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Worker shortage

EDITOR: What a pity. Employers want employees but are unwilling to provide wages and benefits that fit the cost of living in Sonoma County. Instead they are crying foul that their minimum-wage, 16-hour-a-week jobs are going unfilled (“Employers scramble in worker shortage,” Sunday).

Greedy employers are cutting costs by slashing hours, eliminating benefits and demanding singular loyalty to jobs that don’t feed families. Employers reap what they sow, and if they offered appropriate wages, they would have no end to applications from eager, loyal, hardworking candidates.

You get what you pay for. Until employers are willing to pay people the wages of a hard day’s work, they will get nothing. The solution is simple. Stop whining and pay up.

KRISTIN ELL

Santa Rosa

A reasonable measure

EDITOR: Santa Rosa is juggling to ensure healthy, affordable housing for residents and a reasonable return on investment for rental owners. It’s expensive to keep units up to basic standards: pest-free, with well-maintained electricity and plumbing, natural light, ventilation and weatherproofing.

However, if meeting minimum humane standards is too burdensome, owners might consider other investments. Owners shouldn’t have free reign to raise rents to ensure the return on investment to which they feel entitled. The idea that owners are victimized by our assertion that all residents should have affordable, decent, health-promoting housing is pure farce.

There’s never a guarantee on investments. Surely, smaller rental owners struggle to keep up with competition. Still, our community must acknowledge our current housing market has some people living in substandard housing and others priced out altogether. Capping rent increases is reasonable, fair and necessary to maintain a balanced and diverse community.

Join me in supporting Measure C.

DORY ESCOBAR

Santa Rosa

Rincon Valley schools

EDITOR: On May 9, we learned during a meeting regarding the purchase of Oak Park swim club for $3 million that the Rincon Valley Union School District has shifted gears from using state reimbursements of previous modernization expenses to using discretionary funds to purchase the property.

Santa Rosa’s general plan doesn’t show any long-term need for a new school in Rincon Valley and only shows the demographic need for new schools in the Roseland area. Yet the Rincon Valley district plans to purchase this property just in case it might need it in 10-20 years. The district doesn’t plan to do due diligence environmental impact reports, passing any potential problems off to a future school board and administration. But upkeep on the property will be an ongoing expense.

At the same time, the Rincon Valley district has come to teachers asking them to earmark areas for looming budget cuts. These discretionary funds could be used to help offset these budget cuts, but the district is stubbornly moving forward with this unpopular and unnecessary land purchase at the expense of our students.

We say Rincon Valley Union School District money should be used for education, not land speculation.

KAREN SANDERS

Santa Rosa

Housing and health

EDITOR: As a family medicine physician and co-founder of H-PEACE, I firmly support Measure C for fair and affordable housing. Santa Rosa’s rents are increasing at an astounding rate, and well-established research proves that housing is an important social determinant of physical and mental health. Affordable housing can improve health outcomes in several ways, including alleviating crowding, reducing exposure to environmental toxins and infections.

Affordable housing also frees resources to pay for health care and quality food. And it limits stressors related to the financial burden of rent or frequent moves, translating into mental support needed to avoid illness or mange chronic conditions.

Having the privilege of listening to the most intimate stories of people’s lives, I am acutely aware of the negative health consequences that result from housing instability. We aren’t exaggerating when we tell stories of patients having to choose between rent and their health.

Too often, providers walk out of clinic rooms and feel disempowered and frustrated by the fact that decades of medical training cannot provide us with an answer to our patients’ affliction: unaffordable housing.

Supporting Measure C is one of the most effective things I can do for my patients, and it doesn’t require a medical degree.

DR. TONI MARIE RAMIREZ

Santa Rosa

A better model

EDITOR: I am in complete agreement with Dr. Roger Delgado’s prescription for improving the quality and cost of health care in this country (“Medicare for all,” Letters, Saturday). Eliminating private insurance with single-payer and controlling the costs of pharmaceuticals and medical devices are imperative steps. I would add, however, the importance of scrapping the fee-for-service model and switching to physicians being on salary. Kaiser (where I worked for 30 years), the Mayo Clinic, Harvard Medical School and numerous other organizations provide high-quality care using this model.

DR. PAUL A. JOHNSON

Santa Rosa