionaires, right-wing extremists and the National Rifle Association, the party of Lincoln has waged a systematic campaign to suppress voting by African-Americans, Latinos, seniors and students, who tend to vote Democratic.
Instead of expanding the electorate, encouraging voting and broadening its appeal, Republicans imposed new forms of identification, restricted early voting and reduced poll hours in states they controlled.
Finding little evidence of fraud, federal courts ruled that these measures targeted specific groups of voters and were discriminatory. Protecting the rights of all Americans, the courts blocked the implementation of these measures in six states.
When Trump declared that elections were “rigged,” he doubled down on these attempts to suppress voting, demeaned the democratic process and invited fraud and voter intimidation.
By refusing to consider the president’s Supreme Court nominee, Senate Republicans failed to perform their constitutional duties and impaired the court’s ability to rule on important national issues.
Meanwhile, the obscene amounts of money corrupting our political system can be traced to the five Supreme Court justices appointed by Republican presidents.