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Thursday’s Letters to the Editor

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Iowa’s debacle

EDITOR: The vote tallying debacle in the Iowa Democratic caucuses is being blamed, at least in part, on inadequate testing of the software. I tested software for many years, and I can tell you how these big projects all too often go.

First, there is a hard and fast due date (as was the case in Iowa), and a project schedule is developed working backward from this date. Unrealistic estimates are produced that accommodate the due date. Everybody already knows at this point that there won’t be enough time to produce a quality product.

Then the project begins. The development takes much longer than expected — always. The time allowed for testing shrinks and shrinks. Finally, the testing phase begins, much closer to the due date than planned.

The implementation date looms as defects are found, fixed and retested over and over. Panic sets in. There are daily meetings to review the problems — what can we live with, what has to be fixed right now?

Finally, the due date arrives, and the app is released. Everyone involved in the project crosses their fingers and hopes for the best. This time, instead of the best, the worst happened — embarrassment on a national scale, and who gets the blame? The testers.

NANCY J. FLOM

Petaluma

A scary downtown

EDITOR: It seems to me that Santa Rosa’s downtown is hanging by a thread. Our family has frequently visited for movies and dinner, but less often now. The City Council should be concerned.

The night hours bring a scary element that tends to dominate the square. I’m a pretty big guy, but walking from a Fourth Street restaurant to my car makes me extremely uncomfortable. There is no question this is at least part of the problem leading to so many empty storefronts. This paper reporting downtown stabbings is a little scary, but having had my car broken into at City Hall was a firsthand experience.

The economy will go through a down cycle eventually. When this happens downtown will become a ghost town, except for the large number of homeless people sleeping around the creek. I challenge city leaders to walk the Prince Memorial Greenway at night by themselves. The leaders of the city, while truly compassionate in their hearts, are going to destroy the tax base they need.

Seeing the effectiveness of a city that took five years to fix Stony Point Road (and now I drive down Highway 12, which still isn’t completed near Farmer’s Lane after two years), I am not hopeful that they can really fix anything.

ALAN PETTY

Santa Rosa

The Gallahers’ world

EDITOR: So Molly Gallaher Flater throws $1.2 million at efforts to undercut the SMART train, while Bill Gallaher sues over the ban of natural gas in new construction. Lovely to know that the Gallaher family is going all in on 19th-century infrastructure while battling critical progress toward a sustainable future. Seems like, in their ideal world, we would enjoy lazy hazy days on a completely clogged Highway 101 while doubling down on fossil-fuel investments. What a wonderful world this would be.

STEVEN DAVID MARTIN

Healdsburg

Sheriff’s party chopper

EDITOR: It was with disappointment that I read of Sheriff Mark Essick’s use of the Henry 1 helicopter on Super Bowl Sunday (“Helicopter makes private flyover,” Feb. 6).

For sheriff’s Sgt. Juan Valencia to say that the helicopter visiting schools for students is “no different” than using the helicopter for a private flyover is ignorant. When the helicopter visits schools, it is to educate children about the use of the helicopter for safety issues and rescue missions. Also, students learn what a valuable resource the sheriff’s helicopter program is.

This is very different than using the helicopter to impress friends at a high-end Super Bowl party.

Also, I question Supervisor Shirlee Zane’s Facebook post with a picture in front of Henry 1 and the comment “fun.” As mentioned in the article, she is in a heated reelection campaign. Supporting the misuse of the helicopter may not be what many of her constituents consider appropriate.

MARY DANIELS

Rohnert Park

Making us safer

EDITOR: On behalf of the 4th District Block Captains Fire Recovery Group, I am writing to express our strong support for Measure G. This ballot measure creates a countywide half-cent sales tax, which would give firefighters additional funding to increase our fire safety.

This measure would add 200 firefighters and fire prevention officers to give us greater resources for wildfire response, medical emergencies and fuel load reduction. This would allow upgrades to fire protection equipment and fire stations. Measure G would improve alert and emergency warning systems, including those employing advance satellite technology, which would be indispensable to our safety when cellular towers fail, making Nixle alerts and the like inoperable.

The Kincade fire showed in many ways how far our community has come since the October 2017 fires. Our county government along with fire agencies and law enforcement rolled out a response plan that saved structures and lives. The job of making our county safer from wildfire is far from done.

Please join with us in taking another step toward this goal by showing support for our firefighters by voting for Measure G.

BARRY HIRSCH

Santa Rosa

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

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