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Poor logic

EDITOR: In a letter Wednesday (“Time to close center”), Dick Lambert said, “It’s time to close the center down and make sure the patients receive good treatment,” referring to the Sonoma Developmental Center.

No doubt the center has had a history of problems, however closing it down will not guarantee “good treatment.” One needs only to look at the closure of state-run mental hospitals to see that we simply traded one questionable facility for another — the county jails and state prisons.

The answer is not closing down these facilities, but rather putting in staff and a board of reviewers to run them correctly. The people in this facility are some of the most drastically affected in the state, which is why the facility wasn’t closed years ago. While it may cost an average of $400,000 per year to care for each patient, we pay $50,000 per year to care for prison inmates, and, unlike them, these folks at the developmental centers have done nothing wrong.

When a system is in trouble, fixing it is often preferable to throwing it out, and this is one of those instances. Private care for these folks would be a hodge-podge of providers, many of whom have even worse records of care. Sacramento do the right thing — and fix it.

RICHARD HEAD
Santa Rosa

Naming taxes

EDITOR: After reading about the new taxes proposed by the Sonoma County supervisors, may I suggest that for the purpose of transparency they label them the “we reward ourselves and other county employees (aka public servants) compensation that is way too high so now we must raise your taxes to fund basic services” initiatives.

JOHN WITHERS
Santa Rosa

Having the right plan

EDITOR: I would hope that every person who advocates in favor of closing the Sonoma Developmental Center has visited the worst/most heart-rending wards in the facility and has a plan for how these patients would be cared for.

Remember, it was on Gov. Ronald Reagan’s watch that the mental hospitals were closed — on the theory that patients should be taken care of in their communities. Oh, by the way, he forgot to allocate the necessary money to do that.

So, there they are now, on our streets. Are they better off?

SERENA TURAN EMBREE
Santa Rosa

Seeking peace?

EDITOR: The idea that Gaza seeks peace with Israel is contrary to the teachings of Islam and contrary to what Hamas does. Hamas sends rockets and digs tunnels to terrorize Israel. It promotes anti-semitism and death to Israelis and the United States. The Koran teaches the death of infidels, that is, those who are not Muslims. The fundamentalists leading Hamas may agree to a temporary truce but they will never stop trying to kill Jews, no matter where the Jews are.

This hatred by Hamas extends to the United States and to Christians. Israel is on the front line, facing this enemy of Western civilization. Hamas will say anything to advance its anti-West and antisemitic goals.

Believe these terrorists and haters of Judeo-Christian values at your own risk.

GENE MICHAEL GORDON
Healdsburg

Saying no to more taxes

EDITOR: After reading stories about property taxes going up, we checked ours on the web site. Our home was reassessed 31 percent higher for the 2014/2015 year vs. 2013/2014, which also raises all the voter-approved bonds.

Ours is a median-priced home, bought 15 years ago. We will now be paying the highest assessed value of all 15 years. After the crash, where our home lost 50 percent of its value, we continued getting property tax increases every year until we complained in 2012.

It finally went down 18 percent for 2013 and 2014, which is why the Assessor’s Office says they can now raise it 31 percent, even though our home is nowhere near the high it once was. People also need to realize the school bonds are all variable interest rates with no caps, so they can go to anything the banks want.

We hope the people of this county realize this before voting for another $639 million more in bonds (for schools and the junior college) in the next election. There are only 183,000 assessed parcels in the county. Think about how much those will be charged to support the $639 million in debt, for however many years at variable interest rates.

On top of that huge debt, the paper is telling us about many new tax increases on the way, while our elected officials just say “we should all be willing to pay more for a better life.”

How much money do they think we have? Incomes have been stagnant for years.

We are pricing the ordinary person right out of the county. It’s time to say no to more taxes and no to spending money we don’t have. Elected officials aren’t paying attention.

MELANIE MODENHAUER
Santa Rosa

Not last long

EDITOR: Earlier this year I received a modest raise in my Social Security benefits of about $54. Now I see that several city and county entities want to share in my good fortune by raising sales taxes and property taxes, and with SRJC and Santa Rosa City Schools district issuing millions of dollars in bonds.

If all of these issues are passed, I believe my $54 raise will not last long. Maybe next year I will receive another increase in benefits, and I can again live life in the fast lane.

DAVE SLOAT
Santa Rosa

Pedestrian safety

EDITORS: It seems to me that crosswalks are like restraining orders: They work if all parties obey the law.

For a pedestrian, neither the law nor a crosswalk will save your life, but just a little caution from both parties, just might.

DANA ANDERSON
Santa Rosa