Friday’s Letters to the Editor
Sep 2, 2016

Unpleasant choices

EDITOR: This election constitutes the most difficult choice I’ve had since I first cast a ballot 36 years ago. I cannot support the ideas and thought patterns of the Republican candidate. Then we have the Democratic candidate, whose foundation, according to Marc Thiessen (“Where are the #NeverHillary Dems?” Wednesday), “took billions from special interests” associated with Wall Street or repressive governments. How can I trust that she will promote policies that bring progress to the masses? Then we have Proposition 64, which, according to Patrick Kennedy and some cannabis growers, would allow the creation of corporate mega-farms and squeeze out the traditional small farmers.

This year feels worse than a tweedle-dee vs. tweedle-dum choice. It seems worse than hold your nose and pick the lesser of two evils. I encourage voters to engage even though we may discover that the choices we have don’t equate with a favorable outcome.



Pot capital? No thanks

EDITOR: Thank you, Paul Gullixson. We want to acknowledge Gullixson’s excellent Sunday column questioning whether Santa Rosa and Sonoma County should be leading the pack to jump upon the weed train (“Do we really want to become the mecca for marijuana?”). Who are these city and county leaders? Let’s have some names. Please reprint this excellent column. Is this the reputation Santa Rosa wants?


Santa Rosa

Help for local libraries

EDITOR: Please, readers, teachers, parents of small children, parents of schoolchildren and life-long learners, vote yes on Measure Y to support Sonoma County libraries with increased funding.

Currently, libraries receive some funds from property taxes but not enough to provide full services, so private donors and Friends of the Library organizations pay for new books, programs and equipment. Public libraries are one of the few truly free public services left to Sonoma County citizens. All you need is a library card to borrow books and DVDs or to use the computers at any library. Story hour for small children, a place for students to study, a reference librarian who helps find answers, programs on gardening, history, art and volunteer help with your taxes are all free.

It’s not free to maintain, however. Though libraries attract volunteers, each branch must have some qualified, paid employees. The head and reference librarians have degrees in library science. They earn their salaries.

The added sales tax would be very small — almost unnoticeable at one-eighth of one percent. That’s a penny added to every $8 of taxable sales. This tax would provide $12 million annually that would go directly to support libraries. Please vote yes on Measure Y.



Disappointed again

EDITOR: We are white 40-year residents of Moorland Avenue. When we announced our home purchase, colleagues said “the slums of Santa Rosa.” We moved here from Richmond, and our experience has been wonderful neighbors and a semi-rural feel. Our problems have been more traffic than crime.

That said, there was the senseless killing of Andy Lopez by Sheriff’s Deputy Erick Gelhaus. The county, Community Action Partnership and consultant Steve Cancian have worked to lead the neighborhood and community through a process of healing around a park. Our interest is more the park — long-promised when our daughter was 5 years old — than a shrine to Andy.

Thursday was the final planning meeting. The agenda was to trim $1.5 million from the plan, leaving the park unfinished with the promise of “someday.”

The sense of betrayal once again is overwhelming. Just build the park the county can afford instead of tricking us into believing we have a voice and matter.

The disrespectful commentary from two Iraq veterans who served with Gelhaus, whose training made him afraid of a middle schooler, makes us feel they did not serve us or America (“The promotion of Erick Gelhaus must stand,” Close to Home, Saturday). We would not want to be their neighbors.


Roadside weeds

EDITOR: Recently, as my husband and I were traveling on Highway 12 near Fulton Road, he remarked how the waist-to-shoulder high weeds on the south side of the highway made the area look run down and neglected. I agreed and said not only was it embarrassing, it was a fire hazard, too.

So here it is a warm, sunny, breezy August afternoon and there’s a grass fire in the same spot. A swath of land burned black with the fire looking as though it was headed south to Sebastopol Road homes and businesses and uncomfortably close to a local propane distributor. I’m thankful the first responders were able to put the fire out quickly.

Whose responsibility is it to cut the weeds along our highways and freeways? Caltrans? The county? Who?

Sonoma County is one of the most beautiful areas in the state, yet tourists coming into the area are greeted by dead weeds and litter. Is the adopt-a-highway program still in progress? If so, I implore local businesses to participate in beautifying our roadways and contributing to preventing grass fires.


Santa Rosa