December 27, 2006-January 2, 2007

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Letters to the Editor

Tax Talk Rages On

Michael Shapiro was wrong about some aspects of selling books on the Internet, and Michael Dortch was right (Letters, "Local Dialogue," Dec. 20).

Shapiro seems unaware that his example, the local Copperfield's chain, sells books on the Net. Indeed, when Santa Rosa's Fourth Street Copperfield's closed in 2004, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reported that "Copperfield's plans to expand its online sales of used and rare books and will be opening a warehouse for inventory. . . . Copperfield's already sells through online sites such as"

I live in Santa Rosa and have more than 2,700 books for sale at Amazon--some of them in competition with Copperfield's listings. I sell to buyers all over the United States and spend the proceeds of my tiny business right here. It is true that buyers don't pay sales tax at Amazon, but Copperfield's and I have to pay the tax on all our retail sales to California addresses.

Geoff Johnson, Santa Rosa

Hallinan as Hero

Peter Byrne is off-base about his portrayal of Terence Hallinan ("Kayo of the North," Dec. 13). He is indeed a hero to many of us who believe that there is a better way of dealing with drugs and prostitution in society than locking everyone up. Thank God there is someone out there who will defend, in a court of law, the Constitution, our civil liberties and the people from the destructiveness of arrests and incarcerations for victimless or consensual crime. Byrne seems intent on criminalizing many good people, continuing the overflow of prisons and trying to tarnish the good name of this stalwart of freedom and justice.

MIkki Norris, El Cerrito

Wrongdoer's buffet

All I wanted for Christmas was reasonable security at the local YMCA. You would think that the facility located on College Avenue would be safe for our babies, women, children and families. Unfortunately, there is trouble brewing in wonderland. Recently, according to the Santa Rosa Police Department, there has been increased criminal activity in the area, and the back parking lot is a wrongdoer's buffet. The back lot is an accident waiting to happen, and the front parking lot is not much safer.

The rear lot is very isolated, without proper lighting and little if any security. The front lot, although not so isolated, is without lighting and no security. I checked my list and checked it twice, and I know that the vandals, muggers and wrongdoers have been naughty and not very nice. Not even Dancer and Prancer would travel at night to the Y. I'm sorry that Santa couldn't provide us with a security system so that locals can feel less loco while going to and from their vehicles.

Gene Colombini, Santa Rosa

Dept. of arrrgggh

Geoff Johnson is a polite man who recently found himself in Novato needing to buy a birthday present for his sweetie. Having a Boho at hand, he foolishly relied on information provided by our very own editor and headed over to Le Belge Chocolatier ("A Few of Our Favorite Things," Dec. 13). That's when Geoff discovered quite a few little nasty surprises:

Le Belge hasn't been at the address we listed for at least two years; is better found in Napa than Marin; and never had the telephone number we ascribed to it.

But wait, there's more! It turns out that Le Belge is a wholesaler and Geoff couldn't have walked in and purchased chocs on the spot for his sweetie, anyway. He'd have had to call ahead (707.258.9200), which--absolutely!--we encourage anyone with a yen for chocolate who happens to yes find themselves in Napa to do.

Apologies to Geoff, apologies to every single reader who isn't Geoff and apologies to Le Belge. And--man oh man--three cheers for the end of this year's mistakes!

The Ed., doghouse digs

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