Friday’s Letters to the Editor
For housing, lower fees
EDITOR: It was great to hear that Santa Rosa City Councilwoman Victoria Fleming feels that we need to lose at least one regulation to lower housing costs (“I will trade parking for affordable housing,” Close to Home, Sunday). Frequently it seems that the council only likes more regulations and costs.
But Fleming can actually do something in her role as a lawmaker. Santa Rosa imposes approximately $55,000 in permit costs to build a house on land you already own. At the same time, the city lets neighbors, concerned citizens and anybody else weigh in on how they think you should spend your money on your property.
When the cost to build goes up, this is passed on to the buyer. In fact, as it drives up prices on a new house, this increase makes other houses cost more too. So I would suggest that the council not worry about Sacramento or Washington or even the U.N. Security Council, but rather act to lower home costs themselves by lowering permit fees and facilitating the building process.
Dedicated public servant
EDITOR: As the first official executive director of Sonoma County’s Family Justice Center, I had the pleasure of working under the leadership of District Attorney Jill Ravitch from 2013 until 2019. During those years, Ravitch and I worked hand in hand with a committed group of community-based organizations, ensuring that victims of family and interpersonal violence received the most comprehensive wraparound services possible.
So imagine my shock when I heard there was an effort to recall her just one year before her term ends — and after she announced she would not run again. My shock turned into disgust when I found out one wealthy and vindictive developer, who she held to account for endangering the lives of seniors in his care during the Tubbs fire, was behind this recall effort.
Ravitch is a focused, compassionate and goal-driven leader who always holds the best interests of victims at the fore. Her vision and commitment continues to propel the Family Justice Center forward — exploring new ideas, opportunities and best practices to serve thousands of crime victims. She should serve out the rest of her term and retire as the dedicated public servant she is.
Police gain power
EDITOR: It’s official. We are now effectively a police state. Some people with major fire power will continue to not be held to account, with rare exceptions (Panel guts sheriff oversight,” June 24). Both Sonoma County and the state of California have failed their citizens.
The GOP changed
EDITOR: When I was old enough to vote, I registered as a Democrat. As a Vietnam veteran attending college in the 1970s, I changed my party affiliation to Republican. I was a Republican until three years ago, when I became an independent.
I cannot believe what has happened to the Republican Party. It used to be the law and order party, the party you could trust, the party that defended the Constitution. Now it is the party of people who lie when everyone knows they are lying.
Republicans don’t support law and order but instead attack police officers trying to do their jobs against overwhelming odds. In spite of video showing a violent insurrection in Washington, they call it a peaceful protest. One congressman said it was not unlike normal visitors to the Capitol. Now we hear conspiracy theories that the FBI organized it and calls for an investigation. When given the opportunity to have a bipartisan commission find the truth, Republicans blocked it.
I have a grandson who graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy a year ago. I am very proud of him, but I am afraid that the world we are leaving his generation will not be nearly as nice as the world we enjoyed for most of our lives.
Unprepared for fires
EDITOR: Gov. Gavin Newsom claimed his executive order to prevent future fires resulted in 90,000 acres being remediated with fire breaks and brush removal. But the state’s own numbers show only 11,399 acres were treated (“Governor overstated fire prevention work, report says,” June 24). Cal Fire’s budget was also cut when the state has a surplus. We are facing another bad fire season, and the governor’s inaction could result in lives lost, homes burned and all our health affected by bad air quality. We drove through Mendocino and Sonoma counties one day recently and could see the dry hills covered with dry brush and grass ready to burn.
An overlooked steward
EDITOR: The Press Democrat did a commendable job in Sunday’s Insight section outlining the many issues facing the Russian River watershed during this time of drought. The complex subject of a precious resource with a multitude of demands — providing water for residents, fish and wildlife, agriculture and recreation — was covered well.
However, you missed an important watchdog group in your list of organizations looking out for the Russian River. For over 40 years, the Russian River Watershed Protection Committee has been working to protect and preserve the lower Russian River. I urge your readers to check them out at rrwpc.org.
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