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Politics and investments

EDITOR: Jane Vosburg’s Close to Home column (“Why divesting from fossil fuels makes financial sense,” April 27) attempted to convince people that politically motivated principles should direct investment decisions. Quotes from faithful anti-fossil fuel disciples were provided but didn’t show that it’s wise to divest pension funds from major profit-making entities satisfying critical economic needs. Quotes from political allies don’t constitute financial expertise.

Her assertion that Sonoma County jumped on this trendy political bandwagon is incorrect. County pension fund policy rejects politically motivated investment policies, and return results have been well above peer averages.

But there is good news for Vosburg and other fervent political believers. Exxon still has a market value of about $340 billion and Chevron’s is more than $200 billion. So there is still time to follow their beliefs, sell short these firms they feel are almost worthless and get rich as their political objectives are realized — a win-win situation if they really believe their own advice.

It is good to live a free-market system that allows people with strong beliefs to put their money where their mouths are. But they shouldn’t force others to compromise the pension security of thousands who may not share their political beliefs.

R.G. WILLIAMSON

Santa Rosa

Third World America

EDITOR: Rural Honduras, 1970. I spent a month volunteering, giving polio, smallpox and diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus vaccines to 1,000-plus villagers who had never been vaccinated. During that month, a volunteer dentist came for one day. No one anywhere near our village had ever seen a dentist. By 7 a.m., 150 people were in line. All he could do was pull teeth, selecting the worst ones in each patient’s mouth.

2017, Salisbury, Maryland. Hundreds of people with no financial access to dentistry waited in line hoping to be among the first 1,000 who got treatment from five volunteer dentists (“America’s inequality reflected in our teeth,” Sunday). They had no other option.

Third World America is painfully real.

ANDY HARRIS

Santa Rosa

A matter of values

EDITOR: I am writing as a person of faith whose work is teaching love, empathy and compassion to children and their parents. I have seen firsthand the stress that comes from housing instability. I have seen families in my congregation leave Santa Rosa because they couldn’t afford the rents here. Rising rents leave working parents no choice but to relocate their children away from a community where they have been born and raised.

Measure C wasn’t intended to solve homelessness. However, it is a critical part of the solution to a complex problem. Affordable housing will only be widely available after significant construction, and that will take years to build.

Voting yes on Measure C is a matter of values. Do we have compassion for our children and families? If your answer is yes, please join me in voting yes on Measure C on June 6.

DEBORAH MASON

Santa Rosa

Hurting renters

EDITOR: I’m worried that if rent control passes, renters will have a harder time finding a home. Under Measure C, a tenant’s failure to pay rent on time wouldn’t be cause for eviction until they were late six times or more in a year. Landlords would be more selective about whom they rent to. A young person or someone who is struggling would have difficulty getting a rental if they have no credit or are trying to rebuild poor credit.

Also, if a landlord needs to move in or help a family member with housing, the landlord would be required to pay the current tenant three months of market rent to cover their first, last and deposit plus a minimum of $1,500 for relocation expenses for a new home. It could cost thousands of dollars. The program administrator selected by the city would ultimately determine what these relocation expenses are. This is too open-ended and gives one person too much authority.

Measure C is a feel-good measure for certain City Council members, but it would hurt renters. I am voting no on C.

LORI BURMEYER

Santa Rosa

A worse fate

EDITOR: We on the left, i.e., right-thinking Americans, have known from the second he declared his candidacy that Donald Trump is boorish, ignorant, disrespectful of the office he sought, narcissistic and dangerous for the U.S. and the rest of the world. In a word, he is unfit to be president. But none of the above constitute grounds to remove him from office.

Now, though, there is a growing sense among many that the Russian connections, combined with the concomitant cover-up and attempts to obstruct, may provide grounds for impeachment.

While that prospect may appeal to our sense of justice, I have to point out that impeachment might be the worst thing we could hope for. Impeachment wouldn’t give us a do-over for the election. It would give us President Mike Pence — a situation that could be worse than the present.

While Trump can only diminish the office (and maybe get us into another unnecessary war) he isn’t an ideologue. Indeed, many of his previous political positions were progressive. Pence is a right-wing ideologue and a religious fanatic, potentially more dangerous to the country than Trump.

Maybe the best we can hope for is continued chaos and falling approval ratings of Trump with hope for flipping Congress in 2018.

CHRIS KUHN

Santa Rosa

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