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<b>Critical issues</b>

EDITOR: Voters should be aware of some of the critical environmental issues that will come before the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors in the next four years. Susan Gorin is the candidate for the 1st District best qualified to deal with these issues.

Expanding development, increasing population and climate change will impact clean water supplies. Funds must be found to manage state and county parks and to open new parks on land owned by the Open Space District. The future of the Sonoma Developmental Center may affect the beautiful open space on its property. There will be opportunities to protect properties along the Sonoma Coast and to open new trails for the county's citizens who cherish healthy recreation, walking, biking and riding in natural beauty.

Endorsements from the Sierra Club, our pioneering environmental organization, and Sonoma County Conservation Action, which rates candidates' environmental records, are evidence that Gorin is the candidate with the experience and the lifetime values to intelligently address these issues. A vote for Susan Gorin is a vote for the preservation of the county's natural resources, scenic beauty and outdoor recreation facilities.

PAT ELIOT

Sonoma

<b>Pension laws</b>

EDITOR: So, let me see if I get this straight. The grand jury cities improprieties in the pension plan adopted by county supervisors 10 years ago. And the current supervisors had their attorneys review it only to find that, yes, there were problems, including that the pension cost has increased tenfold over the last 10 years and that employees only pay a fraction into the plan that was agreed upon. Surprise, surprise.

While the county's attorneys determined that the grand jury was correct that the law was not followed 10 years ago, they also determined that county supervisors followed the law closely enough because the word "shall" in the law is "directory" for the supervisors, not "mandatory" as it is for us little people. And that the supervisors "substantially complied" with the public notice requirement by whispering the proposed changes at some meeting or other.

The public should have heard and therefore should have known about the changes. Right? It's not the county supervisors' fault. They win. We lose. High five, people. Oh, by the way, that the current supervisors stand to benefit significantly from the pension plan is irrelevant. Smells like a fish.

NANCY J. LoDOLCE

Sebastopol

<b>Waste of money</b>

EDITOR: One hundred and fifty officers to confiscate marijuana plants ("150 officers in SR pot raid," Thursday)? What a ridiculous waste of money and manpower. As a taxpayer, I feel very resentful. Why are law enforcement agencies using my money in such a futile exercise? I would much prefer that it be spent on education and job creation. Perhaps such expenditures would have a more positive result and the federal, state, county and city authorities could actually be proud of a tangible improvement for the lives of our local citizens.

GERRIE BEARG

Santa Rosa

<b>Cotati's plan</b>

EDITOR: Last year, Cotati looked at two plans for the northern gateway along Old Redwood Highway, with both plans moving the same amount of traffic. The plan that had two lanes with two roundabouts bracketed by existing traffic signals at the Hub and the Gravenstein Highway intersection was less expensive, more attractive, reduced greenhouse gas emissions and was safer for drivers and pedestrians. After many public meetings and hearings, the Cotati City Council unanimously approved the plan.

A small group of people who think they know how to manage traffic better than traffic engineers has put Measure U on the ballot. Measure U wouldn't just overturn the Old Redwood Highway plan. It would establish a ban on "roundabouts, traffic circles and other similar traffic features" permanently, anywhere in the city. This misguided measure would undo 10 years of planning for Cotati's downtown and would result in substantial costs to the city.

It's a bad idea to do traffic planning by initiative. and I urge Cotati voters to join me in voting no on Measure U.

CAROL WILLIAMS

Cotati

<b>A pension protest</b>

EDITOR: I whole heartily agree with Rob Sanville's letter ("Outside review needed," Thursday) regarding the need for an independent, outside review of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors' pension hiking process.

When all this came to the forefront, I thought what the citizens of Sonoma County need is a class-action lawsuit against the Board of Supervisors. But I'm sure there's some kind of law against suing your county government.

However, I'd like to suggest that the various Occupy groups in Sonoma County — Petaluma, Santa Rosa, Sebastopol and the like — make this their cause celebre. I'm sure this would be a worthwhile cause that most tax payers would support.

DIANNE MAHANES

Santa Rosa