Too much hysteria

EDITOR: As I read my friend Scott Swanson's hysterical, somewhat unhinged diatribe against the National Rifle Association ("Necessary steps for reducing gun violence now," Close to Home, Wednesday), I thought, wow, this is what we don't need.

I have been a member of the NRA for 50 years, and I am confident it is not an evil organization. I have seen many good things it has done, such as gun safety programs, hunter safety for children and wildlife and wildland preservation, to name a few.

NRA members want to keep weapons out of the hands of the mentally ill as badly as any person, while preserving the rights of honest, law-abiding gun owners. It can be done, but we need to cut with the hyperbole and half-truth hysteria that has been in many letters to the editor lately. Let's work together on this and have a calm honest discussion.



Remember internment

EDITOR: A few weeks ago, I listened to our senior senator on one of the Sunday morning news shows saying, in essence, that it is time to deny the civil rights of a minority (and, odd, I thought the Bill of Rights applied to everyone) in order to make the majority feel safer. I'm sure that many in Sonoma County agree with her. I respectfully suggest that she, and they, head east on Interstate 80, then south on Highway 395 and pay a visit to a place called Manzanar. Then come back and tell us just how good it is to trample on the rights of a minority to make the majority feel good. Also tell us how good Executive Order 9066 was for us.


Santa Rosa

Find CVS compromise

EDITOR: I think it's easy to sit back and let "progress" unfold around you. When citizens take an interest in retaining the beauty of where they live, it's a positive thing.

Companies advertise not only by name recognition but also by building recognition. It's the cookie-cutter building recognition that many people feel destroys a town's identity. A classic example is McDonald's with the golden arches. Wal-Mart is another example. They are a good employer and provide needed goods, but they have no business building a cookie-cutter store on the rim of the Snake River in Idaho, in close proximity to Mayan ruins or on the Gettysburg battlefield.

Sebastopol City Council members made a mistake by overriding the objections of their own Planning Commissioners and approving the CVS project with conditions, because they are now vulnerable to the corporate legal steamroller. Let's hope both sides can compromise and create a nice building without a lawsuit.



Dirty decision

EDITOR: At this moment, the Sonoma County supervisors are determined to transition our county waste operations to Arizona's Republic Services for 30 years and do so without public hearings. Employees will lose their jobs, and current public trust income will line the pockets of a corporation with a dirty past.

In South Carolina, neighbors sued Republic for odors, fumes, dust, gas, airborne trash, excessive truck traffic and rodents. A $2.3 million verdict was reached. This case in far from isolated. In Grundy County, Ill., toxic chemicals were found in water wells next to the Republic-owned landfill.

The proposed extension of private control over our waste system allows Republic to get rid of public employees who provide invaluable and necessary oversight of day-to-day operations. Republic has a history of illegally preventing employees from speaking out. In Ohio, Republic was subject to $43 million in punitive damages for tampering with a manager's employment record after he filed a lawsuit in an age-discrimination retaliation case.

Regardless of the liability excuse used, liability will always be ours without the profit.

Call on your supervisor to act in the responsible interest and welfare of our environment and infrastructure.


Santa Rosa

Insurance rate increases

EDITOR: I was interested in the provocative article regarding increases in health insurance premiums in California ("Health care rates spike," Jan. 6). I was surprised that it didn't note the increase that Kaiser-Permanente has levied in 2013 for members of the federal employees and annuitants plans in the Northern California region. There are thousands of Sonoma County residents who, like me, are employed by, or retired from, the federal government and are impacted by this increase.

My monthly premium for the standard option, self-only plan was increased by 32 percent this year. That is in addition to the introduction of a new $200 deductible. Most of the co-pays and prescription charges also increased. This is a fact.

I was struck by the attention paid to Anthem, Blue Cross and others of mere 15?percent to 20 percent increases this year. Kaiser deserves some notoriety.