Saturday’s Letters to the Editor
County can do better
EDITOR: It’s tough to shake the helpless feeling that comes with four years of wildfires. Combating climate change is a global challenge, but we in Sonoma County can do better in at least one regard: bringing down greenhouse gas emissions from our vehicles. Our driving here in Sonoma contributes almost 60% of all greenhouse gases, according to the regional climate authority, compared to 40% statewide. And it’s getting worse: in the 10 years ending in 2018, vehicle miles in Sonoma have increased by 10%.
As individuals, we should give electric vehicles another look when considering a car purchase. Prices have come down, and the availability of used vehicles is expanding. Our elected local officials can do more as well. Electric buses and vehicles run by our county and municipalities should replace those powered by fossil fuels.
And we need more electric vehicle charging stations. Permitting for stations available to the public is cumbersome and expensive. California recognized this problem and in 2015, passed AB 1236, giving municipalities a template to simplify and expedite the permitting process. To date, neither Santa Rosa nor Petaluma are conforming to the law. In ways big and small, we in Sonoma can do better.
Money for housing
EDITOR: The Sonoma County supervisors’ allocation of $10 million in PG&E settlement funds to housing solutions is a huge win for our community that will have generational impact.
The county’s $10 million is contingent on the city of Santa Rosa matching the amount from its PG&E settlement. That combined $20 million would seed the Renewal Enterprise District housing fund, a revolving loan fund that works to bridge financing gaps for housing construction.
Following the 2017 wildfires, Sonoma County adopted the goal of building 30,000 housing units, including 16,500 desperately needed affordable homes. The need was and remains urgent. But It’s expensive to build in Sonoma County. The innovative Renewal Enterprise District fund would provide a crucial local source of financing to get these housing communities built.
More affordable housing means more people can stay in our county and live closer to their work and the heart of their community. More affordable housing means that our community members can do better than just “make rent” — they can thrive.
We look forward to the city of Santa Rosa prioritizing housing solutions for our community and future generations by matching the county’s investment in the Renewal Enterprise District.
Executive director, Generation Housing
Vote for the planet
EDITOR: Vote, please, vote. This is supposed to be a democracy, so let’s ensure that it is one. Forget all the other reasons for supporting this or that candidate, what matters many times more than all of those things is the fouling of our own nest, the pollution that is caused by us that will sink our children into a declining standard of living, and perhaps global chaos, from out-of-control migrations of people to wrecked agriculture. Please vote for someone, anyone who will make this a top priority.
End of fact-based truth
EDITOR: It was difficult to read Michael Lewis’ column in the Oct. 11 Forum section ("Inside a California coronavirus revolt"). It seems a growing number of people have decided that real news, as reported by journalists who believe it an ethical imperative to tell the truth, is to be ignored.
Instead they surround themselves with information from like-minded Facebook friends and YouTube reports. Neither source feels any obligation to the truth. Instead they preach that every real news source in the world has conspired to create a false narrative. The pandemic is a hoax! There is no virus!
The article closed: “One of the loudest protesters in Shasta County, a businessman who had refused to take steps to prevent the spread, watched his mother die of COVID. In that moment, a political opinion was challenged by fact, one of them needed to be altered. The man called the coroner and demanded that the county change the cause of death.” Truth denied in favor of false rhetoric. Where can we go from here?
EDITOR: I suppose it’s common for political campaigns to spin arguments to benefit one side. There is even a whole industry of political fact checkers who are kept busy giving out “Pinnochios” to help voters separate fact from falsehood.
Even with that understanding, seeing signs urging a no vote on Measure P with a blatantly false tagline was disheartening. The signs say “Don’t Defund Our Deputies,” which is catchy, persuasive and a big fat lie.
Measure P doesn’t relate to or affect the budget of the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office. Not one penny. It relates to transparency and accountability. It is shameful that the no on P campaign would wrap themselves in the moral high ground of law enforcement and lie to voters to defeat this measure.
On further reflection, voters should see this blatant example of dishonesty as another good reason to vote for Measure P. The deputies’ union is lying to our community because it objects to reasonable oversight.
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