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Don’t tax water

EDITOR: We need to be vigilant about the latest tax masquerading as a fee on water, and let our representative know that this is misguided. No other life-essential product such as food or bottled water is taxed.

The most insidious part of this proposal, Senate Bill 623, is giving the dairy and fertilizer a pass for the damage to existing aquifers. As part of the legislation, the dairy and fertilizer industries are taxed a nominal amount, and if they pay these “fees” they become immune from enforcement of penalties for contaminating groundwater.

Most of California environmental laws are guided by the polluter-pays principle, and this funding mechanism turns that upside down. The dairy and fertilizer revenue is only 20 percent of the total raised, which means that the tax on individual water users is responsible for 80 percent of the funding to remediate a problem largely caused by dairies and farmers.

Please let your state legislators, especially state Sen. Bill Dodd, who is a co-author, know that SB 623 is a bad idea.

STEVE ROGERS

Sonoma

A time for unity

EDITOR: I want to congratulate Capt. Mark Essick on his election as our next sheriff. I am proud to have run with him and John Mutz and to have had the opportunity to discuss some very important issue facing our communities.

Over the course of the primary campaign, we participated in 13 community forums and two radio debates. I was impressed by the level of engagement of community members in these forum and by the issues raised.

Good dialogue was had about needed changes in the Sheriff’s Office, such as improved transparency, accountability and increased diversity. We also discussed our ideas on dealing with immigration, homelessness, de-escalation of force, community policing, gun violence and other issues facing Sonoma County and our country.

Now we must all come together to help our new sheriff make the needed changes and find solutions for these tough issues. We cannot expect our sheriff to do it alone; we must be willing to work together in sharing the responsibility and accountability in bringing about change.

I, for one, am committed to standing beside him to offer my support and assistance. Please join me in congratulating our next sheriff, Mark Essick.

ERNESTO OLIVARES

Santa Rosa

Homeless facts

EDITOR: I agree with some of Robert E. Ingham’s thinking (“Homeless and safety,” Letters, May 30). But as a person who is homeless due to my sister’s death as a result of fire ash, I know a lot of people who are now homeless don’t want to be.

A lot of the homeless still go to work. There is a wider spectrum than lazy people who just want to use the system. There are no programs or housing that we can afford.

Open your minds to the fact that so-called affordable housing doesn’t exist in this area. And the price-gouging rules should also apply to motels. Double the price on a weekend is price-gouging. OK I’m done.

RAY LUTMAN

Santa Rosa

Being part of the solution

EDITOR: I appreciated Pete Golis’ May 20 column on the recovery of California (“Will a resurgent California make the right choices?”). First on his fix list was solving the housing crisis. Housing development is an organic process with a private-public exchange. The public sector is here to encourage insights. After the fires, the county was approached by the private sector; the labor unions resisted their participation. Community involvement is what will make Sonoma County strong, diverse.

Labor unions exist when there is revenue from the private sector to fund their pensions. As cities spiral into deeper debt, a key solution is to prevent the exodus of workforce-housing families and individuals. Government agencies supporting and assisting builders and developers with flexible and innovative housing is central to our recovery.

We have a chance with the state surplus of $9 billion to stop the exodus. Consider the private sector as a pole bean, supported by the pole, which is the public sector. The government provides poles for transportation and infrastructure, the plant (private sector) is allowed to grow, be diverse, evolving to fit needs of the community. If the bean plant lives, so will the pensions.

WARREN HEDGPETH

Santa Rosa

Pro-birth policies

EDITOR: Donald Trump “has stood up for the humanity of the unborn child like no president in history” according to columnist Marc A. Thiessen (“The most fearlessly pro-life president in history,” May 24).

That’s nice, but after these children are born? Trump is decimating programs for poor women, denying mothers the time to bond with their infants by insisting on their need to work to get benefits, not providing government assistance in the form of inexpensive and high-quality child care centers and cutting funds for school lunch programs, education and children’s health and dental care.

So the point seems to be that if you’re a conservative Christian who supports Trump, then you believe that life, and your concern about it, ends at birth.

I am pro-life, pro-family and pro-choice. My position is that if you don’t protect children after they are born and support the families who gave birth to those children, you are not Christian.

And if you don’t have a uterus, then you don’t get to choose for those who do. Quite simple really.

CONNIE KELLOGG

Sebastopol

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