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Lowering the bar

EDITOR: It’s fascinating to me that the state is lowering the passing score for the bar exam because not enough people are able to pass it (“State’s top court to lower the bar on lawyers’ exam,” July 16). Please note that it also has been recognized that there aren’t enough medical doctors in California, but no one seems to be talking about lowering any of the medical exam standards.

I doubt you would want someone operating on you if that person could only pass a watered-down version of his/her medical exam finals.

So never mind that lawyers and judges always talk about eliminating frivolous lawsuits, which is what happens when you have a surplus of attorneys looking for work. Never mind that the tax code is, at present, somewhere between 2,600-70,000 pages, with all such laws drafted primarily by lawyers.

What does matter is that the public is demanding that professionals be of the highest possible caliber when they are in a position that can substantially affect people’s lives.

After all, would you want an inexperienced politician in power who knew nothing about diplomacy, geography, science or history and perhaps didn’t even know that Fredrick Douglass died in 1895?

CARL MERNER

Santa Rosa

Climate plan settlement

EDITOR: “This is why Trump won” was my reaction to the River Watch “victory” reported in Friday’s paper (“County climate plan nullified”).

Suing the county and forcing it to abandon good-faith efforts to create a comprehensive plan to reduce greenhouse gases is a classic example of the perfect being the enemy of the good. It is also the kind of take-no-prisoners approach that alienates observers on all sides.

I can’t argue with River Watch’s mission, and I doubt that many would find fault with its hopes for a cleaner, more sustainable local economy.

However, it can hardly claim to represent a majority of Sonoma County citizens when its IRS form 990 reports less than $100,000 in public donations in any of the past five years. Most of its income is derived from court settlements that some consider to be nothing more than extortion.

River Watch reports five board members and eight volunteers who have, it seems, appointed themselves as arbiters of political processes that played out in public forums and yielded a decent start on a Climate Protection Plan for Sonoma County.

Thanks to them we have thrown out the baby with the bathwater. The county and its citizens are back to square one and a quarter-million dollars poorer in the bargain.

MATT STONE

Petaluma

We may not have a fix

EDITOR: The worst decade of hurricanes in U.S. history was the 1880s when the U.S. suffered damage from 25 hurricanes. The worst year was 1886, with seven hurricanes. In 1893, two hurricanes in the U.S. killed 1,000 people (2,000 combined hurricane deaths). The worst U.S. hurricane was in Galveston, Texas in 1900 (8,000 deaths).

In the 1880s, the world was 1.4 degrees cooler, there were no cars in the U.S., few oil wells, and the world population was a tenth of today’s.

Maybe Chicken Little is wrong. Maybe we don’t have all the answers. Maybe we can’t fix it.

ROGER DELGADO

Sebastopol

Unending road work

EDITOR: I cannot believe someone hasn’t written about the construction going on Stony Point Road south of Sebastopol Road. It has to be years since it all started, and it looks like it will be years before it is finished. What on earth is taking so long?

Is it the city of Santa Rosa or Sonoma County doing the work? Or not doing the work? Sections of it in all the mess look like they haven’t been worked on for months. I can’t remember another local project taking this long.

DELLA McKAMEY

Santa Rosa

Getting richer

EDITOR: When are we going to admit that we (not me) elected the head of a crime family to run our country. He is enriching himself and his organization at the country’s expense.

FRANK ZWOLINSKI

Santa Rosa

Science and weather

EDITOR: Monday’s letter poking fun at belief in climate change by noting a catastrophic hurricane in 1935 fails in many ways (“Hurricane history”), but I will address only two.

First, people with a basic understanding of science wouldn’t use a single data point to discard a hypothesis, especially a hypothesis strongly supported by ever-increasing reams of data showing planetary warming and backed by the well-understood physics of greenhouse gases.

Second, “strengthening” his argument, the writer notes the greater number of deaths in 1935, ignoring the differences in weather prediction, building codes, communication and mobility between 1935 and now.

Whether Hurricane Irma’s strength or size was affected by climate change isn’t provable. What is known is that the atmospheric level of carbon dioxide has risen at alarming rates over the time man has been using industrial levels of coal and petroleum, carbon dioxide traps heat, and weather, including hurricanes, is an energy machine fueled by heat. More heat leads to more energetic weather.

KENNETH KOUTZ

Guerneville