Wednesday’s Letters to the Editor

Press Democrat readers comment on the coronavirus, SMART, and more.|

Opening too soon

EDITOR: From Friday to Sunday, just a few days ago, there were 36 new coronavirus cases reported in Sonoma County, 18 new cases per day. This indicates that there is still significant ongoing community transmission of the virus in Sonoma County despite the social isolation and closure of businesses that we have experienced.

Now that we have learned from sailors on the USS Theodore Roosevelt that people can be reinfected after recovering from COVID-19, there may be little immunity developed in people previously infected, hence no developing “herd immunity.”

We are far from being able to administer coronavirus testing to a large enough fraction of Sonoma County's population to quickly identify and suppress new outbreaks, and a coronavirus vaccine remains a distant hope.

These observations indicate to me that it is too early to consider loosening the guidelines for social distancing, opening businesses and restarting the economy. Experts warn that opening too soon will cost additional lives and dollars in the long run.

I, for one, won't break social distancing and directly participate in the economy until there is universal repeated coronavirus surveillance testing in Sonoma County and/or an effective vaccine for all.


Santa Rosa

SMART should ask voters

EDITOR: SMART's board has before it an existential question - whether to focus on providing continued transportation services for county residents, including freight loading, or to pursue a questionable acquisition of a private business entity (“SMART looking at freight hauling,” Tuesday).

SMART has become an integral resource for providing alternative transportation to residents of Marin and Sonoma counties, and I support its work.

Having reached out unsuccessfully to voters in March for an extension of the sales tax to allow SMART to refinance debt, it is now in the process of developing a plan to cut service, lay off personnel or both.

On Wednesday, the board will have before it a staff proposal for SMART to step beyond its core competency to acquire its existing and successful common freight rail carrier and private business partner, the Northwestern Pacific Railroad Co.

The prime mover behind this effort seems to be a state senator who has been active in finding a way to kill rail service, both freight and passenger, to points north of Healdsburg and, with the existing financial meltdown, possibly no farther north than Windsor.

This needs a full review by voters in Marin and Sonoma counties.


Santa Rosa

Finley encampment

EDITOR: So how about the seniors who live in Sonoma County? We need the activities for health and wellness provided by the Finley Senior Center. With the center closed and the Finley pool closed, what about our quest for wellness so that we aren't a burden on the community? Move the homeless in, and the seniors, who pay most of the taxes, lose.


Santa Rosa

Familiar protesters

EDITOR: As a person rapidly approaching 70 - the age of expendability in the eyes of those who are willing to sacrifice the old and the weak to open the country - I commend columnist Steve Lopez's defense of us as an endangered species (“Older folks, like me, aren't so expendable,” May 9).

Self-identified “patriotic conservative Americans” are taking to the streets with signs and chants demanding that the weak be sacrificed so they can have their normal, privileged lives and conveniences back.

Where have we seen them before? Easy. They are the same far-right political action committee and billionaire-funded rent-a-mobs with their interchangeable signs who take to the streets whenever their masters blow the dog whistles.

At anti-abortion rallies, they fervently promote the “right to life.” During the Black Lives Matter movement, they were yelling that “all lives matter.” And in the early days of Obamacare, they were screaming about imaginary death panels, claiming that “Obama wants to kill grandma.”

Now that they are the ones being affected, it's “the hell with your grandma and grandpa, let them die. We want our stuff back.”


Rohnert Park

State's priorities

EDITOR: As an individual, I would like to see every person in need given some assistance. California government is going to give $75 million to illegal immigrants who live in California, according to an article in Sunday's paper (“Undocumented immigrants can apply for COVID-19 relief”). Other articles in the same edition say the state budget will be greatly cut, that the state won't have enough money for schools or welfare or homeless programs, that criminals will be released from prison because of a lack of funds.

Our governor has said that the states cannot survive without emergency funds from the federal government. So where is this $75 million for illegal immigrants going to come from?



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