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Did You Know? In the first 10 days of the North Bay fire, we posted 390 stories about the fire. And they were shared nearly 137,000 times.
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Children’s health care

EDITOR: The fact that CHIP, a special health care program for children, exists after the passage of Obamacare in 2010 is part of the 50 percent wrong with the Affordable Care Act. Why have a separate health care system for children instead of making it part of the health care exchanges?

The Democrats, in writing Obamacare, should have incorporated the CHIP program so it wouldn’t be subject to the whims of Republicans or whomever is against having the federal government fund health care (“What does the GOP have against children?” Editorial, Thursday). The CHIP program should be incorporated into the exchanges, which provide subsidies based on income. Then funding wouldn’t be subject to federal politics on the budget, which puts millions of children at risk for health care.

Remember the exchanges were set up with one goal: helping people buy health insurance through tax subsidies. If the exchanges are busting the household budget for the parents of these children, then fix them so this doesn’t happen.

ANDREW SMITH

Santa Rosa

Sebastopol’s hospital

EDITOR: A year ago I was elected to the Palm Drive Health Care District Board of Directors. Since then I have observed constant efforts by a small group of people to close the Sebastopol hospital. They make inaccurate inflammatory statements in the press to create negative drama. Most don’t live in the district — they “detached” almost a year ago.

The inaccurate alarms are: the district will raise taxes; the hospital is failing financially; the successful new toxicology lab is a scam.

The facts: The taxes are controlled by the taxpayers. The district directors cannot raise taxes, nor do we see any need to do so. The hospital is doing well financially. The toxicology lab is providing increasing income and serving California patients. Dr. Steven Mertens, a pathologist for Sonoma West Medical Center and other hospitals, approved the toxicology program and keeps oversight.

Ignore comments from people detached from the district. They chose to have no vote. Beware of others who want to shut down the hospital and district for their own purposes.

I ask you to stand with the truth in our efforts to provide a strong community hospital and district. Our hospital proved its value during the firestorm.

GAIL THOMAS

Treasurer, Palm Drive Health Care District

Unending road project

EDITOR: You published an article on August 31, 2015 describing the beginning of an improvement project on Stony Point Road between Highway 12 and Hearn Avenue. The article indicated the project would be completed in December 2016.

I would encourage The Press Democrat to follow up.

It’s been 2½ years, and the work isn’t finished. Granted, it’s a complex project, with relocation of power lines, storm drains, sewers, traffic lights, pedestrian crossings, underground utilities, etc. And it’s always challenging to maintain traffic flow on a busy commute route.

However, as I have driven this route every workday since the project started, I have been puzzled by what appears to be poor project management. Sections of sidewalks or roads are paved, then dug up again. Sidewalks and curbs have concrete poured but with numerous small gaps, which are temporarily patched with asphalt. The effort has felt very piecemeal — as if the contractor is trying to find something do while waiting for other elements to be completed.

It would be worth some phone calls to the city and the contractor and some photos of the construction site.

DOUG GIBSON

Santa Rosa

No to DUI checkpoints

EDITOR: Every time I read of a planned DUI checkpoint, it makes my blood boil. One of our basic rights is the freedom to move about without interference unless we have committed a crime or unless police have probable cause to believe we have committed a crime. At checkpoints, neither is the case. We are simply detained against our will so that our “papers“ can be checked. Just as if we were going from one country to another.

Allowing this was one of the worst decisions ever made by the U.S. Supreme Court, and it needs revisited. I’m glad we weren’t told to do this when I was a police officer. Even though it provides overtime and drives up retirement benefits, I would have fought to not violate the Constitution that I hold so dear. I’ve yet to encounter a checkpoint but plan to refuse to provide my license if I do. This needs to get back to the court. Maybe the so called conservative justices will do the right thing this time.

KEN GOOD

Gig Harbor, Washington

The climate year

EDITOR: Before this year, we weren’t directly affected by climate catastrophes we hear about in the rest of the world. But this time it was our turn to face catastrophe and hardship.

It’s time to connect some dots. Besides our own devastating wildfires, Hurricane Harvey drowned Houston, Hurricanes Irma and Maria hit Florida and the Southeast hard, and there is still immense suffering in Puerto Rico. These things can’t be ignored. Action must be taken.

But here is one bright note. Can you imagine our members of Congress working together? There is a bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus in the House, in which 31 Republicans have joined 31 Democrats to explore economically viable options to reduce climate risk.

Another reason for hope: There is a free-market proposal to cut greenhouse gases with a steadily rising fee on carbon emissions. By returning the revenue to households, we would gain dividends for ourselves, our health and our climate. See how it works at citizensclimatelobby.org.

In 2018, let’s resolve to do what must be done — wean this country off fossil fuels. We want a brighter, healthier future for our children and our planet.

TOM HELM

Santa Rosa

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