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Saturday’s Letters to the Editor

Clear creeks for safety

EDITOR: We are seeing unprecedented fires in California and floods throughout our nation. While we would love to have some heavy rains, we in Sonoma County have neglected our creek beds for years. The plant and brush growth that goes unattended year after year is blocking the pathways for winter rains. That will lead to floods in our streets and for businesses and homes along the creeks.

Most citizens do not understand that fire travels in creek beds. A moving trail of sparks can burn businesses and homes. Santa Rosa has more than 100 miles of creek beds, and Sonoma County has hundreds of creek beds and water channels that are full of growth.

There is an urgency for service clubs, Scouts and concerned citizens to bring their energy to the creeks. We understand there is a stewardship program in Santa Rosa, but it isn’t working because of COVID. I suggest we activate many masked teams with tools and trash bags to get this complete quickly.

JUDITH RIVERS-MOORE

Santa Rosa

Selective memory

EDITOR: George F. Will claims that “America has no problem confronting its past.” But his historical memory is selective. He focuses on America’s atonement for the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II, which he claims is a “pebble” in a “mountain of evidence” supporting his claim.

I, unlike Will, am an historian. If I had the space, I could present a mountain of evidence that contradicts his assertion. He ignored two of the most “unpleasant facts” in America’s past: slavery and the continued oppression of Black Americans after slavery’s end, and genocide against Indigenous peoples.

If America has no problem confronting its past, how does he explain the white outrage over critical race theory and the 1619 Project? Or the number of Republican-controlled state legislatures that are outlawing (i.e. censoring) any teaching about race in public schools? If you don’t talk about race, you can’t teach American history. But that’s the point. These people want to suppress history so they can avoid having to face “unpleasant facts.”

I hope that someday this country will honestly face up to all of its past and work to atone for it. Not just a searching of the soul, but a true change of heart.

DAVE STRAIGHT

Windsor

Advice for Newsom

EDITOR: Gov. Gavin Newsom may have survived the recall vote, but if he believes that was an overall vote of confidence he needs to think again. He has performed poorly on many state issues, handled personal matters differently from what he was espousing and continues to show that although he and Ronald Reagan might follow the same hair doctrine, Reagan displayed himself as an everyday man while Newsom is anything but. Maybe, as C.W. Nevius pointed out, Newsom should act real and muss his hair, just a little now and then (“Pundits ask the wrong question on recall,” Sept. 5).

MITCH LAING

Petaluma

A potential respite

EDITOR: On Sept. 4, you published a feature on vanishing respites — places to go to appreciate nature. I read it with bitterness, as my husband and I, who live in northeast Santa Rosa, drive more than 5 miles every morning to walk at Spring Lake Regional Park. It is serene and restorative. We look forward to seeing deer, an occasional coyote (at a distance), jack rabbits, lots of quail and birds of all kinds. We chat with other walkers and have made many friends.

Why, a lot of us wonder, can’t the old hospital grounds on Chanate Road become a place to walk, picnic, safely ride bikes, a playground for children, even a place to ride horses? There is plenty of room for a nice campground. Why not that instead of auctioning it off to a developer who will add more traffic to an already busy two-lane road?

We know why. We have been to two meetings when the Board of Supervisors wanted to sell the property for a handsome amount to just such a developer. One supervisor who witnessed the tremendous pushback by neighbors called us NIMBYs.

Since money talks a lot louder than the constituents one is elected to represent, I expect nobody in the position to do the right thing, will.

NANCY STEPHAN

Santa Rosa

Vacation rentals

EDITOR: Pacaso’s arrogant executives have made a serious mistake by trying to elbow their way into Napa and Sonoma counties. They think they can purchase homes in quiet residential neighborhoods without pushback from those who live there. They don’t realize that residents won’t tolerate the unregulated proliferation of commercial vacation houses.

Pacaso buys houses on the sly, hoping neighbors won’t have time to organize opposition. But homeowners have begun to post “red alerts” as soon as they discover what is going on. Soon anti-Pacaso signs festoon homes and lawns, which makes it awkward for realtors to show these properties. At any rate, most realtors want nothing to do with this outfit — even though Pacaso tells them it will be the easiest money they’ll earn all year. And few buyers want to vacation in a house surrounded by resentful neighbors.

Meanwhile, the billionaire bullies believe they can counter the onslaught of negative PR by donating token sums for affordable housing. Will $100,000 make up for the houses that are no longer available to local families?

Opponents of Pacaso have been inspired by the remarkable outpouring of support in the fight to preserve our sense of community.

CARL SHERRILL

Sonoma

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