Sunday’s Letters to the Editor

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The multi-billionaire

EDITOR: I say make Donald Trump rich again. Proclaim it loudly on T-shirts, hats and posters — in multiples. Elect this multi-billionaire president of the multi states, so he can control the U.S. treasury and its trillions of dollars. The very rich and very conceited need their multis. So add the world’s richest portfolio to Trump’s multi-portfolios, and that should help satisfy his multi-part thirst for power and his multifarious, multi-layered ego.

He can move all those multitudinous gold bars into the multi-stories of his multi-buildings and play with them in whatever multi-rooms of his multi-levels suits his multifold fantasies.

He likes having fast multi-floor elevators and a multiplicity of shiny, expensive things. He could even fly his own multi-engined Trump airplane to Fort Knox in a multi-pronged effort to fetch his golden hoard and cover the freight costs.

Don’t worry. He’ll write that off on his multi-complex tax returns — not that you’ll ever see them. Then — after 15 minutes — when he loses interest in his new multiplicious toys, Trump will do what he does best: stick his big Chapter 11 thumbs into our great American pie and bankrupt our country.

All together now, you multitudes, say it loud: Make Donald Trump rich, again.

RON KINCAID

Petaluma

Bikes in the park

EDITOR: Mountain bikes in wilderness areas? Just look at what they’ve done to our awesome state park, Trione-Annadel. If you don’t have excellent hearing and nimble feet, you shouldn’t hike Trione-Annadel, and that is a sad thing to say. Most cyclists clearly make an effort to be courteous. However, almost every time I’m there, one or two cyclists exhibit behavior that is simply dangerous. Experiencing nature at Trione-Annadel in peace is an unreliable pleasure. Illegal trails continue to be an issue. Not much revenue to defray park costs, because cyclists park in the (free) “bike parking lot.”

Let’s make Trione-Annadel a registered-bike zone. Require everyone to have an easy-to-read number on their back that they must display in the park. Maybe $50 per year for a bike pass? Then, the good cyclists can identify the bad actors more easily and encourage them to register. And we will all be able to report individual cyclists by number to park management, which will be able to identify the individual from the registration info. Impose fines on unregistered bikers. Cyclists would contribute, hikers could make meaningful complaints, the park and public would benefit.

HELEN KOCHENDERFER

Santa Rosa

Fair prices

EDITOR: I’m a lifelong Sonoma Couty resident. I stopped going to the fair a while back because it was the same old thing every year, just more expensive. I was shocked to hear about the $14 turkey leg, mostly because the people who buy them may also vote.

R.B. JOHNSON

Windsor

Socialism and poverty

EDITOR: Columnist Thomas Friedman isn’t wrong to urge Hillary Clinton “to inject some capitalism into her economic plan.” But in making his case, he offers a decidedly skewed description of socialism as “the greatest system ever invented for making people equally poor” (“Clinton needs to get down to business — as in a plan,” Thursday).

Friedman might get an argument or two from citizens of socialist Europe who consider themselves anything but poor and who routinely rank among the happiest people in the world. I’m guessing that Friedman equates poor with a system that considers shelter, transportation, higher education, job training and health care to be basic needs.

Simply put, capitalism strives for the ceiling, and socialism provides a secure floor. Narrowly-defined socialism all but eliminates obscene wealth, while cherished notions of capitalism disingenuously suggest that anyone can become rich through hard work and drive. Proponents of capitalism regard taxation as confiscation, yet they’re willing to pay through the nose for things that are guaranteed to citizens of socialist countries who enjoy tangible benefits from their higher tax rates.

My wife and I have traveled extensively through western and eastern Europe, and we’ve rarely encountered people who lament their lifestyles. Neither system is perfect, but socialism isn’t synonymous with being poor.

MARK WARDLAW

Santa Rosa

Pension ‘pothole’

EDITOR: I sense that much of Marion Chase’s Close to Home column (“A county worker’s view on pensions,” Thursday) was written by a union official because the arguments have become such a constant mantra: We’ll lose massive numbers of employees if we tinker with the county’s super-rich pension system; we won’t be able to hire police officers; pay and benefits need to be high because the cost-of-living is high; the average pension isn’t very high; reforms have failed elsewhere. All that’s missing is “the sky will fall.”

The less-convenient truth is that Sonoma County employees are, on average, just about the best paid in the Bay Area. Average pay, not including benefits, is about $85,000. When Chase writes that the average pension for rank-and-file employees is around $24,000, she should mention that the “average” includes many employees who left without many years of service and that county employees receive Social Security on top of the pension.

The truth is that Sonoma County illegally boosted pension formulae by about 50 percent, retroactively. Non-public-safety employees were supposed to pay the full cost of the boost but haven’t. The “contract” with employees places the entire burden of poor investment performance on taxpayers. The result is a billion-dollar pension pothole. The answer: outsource/privatize workers. Taxpayers can’t afford what Chase views as an inalienable right.

BOB ANDREWS

Santa Rosa

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