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Stock turmoil

EDITOR: The stock market’s basic criteria are that anything that promises a big return on investment is good, and anything that cuts into profits is bad. In this light, the idea that we peons may actually get a raise isn’t a reason to celebrate. Instead, perversely, this welcome news contributed to a sharp plunge in the market, even though more money in our pockets stimulates the economy.

Columnist Paul Krugman is right: “The stock market is not the economy” (“Finding meaning in the market turmoil,” Wednesday). Basically, what the Dow Jones average measures is the willingness of rich people to gamble, so the 99 percent need not wail and gnash their teeth along with them.

BETH WARNER

Petaluma

Time for a change

EDITOR: After last week’s hearing and interchange with Christopher Helgren, it should be apparent that he isn’t the person who should be heading the county’s emergency response effort when the next natural disaster strikes (“County seeks better alarms,” Jan. 30).

Helgren has yet to fully understand and appreciate what happened (and what should have happened) before and during this last one. Even today, nearly four months after wildfires destroyed 5,000 homes, killed 24 and uprooted thousands, some permanently, the county’s emergency preparedness website doesn’t list wildfire as a major threat nor is fire included under the site’s emergency preparedness maps. What are Helgren and his staff thinking and doing?

Helgren has spent nearly 18 years in county emergency management and services. He and his staff had plenty of time to consider the history and present-day implications of the Sonoma County wildfires of 1923 and 1964. That he didn’t and has yet to produce “a report detailing what steps emergency staff took to warn the public and exploring more effective methods for warning people in harm’s way” is inconceivable and should be grounds for his dismissal and replacement.

GARY KOZEL

Kenwood

Penalizing initiative

EDITOR: Once upon a time we used to admire, if not honor, initiative. Alas, that too has passed. Today we will fire, we will fine, we will dissuade that initiative as criminal.

Two recent examples: The teacher who took the initiative (and, yes, the food truck) to feed desperate folks who’d just experienced hell on Earth and now the contractor who is housing workers on his property who are helping with the cleanup of those lost homes (“Trailers on lot hits snag,” Wednesday).

I cannot understand the powers-that-be attacking these folks (and no doubt numerous others) other than perhaps their embarrassment for not employing their own initiative.

Perhaps if city and/or county officials had encouraged every food truck owner to rally to the aid of those devastated by the fires that one soul wouldn’t have stood out as some kind of a rogue. And if those same officials asked every homeowner to take a trailer or mobile home into spare space on their driveways, we would truly display our Sonoma Strong.

JAN POST-SCHWARZ

Rohnert Park

Nunes is a criminal

EDITOR: Remember when the Republicans were the law-and-order party? They were tough on crime. National security was a priority for them. Where did those people go? Are they hiding under a rock somewhere?

There is no doubt that there was an attempt by a foreign power to influence the last election. The evidence is huge. Do Republicans care? Apparently not. There has been no effort to stop a repeat of these abuses in the next election.

And they don’t seem to care what happened in 2016. They would rather simply muddy the water by attacking the people responsible for our national security than allow an honest investigation to proceed.

I don’t believe for a moment the evidence that special counsel Robert Mueller is finding is tainted. Republicans are questioning not the facts but the way the facts were acquired — like a killer getting off because the chain of evidence was somehow broken. It doesn’t mean he didn’t commit murder.

The entire Republican Party, every member, is guilty of either conspiring to thwart the investigation or allowing others to do so. Republicans, only you can stop the lawless actions of Rep. Devin Nunes. Stand up for law and order.

LEWIS LARSON

Sebastopol

Trash and recycling

EDITOR: Recology’s policies will likely result in more trash to the landfill, not less. Its demand that we wash out everything before recycling directly contradicts the Water Agency’s request that we save water. Santa Rosa has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars subsidizing low-water toilets. So we’re supposed to use that saved water to clean our recyclables? Many people will just throw containers away rather than waste water cleaning them.

The reduction from two yard debris cans to one combined yard and compost can means there isn’t enough room for all of the yard debris. Where does the remainder of the yard debris go? Into the trash.

Our household generates very little trash. With the old program, it would often take weeks to generate enough trash to fill the can. Now the can is filled every week with a small amount of garbage and a large amount of yard debris. Meanwhile, the recycling can, which used to fill up regularly, remains almost empty.

If Recology truly wants to reduce what goes to the landfill, it needs to rethink its policies.

MARK BURCHILL

Santa Rosa

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