Diversity lacking

EDITOR: Every year since 2005, the Santa Rosa city manager's office has published a boards and commissions diversity report. It doesn't take a math major to figure out that our city's board and commission members have never been more than 1.8 percent non-white.

Without people of color on City Council, there will never be true representation for three-quarters of our city's geography and 30 percent of our city's residents. Three City Council applicants — Caroline Ba?elos, Curtis Byrd and David Rosas — would have changed that percentage dramatically. They don't need to "outreach" as the inclusion council suggests. They are already familiar with people of color in our community who are qualified for the various boards and commissions.


Santa Rosa

Elitist Sebastopol

EDITOR: The Sebastopol Planning Commission agreed with the newly elected City Council, extending a moratorium on drive-thru business ("Sebastopol planners back ban on drive-thrus," Jan. 23). This action will likely thwart CVS pharmacy and Chase Bank from building their new stores. Because the developers complied with and satisfied design changes, layout and so forth, and the previous planners approved, it seems unfair to blind-side them at this late point in the game. This project could have been completed by now, enhancing that location and making it an asset to the community. Instead, the city is embroiled in an expensive lawsuit at a cost to taxpayers.

Drive-thru businesses have been popular and viable for decades and still is. When laid out properly, drive-thrus do not create a negative impact. Has Sebastopol become a NIMBY community driven by elitism? If so, then I prefer earlier times, when we had a lumber yard and the freight train rumbled down Main Street at noon.



Wind and solar

EDITOR: Building solar power plants on good quality farmland ("Farmers cultivate solar plants," Sunday) is a bad idea from a national perspective. Solar power plants are a single use of the land along with their transmission corridors, affording even more limited wildlife habitat than farmland.

Food crops like sunshine as much as solar cells, but we don't have to choose between them. Wind farms cause minimal interference with farming, but the potential is very low in the great valley.

Very good wind potential is found in a broad north-south swath east of the Rocky Mountains that, if developed, could more than offset the nation's consumption of electricity.

Not only is farming and grazing land favorable to wind development, the energy yield of wind is much greater than solar in terms of the amount of energy required to create the facilities.

There are farmlands suitable for solar plants in the San Joaquin Valley, such as the Westlands, whose retirement from farming would be a major environmental benefit considering their toxic soils.



Making change

EDITOR: It's gratifying that more people are realizing that neither major political party is worth spit. But the cause of the problem lies with us, the people.

We are busy trying to keep our heads above water and do the best we can for ourselves and our families. So are the politicians. Consider that only three-tenths of one percent of the population gives or is able to give $400 to political campaigns. So if a person wants to be elected or re-elected, at the cost of today's campaigns, they must go to the ultra-rich, unions or big corporations. There are no other choices. That makes it impossible to say "no" when those donors come calling.

Plus, we have allowed politicians to vote themselves raises and super-duper benefits.

Until we, the voters, put a stop to this behavior and change the laws, we will continue to get government of the rich for the rich. The politicians will not change the laws. The rich and powerful will fight like crazy to keep laws from changing. The change must come from the voters.