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Postal service

EDITOR: As a veteran of the catalog industry, I have followed the Postal Regulatory Commission’s doings for years. Barry Rithholtz’s column on Amazon and the Postal Service was on time and accurate, as well over 99.9 percent of USPS deliveries are (“Congress, not Amazon, messed up the Post Office,” April 5). He left out only one salient fact (as did Donald Trump).

The two major lobbyists on package delivery in front of the Postal Regulatory Commission are FedEx and UPS. They spend enormous sums making sure that the USPS raises its rates enough that they can gouge their own customers. They also support nifty rules like banning the USPS from delivering wine or cigars. (Too bad, wine club members). They even kept them from offering fax service in the days of fax. Whatever Amazon pays is more due to FedEx and UPS than the Postal Service.

The USPS has done a great job since being founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1775. Now it continues without any government subsidy, with Congress blocking cost-saving moves and with its two major competitors actively engaged in setting its prices.

MARK SWEDLUND

Sebastopol

No on Prop. 69

EDITOR: I agree that our roads are in a bad state of repair. However, what our engineers decide is often ignored by an orgy of relentless and wasteful spending by our politicians and Caltrans. Take, for example, the eastern span of the Bay Bridge, which could have been built in any other state for $500 million.

Even the initial price of less than $2 billion was tripled by cost over-runs. The contractor, without thought to quality, expedited a speedy finish, which resulted in the contractor getting a bonus for completion before a certain date. As a result, we have a $6 billion bridge that is in doubt of being any better than the one before.

Another example is the Highway 101 widening, which has taken more than 15 years of work and is still just finishing.

Finally, the so-called L.A.-San Francisco bullet train, which has already been approved and started regardless of the fact that most of the rights-of-way haven’t been secured. And only the money from Bakersfield to Fresno is budgeted.

As long as this continues, how can The Press Democrat or the state expect to gain support? No on Proposition 69 without Caltrans and budget reform.

JORDON BERKOVE

Guerneville

Trump’s outbursts

EDITOR: If we continue to allow Donald Trump to do what he is doing, we might as well throw our democracy out the window. Trump keeps charging that the people investigating him are Democrats.

Democrats are the other party, not the enemy. Both parties should be working for the welfare of country, not for one particular party. Not only for the rich. Not for Trump.

The fact that Robert Mueller is a Republican doesn’t matter to Trump. If he is investigating him, he must be a Democrat. Allowing Trump to slander and insult Andrew McCabe, who devoted his life to serving his country in the FBI, and denying him his pension after many years of service because his wife took donations from Democrats while running for office, is unconscionable.

The Russians meddled in our election. This must be investigated and dealt with. If there was no collusion between Trump’s campaign and the Russians, then he has nothing to worry about. If there was, the American people deserve to know to prevent this from ever happening again.

The Russians seem to be Trump’s friends. The Democrats are his enemy. Go figure.

GAIL OUTLAW

Santa Rosa

Diet and security

EDITOR: Just lately we have had several letters purporting that veganism would promote food abundance. I think there is a blindness here to the thousands of acres of blazingly emerald green pastures that dominate much of Sonoma County.

Take the ride from Valley Ford to Tomales. It is one of the most amazingly beautiful and bucolic scenes in all the world. Those lush green pastures you see sequester tons of carbon, and the thousands of animals grazing are a security of abundance right here. In Iraq and Syria, drought and overgrazing have denuded the landscape, and what have they got? Famine and war.

One of the great balances of nature is Earth’s millions of acres of pasture and the herbivores grazing them (since time immemorial).

Now, with the late rains, the county’s ranches are blessed with an extension of this green abundance. We might as well be grateful for God’s green Earth and the animals that sublimely graze on it.

ART KOPECKY

Sebastopol

A benzene fix?

EDITOR: I am a retired environmental chemist/toxicologist. I operated an environmental analytical laboratory in Santa Rosa for 17 years and founded an environmental toxicology consulting company in Santa Rosa that is still operating. I have read about the benzene contamination in the water in Fountaingrove and the $43 million price to replace the pipes.

I suggest that an alternative method is available that, while expensive, is far less so than immediately replacing the pipes. Carbon filtration can remove benzene from water and lower the contamination to acceptably safe levels, thus allowing people to begin rebuilding their homes.

Filters could be set up to serve groups of homes, and there would likely be several such “filtering stations” in the Fountaingrove area. The filtering systems would have to be monitored by the city.

This would allow time for the benzene to dissipate and allow new homes to have safe water. It could develop that the pipes ultimately don’t have to be replaced.

This is a commonly used method of purifying water, and it should be considered by the city.

BOB HARRIS

Santa Rosa

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