Saturday’s Letters to the Editor

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Say no to rent control

EDITOR: I recently had to hunt for a rental in Sonoma County, which took 2½ months. Partly because I have a big dog; but mostly because there aren’t enough rentals out there.

Sonoma County is facing a housing shortage, and so is California. We need more housing.

The Santa Rosa City Council is looking to put a Band-Aid of rent control policies on the problematic housing shortage. Rent control will do nothing but exacerbate the problem. It will limit rental turnover, reduce resident mobility and drive rental owners out of the city, which means fewer rentals available. Rent control will not ease tight vacancy rates or create more housing.

Rent control has not increased housing opportunities in cities with rent control. Look at San Francisco. My friend leases a one-bedroom (dilapidated) rent-controlled apartment for $3,000 a month, and she says she will never move out. Why? “There’s no place to move.” In San Francisco, it is nearly impossible to find an apartment unless you “know someone.”

In 2015, San Francisco topped Forbes’ list of “Worst Cities for Renters,” with Oakland and San Jose close behind. These three cities all have rent control. Is that what we want in Santa Rosa?



SR’s ‘beloved giants’

EDITOR: I have lived in Santa Rosa for more than 20 years now, and I have seen a lot of changes, some good, some not. I’m writing on behalf of the grand old trees in our beloved downtown square. The prospect of cutting and removing old trees that freely supply oxygen, give needed shade on those hot days and produce a sense of calm and stability to my soul is, frankly, gut-wrenching.

Those trees are the property of Santa Rosa citizens, not the merchants or the building owners. We love these majestic trees, and we will not stand by to see them destroyed for corporate greed and additional parking spaces. If we look at the big picture and think of generations to come, I’m confident that there is a way to avoid killing these beautiful giants.


Santa Rosa

Reprehensible photo

EDITOR: I’m beyond angry, sad and horrified that you would publish a photograph of someone’s beloved dogs that perished in a fire (“Hoverboard suspected in fire,” Thursday). Tell me how that has anything to do with responsible reporting. This family has to endure the loss of their cherished pets. For them to see that photograph in the paper is reprehensible.

These are neighbors and friends who don’t deserve this. It’s a sad, sad day that the paper considers this a newsworthy photograph. Yes, the firefighters deserve praise for trying to save the pets. But no one deserves to be treated with such inhumanity. You must do better.


Santa Rosa

Trade agreement dangers

EDITOR: In President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address, he referenced the “Asian-Pacific trade pact” and praised its merits. This pact, known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, is a treacherous plan created in secrecy over a seven-year period by corporate lobbyists.

The president’s brief but glowing pitch came on the heels of a lawsuit that made recent headlines. TransCanada is suing the U.S. over Obama’s rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline. The Canadian corporation is using a provision in the North American Free Trade Agreement to sue for expenses and lost future profits. This Investor-State Dispute Settlement provision allows the case to be heard in a secret international tribunal with corporate agents as judges. A ruling favorable to TransCanada cannot be appealed and could leave U.S. taxpayers on the hook for $15 billion.

Few readers are aware of the impact these so-called trade agreements have on our lives. However, this lawsuit by TransCanada and a recent World Trade Organization ruling that eliminates country-of-origin labeling for meat demonstrate the power the Trans-Pacific Partnership would have over our national regulations and safeguards. I urge readers to contact their elected representatives and insist that they vote no on the Trans-Pacific Partnership.



Parking is vital

EDITOR: As someone who has developed retail space in downtown Santa Rosa, it is important that the plan for Old Courthouse Square include parking. Let’s hope that the Santa Rosa City Council understands this essential fact about a downtown urban economy: You have to provide street parking near the shops, restaurants and cafés. From what I have seen of the plans for Old Courthouse Square, 22 new parking spaces on reopened Hinton Avenue and 22 on Exchange Avenue are a bare minimum. The 600 block of nearby Fourth Street, for instance, offers 40.

I look forward to a revitalized downtown Courthouse Square area that includes more street parking.


San Francisco

High-price medication

EDITOR: Many have sounded the alarm about the high price of prescription drugs, but nothing happens (“End price gouging on prescription drugs,” What Others Say, Monday). Congress seems intent on not helping our people, regardless of the costs in lives and dollars. Given that fact, the citizens of America should thank all other people of the world for allowing us to pay for the profits, research and production of the drugs they use. Drugs are a world commodity, and we are being beaten up by these companies.


Santa Rosa

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