EDITOR: Your article about abalone rules ("New abalone limits set for North Coast," Feb. 9) stated that new restrictions have been set in place because of declining numbers. While the annual limit has been reduced from 24 to 18, which does affect both divers and rock pickers, the time restrictions, which have nothing to do with protecting abalone, greatly affect the rock pickers.
With the new start time of 8 a.m., rock pickers and the older community that enjoys abalone picking will be prevented from doing so as the conditions will be too difficult at that time of day.
There are usually only two sets of good minus tides during the abalone season, in May and June, and both that start before 8 a.m., therefore eliminating the rock pickers.
Rock pickers are not the reason for decline. However, they are the ones most affected by the new regulations. I understand that the state Department of Fish and Wildlife needs to protect abalone, but I would encourage regulators to reconsider some of the restrictions to make it more conducive to everyone.
No new fire tax
EDITOR: The Bodega Bay Fire Protection District claims it needs more money and time to get more public support. However, more tax funds won't solve its problems if the district continues to ignore the suggestions made by other public agencies.
In 2002-03, the grand jury recommended that the district merge or consolidate with other districts to reduce costs. In 2005, a county municipal services review made the same recommendation. So did the Local Agency Formation Commission.
Instead the district has failed to contain costs and live within its budget. It now seeks a tax increase to bail it out. If passed, it will be the highest fire tax in California.
The district says the Measure A tax will give it time to raise funds from other agencies. This is highly unlikely. There are dozens of fire districts facing similar financial problems, and the county cannot support them all.
The 2013 cost for each Bodega Bay fire call, including false alarms, is more than $4,000. Taxpayers receive only 30 percent of the services. We should not be asked for an increase when the district has had years to put its budget in order, raise funds from other sources or merge or consolidate with other agencies.
More taxes won't solve its problems. No on Measure A.
BEV and JOHN BURTON
Where's the outrage?
EDITOR: So let's see, the U.S. Department of Agriculture shuts down a respected local meat processing business for vague, unspecified infractions of its arcane rules, forcing it to recall an entire year's meat production and bringing it to its knees financially. Miraculously, 10 days later, a "white knight" buyer appears to scoop up the remains of Rancho Feeding Corp. at an "unspecified" (read" bargain) price, complete with the blessing of local politicians who proclaim this will be "an ideal way to reopen the plant" (unless, of course, you're the original owner). How convenient for our hero, David Evans of Marin Sun Farms who, coincidentally, was looking for a way to expand his business.
What we are witnessing folks is one of the most egregious examples of regulatory overreach and crony capitalism ever perpetrated in the North Bay. All this story is missing is one thing: public outrage. Wake up, people.