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Pay to play

EDITOR: It’s being reported that the U.S. Justice Department is investigating whether the Clinton Foundation engaged in pay-to-play activities while Hillary Clinton served as secretary of state. Though not a Clinton fan, I chose to vote for her in the presidential election, as she was the most qualified candidate.

While I abhor pay-to-play (i.e. bribery) politics, I find it laughable that the Justice Department is investigating the Clinton Foundation. Since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that the free speech clause of the First Amendment prohibits government from restricting independent expenditures (i.e. big-donor campaign contributions) for communications by nonprofit corporations, for-profit corporations, labor unions and other associations, all levels of government are now run by corporations and special interest groups.

While this isn’t a new concept, the Supreme Court’s ruling (Citizens United vs. FEC) has simply made it legal. Surely, no one can believe large campaign contributions don’t influence the politicians in office. In fact, while Republicans in Congress worked on passing tax reform, Rep. Chris Collins, R-New York, stated, “My donors are basically saying, ‘Get it done or don’t ever call me again.’ ”

If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.

DIANNE MAHANES

Santa Rosa

The climate religion

EDITOR: Passionate Christians can find the face of Jesus in a random stain on any wall, and passionate climate change advocates see Niagara Falls freezing under record low temperatures as a sign of global warming.

All religion is irrational by nature and not based in provable fact. California Gov. Jerry Brown claimed that the recent California fires were created by man-made climate change, but multiple scientific studies have shown that claim to be false. Even the very liberal Los Angeles Times disagreed with Brown’s wild remarks.

People believe what they want to believe. For example, most “green” politicians think it is better to burn the human food supply for energy in the form of biofuels than to burn Alaskan oil. Is that sane or logical in a world where more than one-third of the human population is malnourished?

Cold is the new hot, down is the new up, and wrong is the new right in the faith-based religion we call climate change.

CHRISTOPHER CALDER

Eugene, Oregon

Two heroines

EDITOR: The profiles of those who died in the October disaster offered a needed catharsis (“Remembering who we lost,” Dec. 31). I knew none of those who succumbed and appreciated the remembrances. Yet I was struck by the neglect to give equal attention to two heroines — caretakers Teresa Santos and Elizabeth Charlene Foster. These women remained and died with those they assisted, yet they didn’t earn separate special mention. That Santos family in the Philippines couldn’t be reached is a weak excuse to overlook a woman who, like Foster, purposely chose to die. They surely deserved more recognition than being identified as “caretakers.”

CLARICE STASZ

Petaluma

Presidential nicknames

EDITOR: Two things our president loves: Seeing his name in the press and immature monikers. I propose that the news media stop using his name, meet him on his terms and start using something childish, such as Dishonest Don, the Orange-Haired Menace or Pocket Man. When the president stops seeing his name in print, he will start being more fair to the press, believe me.

Recently Dishonest Don took credit for being “very strict on commercial airlines,” so there were no commercial airline passenger deaths in the U.S. last year. For that matter, he should take credit for all the crash deaths that didn’t happen back to 2009, when Barack Obama was last letting planes fall right out of the sky. We flew to Connecticut last year and didn’t crash or die. Thanks, Mr. President.

Pocket Man’s cold, clammy grip of strictness hasn’t yet trickled down to the coal industry, where more deaths occurred than in 2016, nor to the gun industry, which had a banner year for mass shootings, soon to be improved with silencers, bump-stocks, and concealed-carry for all.

In his unwitting way though, O.H.M. did claim that a little government regulation can improve safety and well-being. Hmm.

D.C. GALLOWAY

Sebastopol

A city failure

EDITOR: Kudos to Doug Gibson for his letter questioning the “work” on Stony Point Road (“Unending project,” Monday). As a registered civil and structural engineer, I also question the progress. Welcome to the world of lowest bidder.

Gibson questions project management. The real project management on this fiasco is the city of Santa Rosa. The city writes the checks, and I suspect it isn’t holding the contractor’s feet to the fire to get this work done in an expeditious manner.

I was told by the city that the work would be completed by November 2017. Granted, we had a brutal winter last year, so I cut some slack there. But come on. Money shouldn’t be the issue. It should have been in place on awarding the contract. What’s the excuse? Given the recent weather, it should have been a beehive of activity out there. Nope.

I drive down this road often, and most times I see a lack of manpower. Often, there are six or seven guys on a 1½-mile project.

The weather has been perfect for paving, so why hasn’t it been done in the areas that are ready, such as south of North Point Parkway to Hearn Avenue?

This project is grossly over schedule and obviously poorly run. Shame on the city.

GREGG GRUBIN

Santa Rosa

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