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Trump’s admission

EDITOR: Thanks to TV cameras and broadcasts on many channels, I heard our president say during a speech to a group of state governors on Feb. 27, “Nobody knew health care could be so complicated.”

I can’t decide which is worse: that he uttered those words at all, showing he knows next to nothing about an issue that was a cornerstone of his campaign, or that he didn’t realize how foolish and clueless he would appear with such a pathetic admission.

We can only be grateful that he “tells it like it is” in his own mind so that we may all continue judging him for who he is and demand a leader who sees our country as an entity far broader than a profit-making business. We’re a country, not a company.

HELEN HUNTER

Santa Rosa

Breitbart isn’t news

EDITOR: My late father’s dusty old copy of the Compact Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary defines the following:

News: Tidings; the report or account of recent events or occurrences, brought or coming to one as new information; new occurrences as a subject of report or talk.

Occurrence: The fact of occurring, presenting itself or happening.

It is clear that Breitbart markets in neither news nor actual occurrence. To attach the word “news” to entities such as Breitbart delegitimizes the work of organizations such as yours that support reporters in the field who tell us of actual events.

With deep respect for those in your most noble profession, I ask that your copy editors refrain from using the phrase “Breitbart News” in future articles and stories, instead limiting references simply to “Breitbart.”

DAVID A. DELGARDO

Cloverdale

Marijuana tax

EDITOR: I wasn’t surprised that the marijuana tax passed by a large margin. After all, there are a lot of people who are going to get rich selling marijuana, and high taxes on recreational drugs, like cigarettes and alcohol, are typical.

The marijuana tax is different though, because it taxes the growers and not just the end product. I read that the reason for the tax is that there is a lot of environmental damage and regulation that needs to be addressed. If that’s the case, why don’t we also tax the grape growers?

Marijuana and wine, from a consumer standpoint, have a lot in common. They are both non-food-based agriculture, and both products are used for recreation. Environmental harm caused by the wine industry includes damage to our roads and air from agricultural equipment and truck traffic, the application of pesticides and herbicides to soil, air and surface waters, damage to our wetlands and riparian areas and the permanent loss of trees and other native habitat.

I think it’s only fair now that Sonoma County has taxed the marijuana business that it also considers taxing the wine business.

JO BENTZ

Sebastopol

Food lessons

EDITOR: It was quite interesting that you chose to place an article about the dangers of bad food habits on the front page of Wednesday’s paper (“Study: 10 food habits linked to most deaths”) while on the third page there was an article about students at Sonoma Valley High and their hog project (“Pork proves a meaty subject”).

The front page article listed “bad” foods, including bacon and other processed meats, as contributing to many U.S. deaths from heart disease, strokes and diabetes, not to mention obesity.

The article about Sonoma Valley High was about a learning experience for the students involved. They went through the process of raising the hogs to making and eating sausage made from the hogs they raised, named and sent to be “harvested.” One step they missed was the slaughter process. Maybe if those children had witnessed this, they would think twice about making and eating sausage.

One student remarked “it’s weird” while eating sausage from hogs she helped raise. Hogs share a number of cognitive capacities with other highly intelligent animals such as dogs, chimpanzees, elephants, dolphins and even humans. Let’s teach the students compassion and healthy lifestyles at an early age. How about a garden project where they have a farm stand and learn all it takes to manage and also impart healthy living to others and themselves?

HAYLEY GARIBALDI

Santa Rosa

California’s infrastructure

EDITOR: I’m relatively new to this area and have heard a lot about infrastructure showing age or wear. Two examples: the Oroville Dam and Highway 37. From an outsider’s perspective, the headline should read: “Ninety-eight percent of our stuff worked great.”

From what I can tell, California has done a good job dealing with its macroeconomic, demographic and environmental problems. Is there work to be done? Absolutely, but don’t let someone tell you that government is failing.

On the contrary, you should keep up most of what you’re doing and add to it, because the infrastructure you put in place is what allowed you to manage nearly 40 million people and to become one of the largest economies.

When I hear grumbling about making Highway 37 a toll road, I feel it’s a step toward the idea that these projects aren’t worth paying for. They are worth paying for, and they’re worth paying for through taxes, not tolls.

Basic connecting infrastructure should be accessible without a fee (toll), because those fees hurt those who are struggling with upward mobility. I believe in the system, and I believe that the people building that infrastructure are going to spend their income and, by that, grow the economy. Keep up the good work.

DAVID R. MONGEAU

Santa Rosa