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.


Santa Rosa

Pension progress

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.


Santa Rosa

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.



Braille Bridge

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.


Santa Rosa

Saving water

EDITOR: It is high time some state dignitary publicly encourages us to save millions of gallons of water at no expense. The arithmetic is simple: two gallons of water are used to eliminate a half-pint of urine. Encourage people in their homes to postpone flushing when only urine needs to be disposed of. A family of four could likely save some 16 gallons of water per day.


Santa Rosa

Wacky stereotypes

EDITOR: Gail Culverwell (“Wacky comments,” Letters, Wednesday) pilloried Odessa Gunn as “wacky” and denounced the Humane Society, all over the temperature in the county animal shelter. In her zeal to discredit Gunn she wrote, “Do I need to marry a biker to gain front-page coverage for a more balanced view?” Huh? What does a biker have to do with gaining front-page coverage? The implication seems to be that a biker is some sort of an unsavory character. I am a highly educated retired professional person who rides with or is acquainted with engineers, doctors, lawyers, dentists, accountants and police officers who are bikers. None of them are unsavory. They pay their taxes, obey the law and are productive members of society. Perhaps credence might be given to Culverwell’s opinion if she didn’t use wacky stereotypical insults against others in her quest for drama.


Santa Rosa