Friday's Letters to the Editor

EDITOR: We went to the new Graton Rancheria Casino in Rohnert Park but were repulsed by the tobacco smoke. I was hoping to take my family to one of the restaurants on the premises, but with the doors open to the gaming area, they all reeked of smoke, too. Designated non-smoking areas are a joke. The open indoor design spares no one from inhaling toxic fumes. Caring about our health, we won’t be back.

It is offensive that the Graton Rancheria exploits its “sovereignty” to expose the casino’s employees and customers to heavy doses of proven cancer and heart disease-causing fumes. With more than 36,000 tobacco-related deaths in California each year, tobacco is one of the most lethal and costly, yet preventable, threats to health and well-being.

It is sickening to think of all of the unwitting victims of the casino’s lack of controls on tobacco — including pregnant women, children, and people with breathing problems. At least signs warning of exposure to toxic levels of tobacco smoke should be posted prominently at the entrances to the casino and every restaurant. Pregnant and childbearing-age women employees should consider seeking work elsewhere. And anyone with children, or heart or breathing problems, should stay away.


Former Sonoma County Public Health Officer


A time of kindness

EDITOR: Andy Lopez died through the actions of a veteran officer making a judgment call, and it awakens a dialogue and a stream of questions. The missing question is: What is the responsibility of each of us in this circumstance?

Recently while helping out a church organization with a speech that was reaching out to the Latino community, I saw that they unconsciously conveyed their separation from the group that they wished to embrace. It is this separation which foments suspicion, fear and distrust and is caused by unfamiliarity of the “other side.” These were concerned individuals; what happens with those who are, at best, apathetic?

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