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Building in fire zones

EDITOR: We now have the costliest wildfire in U.S. history because past Santa Rosa City Councils knowingly approved multimillion dollar subdivisions in a high/very high fire hazard area. Hazard mitigation plans forewarned that area was likely to burn again.

Because cities keep approving new developments in fire-hazard zones, wildfire experts advocate that cities reimburse 100 percent of state and federal firefighting costs. As state Insurance Commissioner David Jones said, state and federal aid “ultimately falls on the backs of taxpayers.” Santa Rosa has to reimburse only 25 percent of the cost. The loss of property tax, sales tax and other revenue is the consequences of gambling on dense housing in a hazardous area.

The City Council is asking for millions in aid, while simultaneously contemplating 237 new houses on burned property on Round Barn Boulevard. The council seems oblivious that people died trying to escape the fires as well as to the insurance nightmares for those who lost homes, including the challenge of finding affordable coverage in Fountaingrove going forward.

Councilman Jack Tibbetts’ comment — “If it’s not one disaster, it’s another” — confirms the disregard that half the council has for residents (“Santa Rosa rejects housing project in burn zone,” Dec. 20). Council members deserve to face the same economic difficulties that fire victims are facing. The city shouldn’t be entitled to a taxpayer bailout if it continues with poor land-use decisions.

KAREN SANDERS

Santa Rosa

Trump’s supporters

EDITOR: It is truly hard to comprehend that the current president’s supporters continue to refer to “unfounded diatribes of name-calling and false innuendos” by his critics (“A refreshing start,” Letters, Jan. 3).

Michael George’s letter confounds and frustrates me. Do supporters not read Donald Trump’s tweets or commentaries from respected columnists who supported Republicans in the past, namely David Brooks, George Will and Charles Krauthammer?

Let’s forget the divisive politics and just look at the man who is occupying the White House. He is a bully, divisive, ill-informed, immoral and lacking in the moral temperament to lead this country and/or the world. I am ashamed of those who continue to support this man and embarrassed that as a country we elected such a man.

MYRNA DILLON

Sonoma

Whose denial?

EDITOR: In his Monday column, E.J. Dionne says, “Future Historians will scratch their heads to figure out why it took this particular book to break the dam of denial” (“Michael Wolff and the end of denial”). I, and probably upward of tens of millions of my fellow Americans who didn’t sleep the night of Nov. 8, 2016, take umbrage at that assertion. I’m not sure who Dionne is accusing of being in denial outside of those who voted for Donald Trump. As for the rest of the country, we haven’t been even vaguely in denial of the absurdity of our president and the danger to our democracy that he represents.

NATHANIEL ROBERTS

Petaluma

Stony Point delays

EDITOR: I would appreciate a detailed article in The Press Democrat regarding the Stony Point Road project — how much longer it is going to take, why it is now past deadline, etc. The project website is less than informative. I am suspicious of official statements regarding weather delays and other purported reasons for the slow pace of this project.

What I see in my daily commute is occasional brief periods of intense, well-staffed activity, then long periods of nothing, or one small crew working on an isolated part of the project, such as a section of sidewalk, while the rest of the project lies fallow.

I would really like to see this project completed, but I suspect it’s low on some important people’s list of priorities.

DANIEL O’BRIEN

Rohnert Park

Nuclear disarmament

EDITOR: The United States, with more nuclear weapons than any country in the world, is in no position to tell North Korea that it can’t have nuclear weapons too. It’s time for the United States to say to Kim Jong Un, “We will eliminate our nuclear arsenal if you will end your nuclear weapons program.” This action would be setting a precedent for other nations to dismantle their nuclear arms, giving the world assurance that life on earth will be preserved.

STEVE GRAY

Mendocino

A solution: Don’t litter

EDITOR: The amount of trash along our roads and highways disgusts me. We have so many serious problems without easy solutions. However, the solution to trash is literally in our hands.

I don’t know why so many people think it’s fine to throw their trash down on paths and roads. We shouldn’t have to pay city/county/state employees to pick up that trash. I traveled the roads of Michigan this past year and was amazed at how trash-free the roads were.

Are their people cleaner than Californians, or do they spend money to clean up trash deposited by their citizens? Maybe we need another “do not litter” campaign starting in the grade schools so that kids are raised to respect their environment.

ANN POSSINGER

Santa Rosa

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