Garbage deal smells bad
EDITOR: The Santa Rosa City Council unanimously approved “the best deal possible” for a 15-year term (“Santa Rosa approves garbage contract,” Wednesday). Let’s see, the city gets a $7 million a year kickback ($105 million for the term) and appeases a number of labor union and environmental activists. Very politically correct.
We, the taxpayers, get rate increases “starting at 58 percent,” unless you are a senior or low income, then it’s a 92 percent increase. Or, if you own a business, then it’s a 200 percent increase, or if you are a school district, you are on your own to negotiate for what was.
The diversion rate is targeted to improve to 60 percent over 12 years (a 24 percentage point improvement, or 2 percent a year), and Recology is “interested in bringing back composting to Sonoma County” (the article didn’t say they would).
The city’s big hammer for missing the goals is to shorten the term to 10 years. Assuming no future rate increases, Recology is guaranteed a minimum $490 million and the city receives $70 million, even if they fail to deliver.
It sounds like a great deal to me. With this kind of negotiating skills, it is no wonder public pensions are in such great shape.
Climate and disasters
EDITOR: The media are still full of news about the disaster wrought by Hurricane Harvey on Houston and the Gulf Coast. Already the next big hurricane is on its way, a category 3 as it crosses the Atlantic headed for the exceptionally warm waters of the Caribbean, where it will likely increase to category 4 or maybe a category 5. That’s two big ones in a row.
Scientists are cautious about attributing any single weather event to climate disruption, but statistically, we can expect more and more high-intensity events like Harvey to occur in coming months and years due to the warming of the climate. Please make this connection in your reporting so the public is made aware of the critical need to cut back drastically on greenhouse gas emissions before the consequences of climate disruption become cataclysmic.
WILLIAM H. CUTLER
EDITOR: Several recent articles reported on an illegal immigrant killing his girlfriend and the fact that Immigration and Customs Enforcement should have picked him up for deportation. According to news reports, ICE was notified and requested a hold, but only 16 minutes elapsed between the request and the release.
In the meantime, the state Legislature is trying to pass SB 54, which would help such criminals avoid ICE. State and local jailers could notify ICE only if someone has been convicted of a “serious” or “violent” felony. Crimes that wouldn’t require notification include burglary, human trafficking, assault on an officer, sexual battery, etc.
We have seen the results of this potential law in the murder of the girl in San Francisco and now the murder of a mother of two in our community.
I understand that legislators make laws and courts interpret them. Who gave the sheriff the right to pass laws that endanger the public he has sworn to protect? While the state may not like the federal law, it has no right to pass laws to conflict with federal laws. If push comes to shove, the federal government will win.