Thursday’s Letters to the Editor
Dam removal impacts
EDITOR: Much has been written about how removing Scott Dam on the Eel River will provide miles of fish habitat (“Plan filed to remove dam,” May 14). I have not read anything about what will happen when the mercury and cinnabar mines that are currently sealed under the lake are exposed.
Tons of silt behind that dam are contaminated with mercury. How will releasing/exposing that silt impact downstream fisheries, farming, groundwater supplies and the health of our communities?
This isn't as simple as remove the dam and the fish shall return. There is an ecosystem that has been in place for almost 100 years. What is to happen with the bald eagles, ospreys, bears, otters, beavers and elk that rely on this lake to survive? And the fish that reside in the lake?
All of our Northern California rivers have seen a serious decline in salmon populations; removing this dam isn't going change this. While I applaud you supporting conservation, please don't rally behind this cause without investigating all impacts to our community and rivers.
Obligation to one another
EDITOR: Rather than getting all upset about the various government entities that are trying to help us all stay well in their “tyrannical fashion,” why not be thankful that more people aren't dying or getting deathly ill (“The ‘control us virus,'?” Letters, Saturday)? As to the quote attributed to communists, look at Snopes.com, which cannot corroborate it.
Yes, this pandemic is awful, but adopting public health measures is the best way to contain it. And consider the other government public health and safety rules that we already are subject to, such as using seat belts, driving the speed limit and staying in the correct lanes while driving. We have to send our kids to school. Our kids can't bike without helmets, and none of us can ride a motorcycle without one. Does Bobbi Reeser think that these government rules and guidelines are communistic, too?
Bottom line: When we live together in community and as citizens of nations, we have an obligation to be sure that we don't harm others.
A speedier plan
EDITOR: I am bewildered why we are expected to wait four-plus years and spend more than $24 million for a roundabout to be built to alleviate traffic jams at the intersection of Highways 121 and 116 southwest of Sonoma (“Roundabout plan for Highways 121, 116 advances,” Saturday). It would be simpler, quicker, less polluting, less confusing and cheaper to install a traffic signal to replace the antiquated four-way stop signs in order to speed traffic through the intersection.
Risking public safety
EDITOR: Despite historical warnings from the 1918-19 flu that reopening an economy too soon can be catastrophically fatal, Sonoma County's supervisors want us open for business. After all, we've built “capacity.”
Let me translate. Capacity means that, if they are wrong, there is a hospital bed for you and, if necessary, a space at the morgue. That's literally what capacity means.
Many people are in dire circumstances, and capacity is the solution? You won't hear too much in this newspaper, from corporate media or from your supervisors about the solutions implemented by more enlightened countries: sufficient money to stay home - money directed to people instead of large corporations. Every other developed country and many not-so-developed countries are supporting their residents with monthly financial payments.
During the Great Recession, Congress and the captains of industry learned that they could take the money and run and we'd do nothing about it. Might it be time to say, “Not this time. We're not accepting that.”
Our supervisors can't provide that money, but they can demand it of Washington. You can, too. But on that subject, all we hear are crickets, drowned out by the siren song of capacity.
SUSAN COLLIER LAMONT
Don't blame scientists
EDITOR: I am outraged and offended at Timothy Long's May 14 letter (“An ulterior motive?”). The epidemiologists he is accusing of attempting to prolong this pandemic are the folks describing how we can stop it. It is the actions of some self-serving politicians, concerned about their reelection that will prolong this thing to devastating effect.
RICHARD A. DURR
EDITOR: Your article about government budgets highlights an important upcoming issue (“Newsom budget banks on Congress,” Saturday). Cities, counties, states and the federal government are starting to talk about “needing to make cuts in certain areas” to balance the reduced revenues and increased costs brought about by the pandemic. We need to move passed this yearly boom-and-bust budget cycle.
Our current situation won't be helped with freezes on hiring, drastic cuts to schools, physical and mental health, stable housing, universal internet access and so many other vital items. Beyond being needed and essential for a humane society, funding these items makes fiscal sense. Paying for these things helps reduce future costs by supporting a healthy society.
Yes, we need to make choices through a sound fiscal lens. We also need to look beyond the short term and create systems that increase everyone's overall health and security. Let's continue looking at nontraditional costs reductions, like reducing inmate populations.
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