Friday’s Letters to the Editor

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Promoting sprawl

EDITOR: I was disappointed to find that the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors envisions expanding areas of dense housing outside of the well-defined, voter-approved urban growth boundaries in the county (“County works to clear hurdles for homes,” Saturday).

Even using areas adjacent to existing urban boundaries that have access to facilities usurps the desire of the electorate of communities that committed to stopping urban sprawl.

While the county cannot force infill within the urban growth boundaries, there should be some inducement that could be used to allow appropriate development within existing boundaries. The supervisors have already demonstrated their inability to successfully develop affordable housing with the twice-failed plans for the Chanate Road site of the old county hospital.

Moving forward as suggested would be penny wise and pound foolish — providing only minor housing relief while benefiting landowners and developers and potentially irrevocably altering the areas of agriculture and open space surrounding the cities and towns of Sonoma County.

Yes, creating affordable housing and maintaining a sustainable workforce are important to the well-being of the county, but the values of non-urban sprawl benefit everyone now and in the future.

SCOTT TWETEN

Penngrove

Runaway NIMBYism

EDITOR: In his Sept. 26 column, Paul Krugman noted how the right-wing media drowns out our state’s successes in their sea of anti-socialist hysteria (“The backdrop for Trump’s war on California”). While this is true, Krugman also points out our gravest problem: the “runaway NIMBYism” that prevents us from becoming a greater state.

It’s a rampant problem that shows how many of us are, at our cores, driven by fear rather than reason. Got a good proposal for senior housing on a vacant lot on Farmers Lane? Someone will scream “fire” on social media because the proposal is multi-story.

Got a good plan for moderate-income housing on open land at the end of Highway 12 in Bennett Valley? Out come the cries of “too dense for our area” and “the traffic, the traffic.”

Now we read about a proposal to (finally) bring municipal composting back to our county — saving us millions of dollars at a site that is already built for composting — and the local NIMBYs are, as usual, saying to put it somewhere else.

It’s time to give up the paranoia and understand that promoting the general welfare in a democracy means accepting change — even when the change is in our own backyards.

PAUL JOLLY

Santa Rosa

Save Ceres garden

EDITOR: I am writing in regards to the proposed development of the Ceres Project garden at the O’Reilly Center on Highway 116 in Sebastopol. I have worked in this garden for a number of years, mentoring youth volunteers and working the vegetable beds. Additionally, I am now a cancer patient and receive meals from Ceres, much of which comes from those beds I helped tend.

Ceres provides invaluable services to the community in several ways. Providing healthful, nutritious meals to people with health issues is at the top of the list. Equally important is the opportunity for high school students to volunteer their services, learn to work in a team environment and get a better understanding of what goes into healthful food production. Additionally, the importance of promoting organic growing practices cannot be understated.

The impact on Ceres and the community it serves if this garden were to be lost would be severe. From the ground up, Ceres has improved the soil with natural compost, which increases its water holding capacity and good bacteria and provides a richer soil for food production and a more natural feeding habitat for birds and bees. Additionally, the garden is always open to the public to enjoy.

JANICE R. FONG

Sebastopol

Another property tax

EDITOR: The Gold Ridge fire district is asking homeowners for a property tax of $200 a year for a total of $1.2 million. If this were a one-time tax for upgrades and replacement of outdated equipment, I would eagerly pay it. It is a yearly tax that can go on until it is voted off our properties.

Once the station has updated its equipment this year and next year receives another $1.2 million, it then has money to replace its updated equipment with all new. What do they do with the following year’s $1.2 million and then the year’s after that?

This is a lot of money, and for those of us who are retired, another $200 from limited income and a tight budget isn’t easy to come up with. There are many ways to raise money with fundraisers. Schools find many different ways to bring in money and community support. Have they been considered?

PAUL BENKOVER

Sebastopol

Trump and Constitution

EDITOR: Recent news reveals an alarming lack of knowledge and understanding of the Constitution by the president and numerous members of Congress.

Maybe we should require a comprehensive written exam on the U.S. Constitution for any presidential and congressional candidate that they must pass before they can qualify to be on a general election ballot.

If this were required in 2016, Trump probably wouldn’t have qualified due to his total ignorance and his lack of desire to learn or understand (and he doesn’t read!). That said, we wouldn’t have this deplorable man as president.

TOM SCHMIDT

Cazadero

You can send a letter to the editor at letters@pressdemocrat.com.

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