Saturday’s Letters to the Editor

A Press Democrat reader says low pays drives lifeguard shortage, and more.|

Underpaid lifeguards

EDITOR: I am a swimmer. I use our beautiful Finley Park pool three to four times a week. As I read about the new pool at Santa Rosa Junior College (“At SRJC, whose pool is it, anyway?” Sunday), one thing popped out at me: head coach Jill McCormick bemoaning the desperate need for more lifeguards.

I’d like to tell her, and the people who make pay decisions, that one of the reasons there aren’t more people applying is the pay. I believe, from talking with some of the guards, that Santa Rosa city lifeguards are paid about $17 an hour. For guarding lives.

This is not a trivial job. Pool guards are highly trained first responders who have to know how to get people in distress safely out of a pool, initiate the 911 system, deploy automatic external defibrillators if needed and otherwise be actual life-savers.

To a person, the guards with whom I have interacted are professional, conscientious, courteous and dedicated. They deserve a significant pay raise. Then maybe there won’t be such a dearth of applicants.


Santa Rosa

Ask the candidate

EDITOR: Local candidates, if they want to be elected, typically walk districts, pass out flyers, put out signs, meet privately with potential donors, pursue endorsements and attend public events. Susan Kirks, a Petaluma mayoral candidate, is choosing to do something more. She is extending an invitation to any of us who care about Petaluma’s future to meet with her privately, either in person, or through Zoom. Check for details.

Kirks has a vision for the future of Petaluma and experience honed over the past 22 years. Please take advantage of this special opportunity to share your concerns privately and to learn more about her. Our votes can make a difference on Nov 8.



Trump’s subpoena

EDITOR: The Jan. 6 committee issued a subpoena to Donald Trump for his records and his testimony under oath. Trump has often said that no one has presented his side of things. And he has said that anyone testifying who pleads the Fifth Amendment is a coward. It will be very interesting to see just how all this turns out.


Rohnert Park

Water management

EDITOR: Hundreds of thousands of people in Sonoma, Marin and Mendocino counties rely on water stored in Lake Sonoma and Lake Mendocino. Rest assured: the reservoirs are aggressively managed to retain as much water as possible. Flows in the Russian River are monitored in real time, and experienced operators use this information to make changes to releases. The goal is to keep stream flows just above state-required minimum levels in the Russian River and Dry Creek.

It sounds easy, until you consider that the amount released from the two dams must account for evaporation, the water used by trees and other riparian vegetation, water pumped by farmers, the demands of urban customers who are supplied by large riverside wells and the length of the river — 114 miles. Fortunately, Sonoma Water operators have the training and know-how to meet these demands while still preserving as much water in the reservoirs as possible.

We’re also fortunate to have a forward-thinking board of directors, which agreed to invest in rain-forecasting strategies and technologies. In 2020, through Forecast Informed Reservoir Operations, we increased water storage by nearly 20%, roughly equivalent to the water used by 22,000 households. Sonoma Water is proud to be a recognized leader in innovative water management.


General manager, Sonoma Water

Special interest measures

EDITOR: The well-intentioned use of initiatives was supposed to give voice to the people of our state. Instead it has become a way for special interests and companies to enrich themselves at the expense of others. Clear examples of this are the gambling issues, Propositions 26 and 27; the alleged clean air initiative; and, less obvious, the dialysis proposition, which failed a few years ago but is back.

I urge everyone to vote no on Propositions 26 and 27. We have too much gambling already, and it leads to addictions and even homelessness. Vote no on Proposition 30, the ballot issue funded by Lyft to pad its pockets in the name of clean air. Vote no on Proposition 29, the dialysis initiative that only serves to enrich doctors at the expense of the health care industry and dialysis patients.

Then, urge your elected representatives to change the proposition law and give our brains a rest from the onslaught of special interest groups behind these terrible propositions.



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