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<b>Climate change</b>

EDITOR: Changed climate has already happened. We are in an era of increasingly unpredictable weather. In 2010 and 2011, there was an especially strong La Ni? event. Satellite measurements tell us the average global sea level fell five millimeters. Where did all that water go? Weather variables had resulted in a much higher percentage of rainfall being over land than sea. The extra rainfall over land was equivalent to 15 years continuous flow over Niagara Falls.

The insurance industry has projected increased global economic damage from unexpected weather events. It is estimated at hundreds of billions of dollars in the coming decade. Crop insurance is already changing, and infrastructure is buckling.

There are insufficient tools to predict weather changes. Forecasting has traditionally relied on comparisons with past history. This has become more meaningless and unreliable.

Adaptation planning can be done by a single farmer or any small or large enterprise or organization. It will improve with better long-range weather forecasting. California has already begun some 100-year planning. Adaptation efforts may prove to be much more cost-effective than restoration. People are now "betting the farm" on the outcome. Sonoma County needs improved long-range adaptation and contingency planning, including our financial options.

CARL FLEGAL

Santa Rosa

<b>Touching story</b>

EDITOR: With so many close races on the ballot, I was expecting there to be some emotion Tuesday. But I didn't expect to have tears in my eyes this morning.

Jeremy Hay's story about the life of Joseph Von Merta ("Troubled life cut short," Oct. 30) not only provided a sensitive look at his life and death. It was a memorable piece of writing. Tuesday's column by Chris Smith ("She met her dad through his obituary") literally brought tears to my eyes. And, this particular day, I thought I was prepared for anything.

There are moments that transcend politics and remind how fragile and also how resilient people are within the circumstances life may hand them. You have provided one of those moments by the combination of these two pieces.

STEPHEN GALE

Santa Rosa

<b>Shifting spectrum</b>

EDITOR: Gaye LeBaron's Sunday column history ("Not long ago that both parties here were called conservatives") was a fascinating look at Sonoma County. It shows how far the Democratic Party, and Sonoma County, have moved from a broadly defined conservatism of all parties to the extreme Democratic liberalism of today. I can only wonder at the amazing robust economy we'd have here today, with tons of opportunities for our children and grandchildren, had that extreme change not taken place. A shame but perhaps not too late to correct.

PETER A. HOWLEY

Petaluma

<b>Which pledge?</b>

EDITOR: Now that the election is over, will Republicans in the House and Senate keep to their Grover Norquist pledge to never raise taxes? Or will they follow their oath of office to represent the people who elected them? That's the big question. Remember, you can still write or call your senator or representative with your comments, so please do so.

MILO ILLICH

Rohnert Park

<b>Going local</b>

EDITOR: I am very pleased to see that a local group is buying The Press Democrat. I hope that the editorial board remains independent seeing that the group includes partisan political activists. I do trust that it will be independent and be given permission to make all the election recommendations as it did before it was owned by the Halifax group. I prefer locally owned newspapers, and I am glad that The Press Democrat is going to be one of them.