Wednesday’s Letters to the Editor

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Choosing money over life

EDITOR: On Monday, Donald Trump indicated — due to economic reasons — he wanted to lift the federal public health restrictions put in place on March 16 to combat the coronavirus (“Trump anxious to end closures,” Tuesday”).

Your article said: “Relaxing those restrictions could significantly increase the death toll from the virus, public health officials warn.” The article quotes Arthur Caplin, a professor of bioethics at NYU Langone Medical Center: “You can’t call off the best weapon we have, which is social isolation, even out of economic desperation, unless you’re willing to be responsible for a mountain of deaths.”

Trump will be clearly and solely responsible for any death that occurs due to a selfish, premature lifting of public health restrictions. This is the ultimate example of how he values money (and numbers) over human life.


Santa Rosa

Feinstein’s timely sale

EDITOR: Sen. Dianne Feinstein justifies her timely sale of up to $6 million of stock after a classified briefing of the Senate Intelligence Committee and other Senate committees outlining the worldwide threat of the coronavirus, because the investments were held in a blind trust (“Stock sales by Sen. Burr, others ignite political uproar,” How blind can the trust be when the beneficiary sleeps with the trustee, her husband?


Santa Rosa

A more equitable plan

EDITOR: Democrats deserve skewering for demanding nonpandemic issues like solar panel tax credits in the emergency funding bill. It’s like arguing with firefighters saving your home that their hose isn’t organic. Republican insistence on minimal regulation of emergency funds exploits the emergency to allow corporate donors to buy back stock and continue their extraordinary bonuses — in secret.

Money eventually will be dispensed, but most of it will pass through needy hands like poop through a goose, returning to the nation’s banks as payments for mortgages, debt and rent. Wouldn’t it be more equitable and efficient to aim for a temporary suspension of all rents and mortgages until the number of new virus cases ceases to rise?

Wouldn’t these represent larger grants without looting the treasury? Why replicate the largesse of unregulated bailouts of 2008? Freedom from the obligations of mortgages, debt and rent would multiply the effectiveness of whatever cash citizens receive, and Congress might not have to dispense as much.

We should not be debating nonessentials in this moment. Let’s shore up the nation’s vast majority by reducing what they require to survive.



More beds needed

EDITOR: Now is the time for Sonoma County to begin converting exhibition halls at the fairgrounds into emergency coronavirus beds. Look to Washington and Oregon where this is being done. If the medial experts are half correct, and if Sonoma County’s numbers reflect those in other places, existing hospital facilities will soon be overwhelmed.


Santa Rosa

Democrats play politics

EDITOR: After witnessing what is going on in Congress, you have to wonder whether the Democrats are trying to keep the stock market from rebounding. This would ensure Joe Biden’s election as our next president. This is a very serious situation, and there should be no politics involved.

The Democrats don’t realize how important our economy is. They think they have the president over a barrel and are holding taxpayers and workers hostage to push unrelated Democratic priorities like expansions of solar and wind tax credits. Really?

Also, there isn’t enough reason to entirely shut down our economy. We are jeopardizing our economic future. I think after the 14-day window, schools should reopen, and most people should return to work. We cannot wait three to four months. The hot zones like New York City and other areas might take longer to reopen. If we don’t restart this economy, it will be decades before it rebounds.



Don’t forget climate crisis

EDITOR: Thank you for publishing the Close to Home column on new gas stations (“New gas stations conflict with climate crisis,” March 16). Even while all of our lives have been taken over right now by the novel coronavirus crisis, we can’t forget that the housing crisis and the global climate crisis are ongoing.

One small thing the county and its cities can do is to review their permitting requirements for new gas stations. All those currently proposed are unnecessary and fly in the face of existing commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

It’s ironic that it’s taken COVID-19 for us to see that we can in fact reduce our local and international greenhouse gas emissions related to travel if we really have to. We do really have to. It’s just that the climate crisis is at a slow boil, relatively speaking, and harder to grasp and understand, than the more sudden and visible pandemic. But it is no less urgent.



Science reasserted

EDITOR: Am I the only one who sees the great irony that our administration, which over the past three years has consistently ignored science in the many positions it has taken for political purposes, now finds itself relying on the very scientists it has dismissed? I will try to remain optimistic that perhaps one outcome of this great tragedy will be that our president sees the importance this discipline plays in the survival of humanity and begins to listen to the rest of the scientific community to address the other challenges we face.



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