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Crisis readiness

EDITOR: Tuesday’s article about Sonoma County’s emergency notification system doesn’t call out what is probably the most challenging concern of all (“County seeks better alarms”).

On its first night, the Tubbs fire created the equivalent of the “fog of war.” So much happened so fast, exposing so many people over such a large area to such intense peril at such a difficult time of night, that even the best systems designed with more ordinary circumstances in mind would have been overwhelmed.

Talk and thought about technology and processes are necessary, but it is all too easy in more comfortable times to design our systems for normalcy. We must never forget to stay intensely focused on the almost inconceivable demands of a full-on crisis.


Santa Rosa

Disheartening cuts

EDITOR: I am disheartened by Sonoma County’s upcoming mental health cuts (“Mental health funds to be cut,” Wednesday). It seems that whenever budgets fall below expectations, social services, and mental health services in particular, are targeted.

Understand this: There has never been sufficient funding for mental health even when budgets have been fat. I know this for a fact as a former executive director of Social Advocates for Youth and the sister of a beautiful woman with paranoid schizophrenia.

My heart breaks to know that nonprofits won’t be able to serve as many clients in the future. Who are these people who receive mental health assistance at local nonprofits? At SAY, they were children ripped from unsafe homes and coping with the resulting pain and confusion, teens who tried to kill themselves and young adults coping with emancipation from the foster care system.

And they are adults, like my sister, wandering amid a world of voices and suspicion.

I am impressed by how this community responded in the aftermath of the fires and raised millions of dollars. What we need now is a massive fundraising drive to fund mental health. But this won’t happen, will it? That reality saddens me.


Santa Rosa

Insurers and rising rents

EDITOR: My wife and I have been landlords in Butte and Sacramento counties for almost 30 years. We were very disappointed to read how the people in your price-gouging articles are being unfairly treated. It seems to me that insurance companies are the ones creating this by soliciting landlords for housing on behalf of their clients at high rates. The rents you mentioned are within fair market value.

The most egregious offenders are the ones who put up homes that have never been rentals and are charging exorbitant rates. Unfortunately, that appears to be legal.

It is hard enough to make rentals pay off without government intervention. It seems people are being encouraged to get out of the rental market with all of this arbitrary enforcement.



Profiting from disaster

EDITOR: So now the county is going to jump on the ambulance-chaser attorney bandwagon and go after PG&E, even before the cause of the fire has been determined (“County plans to sue PG&E,” Wednesday). Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t they the ones who forced everyone off PG&E service and onto Sonoma Clean Power? Maybe it was the “clean power” that caused the destruction? How many of the destroyed structures were still with PG&E?

The plain and simple fact is that the wildfires were caused by catastrophic weather conditions. Had there been no winds, there would have been no fire. Can PG&E do more to make its energy delivery safer? Sure. No one was complaining about how PG&E was delivering electricity before this natural disaster.

Everyone would be up in arms if PG&E shut down delivery every time weather conditions threatened to disrupt service.

So, let’s be honest. Those grubby-handed attorneys and everyone they lure to their lawsuit are simply trying to put their hands in PG&E’s pockets to profit from this disaster. How many attorneys are waiving fees and donating lawsuit proceeds to the victims? I sympathize with and support the victims of the fire 100 percent, but suing PG&E because it was unable to control nature? That just creates more victims of a natural disaster.



Divisive comments

EDITOR: In a letter in Thursday’s paper, a writer used these words: “I hazard to guess that the letter writer is yet another white male, over 50, who believes he be given some kind of protected status as a victim of an integrated society that has lessened his ranking in the world” (“Support Trump? No”).

What in the world has happened to us? How many of you here in Sonoma County really think like this?

I am an 80-plus-year-old kid from New Jersey. What an offensive idea that I would think that anyone should be given some “protected status as a victim.”

An “integrated society.” Yes, for sure. Then why this “ranking in the world” comment? Gross! We are the United States of America.

This letter writer says also that if one is tiring of “West Coast lefties,” we are free to move.

I am not moving anywhere. I live here.


Santa Rosa

American dreamers

EDITOR: Good? Bad? Annoying? Maybe, but one phrase in President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address stuck out: “Americans are dreamers, too.” If the DACA recipients find that quote offensive, then they have no intention of being American.



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