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The real elitists

EDITOR: Last year’s election and recent mass shootings have brought to mind a confluence of two pieces of anachronistic U.S. legislation.

Many people argue that the purpose of the Second Amendment is to ensure that the people are armed to prevent the country from being ruled by a tyrant. But the vast difference between the weaponry of the people and that of the U.S. military renders that argument silly.

Of the numerous arguments for the existence of the Electoral College, the most potent, I believe, is that the writers of our Constitution simply didn’t trust direct democracy. They were afraid that the people could elect a tyrant, and the Electoral College was to act as a firewall against that possibility.

It is interesting that while people would not consider using 18th century technology, they have no problem with 18th century laws. The problem, as always, is money. There are vested interests in maintaining the status quo. Those are the real elitists.

RICHARD SALZMAN

Sebastopol

District elections

EDITOR: There are some better options for electing Santa Rosa City Council members. Representation is important, and currently all members could come from the same section of the city. However, if the city is divided into seven districts, each council member might only be concerned with his or her own district in order to be re-elected. This does not bode well for the future of the city.

It would make more sense to have four district members and three at-large members who would, hopefully, consider the issues of the city as a whole.

I am unsure why there are only five county supervisors, but the same process could work for them. It would be better to have seven, but four district members and one at-large might work.

I have seen very little reference to smart growth or new urbanism. Hopefully, a new election process might encourage a look at the Ahwahnee Principles, a visit to Portland, Oregon or a trip to Rail/Volution.

LYNN McGARVEY

Santa Rosa

Gun madness

EDITOR: Turning on the TV on Monday morning, I saw the Las Vegas massacre. What will it take for our country to finally stand up and do something about the gun issue in our country? Is the National Rifle Association so powerful that we can allow all these shootings to continue? I wish I were young enough to take my four boys to a country that has better gun control. My grandchildren will have to deal with this madness.

CARY HALL

Cloverdale

Knee-jerk reactions

EDITOR: Reps. Mike Thompson and Jared Huffman, and now the editorial board of The Press Democrat, with very few facts from a developing story, have decided gun control is the answer to the Las Vegas tragedy (“Reject the idea that nothing can stop mass killings,” Tuesday). Ironically, Donald Trump is regularly criticized by the editorial board on these very same pages for the very same uninformed, knee-jerk reactions. Really? Nice job, editors.

PAUL STAGNOLI

Santa Rosa

Trump’s social media

EDITOR: In the name of national and international security, it seems long overdue for either military or national security officials to confiscate and oversee all of the president’s social media accounts and devices.

Donald Trump’s adolescent word wars with Kim Jong Un may very well end in world war. That’s not an exaggeration. In 1984, Ronald Reagan “joked” during a sound check for his weekly radio address, “My fellow Americans, I’m pleased to tell you today that I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.” The Russian army was placed on alert for 30 minutes until they could verify that an attack wasn’t underway.

Now we have this nuclear-armed president with the sophistication, vocabulary and temper of a junior high bully tweeting his weaponized words with apparently no filter or oversight. Why is he allowed to do this? This is not a matter of free speech or executive privilege. It’s global security, and we desperately need it.

MARYA GLASS

Cotati

Electric vehicle mandate

EDITOR: Contrary to what was stated in your editorial (“Electric vehicles are the future,” Thursday), California’s success introducing nearly a quarter-million electric vehicles to our roads between 2011 and 2016 happened because of a state mandate: a regulation called the zero emission vehicle program that requires electric cars and trucks make up 8 percent of automakers’ in-state new car sales by 2025. An early version of the regulation went into effect in California in 1990 and was later adopted by nine other states.

That program’s slow and steady push is largely responsible for forcing the auto industry to bring more electric vehicle options to market, resulting in the fantastic news we are hearing that Ford and GM, are at last, as you said, “figuring out that the future is electric” and not gasoline-powered.

That said, while the automakers deserve applause for finally embracing electric vehicles, these companies and their trade associations are right now intensely lobbying our anti-science administration in DC to relax federal emission standards that reduce pollution and oil use. Automakers spent a century-plus developing gasoline-powered vehicles. It’s no wonder the fight to electrify our fleet and clean our air has been so hard and has still not been won.

DON ANAIR

Clean Vehicles Program, Union of Concerned Scientists, Oakland

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