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Citizens have been trying to rectify the mess with the board, outside the courts, for years. It’s a sad commentary that we need to resort to lawsuits against our government to keep the spending process honest.

Even if the suit proceeds, there is no good way out of this. Hundreds of retirees would see their benefits cut. Many of these people, however, retired in their mid-50s at close to 100 percent of their salaries, along with lifetime medical — benefits unknown in the rest of the work world because of their unsustainability.

Unfortunate as the cuts might be, they affect a relatively small group of people and have to be viewed against the increases in taxes and fees and the deep cuts in services that affect hundreds of thousands of taxpayers and county residents as a result of the soaring pension liability.

NANCY HAIR

Sebastopol

More help is needed

EDITOR: Fires are burning most everywhere in Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino counties and threaten to spread deeper into Solano County. Firefighters aren’t able to contain the fire or save houses and infrastructures. Their justification is that they must save lives before they save infrastructure and houses. Their point is well taken, but is it not the job of the fire departments to save lives and try to contain the fire and also to save houses and infrastructure?

If they are undermanned or short on staffing, then the immediate alternative should be to look to the neighboring counties, which already are helping. They should be looking for help from the other states also. America has 50 states. They should all be here to put away the fire before it does more damage and costs the state trillions of dollars.

IFTI AHMED

Petaluma

No longer beautiful

EDITOR: I used to be proud that the United States was a country of laws. I am no longer proud — not when I see that these laws have enabled hate-filled, deranged people to buy as many guns as they want; not when all citizens aren’t treated equally and protected by our law enforcement; not when parents can be wrenched away from their young and needy children; not when we have a bellicose president who thrives on insults, belittles foes, threatens other nations with annihilation and believes climate change is “fake news.”

At this time, it is fitting not to stand for our national anthem or even for “America the Beautiful” — because it’s not.

LINDA WARD

Santa Rosa

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