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Gas tax fallout

EDITOR: Now that Gov. Jerry Brown has shoved the gas tax and vehicle license fee increases through the state Legislature, a new reality will hit local governments. Before local elected officials start to spend the new money to fix roads and bridges, which are in need of repair, how will the cost for police, fire and maintenance vehicles be affected by the increase in gas and diesel taxes?

And while gas prices are steady at around $3 a gallon, should prices rise, our local governments will have to pay more to fill up police, fire and maintenance vehicles.

Remember there were alternatives to the gas and diesel fuel taxes, such as using the $500 million the governor spends from the cap-and-trade fund for the high-speed rail system. And there has to be more money in the state budget that has risen substantially the past four years that could be directed to fixing the roads and bridges.

Republicans in the Legislature introduced an alternative, but since the Democrats don’t need them, so much for bipartisanship. But the governor did have to bribe one Republican state legislator with $500 million of improvements in his district because one Democrat refused to back the governor.

ANDREW SMITH

Santa Rosa

Don’t be fooled

EDITOR: Let’s not let the ads from these big-money real estate interests trick us into voting no on Measure C. Have you seen them? Huge flyers with glossy color pictures of homeless people that read: “Measure C doesn’t help the homeless.” This is disgraceful exploitation. If Measure C fails, there will be more homeless on our streets.

That’s what happens when demand outpaces supply. You raise the rate of your rental unit, knowing the existing tenants can’t pay it and have to leave. Then you charge these elevated rates to wealthier people, and your old tenants are forced to live on the street. Santa Rosa’s City Council went the righteous route to address the problem. Council members did countless hours of research, held public hearings, read endless emails and finally cast their courageous votes. Their solution is three pronged: avoid further homelessness, adopt a housing-first approach and build more housing.

What happens? Big outside money gets involved and pays people (using deceptive means) to collect signatures. Now it’s on the ballot, and the hard work of our elected officials could be undermined. Don’t let it happen. Let’s honor the process the people we elected went through and show them that their hard work wasn’t in vain.

KEVIN CONWAY

Santa Rosa

A local ‘Mother Teresa’

EDITOR: To me, Jennielynn Holmes is a “Mother Teresa” (“A devoted, empathetic voice for the homeless,” Sunday). Her caring without judgment and nonstop work for people who are in dire need is seldom found.

Wouldn’t it be nice if more people could step up where needed? Can she stop for a moment to take care of herself before a burnout?

Looking at the picture of her smile makes me so happy for all the people she brings hope and love. Thank you. Jennielynn.

INGA LYNCH

Windsor

Graduation squeeze

EDITOR: You dream your child will go to college and fulfill her dreams. The entire family supports that child as she grows into an intelligent young adult. She goes off to college and works hard. Finally, she is about to graduate. The entire family is coming — grandparents, aunts, friends and siblings. Grandparents are even traveling across the county to see this moment.

And then you find out that she only gets two tickets to give to her family; the rest are outside watching her graduate on a giant TV screen. Was there a point to coming all that way to see it off a screen? Can you really say it’s the same thing?

This year, Sonoma State University’s new president has decided to hold commencement in the Green Music Center, a beautiful building, but one that is too small to accommodate families. All other family members will be sitting on Weill Lawn watching commencement primarily off a television screen.

Does two tickets really support diverse families?

Is it more important to showcase the Green Music Center at the expense of what really matters — the student who excelled and their family who supported them?

I say no to using the Green Music Center for commencement.

KRISTINA WEBB

Santa Rosa

Open bidding

EDITOR: In regards to Santa Rosa finding a new waste management partner, I was shocked to read that they have reduced the options for potential partners and haven’t started talking about price (“Two vie for garbage hauler contract,” Thursday).

I also am unhappy that this is a closed process. I want open bidding. I want the citizens to know the price tags for wishes and dreams vs necessary items. Perhaps if it costs us an extra $20 a month to not sort recyclables or to get one very rare plastic added to the list of recyclables, we would choose the more cost-effective option.

Please provide phone numbers for citizens to call in your articles. Who even owns this?

Many in our area are already economically distressed and to not even include price for service as the upfront criteria for rejection shows the decision-makers are seriously off base with their process and out of touch with the population.

Engage the people. Don’t assume you know best. Let the people decide what they can afford. Don’t add ridiculous cost increasing requirements without full public review and agreement to the impacts and costs. You work for us.

TONY MARTIN

Santa Rosa