Tuesday's Letters to the Editor
Published: Monday, October 15, 2012 at 7:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, October 15, 2012 at 4:10 p.m.
The right temperament
EDITOR: I see a quality of temperament in Julie Combs, a candidate for the Santa Rosa City Council, that would gracefully improve the debates in our City Council.
No matter how contentious the issue, Combs remains calm and focused on practical solutions. She comes to the table well informed. She keeps the debate on track by avoiding unrelated, distracting issues. She uses a firm, direct, persuasive manner that never turns to strident rhetoric or intimidation.
If elected, Combs would bring her excellent temperament to the aftermath of the controversial district elections Measure Q, which she supports. If Measure Q passes, her extensive knowledge of the issue would be invaluable in helping the city manage the transition process. If Measure Q fails, her deep commitment to community involvement would be invaluable in finding other ways to include disappointed, marginalized neighborhoods in city affairs.
Funding for parks
EDITOR: Sonoma County Regional Parks Director Caryl Hart detailed a $17 million maintenance backlog in her report to the Board of Supervisors (“A surge of support,” Oct. 8). She further noted that donations will remain the “go-to” source for funding capital projects, including maintenance. Huh? Her marketing strategy is to bring more users to the parks and then raise fees to try to pay for increasing salaries, wages and benefits of current employees — regardless of the public's ability to pay.
I don't know why I am still shocked at the supervisors' and the Regional Parks Department's inability to grasp their budget deficits and how their decisions to pay for things with money they don't have is another burden for the poor and unemployed who just want to walk around the park for an hour and go home.
We will never be able to dig the county all out from under the crushing pension obligations that we all have read about, and we are sorry the county promised more than was feasible. Instead of looking to an already weary public to pay, pay and pay some more, they might want to turn around and claw back some of those bloated benefits being paid to retirees before the well runs dry.
For district elections
EDITOR: The United States is divided into 50 state districts. Each state is divided into county districts. Sonoma County is divided into five supervisorial districts. Nobody is claiming confusion and divisiveness as a result of these districts. Why should city districts be any different?
Isn't democracy more effective the closer it is to the people? Given the wide social, cultural and economic diversity of our city, it has become impossible for each council member to know and comprehend the needs and desires of every area of the city.
True local government is what we need. Would I rather vote for one council member who represents 25,000 fellow citizens than seven council members who represent 175,000? Definitely. I stand to gain — not lose — local power. And the interests of the city as a whole will still be the concern of seven council members.
Would you feel well represented if your state representatives all lived in the Palm Springs area? The current system is unbalanced, making it exceedingly difficult to communicate with our City Council members and see to it that our local concerns are addressed.
I urge a yes vote on Measure Q.
GENE A. HOTTEL
EDITOR: The recent dustup over the validity of the reported unemployment decrease really left me wondering what to believe. Completely aside from the discussion of how the figure is calculated, I don't inherently trust our government, and I am not a supporter of President Barack Obama nor his administration. I also have concerns about the allegiance of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
But your Strictly Business citation on Wednesday (“Study: Middle class feeling pinch”) clarified everything for me. Consumer Reports found that the economy has lost more jobs than it has created for the past two months. My experience has been that Consumer Reports is infinitely more objective and trustworthy compared to any other organization weighing in on this issue. Finally a source with a reliable answer; thanks.
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