Thank you for your newspaper’s excellent journalism, and for allowing your staff and the public access to express our opinions freely. Several recent letters to the editor (July 10 and July 24) expressed intolerance of the opinions of Robert Brake and Cate Gable.

Two letters criticized Robert Brake for what he said about his perceptions on the president’s misbehaviors. The writers would deny Mr. Brake of his right to express that he felt the president was mishandling the country’s affairs. This country’s Constitution allows its citizens to ask their government to change its behavior when it is perceived by the people to be necessary. The writers demonstrated intolerance for his difference of opinion, by saying Mr. Brake should leave the country if he didn’t agree with the president. This is wrong. All opinions are welcomed in our country. Mr. Brake, for those of us who know him, know that he is extremely intelligent, sensitive and caring of our society and its well-being. His opinions should be received without personal attacks on him, saying “he should leave the country if he disagrees with the president.”

This country was founded on principles of freedom of the press and it allows all its citizens freedom of expression without fear of censorship or recrimination.

Likewise, in another recent letter to the editor, Cate Gable was treated with disdain for her report on the excessive duration of this year’s Fourth of July events on our Peninsula, by a writer who accused her of speaking only to the darker side of the Fourth of July events. Cate never said the event should not be held or enjoyed, she simply listed the obvious side effects in personal injuries, property damage and threats to the safety of the community, caused and extended due to the excessive length of time allowed by city leaders.

Our Peninsula’s leaders are permissive when the dollars of tourists are able to be acquired by our local businesses; that is a good idea, a lucrative one. But there’s an equally good argument that encourages a limit to the amounts of damage caused by excessive permissiveness. As I see it, that’s the gist of Cate’s statement. This year, there were tons more of the usual plastic refuse and trash on our beaches and streets due to the thousands of more illegal fireworks that the extra days allowed, causing greater stress to our environment, more work and costs for our clean-up crews, and more emotional drain on the community and law enforcement personnel.

No one I know is a more sensitive, empathetic or caring person than Cate. She speaks for those of us who want to see people utilize the better angels on their shoulders when making decisions that affect our community’s well-being. She says partiers should have fun and be safe within an environment that doesn’t cause grief for everyone or anything else by use of illegal fireworks, launched at unreasonable and illegal hours of both the night and day. I heard hundreds of firecrackers and cherry bombs and what sounded like semi-automatic rifle shots that were illegally fired off during both day, and during what should have been evening’s late, sleeping hours, disturbing those in the community who needed rest for their days work ahead. Explosions also traumatize veterans who experienced combat in our recent war zones. All of our wildlife is frightened by the loud explosions, unsettling them day and night.

We say it’s OK to have safe Fourths for the enjoyment of everyone during the legal hours set by our city leaders; it’s just that our leaders have ignored calls for setting more sane time limits and specifications for legal fireworks on our Peninsula, preferring permissive limits that encourage more revenue to the merchants and sellers of unlimited types of fireworks. We can’t control the activities of, nor do we want to dissuade the coming of the tens of thousands of visitors to the Peninsula during these holidays. We citizens willingly share our beautiful environment, and we grin and bear it, for the extra bills we must pay for the clean-up costs of trash and for the costs of draining hours to our fire departments and law-enforcement officers.

Cate deserves our credit for trying to protect the interests of our community, including our pets and wildlife that are freaked out during the thunderous, warlike-screaming blasts and explosions, creating Hell for our children, pets, birds, deer, bears and numerous others who have nowhere to hide, and no way to escape this tiny land mass we call all our home. Cate’s words tend to keep our Peninsula safe and more enjoyable and livable for all of us, and I thank her for that. Cate always listens to her better angels and is one of the greatest assets our community has; I admire her for all the good she does for us.

Under no circumstances will I entertain leaving my Peninsula or my country because of my opinions. Nor should anyone else. Let’s be kinder and more tolerant of views opposed to our own. Thank you for listening, and may your better angels prevail.

JOE PALIANI

Ocean Park

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