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Idling cars

EDITOR: Regarding the Petaluma City Council’s concerns over the proposed Walgreens drive-thru: If council members are so concerned about the atmosphere and greenhouse gases, why are they making such a big stink about two or three cars idling at a time and giving the developer such a hard time (“Compromise sought in Petaluma over Walgreens drive-thru,” Tuesday)? If they were truly concerned about greenhouse gases and auto emissions, they should be hammering the state and Gov. Jerry Brown to approve funding to complete the widening of Highway 101. Literally thousands of cars are trapped in traffic, idling, seven days a week; Saturdays and Sundays are just as bad as commute days.

RANDY SCOTT

Petaluma

Care vs. cash

EDITOR: Print coverage appears to be focusing on potential land use and how to divide up Sonoma Developmental Center acreage for development.

Sen. Norma Torres’ bill (“Bill could affect developmental center,” Monday) raises the concern that perhaps the real goal is the money that can be realized by parceling out the Lanterman Developmental Center campus and surrounding areas one piece at a time, instead of setting service provision to the residents there as a mandate. According to Torres, Lanterman is the only center affected by the legislation. Notwithstanding her comments, the ramifications for the Sonoma Developmental Center are obvious. Whether what she says is true or not, such a proposal raises the specter of misaligned priorities that adversely affect the lives of individuals who are dependent upon California’s centers, which were created to meet their needs. Although no one will admit this, it’s easy to read between the lines.

What’s more important is the manner in which decisions are made. A one-size-fits-all solution of transferring care to community-based organizations could prove catastrophic to many of the residents and wouldn’t be in keeping with the health and welfare guidelines that society and the state have established for those citizens who are unable to care for themselves. That’s something that should never be measured in terms of dollars and cents.

JOHN R. ANDRES

Santa Rosa

Gambling and alcohol

EDITOR: I agree wholeheartedly with James Ralston’s letter (“Vineyards and casinos,” Letters, July 23) lamenting the fact that gambling and alcohol are strongly promoted in Sonoma County even though they contribute to disease and addiction for many people.

The casino and vineyard owners are in it for the big bucks. They don’t care that their products cause traffic accidents and, sometimes, deaths as well as unpaid bills for those people who spend their food and rent money on their addictions.

We’re asked to conserve water and go easy on watering our browning lawns, but what we use is literally a drop in the bucket compared with the water liberally used on the vineyards.

I must admit the vineyards are pretty to look at, but casinos have no redeeming feature.

IRENE LUCIA

Santa Rosa

CSU faculty benefits

EDITOR: Apparently it’s PC to pick on “old” teachers. I figured this out when I heard that the California Public Employees’ Retirement System is raising rates by 85 percent on its long-term health care program. Thousands of CSU professors (and others) who paid for inflation protection and lifetime benefits won’t get either starting next year unless they pay a lot more money. The bad news arrived in the mail in 2013. Reminders were sent Monday just as the California Faculty Union is renegotiating its contract. I hope that isn’t a sign.

While faculty salaries in the CSU system generally stink, the benefits haven’t always been half bad. Now, CalPERS is pricing out professors old enough to actually use its product. And the insurance commissioner can’t do a thing to stop it.

As seniors go, teachers are some of the poorest. But as curmudgeons, when you breach our contracts, we’ll let you know it. CalPERS’ rate hike is egregious. In fact, it may even be laced with a dash of fraud.

Can the state Assembly Committee on Aging and Long-Term Care and the faculty union help?

For complaints: http://altc.assembly.ca.gov/membersstaff. Members can contact CalPERS directly.

ELIZABETH BURCH

Professor, Sonoma State University

GOP posturing

EDITOR: Let’s see: The Republicans have shut down the government twice, costing us millions directly, and millions more in lower ratings diplomatically and monetarily; slowed government to a crawl, costing us millions more and slowing recovery from the Bush recession; voted against anything favored by President Barack Obama, all of which has cost us billions.

Now the Republicans want to put us into reverse by suing the president for sidestepping their barriers, behavior that will cost the taxpayer untold millions once again. The GOP must be proud of its unprecedented accomplishment: Republicans have not only stopped government in the U.S., but they’ve got it going backward.

I’ve been around 80 years, I’ve voted Republican and Democrat, and I’ve never in my life seen anything so pathetically unconscionable, so amazingly petty and so outrageously expensive on so many levels.

RAY PETERSON

Rohnert Park