Fee-free zone

EDITOR: The ongoing saga of the state parks department's plan to install 15 self-pay machines at Sonoma Coast beaches and charge $8 to park continues to infuriate me. Last Sunday, you reported that "state officials say the plan fulfills the Legislature's mandate for state parks to find reliable sources of revenue" ("Hearing on beach parking postponed").

What? All those missing millions they "found" didn't help out? I am still disgusted about that whole misappropriation of funds. The Sonoma Coast, as with any coastline, should remain a free-from-fees zone. Take a page from Hawaii's book and keep our coastline free. My family is still shaking our heads over the Schoolhouse Beach closure. We have to break the law to sit on our memorial table to have a picnic because the parking lot is closed? Ridiculous.


Santa Rosa

Outside inquiry needed

EDITOR: I was disturbed by the remarks of Cloverdale Police Chief Mark Tuma in your report on the fatal accident involving my friend and neighbor Joyce Ross and Rob Dailey, the former police chief ("Cloverdale crash victim's family questions investigation," April 6). Tuma was quoted saying, "It was that minor of an accident. He wasn't going more than a mile an hour, 2 miles an hour when he tapped her." This seems to me to be not only insensitive, but it stretches credibility.

First, an accident that knocks two people to the ground and sends one to the hospital is serious, regardless of speed. Second, the article quotes the police report saying "he heard a thump and applied his brake." It seems unlikely the vehicle was traveling at such a low rate of speed (slower than walking) if Dailey's foot wasn't already on the brake. It seem as though Tuma either doesn't see the potential conflict of interest here, or he doesn't care.

Everyone involved, the Ross family, Dailey and the citizens of Cloverdale, deserves an impartial investigation. With all due respect, I hope Tuma will forgive those of us who question his judgment where this matter is concerned. He should step aside.



Power agency follies

EDITOR: As an energy professional, I consider the county's plan for a power agency to be folly. Consider:

Most of the electricity in Sonoma County is already green due to production at The Geysers.

We already pay extra to promote green generation by pumping treated water up the hill so it can support additional steam production.

Instead of creating a new agency, we could join the Northern California Power Agency, an established public organization that provides power to other cities, including from The Geysers.

Establishing a higher green energy price would just mean that PG&E could go to the state Public Utilities Commission and get approval for its own higher prices.

The recent bidding process specified a three-year contract. Nobody is going to invest capital to serve a three-year contract. Much of this energy will be produced from existing facilities that are probably already generating but selling power at a lower price. This won't help us get much greener.

No doubt the supervisors and their consultants are trying to do the right thing; it just happens to be something they can't do well, and we don't need.


Santa Rosa

Affordable housing

EDITOR: Oh boy, does Peggy King have it wrong ("Missed opportunity," Letters, Monday). Does she think it's a coincidence that Meritage Homes did not purchase the part of the property that was slated for "affordable" homes ("SR rejects 73-home subdivision plan," April 3)? And why should that even matter? I thought any new development was required to include an affordable portion.

In any case, building more homes in Sonoma County will inevitably lead to more traffic congestion and pollution. Have you tried driving into Sebastopol on Highway 12 lately? What this county needs is a 10-year building moratorium. Of course, with most of our elected officials in the pockets of developers, that's not going to happen.


Santa Rosa

Confused about oil

EDITOR: I agree that J. Michael Harris ("Domestic oil," Letters, Saturday) is confused regarding domestic oil. If I started from the fallacious premises that he stated in his letter, I'd be confused too.

He is wrong in the assertions that we have 100 years of oil and gas in the U.S. and that it would lead to a gasoline price of a buck a gallon. Harris is clearly ignorant of the differences between "economically recoverable" reserves, "technically recoverable" reserves and "ultimately recoverable" reserves. They are not the same.

It is the fact that current crude oil prices are so high that has led to a drop in the proportion of our oil imports compared to 30 years ago. It is simply profitable to produce the higher-cost domestic oil now.

And stopping oil imports from those folks who "don't like us"? I thought the Canadians and the Mexicans, who provide the largest share of our imported oil, were our friends.

It is confused people such as Harris who are impeding our progress to greener energy alternatives that already exist.


Santa Rosa