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Sunday’s Letters to the Editor

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Abandoning the Kurds

EDITOR: Withdrawing U.S. troops from Kurdish-controlled regions of northern Syria left the Kurds, our strongest Middle East allies, exposed to brutal attacks by the massive Turkish army.

U.S. forces have moved to eastern Iraq, leaving northern Syria open for incursion by our enemies in the region: the Iranians, Russians and Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces. Worst of all, Kurdish security forces guarding the Islamic State prisoners captured while defeating IS are reduced significantly. Many IS fighters have escaped, and more are likely to follow to reestablish their caliphate.

There was no strategic reason to do this. National Security Agency, Defense and State department advisers were opposed, as were our NATO allies.

The president’s action provides “aid and comfort to the enemy,” the Constitution’s definition of treason. If that isn’t a “high crime” as required for an impeachment action, what is? It is more harmful to our security and our international relations than the criminal actions in Ukraine, as bad as they are.

The Kurds are great people, brave fighters, loyal partners, welcoming to minority Christians and, as a society, treat women equally. Our treatment of the Kurds is abhorrent and immoral.

TONY BABB

Santa Rosa

Hoping for upgrades

EDITOR: Many of us in Sonoma County live in areas where electricity and landline phone service are the only utilities available. No gas, no water, no cable. Our everyday lives and personal safety are completely dependent on having electrical power. Backup systems are expensive and limited, and they introduce their own fire hazard concerns. My concern is that when PG&E upgrades its system (PG&E is upgrading, isn’t it?) it will concentrate on the densely populated areas. No, PG&E should start in areas that are more dependent on electricity.

ROBERT PLANTZ

Santa Rosa

It all spells trouble

EDITOR: When the acting ambassador to Ukraine was asked if the deal requested by President Donald Trump was a “quid pro quo,” he couldn’t say, as he didn’t speak Latin. He was deeply troubled by what went on, but was it a quid pro quo?

Since Latin isn’t taught in schools anymore, I imagine many other Americans are having trouble assimilating “quid pro quo” into their daily lexicon. Translated “what for what,” or “something for something,” quid pro quo does fit nicely with what Trump had in mind.

There are other Latin phrases just as good, however. “Sine qua non,” translated “without which, not,” or “sine hoc quod,” meaning “without this, that,” would get the same idea across to the Ukrainians.

After all the testimony is in, I predict Americans will settle on “res ipsa loquitur.” Translated literally, “the thing speaks for itself.”

DOUGLAS BOSCO

Santa Rosa

Piling on PG&E

EDITOR: Before we continue to dogpile on PG&E, we should look at how the state has managed oversight of the utility.

PG&E is overseen by the California Public Utilities Commission. If PG&E was egregiously lax with corrective maintenance, what entity was tasked with and accountable for reining it in? My bet is that the CPUC has morphed into a climate activist group and pushed economically challenged goals and projects, and the utility dutifully complied to avoid being in the crosshairs. For instance:

PG&E must obtain 33% of electricity from renewables by 2020 and 60% by 2030. Hydropower is expressly excluded from renewables. What could be more renewable than hydropower, especially given the network of reservoirs and dams that PG&E already has?

In 2018, PG&E was required to spend $509 million on discounts for low-income customers in addition to $125 million on weatherization and other upgrades for disadvantaged communities.

In 2018, PG&E was required to spend $150 million on battery storage and other “sustainable” technologies. The utility is mandated to install 7,500 electric-car charging stations and offer drivers an $800 “clean fuel” rebate.

Everyone lost sight of the true duty of the regulated utility: Keep the lights on at reasonable cost and in a safe manner.

JOE GAFFNEY

Rohnert Park

Misspent money

EDITOR: I thought I was at a loss for words at the things that go on in California, but obviously, I am not. Can anyone believe that San Francisco, struggling with homelessness, drug abuse and needles lying on the ground in the downtown area, with tourists hesitating to visit because of these conditions, is building a park costing $110 million?

Although it is funded by generous benefactors, could the money not be used for more-needed projects? San Francisco housing is the most expensive in the country, has limited space for building, and space that could be used for housing is now to be used for a park. I would like to understand the thought that made someone believe that this was a good use of money.

I don’t have the statistics on how many residents are fleeing California for states that aren’t so highly taxed and where housing costs are reasonable. The most valuable asset we have in California is the weather. Many are ready to brave colder climes for the benefit of more affordable living conditions, where they don’t have the SMART train fiasco and another park in San Francisco.

BEVERLY KELVIE

Santa Rosa

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

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