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Friday's Letters to the Editor

EDITOR: Thanks for your editorial highlighting the opposition of four local elected officials to a pension reform effort (“What were these electeds thinking,” Dec. 17). We will remember them come election time — Supervisor Mike McGuire, Santa Rosa Mayor Scott Bartley and Councilwoman Erin Carlstrom and Healdsburg Councilman Jim Wood.

We finally have a leader, San Jose’s mayor, proposing a ballot measure which, if passed, allows adjustments to the unsustainable pensions that were promised at the expense of basic public services.

Just as a reminder, when County Administrator Bob Deis left Sonoma County in 2009, he was given a year’s severance of $331,000 to boost his pension. He went on to work as Stockton’s city manager for a salary of $240,000 while collecting his pension here.

When Stockton went through bankruptcy court, no cuts were made to pensions, although public services were cut drastically.

As we note the decline in public services and the commitment to over-inflated pensions, it’s time for change. I admire a political leader tackling this issue in order to maintain safety and a high quality of life. The ballot measure may not be perfect, but it’s a place to start and an effort to support.

JENNIFER ESPINOZA

Santa Rosa

Tobacco and trade pact

EDITOR: Big tobacco has long been luring the populace in undeveloped countries with provocative advertising aimed toward duping the poor and uneducated into nicotine addiction. Anti-smoking successes in developed countries have caused them to expand their smoking promotion in poor countries.

Many undeveloped countries are now waging anti-smoking campaigns. The tobacco cartels are countering with economic clot and abusive trade agreements to coerce the developing countries that cannot finance the costly litigation into abandoning their efforts to fight this lethal addiction.

Our current closed-door negotiations for the Trans Pacific Partnership pose major concerns. Congress may commit to a fast-track agreement for this cooperate friendly trade pact, which would enable passage of its provisions with limited review or oversight. One of several dangerous inclusions would enable corporations to challenge and override any local laws that could affect their profit — this would include anti-smoking campaigns.

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