EDITOR: After reading that four Americans have been killed by orders of the president, without trial and without the chance to see the evidence against them, and that the Pentagon is asking for $450 million to continue operating Guantanamo, including millions to upgrade the facility, I see a downward spiral for our future. There are 166 prisoners at Guantanamo meaning they cost us almost $3 million each per year. Have we lost all sense of what is rational let alone what is right?
Can we start a dialog about the road we are on in the opinion pages of this newspaper?
Sticking with PG&E
EDITOR: I have difficulty understanding Sonoma County moving to buy power from companies outside of California. PG&E generates 18 percent of its power from hydroelectric, 19 percent is mixed between wind, geothermal, biomass, other hydroelectric and solar, and 25 percent is from natural gas. Sonoma County's power agency claims on its website that PG&E power is 20 percent renewable, but for some reason large hydroelectric isn't counted. This is suspicious to me. I consider my power bill to be a bargain, and it's regulated by the state Public Utilities Commission.
Why would we as a community purchase from out of state companies that are in the same business in other states as PG&E is in California? The short list of potential suppliers is NRG from Texas, a New York-based ConEdison subsidiary, Chicago-based Constellation/Exelon and Direct Energy of Canada, part of UK-based Centrica. All of these companies are very large, and all are on the same playing field as PG&E. I will opt out of the county program and stick with San Francisco-based PG&E, which is local, state regulated and employs people that I know.
Congress and taxes
EDITOR: It's interesting that a Senate committee put Apple's CEO in the hot seat for avoiding taxes legally as most individuals and corporations do. All Congress has to do is look in the mirror. It has enabled Apple and other corporations to do exactly what they are complaining about. Doesn't Congress write the tax code? Don't they usually get donations from lobbyists who support tax laws favoring these groups? They are blaming Apple for what they have allowed them to do. I always say, "We've got the best government that money can buy."
EDITOR: Gordon Elton, the city of Ukiah's finance director, is retiring in August. "This will be my last budget session," Elton said. "I've enjoyed working here very much, even though there's been more challenges than I needed."
Challenges? You bet. Allow me to name a few.
Ukiah's redevelopment cash cow has disappeared. The excessive number of executive positions, and their fat salaries, at the top of the city's management chart will have to be padded from some other source.
Ukiah's no-bid garbage contract with C&S Waste Solutions will mean increases in collection rates and tipping fees from now until the end of time.
Ukiah residents can also expect annual double-digit increases in water and sewer rates due to mismanagement and flawed financial planning.
Ukiah's old landfill — the one that should have been capped long, long ago — will have to be closed or face penalties imposed by the state. Remember, the old landfill sits on top of a web of earthquake faults and in a watershed area.