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April 6 Letters to the Editor


Conflicting goals?

EDITOR: Can a progressive still be an environmentalist? Not if they live in Willits, it appears. Protesters want to stop the Highway 101 bypass in the name of the environment. OK, but where do all of the people go if progress is halted?

I am in favor of letting anyone, from anywhere, come to the United States, but if we halt any and all projects that deal with accommodating the people, then where will they all live? And how badly will it affect the environment wherever that may be?

We are growing whether some people like it or not. What is going on on the North Coast is what has happened all along. Face reality.

STEVE McLAUGHLIN

Windsor

Tax burdens

EDITOR: A recent letter said that the rich one-percenters in this country pay 37.4 percent "of all federal taxes," while the bottom 50 percent pay 2.36 percent "of total federal tax" ("The percent solution," March 29).

Actually, the writer misstated the facts. The federal tax he cites as "all" or "total" is only the federal income tax. He left out Social Security taxes, Medicare taxes and excise taxes, all of which are burdensome in their regressive nature on the bottom 50 percent. He also ignored the 20 percent capital gains tax rate, far lower for one-percenters than their top marginal federal income tax rates of up to 39.6 percent.

Why not consider the total percentage that taxes (federal, state and local) take from people's incomes? That's the real tax burden. People with average incomes of $13,000 pay 17.4 percent of their income in taxes. People with average incomes around $42,000 pay 25.2 percent, and people in the top 1 percent, with incomes averaging $1.3 million, pay 29 percent.

Tax shirkers? Where are they? And there's this to consider: The one-percenters possess 42 percent of our nation's net worth while the bottom 80 percent possesses a shockingly low 4.7 percent. Of course, such disturbing inequality is all President Barack Obama's fault.

GORDON JACKSON

Petaluma

Saving CEQA

EDITOR: California's economic decline has brought claims from business interests that the California Environmental Quality Act kills jobs and should be reworked or gutted. The record clearly shows that the safeguards provided by CEQA allow for good planning and resource protection that also protects jobs and encourages long-term economic growth.

Historically, fewer than 3 percent of proposed projects in California have required an environmental impact report. Rarely has CEQA completely stopped a project.

In 2004, we formed the Valley of the Moon Alliance and initiated the process of getting a large local project to measure up to the CEQA guidelines. It was a process in which the environmental impacts were carefully outlined and sorted through with public comment. We were able to assess the proposed project's potential environmental impacts to public trust resources, historic and archaeological resources and open space as outlined in the general plan.

For these reasons we support a strong and equitable California Environmental Quality Act. We stand behind legislative efforts to strengthen CEQA and protect California's quality of life.

KATHY PONS

and LINDA HALE

Valley of the Moon Alliance

Domestic oil

EDITOR: I admit I'm confused. We have all the oil and natural gas we will need for the next 100 years right in our backyard, and we just let it sit there. What in the world is up with that?

Millions of people could be returning to the workforce, with lots of money being made, generating taxes to fill the nations' coffers. Welfare would be reduced, food stamps would be only for the needy. The debt and deficit could be reduced and, best of the lot, is no more importing oil from those who don't like us much and we could be filling up for a buck a gallon.

Another plus would be looking into truly green energy; not the failed attempts of this administration but the real stuff. No government types, just smart men and women out to make a buck and if they do, we all win as a result.

J. MICHAEL HARRIS

Sonoma