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.
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.
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.
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.