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Let’s secede

EDITOR: I’ve been a proponent of California secession for years — but only if we were to exit as presently constituted (“California excels as the Big Blue Bastion,” Editorial, Saturday). And I’d encourage Oregon, Washington and Hawaii to go with us.

I’ve come to see the U.S. as an artificial union that pays very little heed to our state, despite our enormous economic clout.

The last time I checked, the least-populated 22 or 23 states have fewer people combined than California. And a total of 44 or 46 senators to our two. And they skew the Electoral College.

Too, many of those states are unnecessarily small. Do we really need two Dakotas? Is there any real difference between Nebraska, Iowa and Kansas? The same goes for Arkansas and Oklahoma.

I don’t think the concept or the viability of our national “union” can be defended any longer. It’s certainly not governable.

My new country of Pacifica would be a formidable entity with a highly diverse population, robust economic dynamism and unmatched tourism appeal. Perhaps most important, its voters — freed from the crippling anachronism of the Electoral College — finally would have a real voice in how their country would be governed.

MARK WARDLAW

Santa Rosa

Gouging law impacts

EDITOR: I have had a rental house in northwest Santa Rosa for the past 28 years. When I rent, I set the starting price at the going rate. Afterward, I increase the rent very slowly, if at all, so that it falls well below the going rate. This encourages low turnover and keeps the tenants happy. As a result, I am only on my fourth tenant. Currently, I am charging $600-$800 below the normal pre-fire rates of similar homes.

My tenants just gave notice that they are leaving to buy their own home, so this would be a good time to modernize the house a bit and set the rent to the normal pre-fire rate. But the price gouging law doesn’t have an exemption for me, so I am forced to rent well below market rate again.

As a result, I may take my sweet time fixing up the house and keep it off the market until this emergency law expires in December. Unfortunately, they already have extended the deadline twice, and I am afraid they may do it again. This doesn’t seem fair, and it doesn’t help the availability of housing stock.

CAESAR VALENTI

Santa Rosa

The real vulgarity

EDITOR: So the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner should be ended because the comedy was too vulgar (“It’s past time to end this annual DC spectacle,” Editorial, May 1)? Well, here’s some advice: When the media runs a story about the dinner, close your eyes, change the channel or stick your fingers in your ears and say, “Na-na-na-na-na, I can’t heart you” until the story ends.

That doesn’t work when it comes to the burning cesspool called the Trump presidency because, unlike the correspondents’ dinner, it impacts our lives every day, in every way. The pain inflicted by a tasteless joke at the dinner occurs once a year, lasts seconds and means nothing in the real world. But the lies, profanities, obfuscations, Twitter tantrums, insults, bullying and half-baked malarkey that passes for national policy make a real impact on everyone now and forever.

Every politician who, for political expediency or out of sheer cowardice, panders favor with Trump, every toady Cabinet member who offers a defense of the latest lie and every “celebrity” attending a confab or photo-op does more irreparable damage than a thousand White House Correspondents’ Association dinners.

So far, our nation has (barely) endured the baloney-infused governance thrown from the cage by the White House orangutan. If we can endure that, surely we can endure the once-a-year questionable humor of the correspondents’ dinner.

DON BALDI

Santa Rosa

County’s priorities

EDITOR: How ironic. The juxtaposition of two-front page articles Tuesday — spend $375.5 million on new county buildings (“County land may host homes) and cut county mental health Services by $16 million (“County may cut health services”). Good to get those priorities straight. Yeah, right.

ED LaFRANCE

Sebastopol

Eastin for governor

EDITOR: It’s a Monday night at USC, and California gubernatorial candidate Delaine Eastin has the crowd cracking up, again. Her pauses for laughter, which are necessary, not forced, are shrewdly disarming. She immediately comes across as someone you want to listen to.

Eastin is the clear progressive candidate for governor. She has an actual plan for reinvesting in education, she’s a staunch advocate for single-payer health care, and she’s the first candidate who has called for a total ban on oil and natural gas fracking in California.

One of the most striking things about Eastin is her ability to make you feel simultaneously heard and entertained. Listening to her speak, you understand that she’s not towing any lines. She’s holistically invested in helping people.

We’re living in a moment that’s not only highly polarized, it’s also devastatingly serious. A moment that calls for someone who can remind us what matters in a grounded, practical and lighthearted way. Someone who’s experienced but not jaded, and smart but not smug. Someone who makes a distinction between gravity and fear.

Someone who will remind us, even in the midst of a televised gubernatorial debate, “Don’t lose your sense of humor.”

ERIN GINDER-SHAW

Emeryville

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