Monday’s Letters to the Editor
No new gas stations
EDITOR: Your March 10 editorial correctly asserts that “the whole world need(s) to make serious changes” to address the climate crisis (“Gas stations aren’t victims of cancel culture”). It errs when it asserted that local government prohibiting new gas stations isn’t a serious change. If the climate emergency resolutions adopted by local governments are to mean anything, they should revise their codes to be consistent with such a declaration.
The policy, market and technology trend is clear. Cities prohibiting new gas stations will become a statewide movement that will lead to state action.
Policy: California is on a trajectory for a fully decarbonized economy by 2045; the September 2020 executive order set a date for final sales of gas cars in 2035.
Market: Gasoline sales were flat even before COVID-19, and prices will rise as the age of cheap oil recedes into history. Many third party analyses, including Consumer Reports, show that electric vehicles are cheaper to own and operate than gas cars.
Technology: Gas and gas cars are obsolete technologies. Practical, affordable electric vehicles and infrastructure are on the rise as technology improves and costs drop.
Yes, people will drive gas cars for years to come. There is an abundance of gas stations in most cities to fuel them. There is no need to build new ones.
Recall is revenge
EDITOR: During her 10 years as district attorney, I have disagreed with numerous decisions made by Jill Ravitch. Her position on the death of Andy Lopez tops my list. But I can’t think of a recent issue tied to Ravitch that justifies the cost and effort behind the recall attempt.
Ravitch is not seeking reelection and will conclude her term next year. With an estimated cost to Sonoma County taxpayers of as much as $400,000 for a special election, this recall effort is counterproductive and would take valuable funds from local taxpayers.
Elected officials are recalled for a variety of reasons: lying, corruption, sexual improprieties or not defending the Constitution. But revenge?
It is most transparent that the local developer who initiated this recall action is doing it out of spite. This comes after his company paid a settlement for leaving residents of senior living facilities to fend for themselves during the Tubbs fire.
If this recall effort is successful, we only allow a big money developer with no interest in the general well-being of our community to get his revenge on an outgoing elected official.
Health care, not premiums
EDITOR: If a bully were ripping off your child’s lunch money, what would you do? Try to end the outrageous extortion? Or take up a collection so the community covered the bully’s demands?
The latter approach is what expanding government subsidies to cover the cost of private health insurance do. They use taxpayer money to further enrich insurance companies that are already enjoying record profits.
Insurance companies that insert themselves between patients and caregivers are as extraneous and harmful as a bully standing between your child and the school cafeteria. It’s time that Americans wake up and realize that no other developed country in the world countenances that type of affront to fiscal and common sense.
The $34 billion that the American Rescue Plan includes to expand Affordable Care Act subsidies would be better spent on paying for health care instead of insurance premiums. We need single-payer “Medicare for All,” not a plan that lines the already overflowing pockets of insurance companies at taxpayer expense.
If you’d like to learn more — or better yet, join a local group working for single-payer health care — email HealthcareForAllSonoma@gmail.com.
Fines and access
EDITOR: The Sonoma County Library welcomes questions about our fine-free policy (“Library returns,” Letters, March 6). The library went “fine-free” on July 1, 2019, eliminating overdue fines for late items. Libraries all over the nation have eliminated fines; charging them doesn’t make a difference in whether people bring back books on time. Instead, fines drive people away, reduce library use and can be a burden for a family struggling to manage the high cost of living in Sonoma County, especially in a pandemic.
While overdue fines are gone, the library still expects materials to come back, or a replacement fee is charged. The system works; 450,000 items were returned in the past eight months. However, recognizing the disruption of the pandemic, the library is temporarily not sending bills for long-lost items.
And, yes, some wait times for physical books are longer, due to pandemic-related budget cuts and a shift in spending toward digital resources, where usage has significantly increased.
We also understand our patrons’ frustration about limited book returns. Currently, patrons may return materials during curbside service hours Monday through Saturday, or until the book drop is full.
Communications manager, Sonoma County Library
Sharing relief funds
EDITOR: My wife and I are blessed with a place to live, food and income security. We are donating half of the three stimulus checks to Sacred Heart Community Service (serves the poor of San Jose with 10,000 volunteers; I was on the founding board in the early 1970s); Catholic Charities of Santa Rosa (I am participating on a volunteer liaison team); Redwood Empire Food Bank (I volunteered when I was working for Hewlett-Packard). The pandemic is very real to me. A close friend's wife died in December and an employee of our son’s local small construction company is dying of COVID-19. I know our gifts will make a real difference. If you don’t personally know an organization to share your blessings, consider the Redwood Empire Food Bank.
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