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Moving county offices

EDITOR: I think most people would agree that our county offices are at the end of their life cycle and that a mixed-use complex of multi-story offices and residential units is a noble idea (“County land may host homes,” Tuesday).

Increased traffic in an already congested area might lead community leaders to consider another option. Perhaps it is time to look at the county fairgrounds as an alternative location. There is certainly plenty of land, and perhaps this aging complex should be moved to another location where land values are considerably lower and traffic issues might be more easily mitigated. A location west of Highway 12 between Santa Rosa and Rohnert Park is worthy of consideration.

If the fairgrounds were opened up for development, it might attract developers who would be willing to work with the county to provide a new government complex in exchange for property to build housing units. Building a new, centrally located fairground could be part of the project.

Yes, this would be a massive undertaking, but it could be accomplished without a disruption of county services and would certainly be a welcome upgrade to the old fairground area.

JIM SANNAR

Santa Rosa

Vacation rentals

EDITOR: I recently received a courtesy notice from the county informing me that it had approved another vacation rental in my neighborhood.

That means four of the six homes on this rural Guerneville road have gone from family dwellings to vacation rentals. I am saddened, even angry, but not surprised. A few months ago, when I peeked in at the open house for this dwelling, I heard the Realtors recommending it as a vacation rental.

Meanwhile, our county officials talk about providing more housing for residents, while they are busy giving carte blanche to out-of-town investors who are only interested in taking whatever they can from our struggling communities. Who elects our county officials? Who pays their salaries? The local residents or Bay Area speculators?

When I moved to this neighborhood, every home was either owner-occupied or a long-term rental, with a few used as vacation homes by families who owned them. Now, with this unchecked wave of vacation rental madness, there are fewer and fewer places for residents to rent or buy. Apparently our county supervisors don’t have any interest in putting the brakes to this hemorrhaging of housing stock.

LOIS PEARLMAN

Guerneville

Discourteous drivers

EDITOR: I am concerned about the lack of courtesy and good judgment shown by some drivers on Sonoma County roads. I assume that there are a variety of reasons why some people drive below the speed limit under ideal road and weather conditions. Many of these drivers fail to use turn-outs to let motorist driving the speed limit pass. This causes an unnecessary back up and frustration.

There are times when I am able to legally pass these drivers, but drivers increase their speed, making it dangerous for myself, them and others on the road. If you are going to drive slower than the speed limit and not move over to let cars pass, please don’t do something dangerous and downright stupid.

SUSAN TEEL

Bodega Bay

Mutz’s track record

EDITOR: I retired from the Los Angeles Police Department and have lived in Sonoma County for 30 years. While I didn’t have the honor of serving directly under Capt. John Mutz, I am very familiar with his record. I read the letter from the past president of the Sonoma County Deputy Sheriffs’ Association (“Choosing a sheriff,” Letters, April 27), and I want to set the record straight.

First, Mutz was transferred to the Foothill Division a few weeks before the Rodney King beating. More important, before people began filming these incidents there was no interest in reform from chiefs or sheriffs (or deputies’ associations) anywhere. This incident and its aftermath were awful, but afterward the LAPD had to reform. This gave Mutz an opening to introduce and lead the changes he had been trying to make.

Mark Essick is suddenly in favor of accountability, standing up for immigrants, diversity. What has he been doing the past 20 years while no one was looking?

Mutz has been a champion of reform, transparency and community engagement for more than 25 years. It would be great if the Sonoma Sheriff’s Office could start that now. Please join me in voting for John Mutz on June 5.

TONY PIAZZA

Rohnert Park

Misunderstood introverts

EDITOR: Sunday’s articles about the candidates for sheriff (“Bringing change”) gave us a pretty good synopsis of them all, but how Mark Essick described past Sheriff Steve Freitas is my topic here.

“Essick said he and other managers felt stifled under Freitas, an introvert skilled with budgets who avoided layoffs,” the article said.

Here is an example of not understanding the nature of introverts. Essick makes it sound like there’s something wrong about being an introvert, like it’s a negative trait. Our society seems to operate in the extrovert mode while more than 25 percent of the people are, by nature, introverts.

There are a lot of misconceptions regarding introverts. Society benefits from both introverts and extroverts. A few of the most successful introverts in history include Albert Einstein, Rosa Parks, Bill Gates, Steven Spielberg, Barack Obama and Abraham Lincoln. Perhaps this would be a good time for a Press Democrat writer to clear up these misconceptions?

BILL KRUMBEIN

Santa Rosa

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