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Assessing Proposition 13

EDITOR: Having read Conor Friedersdorf’s commentary in Sunday’s Forum section (“Prop 13: California’s tax revolt turns 40”), I must correct some opinions.

As a boomer who was fortunate enough to grow up in then-rural Sonoma County, I remember the fear of losing our home to taxation when a grass-roots effort began in the 1970s. People here were worried about government overreach. Consumer taxes were just beginning to go up, and 7-10 percent annual increases in property taxes weren’t out of the question when Californians said enough in 1978.

Since that time, I’ve witnessed government circumvent Proposition 13 through bond measures. I presently have nine added payments on my property taxes. People forget that if a property is a rental home or apartment, that cost is translated to increased rent.

We all pay for tax increases one way or the other. True inflation (including food and fuel) has increased aggressively since the 2007-08 crash. Please don’t gloss over the facts that make living in Sonoma County extremely difficult.

WENDY WOOD HAYNES

Santa Rosa

GOP denying coverage

EDITOR: Republicans think insurance companies should once again be able to deny coverage or charge outrageous premiums because of a pre-existing condition (“Risky strategy in health care fight,” June 8).

In the Republicans’ tax cut bill last year was a provision effectively repealing the individual mandate by eliminating the fine for failing to carry insurance. Now, in a case filed by Texas and 19 other states in U.S. District Court in Fort Worth, Republicans argue that all of the Affordable Care Act and the regulations issued under it are invalid.

And last week, the Republican attorney general, Jeff Sessions, sent a letter to congressional leaders notifying them that in this case he wouldn’t defend the constitutionality of the individual mandate or the requirement for insurers to sell insurance to all applicants at standard rates.

If this case is successful, millions of Americans will lose their health insurance or no longer be able to afford the premiums.

I would be curious to hear from local Republicans how they plan to defend denying health coverage to millions of Americans come November. And I urge anyone concerned about health care to vote for Democrats in the upcoming state and federal elections.

ELLIOT MORRISON

Santa Rosa

Self-serving appeal

EDITOR: I am disgusted by the self-serving attempt by lawyers representing Sonoma County lawyers to immunize sheriff’s Sgt. Erick Gelhaus from civil liability in the Andy Lopez case (“High court weighs Andy Lopez shooting,” Monday). Their petition to the U.S. Supreme Court is based on the absurd assumption that Andy refused to drop his weapon.

This action by my county doesn’t speak for me and merely perpetuates the prevailing prejudice of leniency toward law enforcement in cases of excessive force.

My opinion of the Supreme Court is pretty low, but I hope they throw this one out.

PIETER S. MYERS

Occidental

PG&E’s culpability

EDITOR: PG&E is once again being faulted for violating state law by failing to trim trees near power lines, with criminal prosecution a possibility. It wouldn’t be the first time.

In 1997, the company was found guilty of 739 counts of negligence for failing to trim trees that ignited a massive Sierra blaze. Last year, the company was fined $8.3 million for causing a Butte County fire that killed two people. The company also was found guilty of obstructing a federal investigation and violating pipeline safety laws after its San Bruno gas explosion killed eight.

But rather than accept responsibility for its misconduct, PG&E has launched a glitzy ad campaign blaming everything from climate change to poor warning systems for the destruction. In fact, PG&E’s equipment sparked the fires.

It’s time for PG&E to take responsibility and do its job. If it had, people would still be alive.

PATRICIA GRIMM

Santa Rosa

Gun sales and age limits

EDITOR: Assembly Bill 3, raising the age from 18 to 21 to buy a firearm and ammunition, is coming up before the state Senate Public Safety Committee. While they are at it, they should add riders to change the age for voting, tobacco and drivers’ licenses to 21 too. Oh, don’t forget the California National Guard. Or how about enforcing the laws California already has on the books? That would be a novel approach.

MICHAEL PATRICK, SR.

Petaluma

Trump’s ego

EDITOR: It seems pretty obvious by now that Donald Trump feels the need to be in the news constantly. I work with kids, and conventional wisdom is that when kids throw tantrums for attention, you ignore them and guide them to other ways of being recognized.

Unfortunately, ignoring Trump may well lead him to engage in frightening acts to stay in the news, which leads to my suggestion: Let’s pay big attention to all the inane things he says and does that don’t run the risk of hurting others.

With all due respect to the Philadelphia Eagles (and I do respect them), I am thinking of his snubbing of sports figures and other celebrities, his liaisons with porn stars and the musical chairs game that constitutes his way of “managing.”

Please, big headlines for these matters, and maybe he will keep his tiny fingers and tiny brain away from the nuclear codes.

RICHARD A. DURR

Santa Rosa

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