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<b>Tax bluff</b>

EDITOR: I have to laugh every time I hear congressional Republicans say they won't vote to raise taxes. That's the beauty of the president's position. They don't have to. The Bush tax cuts are going to expire Jan. 1 whether they vote or not. Simple.

To be technical, by giving the Bush tax cuts temporary status with an expiration date, congressional Republicans voted to raise taxes in this way from the beginning. Where was their overlord Grover Norquist then?

The fiscal cliff is a bit of a misnomer anyway. Implementation of taxes and cuts after Jan. 1 would be more gradual than cliff-like, so there would be time to negotiate a balanced plan; urgent yes, but apocalyptic, no.

I hope the president calls their bluff and holds firm on one of his most important campaign promises: to ask the top tax bracket to pay more. Republicans are hoping to kick this can down the road, hoping they'll be in a stronger negotiating position in 2014. Don't let them do it, Mr. President.



<b>Voters have spoken</b>

EDITOR: The 2012 Sebastopol election is over, and the vocal minority has spoken. Robert Jacob and John Eder are the apparent winners. Among their challengers was a candidate who exhorted others to work "under the radar" for the passage of an unpopular project and a former councilwoman who attempted to repaint herself green.

I'm proud that I supported Jacob and Eder. They're a good fit for Sebastopol, and I'm sure they will work vigorously toward making Sebastopol a vibrant, progressive community.

Credit goes to Councilman Michael Kyes and Councilwoman Sarah Gurney for making the case for Measure Y. Kyes, in an excellent commentary, made the case for its passage ("PD is wrong about Measure Y," Close to Home, Oct. 22), and Gurney worked tirelessly, walking, talking and encouraging people to vote for it. Measure Y passed with more than 70 percent.

Much has been made of the fact that Kyes and Gurney publicly supported Jacob and Eder. What's the fuss? Several supervisors did the same thing in this year's supervisorial election. As long as there's no statute prohibiting this, they are free to do so. We live in a democracy, an integral party of which is the electoral process. Passionate participation by all is essential for its continued success.



<b>Fact check</b>

EDITOR: John Jackson ("No evidence," Letters, Friday) decried Jane Bender ("Growing concerns about climate change," Close to Home, Tuesday) for implying that climate change may be affecting current storms. He went on to say that "global warming" is no longer in vogue. He cited the United Kingdom Meteorological Office as saying there hasn't been any global warming for the past 15 years.

It appears that Jackson fell for a story written by David Rose that appeared last month in a weekly tabloid, the Mail on Sunday. The Met Office repudiated the article the following day, noting this was the "second article Mr. Rose has written which contains some misleading information."

Jackson also cited the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration regarding lack of increases in water temperature. I suggest folks check for themselves at the NAOA National Climatic Data Center (ncdc.noaa.gov/indicators).

The problem with our polarized society is folks seem to be selecting their "facts" based on conformity with their opinions rather than doing any checking, no matter how easily done.



<b>Priority: transit</b>

EDITOR: Instead of spending $1.5 million on a bike overpass ("Rail crossing a puzzler for council," Wednesday), shouldn't we spend the money to shore up our troubled public transportation system? If we want to make Sonoma County greener, this would affect a lot more people.

For those who rely on our buses, higher fares and poorer service might mean the difference between being able to get to a job or class on time or not ("Double hit for bus riders," Wednesday).



<b>Too much Carrillo</b>

EDITOR: Perhaps a better name for the sports section of The Press Democrat would be the Maria Carrillo Times. Really, how much more coverage of Carrillo's greatness can we take? Yes, Carrillo is a powerhouse. Yes, the school has wonderful athletes. Yes, it has great coaches. Yes, Carrillo is dominant in sports.

How about a little attention to the schools without all the athletes transferring in? These stories might be a bit more compelling: students playing sports without parental support or the financial means to play club sports year round.

These kids are also working hard, with coaches setting high expectations for their athletes. How about a story on the teams that lose most of their games and still show up with their chins held high? These are the real-life lessons that are being taught through sport.


Santa Rosa

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