Airport expansion

EDITOR: I read the Sonoma County airport expansion story ("Project ready for takeoff," Monday). The subject wasn't fully explored. No mention was made of the downside.

The airport is located in a valley, the sides of which will cause the noise of large jets to reverberate so everyone in the valley will hear them.

The safety increase touted in the article isn't for the present traffic. Yes, big business will benefit; more businesses will be attracted to the area, there will be more advertisers for The Press Democrat, and many of us will profit when real estate values increase. But many of us will no longer have the wonderful place we like to inhabit. Obviously, we have forgotten the tale of the goose that laid the golden egg.

Has anyone considered using feeder airlines to transfer passengers to the two major airports in the area? We could save most of the $53.8 million and improve travel without ruining our home. What about other common-sense ideas that might allow us to have our cake and eat some too? Unfortunately, common sense is almost extinct in the U.S., while greed proliferates. We need to think (ouch) whether money or quality of life is more important and voice our opinions.

I'm a licensed pilot and aeronautical engineer. I love airplanes.



Calculating the cost

EDITOR: Your lead story Saturday ("SR to seek outside opinion on power plan") reported on the Santa Rosa City Council's plan to hire a consultant to help analyze the Sonoma Clean Power plan. As is well known, the plan will result in increasing our electricity cost but will also result in decreasing global warming.

We know something about the cost; what about the benefit?

My suggestion is that the council should ask the consultant to calculate the impact on global warming of the plan. This is quite easy to do: just calculate the carbon dioxide that will be saved over some fixed period. In fact, this calculation has been done for the European Union, the United Kingdom and other countries by well-known economists such as Bjorn Lomborg, Richard Tol and Ross McKitrick. One result was that the 4,000 wind turbines now operating in the U.K. would result in lowering the global temperature by 0.001 Celsius in the year 2100. The cost? Between 2003 and 2013, the cost of electricity in Britain nearly doubled.

At the rate carbon dioxide will be increasing in 2100, this effect will delay global warming by one day.


Santa Rosa

Student exchanges

EDITOR: I agree with most Americans that some solution must be found for the 11 million hapless undocumented workers who hide in the shadows. The immigration bill on Capitol Hill is an attempt to do just that. Unfortunately, some worthwhile programs have been sacrificed in the process.

Under the current Senate bill, all J-1 student exchange programs, such as summer camp counselors, au pairs, summer work and travel students and interns, will be eliminated.

That is 200,000 young people from around the world. This is disturbing as the J-1 programs are the cornerstone of U.S. public diplomacy efforts. The Senate bill reclassifies these young cultural exchange students as "foreign labor."

These foreign students enrich the fabric of our cultural life and become life-long friends of the United States. And, boy, do we ever need friends around the world.

Student exchange organizations will be wiped out if the bill passes in its current form, yet there weren't invited to the negotiating table. Let's hope this travesty gets corrected before the immigration bill becomes law.



Clean power

EDITOR: I'm glad to see the sponsors of Sonoma Clean Power embracing the goal of transitioning from huge fossil-fuel power plants to clean, local sources of energy.

Is it going to be difficult to break from fossil fuels, make renewable energy the norm and power our economy locally? You bet it is. But this country is great because it takes on the tough challenges. Let's get to it. Where better to create the model than Sonoma County.

Lobbying in Sacramento to force PG&E to get cleaner sources of power has resulted in many positive steps toward a clean energy future, but we are still nowhere near where we should be.

Sonoma Clean Power has a solid plan for getting up and running with an energy mix that is cleaner than that of PG&E, without costing more. That's a great start. The program also has goals of getting much of our power from new local sources. It will take a lot of entrepreneurs to make that happen. We should get them going as soon as possible.


Santa Rosa