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Open space spending

EDITOR: Since 1990, the Sonoma County Agriculture Preservation and Open Space District has spent $303 million from sales taxes for 111,000 acres of land, or 10 percent of Sonoma County (“County plans future of its open space,” March 7). Some of that is or will be parks to which the public might have access, even poor people. That’s nice since sales taxes are disproportionately paid by the poor with a higher percentage of their income going to buy things, especially locally.

Supervisor Shirlee Zane says we have a higher quality of life when we have open spaces, and I believe that is true. However, other things also contribute to improved quality of life, and some even more so than open space. How about being able to drive to work or to shop or to the hospital or even to a park on roads that don’t destroy your car?

How much road and other infrastructure maintenance could $303 million have supported in the past 27 years? Even $1 million was a lot of money back then. Here’s an idea that has apparently escaped those making decisions for us: let’s take care of what we have before buying more.

WAYNE MINSON

Santa Rosa

Women’s health

EDITOR: We’re hearing a lot now about alternate facts. Alternate facts must be lies, right? No. For example, it is a generally accepted fact that if Planned Parenthood were denied government funding many women would be deprived of basic health care. Nonsense.

Here are the real facts. Planned Parenthood facilities constitute less than 5 percent of the public, nonprofit health clinics in the United States. Yes, for every Planned Parenthood office there are 20 other nonprofit, public health care clinics. A quick count revealed dozens within a 25-mile radius of Santa Rosa — names and addresses on request.

These offer, on financial terms similar to those of Planned Parenthood, truly comprehensive health care. They do pap smears; they screen for and treat sexually transmitted diseases; they do mammograms, which Planned Parenthood does not; they provide prenatal care, which only a handful of Planned Parenthood affiliates do. Yes, they even provide contraceptives. The only thing they don’t do is kill unborn babies.

If Planned Parenthood is defunded and those funds are diverted to these other existing clinics, there is no reasonable doubt that they will pick up the slack. Women will not be deprived of any medical procedure other than abortion on demand.

JEAN GRANT

Santa Rosa

A colonial history

EDITOR: A recent letter had the premise that our nation was founded on immigration and religious freedom (“A nation of immigrants,” Feb. 2). This is hardly the case.

Our country was initially found by colonists from England. Colonial companies were organized and chartered by the crown to identify and encourage English resident citizens to relocate and settle the new land in North America in competition with France and Spain. Also, England needed raw material to satisfy the rise of industrialism and foreign trade.

An immigrant is one who comes to an established country of which the individual isn’t native.

The initial founding of our country was accomplished by English colonists for the aforementioned reasons. The religious component emerged after the colonial founding, settlement and American Revolution in the bill of Rights included in our Constitution.

THOMAS HANNAH

Rohnert Park

Climate advocacy

EDITOR: Thank you for Paul Gullixson’s March 5 column committing to prioritizing issues related to climate change (“Our editorial priorities for 2017 begin with Trump”). However, your stated sole focus on local efforts to reduce carbon emissions is unwarranted. There are signs of movement on a national level that citizens can support.

Note, for example, the recent high-profile promotion of a national carbon tax by prominent Republicans on the Climate Leadership Council and the steady growth of the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus in the House of Representatives.

And, in any case, continuing local advocacy for a national price on carbon with Reps. Mike Thompson and Jared Huffman may be the most effective and essential local action anyone can take.

RICHARD BEEBE

Santa Rosa

Pot and neighborhoods

EDITOR: A note to Tawnie Logan of the Sonoma County Growers Alliance: “cottage cultivation” of marijuana isn’t compatible with neighborhoods (“ ‘Uncharted territory’ for pot tax,” Thursday). Growing pot shouldn’t be allowed in residential areas.

MARTI SWAB

Santa Rosa

Trump’s integrity

EDITOR: Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Tulare, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee investigating Donald Trump’s claim that Barack Obama wiretapped his phone, says that the press is taking the president’s tweets “too literally.”

Here is the tweet: “How low has President gone to tapp (sic) my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy! Sad.” This is a very serious accusation. Is there something nuanced about it? Is there a hidden dual meaning? No.

As usual, the president’s men resort to “explaining” the untrue and/or nonsensical statements of Trump to either soften the impact or discredit the press. This president has no qualms about blatantly lying and counts on his follower’s ignorance or sycophancy to survive them. Trump’s lack of integrity is frustrating, and the onus on the rest of us is to bring attention to it.

JIM CITTA

Santa Rosa

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