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Relax the deadline

EDITOR: Sonoma County supervisors must reconsider their strong-arm tactics (“Deadline set for fire debris removal,” Saturday). To begin with, it’s a mistake to refer to the document as a right-of-entry form. Sure, that’s the title, but entry isn’t the sticking point.

I observe that there have been no full-page ads from insurers urging policyholders to hurry and sign on. This document has some gotchas in it, and no one should sign it without careful consideration.

It’s nice that the county, the Army Corps of Engineers and their contractors all want to help. But, their “help” must not additionally disadvantage homeowners who have already suffered unimaginable loss.

So, knock it off, supervisors. Give these folks time to talk to their attorneys, insurers and contractors so they can make the right, informed decision. A 10-day time limit is totally unacceptable. We don’t want county supervisors treating our unfortunate friends and neighbors in such a shabby way.

ECKHARD KONKEL

Santa Rosa

Weapons of war

EDITOR: How many more senseless mass killings will it take before the people demand a ban on weapons that were designed for war?

GEORGE EVANS

Santa Rosa

‘Deadbeat states’

EDITOR: Ramesh Ponnuru (“Losers in the GOP’s tax plan can afford the loss,” Saturday) states that the more compelling point in the tax debate is that “low-tax states should not have to subsidize high-tax ones,” he misses the bigger picture.

He neglects to mention that, according to a 2005 study by the Tax Foundation, high-tax states subsidize low-tax states. High-tax states such as California and New York receive less in federal dollars than they pay in taxes. Low-tax states such as Alabama and Texas receive more federal tax dollars than they pay in taxes.

California, New York and other high-tax states have had to pay for these welfare states for years. For Ponnuru to say California should pay even more to support deadbeat states is a poor argument at best.

CARL SANCHEZ

Sonoma

Government’s fault

EDITOR: We lost our home in the fire. When the fire was first reported, there are only two possibilities. Either the Fire Department didn’t respond fast enough to put out the blaze before it could spread, or it responded in a timely manner but didn’t have the necessary manpower to contain the blaze while it was still in its earliest stages. They were either late, or they were undermanned. There are no other explanations, and I find both to be very disturbing.

Whether the initial fire was the responsibility of Napa or Sonoma county doesn’t matter. The morons who run our government are more interested in spending money to provide homeless encampments, or sanctuary city safe havens, or downtown unification projects or worthless SMART trains than they are in staffing our community with fire and police protection. And don’t even get me started on the schools. I hold government responsible for the loss of my home.

JIM ALJIAN

Santa Rosa

A secondary disaster

EDITOR: An article in last Wednesday’s paper quoted officials regarding the urgency for fire clean-up before winter rains commence (“With upcoming rain, fear of contamination”). Property owners are reluctant thus far to allow government to clean up their toxic ash and may be setting the stage for a secondary tragedy: massive polluting of our waterways.

Remaining ash, containing an eviscerated combination of toxic products, may be washed into the water or settle on gardens and farms to do irreparable damage. This stuff is so toxic that men in white suits with masks, gloves and boots have to remove it to a special place where they allow toxic wastes.

It is time-consuming, dirty, expensive and hazardous. And it needs to be done immediately before the heavy rains begin.

Those holding off may find it hard to find qualified people to do the job properly and affordably so they can obtain permits to rebuild. Time is of the essence to get it done. Please sign your right-of-entry form, and let others arrange to do the work free of charge.

It’s a hard choice. We feel sympathy for people having to make it, but the effects could be so dire, it might greatly compound the suffering and loss.

BRENDA ADELMAN

Russian River Watershed Protection Committee

The quiet close by

EDITOR: “Chasing the Quiet” in Thursday’s Outdoor section was a wonderful reminder about the importance of quiet spaces to our health — both physical and mental health. The places referenced are indeed beautiful and quiet, though most are a bit distant.

For those who search for quiet space closer to home, I have a few suggestions. At North Sonoma Mountain Regional Park, begin your walk through ferns and redwoods, then climb through forests of oaks and bay for the views of the peaks surrounding Santa Rosa and the Sonoma Valley.

At Helen Putnam Regional Park at the western edge of Petaluma, you can find the perfect bench on the loop trail to overlook the rolling hills of Chileno Valley and watch turkey vultures soar above.

Or head to the coast to descend Pinnacle Gulch Trail to a small, quiet beach on Bodega Bay. Whichever park you choose to visit, you can enjoy the peacefulness of being outdoors in natural settings close to home.

CAROL EBER

Petaluma

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