Rivers at risk
EDITOR: The state Legislature’s $7.5 billion water plan will earmark somewhat more than $2.5 billion for storage, which almost certainly means diversions from the Trinity and Klamath rivers.
This plan was forged with little public comment. I wonder if the legislators thought through some of the problems. For example, the Klamath River is highly polluted north of Iron Gate Dam due to agricultural runoff. Where it passes through Klamath Falls, the river is brown with yellow foam along its banks. Aeration as the river falls in elevation once it enters California cleans it up somewhat. Diversion of the river from the higher elevation necessary for storage purposes will probably require significant expenditures for water treatment.
EDITOR: I am pleased to note that the Sonoma County Employees’ Retirement Association’s investments have done very well the past five years and particularly well the past two years, contrary to popular belief. The 2013 rate of return was 19.9 percent, and it was 14.8 percent in 2012.
In spite of the two very large financial downturns of the past decade, the overall Sonoma County retirement system’s ratio of assets to liabilities as of December 2013 was 82 percent on an actuarial basis. However, the real status of the system today based on the actual 2014 market value of the assets is more than 90 percent.
Since the Sonoma County retirement system will never have to pay out all its assets at once, the 90 percent funding ratio represents a very positive financial position for the fund.
The county’s contribution rate to the retirement system should begin to drop next year. Perhaps current county retirees may even hope for a small cost of living increase someday.
Volunteering at school
EDITOR: Kudos on your fine Sunday insert, Spotlight on Sonoma County Schools. In addition to all of the interesting educational choices available to our students, I would like to mention the option of volunteerism in our schools.
As a volunteer at Kid Street Learning Center Charter School (kstreet.org) in Santa Rosa for the past nine years, I can attest to the incredible benefits to students and volunteers of all ages in the school. Kid Street is a volunteer-driven school, home to many volunteering retired educators, professional people and also older students who enjoy seeing the miracles that one-on-one personalized help and education can offer to a young student.
Children thrive on personal attention and just love their tutor-volunteers. Read to the kids, help with math or play basketball in the play yard but get out there and volunteer people, because we know that we always get back more than we give.
EDITOR: I am a frequent runner in Spring Lake and Annadel parks. As such, I cross a small bridge that is designated by a brass plaque as the Braille Bridge. The bridge is sponsored by the Lions Club. There is just one problem with the bridge: There is no Braille anywhere to be found. Not on the plaque nor anywhere on or around the bridge. I emailed one of the local Lions Club contacts some time ago, calling this to his attention, but I never received a reply and never saw this glaring omission rectified. Come on. Let’s do the right thing and make the Braille Bridge truly the Braille Bridge.