Thursday’s Letters to the Editor


Disgraceful silence

EDITOR: I was shocked to hear that Sonoma County’s emergency services manager, Christopher Helgren, told the Board of Supervisors he brought an “internal report” that couldn’t be shared with the public about the lack of warnings on the first night of the October fires, when hundreds of people (including myself) fled the flames and barely made it out alive (“County seeks better alarms,” Tuesday).

Why did he not bring a public report to begin with? To show up unprepared is inexcusable considering that Sonoma County taxpayers are paying for his six-figure salary and lifetime pension benefits.

Don’t taxpayers have the right to know what gross mistakes were made that night? Why won’t the Board of Supervisors demand to see the internal report and share it with the public so that we can all understand what went so terribly wrong?

This is a disgrace to all the residents of Sonoma County. We should demand to see the full report and the board should also. It sounds like a cover-up to me.


Santa Rosa

California ignored

EDITOR: In the State of the Union speech, President Donald Trump said: “To everyone still recovering (from the natural disasters) in Texas, Florida, Louisiana, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, everywhere, we are with you. We love you, and we always will pull through together. Always.”

We love you? Always? Well, apparently except for California. Where was our state in that pouring out of love, compassion and support? Where was the president during the most devastating series of fires in the history of California? Or the mudslides resulting from the fires? Did he even come to our state to assess damage or comfort the people who lost everything? Where’s the caring brotherhood he alludes to in his speech?

Trump is famous for going off-script during his speeches. It’s a shame he couldn’t have had the human decency to do it this time and include our state in his apparent concern.

Oh, wait. Of course. Trump won Texas, Florida and Louisiana in the election. He lost California. One shudders to think that this might be the reason he, the president of all of the country, ignored an important member of the American family. Petty, sad and frightening.


Santa Rosa

Rules of the road

EDITOR: I am a cyclist and a driver. I ride the back roads of Sonoma County several times a week, by myself and with groups. I have witnessed unlawful, unsafe and discourteous behavior by cyclists more times than I’d like to admit. But the photograph in last Thursday’s Outdoors section showing nine cyclists descending a section of Green Valley Road shows a group of cyclists riding in a safe and legal manner, with no sign of discourtesy.

The fact that a self-declared biker points to this photograph as evidence of unlawful, unsafe and discourteous behavior is a testament to the false perceptions of what cyclists can and cannot do (“Bikes and cars,” Letters, Saturday). This confusion is a primary source of the chronic tension between cyclists and other road users.

Solving this problem is everyone’s responsibility. I recommend that all bikers or cyclists take a smart cycling class from the Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition. And everyone — bikers and drivers — ought to drive legally, safely and with courtesy at all times.


Santa Rosa

Support Trump? No

EDITOR: Charles Bills (“Support the president,” Letters, Jan. 25) wrote that Republicans support law enforcement. Really? The utter disdain leveled at career public servants in the FBI by Republicans in the House and Senate, in an effort to protect Donald Trump, the real “enemy of the state,” refutes Bills’ assertion. Further, as a man, Bills doesn’t have the luxury of telling me to support a misogynist who openly bragged about sexual assault. No, I will not support this president.

And let’s not forget the birther movement. Was Trump showing respect for his president or the office he holds? No, I will not support this president.

The only thing Trump has accomplished (his true agenda) is to dismantle any and all of Barack Obama’s accomplishments after Obama inherited the Great Recession from yet another Republican president; a recession rivaled only by the Great Depression of the 1930s. No, I will not support this president.

I hazard to guess that Bills is yet another white male, over 50, who believes he should be given some kind of protected status as a victim of an integrated society that has lessened his ranking in the world. If Bills is tiring of us West Coast lefties, he can feel free to move. No, I will not support this president.



Modular homes

EDITOR: I appreciate all that so many have done in the recovery from the October wildfires, and I don’t mean to diminish the efforts of the volunteers working to develop modular homes (“Putting cash into construction,” Sunday). But a viable source already exists for modular homes in the form of at least two manufactured-home dealers in Santa Rosa. (For fear of leaving someone out, I won’t name them.)

They have provided service to the community for many years, and I am sorry that your article suggested that the efforts described are a new possibility for less-expensive home construction. I think the products provided by the local dealers should have at least been mentioned.


Santa Rosa