Monday’s Letters to the Editor


Hasty rebuilding

EDITOR: There’s a lot of understandable talk about quick ways to replace the housing stock that was destroyed in the recent firestorm. While on the surface this thinking can seem like an indisputably good thing, it carries a huge potential for hidden consequences. Haste always makes waste.

If we cannot see this situation as an opportunity for upgrading the quality of our residences, our neighborhoods and our entire urban reality — by taking the necessary extra time to do so — we will eventually suffer later.

Slap-dashing expedient solutions into place will guarantee a new degree of mediocrity within our community fabric and is definitely something that Santa Rosa — which could never boast much in the way of charm, character and aesthetic integrity — can ill afford.

If we care, we must slow down and find temporary stop-gap solutions while we honor the broader view.



Trash dumping

EDITOR: I’m requesting that people refrain from dumping unwanted furniture, mattresses, yard debris, tires and bags of garbage on county roads. It happens frequently and lately more than before. County employees get calls from people upset about trash strewn in lanes and on roadsides.

Please break up your debris and fill-up your garbage, recycling and yard waste bins.

For bulky item pickup; make an appointment for pickup at 707-585-0291. There may be a small additional charge, but it’s not as large as a ticket if you’re caught dumping anything on roads.

Each week there are free toxics collections for residents at different sites in the county. Make the required appointment by calling 877-747-1870 or email Remember to bring your ID.

You may drop off toxics at Building 5 of the Central Disposal Site, 500 Mecham Road, Petaluma, or for a $50 fee, you may request an appointment to have up to 440 pounds picked up at your home. Seniors over age 80 can get limited free pickup.

View to learn more about hazardous waste or bulk item pickup.


Santa Rosa

‘One messy world’

EDITOR: Mary Ellen Kuhi makes some valid points about modern politics that I’m sure she means to apply to both parties (“Becoming an oligarchy,” Letters, Thursday).

In regard to President Donald Trump appointing Jeff Sessions as attorney general appearing to be a conflict of interest, do we remember who John F. Kennedy appointed as his attorney general?

In regard to executive orders, more than 20 times President Barack Obama said it was unconstitutional for him to implement the Deferred Action on Child Arrivals program, yet he did so anyway. DACA has/had a sunset clause, which means if Trump had kept quiet and done nothing, it would have run out on its own — before it got to the U.S. Supreme Court where its chances of being declared unconstitutional were enormous.

And in regard to tax cuts, it certainly is a thorny problem. It is impossible to give tax cuts to people who don’t pay federal income taxes, and 50 percent of Americans don’t pay federal income taxes, while the top 10 percent of earners pay 70 percent of federal income taxes. So, of course, is will appear that high-earners are getting a larger tax cut — because there are more taxes paid from which to cut.

It sure is one messy world, isn’t it?



Acts of altruism

EDITOR: I have never served in the military, but I understand that in combat there is a selflessness that rises, a devotion to the welfare of others known as altruism. From the front line of hunger relief, the Sonoma complex fire provided me with a glimpse into what that must be like.

I witnessed a volunteer who received news of her destroyed home via a text message, then continued to provide bags of groceries to evacuees, never pausing to grieve her own loss. There was the volunteer sorting donations of food with a bullet lodged in her back, a casualty of the mass shooting in Las Vegas.

Then there was Thursday’s gathering of Redwood Empire Food Bank board members, half of whom lost their homes yet still were working to help our neighbors in need of food.

As a hunger relief worker, my faith in humanity was well nourished by the countless acts of altruism.


Chief executive officer, Redwood Empire Food Bank

Shipping containers

EDITOR: As residents of wildfire-prone San Diego, we feel terrible for the thousands of Santa Rosans, Napans, Mendocinoans and others who have lost their homes. Given the sheer number of houses to rebuild as soon as possible, I have two words — shipping containers.

Millions of these fireproof, sea-tested, steel containers are sitting on docks up and down California’s coast, waiting for a new home. They connect and stack like Lego bricks. Spaces for windows, doors, wall passages and skylights can be cut out. They’re inexpensive — around $4,000 each for 400 square feet — and can become a house of any size. And on HGTV, they’ve shown how quickly containers can be plumbed, wired, insulated and dry-walled to look like any conventional house on the inside (and outside, if you want), producing a finished home in 8-12 weeks.

Santa Rosa residents already have foundations and hookups. All you need is an expedient way to rebuild, and shipping containers would provide the perfect solution. Plus, you’re helping the environment by recycling these as shelters. For my next house, I plan to find land where I can build a shipping container house for all its practicality, eco-friendliness, cost-effectiveness, inflammability and innovativeness … a perfect writer’s retreat.


La Jolla