Other reasons?

EDITOR: I suspect about the only reason that our tax-hungry Sonoma County supervisors would take their tax increase off the table was that polls were showing it wouldn’t pass. (“Sonoma County postpones roads tax plan,” Wednesday)

Maybe voters are getting tired of constant tax hikes to fund lavish early retirement for public employees. After all, California already has the highest state income tax and sales tax in the nation.

Yet despite that, our school districts, cities and county never have enough money. How can that be?


Santa Rosa


A better direction

EDITOR: In reference to the Wednesday article “Mandatory restrictions on SR water use,” I was shocked by the threatening comments and tone from city officials that included “ultimately, we could turn their water off.”

I believe that most reasonable citizens of Sonoma County understand our community is suffering through a drought and will continue to make their best efforts to conserve water (as indicated by the 16 percent drop in water use compared to the prior year). Does this require the city to subject residents to “a progressive enforcement program that will begin with a note from a city utility worker …that will be followed up a letter and repeat visits and, if necessary, restricting or cutting off customers’ water?”

I ask the city of Santa Rosa to look at the actions it is taking. The tax-paying citizens continue to contribute to the unsustainable infrastructure that has already been created by poorly planned development.

Actions speak louder than words. Perhaps the city should stop watering city-owned parks and golf courses and explore further restrictive water use at city hall? Or it could stop issuing building permits that require a city water hook-up?

I also ask city officials to explore the waste of money. How much will the city’s “outreach efforts” cost, including the hosting of an “outdoor water savings expo at Coddingtown” on a Saturday? Will the taxpayers fund this event as well, including weekend overtime pay?

City of Santa Rosa — you can take a better direction on this issue along with so many others.




A similar future?

EDITOR: I’ve been disgusted by both the Israeli leaders and the leaders of Hamas. It seems neither is willing to bend or compromise, no matter how many of their followers lose their lives.

Over the years, we’ve watched minor skirmishes morph into major conflagrations over and over again. It goes on and on, with each side blaming the other. It’s gone on so long it’s predictable.

Then I look at our own country, with some groups taking the same uncompromising positions. If we keep this up, will our future be the same as that of the Middle East?

I hope not, we must stop wasting time and money to extreme partisanship? Are we to be predictable also? Or will we start talking with one another, respecting one another’s opinions and compromising and then putting pressure on Congress to do the same.

It’s time we put our country’s needs ahead of our party’s or faction’s needs.




Flushing the future

EDITOR: Despite excellent stories on the need for housing (“Affordable housing crisis in Sonoma County”) and the lack of water (“Mandatory restrictions for Santa Rosa water users,”), there was no editorial suggestion in Wednesday’s Press Democrat as to how solutions to those problems might be reconciled.

Both problems arise from the fact that a consumer-based capitalist economic model requires a constantly increasing population to fuel and sustain markets — i.e., demand — for all sorts of goods and services, especially housing and tourism.

Serendipitously, that demand generates jobs and investor profits. Ideally, ‘round and ‘round it goes, spiraling ever heavenward in a powerful tornado of so-called sustainable growth.

The system had a bright future when population was a fraction of today’s, and space and important resources — like water — seemed infinite. The stories juxtaposed in Wednesday’s edition, however, leave us to contemplate (or perhaps not) the tragi-comic situation whereby existing residents and taxpayers are threatened with $500 fines for not saving precious water, which will literally be flushed down the toilet by tomorrow’s new arrivals and tourists from places where it still floods.




Form over function

EDITOR: Instead of wasting millions of dollars to reunify Old Courthouse Square and arguing whether to open one or two new side streets, spend the money where it’s needed — on our streets, so many of which are in dire need of repair.

Our streets are disgraceful, some with potholes, others are crumbling. Why spend all that taxpayer money on “beautification” when basic structural needs are disregarded?

I am outraged by this form-over-function decision. It’s our tax money, people. Speak up.


Santa Rosa


Doctor story

EDITOR: Thank you, Chris Smith, for writing a wonderful article about the Santa Rosa medical doctor who is retiring after 40 years in practice (“Longtime Santa Rosa doctor closing up shop,” Monday).

It brought back memories —I’m sure to many other readers — of days when medical treatment was less complicated, more personal and patients trusted and respected their physicians — without quick lawsuits.

Thank you, Dr. David Charp, for your service, and best wishes for a happy retirement time.