Skin in the game

EDITOR: Paul Gullixson's comparison of Supervisor Efren Carrillo's boldness in declaring the creation of Sonoma Clean Power as the "county's moment" to David Farragut's battle orders at Mobile Bay couldn't have been more ironic. How each "took control" involved a very different understanding of experience, risk and skin in the game ("Now it's time for the cities to decide," Sunday).

At Mobile Bay, Farragut brought more than a half-century's experience in naval warfare, including eyewitness knowledge that Civil War era torpedoes (mines) were highly unreliable. That experience taught Farragut that running a gantlet of unreliable mines compared to naval- and shore-based guns, posed less risk to his men, whose skin was, literally, invested in the game.

Fast forward to county supervisors. None has any experience in running a power company, yet they have placed all risk of their knowledge deficit on taxpayers. Why not lay the risk of their venture on other people's money when it can be taken by force of involuntary taxation and without a vote?

I propose a re-vote on Sonoma Clean Power — after the supervisors are required to put all future taxpayer-funded pension and health benefits at risk to offset any losses from their venture in the power business. Farragut would understand that commitment as skin in the game.


Santa Rosa

SR parking meters

EDITOR: Evidently Staff Writer Kevin McCallum has never been disabled nor has he attempted to use the new meters with small children in tow ("SR revisits parking meters," Thursday). His comment, "The disabled or merely lazy complained about the extra steps involved, even though the kiosks were rarely more than a few yards away," is highly offensive, even to those of us who simply find it inconvenient. There is no call to insult those who dislike the new meters; we all have valid reasons that form our opinions, and that does not make one lazy.

I understand the need to lower operating costs and to cater to the cash-free society that we are becoming, but this system is not the only answer. While visiting Victoria, Canada a few years ago, I was impressed with the parking meter system: Each parking space was numbered, and you paid by cash or card at a kiosk and entered your parking space number. No need to return to your car with the purchased ticket, which is much more convenient than Santa Rosa's current system.

Whatever the city decides to do now, it will be costly.


Santa Rosa

Slow down

EDITOR: Although there is no clean power crisis in Sonoma County — we're already a leader within the state and the nation — we do have crises of crumbling roads and unfunded pension obligations. County leaders should be looking to get their fiscal house and decrepit infrastructure in order before rushing into a complicated new project.

If any father, his children with holes in their shoes and his credit cards maxed out, declared now is our moment to buy a new electric car, no one would consider him smart or responsible. We should expect the supervisors to at least try to be responsible.

They should thoroughly examine the worst-case scenarios with Sonoma Clean Power and not just accept best-case promises that cause so many problems later. Unfortunately, they've rushed to commit $25 million plus all the homes and businesses in the unincorporated areas to be part of the system. But it's the unincorporated areas that have the worst roads. The people driving these roads every day are the most likely to opt-out of any program managed by the county.

Any truly great program would easily succeed with opt-in rather than forcing folks to opt-out. And $25 million would pave a lot of roads.



Christian casualties

EDITOR: There is one factor we should take into consideration when planning another war in the Middle East. That is the damage done to the resident Christian community.

If we examine some past conflicts it becomes apparent — Turkey in 1915, Iran in 1979, Iraq in 2003, Lebanon in 2006. In none of these conflicts was the Christian community given as a target to be destroyed when the conflict started. In each case, the Christian community was severely damaged. Now we are faced with another possible conflict, this time in Syria. The Christian community is supportive of the Assad regime.

Will we repeat the actions of past conflicts? I am not attempting to blame any one country or people.


Santa Rosa