<b>Keeping ballots straight</b>
EDITOR: Ballot measures can certainly be confusing. At first glance, I was dismayed to see a letter in Tuesday's paper headlined "No on U," because I am a strong supporter of Napa County Measure U. A lot of my fellow Calistogans read your newspaper, and I'm urging them to vote yes on U, which will preserve rural Angwin from a large, ill-conceived development. Of course, Cotati's Measure U is a completely different matter.
Another local source of confusion is Calistoga's Measure B. Those of us who want to preserve the rural, small-town character of Calistoga should vote no on B to prevent an out-of-scale resort development from marring a key entrance to town. And I have to keep reminding my fellow citizens that voting no on B won't stop development of the Silver Rose site; it merely means that the project would have to be scaled down significantly.
So Calistogans who value small-town rural communities should vote yes on Napa County Measure U and no on Calistoga Measure B.
EDITOR: On Friday, President Barack Obama announced his third national monument designation — Chimney Rock in Colorado. Chimney Rock has been a spiritually, ecologically and culturally significant site for more than 1,000 years and is still of great importance to Pueblo Indians in our own time. Obama was right to use his authority under the Antiquities Act to protect this special place.
Here on the North Coast, we're extraordinarily fortunate to have a wealth of exceptional places where people can connect with nature, such as the Point Arena-Stornetta public lands, which include more than 1,100 acres of majestic views, tide pools and wetlands. We urge the president to safeguard unique spots like these along the California coast, which provide opportunities for recreation and spiritual refreshment and play an essential role in keeping our land and water healthy and allowing wildlife to thrive.
Experience has shown how smart it is to safeguard our nation's irreplaceable natural treasures as national monuments. They tell the story of our past, protect the resources we depend upon right now and will help mold the minds and hearts of posterity. Obama deserves thanks for protecting Chimney Rock. Now we need his help to ensure that Point Arena-Stornetta is also kept safe for our children and grandchildren to enjoy.
<b>Outside review needed</b>
EDITOR: The idea that the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors would create their own deluxe retirement package and do it without due process is bad enough. But now the supervisors have done a review — the fox watching the chicken coop — and say there was no problem with the way it was done and that there is no point in trying to fix the issue ("County report backs pension hike process," Sept. 18).
As a local business person, this is not acceptable. We need our county infrastructure to be strong, not a bunch of retiring civil servants with excessive rewards. In the private sector, we have all taken our losses through the recessionary adjustment period, which makes the upgraded pensions seem even more out of line. This situation needs to be reviewed by an independent, outside group with no interest in the outcome.