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Saturday’s Letters to the Editor

Countering McConnell

EDITOR: There’s a great deal of hand-wringing among Democrats regarding Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell’s outsized ability to direct bad policy, even from a minority position. McConnell’s policy goal, by his own admission, is to block any and all Democratic proposals, even those he knows would benefit our nation. Power for its own sake is the hallmark of a failed state. McConnell is “The Prince” of the GOP.

McConnell is a fact. The problem is Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer. Schumer lacks the spine and the cunning to go toe to toe with McConnell. I propose Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota. She’s smart, experienced and tough. It’s high time for the old geezer to stand aside and give ability rather than privilege the leg up it deserves.

STEVE CARTER

Sebastopol

Wealth tax is needed

EDITOR: Maureen Dowd acts surprised when she admonishes a half-dozen of our best tax-dodging billionaires (“It’s time to stop freeloading, Monopoly Men,” June 15). “Paying taxes is an expression of citizenship,” she tutors them. “We don’t want to ding you for succeeding, but we’re halfway to a plutocracy here.” Well, when three people own more wealth than the bottom half of society — as Bernie Sanders informs us — then plutocracy is here.

Every modern nation has a ruling elite who believe that the common people do not have what is necessary to rule: intelligence, education, determination, ambition, social standing, opportunism, immorality and a predatory instinct. Our ruling elite consists of these one percenters, these megabillionaires, these tax dodgers.

“The rich have money, the rich have power, the rich have lobbyists, and the rich do not pay their fair share of taxes,” Sanders adds. They have been with us since the beginning, they are still in control, and they have escaped all efforts to curb their power. A wealth tax would be a small step toward righting an immense moral wrong.

GENE A. HOTTEL

Santa Rosa

Defining ‘safe parking’

EDITOR: Overall, the general public seems to have a completely inaccurate idea of what “safe parking” is. I attribute this impression to pictures posted in the media of trash heaps at non-sanctioned encampments. This is not what safe parking is. It is a group of people who are currently residing in their cars, having lost traditional housing through various life’s events. Current programs have fewer than 10 cars, the people are registered, and the sites have porta-potties or bathrooms and trash pickup. The areas are kept clean by the safe parkers.

All these folks want is to have a safe place to sleep at night, off the streets, so they can rest up for the next day. Many work, others are seeking work or trying to regroup in between life’s incidents. They are like any other neighbor group. They just happen to live in cars instead of houses. Please be a good neighbor and welcome the unhoused into your neighborhood.

EILEEN BILL

Santa Rosa

Keep the river safe

EDITOR: According to Sonoma Water’s monitoring data, the lower Russian River is loaded with excessive levels of phosphorus that, when combined with the hot sun and low flows, cause extensive algal growth that gets worse as flows decrease. Sometimes toxic algae is hidden under or on nontoxic varieties. Most people don’t know it when they see it, including experts who usually rely on its being tested in a lab. While it’s a natural outcome of environmental circumstances, it’s also a health concern for humans and pets.

Sonoma Water’s temporary urgency change petition, recently authorized by the state water board, acknowledges the extreme drought with which we are faced. That order says minimum flows at Hacienda Bridge can go as low as 25 cubic feet per second, rather than the 60 cfs we had requested. The lower amount could cut off tributaries from the main stem and cause bald spots in the main, etc.

Lower river residents helped pay for Warm Springs Dam, but Sonoma Water refuses to release adequate stored water to keep downstream pets and humans safe this summer. Sonoma Water customers will have first dibs on the supply. Half of the water Sonoma Water sells goes to out-of-basin customers, including some people fighting to cut off the Eel River supply.

BRENDA ADELMAN

Russian River Watershed Protection Committee

Becoming a hub

EDITOR: Am I the only one who is concerned about the increase in air traffic at Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport? Two recent articles described planned flights: three additional flights to Southern California (“Alaska adding three flights at county airport,” April 16), and Avelo Airlines joining the other carriers for an unspecified number of trips (“County airport gains airline,” April 9).

Are we not in danger of creating a major hub, such as in San Jose or Orange County, with all the accompanying noise, traffic and growth-inducing activity? What exactly is the status of the Sonoma County Airport Comprehensive Plan? I can find no currently adopted plan under which we are supposed to be operating.

Let’s get a grip on this activity before it turn into something we do not want or need. What would Charlie Brown say?

JAN A. TOLMASOFF

Healdsburg

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