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Targeting blue states

EDITOR: The Republican tax plan isn’t about streamlining taxes by eliminating loopholes, but rather it is punishment for blue states that had the temerity to vote for Hillary Clinton.

They want to eliminate deductions for personal losses due to fires and earthquakes. Along with the possibility of a full repeal of deductions for state and local income taxes, this seems to target California. Could having a Democratic majority be a factor?

The reality is that California gets far less back from the federal government than we pay in taxes, so we are, in effect, subsidizing red states by the taxes we pay in blue California.

It’s incredulous that those who have lost their homes in recent fires now may face the insult of being unable to deduct some of this grievous loss on their income taxes.

And, finally, is it really a surprise that these tax proposals would clearly benefit Donald Trump and his various businesses? It seems like a clear conflict of interest. Maybe he could recuse himself?

CAROL CHASE

Santa Rosa

Cowboy mythology

EDITOR: Referring to the latest Texas massacre, Donald Trump suggests it isn’t a gun issue but rather a mental health issue. I agree. I think our country is insane.

I was recently in Australia where hand-held weapons of mass destruction were banned after the Port Arthur massacre of 1996. Homicides and suicide by gun have both declined ever since. Will our cowboy mythology ever loosen its grip on our psyches and allow us to live in peace? Perhaps only John Wayne knows.

BRIAN NARELLE

Rohnert Park

Rethinking after the fire

EDITOR: It’s tough knowing the right direction to proceed and even tougher to convince our neighbors to change anything. Politicians can tend toward cowardice. It’s nice to get re-elected.

The easiest direction is to put the houses back in as close to what was burned as possible, but what if we had a Windsor Town Green in our midst?

What if the owners getting rearranged in this ended up with a more valuable property that is the envy of the North Bay? In the abstract and general it would be nice to have an inviting town green for concerts, surrounded by local businesses that reflect our needs and the area, but in the specific no one wants to have his patch disturbed.

I was a resident of Coffey Park, and if I ended up with, maybe, a couple condos above a business or perhaps income from a business on my property, plus a nice other place to rebuild near the green, I would be awfully tempted.

What does everyone else have for interesting ideas?

MIKE HAWKINS

Santa Rosa

Demeaning comments

EDITOR: My wife and I were astounded by the insensitive, maligning nature of Robert Beauchamp’s letter in Monday’s paper (“Hasty rebuilding”). I can speak personally for the tremendous sense of community in Santa Rosa — concern and caring from Santa Rosans for those of us who lost homes and property.

Telling us what to do is irritating, but the presentation is demeaning. Beauchamp inserts himself into our community yet distinguishes himself as separate and somehow better. Thousands of us lost our homes, possessions, pets, businesses and precious keepsakes.

We escaped a firestorm with only our lives, dog and a few things we grabbed as our house burned. Judging the “charm, character and aesthetic integrity” of Santa Rosa as an outsider is insensitive and counterproductive. We are not through the terror, shock and extreme sense of loss. Maligning our community presents a narrow sense of character.

Don’t tell us what to do. Instead, come to our aid. Volunteer in assisting your neighbors in Santa Rosa. Be a part of the amazing community expressed here as we slog through grief and horror on to the bureaucratic process and finally to some sense of normalcy as we try to put our lives back together.

ROBERT KLAMT

Santa Rosa

Divert tourism funds

EDITOR: I was happy to read that our county supervisors, led by Shirlee Zane and Lynda Hopkins, have freed up $1 million of the $8 million currently given to the Sonoma County tourism bureau to promote us to the world (“County cuts tourism marketing funds by $1 million,” Oct. 4). This money will be redirected to our badly underfunded emergency services.

Wednesday’s paper had a story describing how the state Office of Tourism is spending $2 million to promote Wine Country tourism (“Extra $2 million to push tourism”). The state is concerned with the image of Wine Country being damaged by publicity about the fires, I’m sure.

I think tourism promotion has enough funding. The wine and hospitality industry has smart people already doing promotion. Let’s support our supervisors in redirecting another $2 million for local emergency responders. They need it more, especially now.

KEN SUND

Jenner

Becoming serfs

EDITOR: The GOP/Donald Trump proposal to eliminate state tax deductions is a radical right-wing attempt to privatize public services. It does this by not allowing the public to deduct investment and operating costs in public services while retaining those rights and benefits for private corporations, thereby creating a tax code that punishes public ownership and subsidizes private ownership.

If allowed to become law, it will result in a future where infrastructure, police, fire, health and education services will no longer be owned and controlled by we the people but will be owned, operated and controlled by rich and powerful oligarchs or international corporations — a future where our descendants will be serfs in their own land.

CURTIS ASHBECK

Santa Rosa

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