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Repeating history

EDITOR: In 1942, Japanese-Americans living on the West Coast were relocated to internment camps. I was 5 years old when our family was sent to the Topaz camp in Utah where we remained for three years.

How can we allow history to repeat itself by detaining immigrant families indefinitely? Where are the voices of reason?

JON YATABE

Bodega Bay

Defining socialism

EDITOR: Richard Cohen’s Tuesday column (“Socialism talk could bring Democrats another defeat”) really got me going with his talk about “democratic socialism.” Why would anybody call themselves that here in the United States? Especially since democratic socialism isn’t socialism.

Rather, democratic socialism attempts to address the valid criticisms that socialists have regarding the capitalist system within the system itself. It is highly regulated capitalism. And it is working quite well in Scandinavia, thank you very much.

Communism/socialism (Marx and Engels used the terms interchangeably) require the abolition of the production of goods and services for sale and the dissolution of the market and the national government.

Anybody who actually reads up on socialism will find it to be a wonderful, utopian pipe dream well suited to a planet (it can only exist worldwide and not in individual countries) with low population levels.

Don’t get me started on the Soviet and Chinese authoritarian swindles. Nothing could be farther from socialism than those two frauds. I could write a book.

EDWARD MEISSE

Santa Rosa

Risking wildfires

EDITOR: Upon returning home to Santa Rosa after observing city-sponsored fireworks in Calistoga, I was stunned to find a gathering of people around a robust campfire in our neighborhood. Not only is this irresponsible and illegal, but it shows a total disregard for one’s neighbors, especially in light of recent red-flag warnings.

We live in a heavily forested area where the devastating Tubbs fire literally stopped across the road from us. We need to be ever-vigilant and do the things we can to minimize any potential recurrence of such an event — maintaining defensible space around our homes and being smart as to how we approach fire.

Having outdoor campfires is not one of those things.

JEFF GUSMAN

Santa Rosa

Fixing Lakeville Highway

EDITOR: May I remind Allen Hall (“Dangerous Road,” Letters, Sunday) that Lakeville Highway from Stage Gulch Road to Highway 37 isn’t a state highway. It belongs to, and is maintained by, Sonoma County.

And, in my opinion, a concrete divider like the one on Highway 37, would be impractical and more dangerous precisely because of the curves Hall mentioned in his letter.

DON WALTENSPIEL

Santa Rosa

Accountability for fires

EDITOR: Reflecting on the Northern California wildfires, Rex Grady argues that PG&E should be held financially accountable if we were negligent in our safety and maintenance practices (“Is immunity for PG&E a good idea?” Close to Home, Monday). We agree, and the state’s laws provide for this. Anyone who was harmed has the ability to take us to court to be compensated if we were negligent. In addition, the California Public Utilities Commission has the ability to penalize us.

We don’t seek a free pass for wrongdoing. To the contrary, we are asking only that we not be held financially accountable where we weren’t negligent. That seems obvious, but California courts have enforced strict financial liability on utilities under the doctrine of inverse condemnation. This flawed doctrine demands that we pay damages and guaranteed fees for lawyers even if we meet the state’s safety standards and regardless of fault. With billions of dollars of damages on the line, this isn’t sustainable. Imagine trying to operate your business or your household if you were financially liable for harm under these conditions.

Failure to reform inverse condemnation will severely harm our ability to provide customers with energy that is affordable, reliable and safe and will dramatically undermine our ability to meet the state’s clean-energy goals. We must work together to protect customers and overcome the challenges that extreme weather and wildfires present our state, or we will fail together.

TIM FITZPATRICK

Chief communications officer, PG&E

Inhumane policies

EDITOR; More than 3,000 community members came together Saturday in Old Courthouse Square for the Families Belong Together Rally in conjunction with the national day of action against the president’s zero-tolerance policy for immigrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, end family detention and reunite families immediately who have been separated (“Marchers unite in support of immigrants,” Sunday).

According to the Undocufund fire relief group, Sonoma County is home to nearly 40,000 undocumented immigrants — more than the population of Windsor and Healdsburg combined. Documented and undocumented immigrants play a vital role in our county’s economy and are part of our strength as a community. These are people whose children go to school with our children, work beside us, provide us goods and services and pay taxes to support our local resources.

The detainment and separation of immigrant families and children is inhumane, and we call for it to stop. We also call on our newly elected sheriff, Mark Essick, to officially state opposition to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency actions in our community.

All families belong together, and we believe all families in our community should feel safe and secure without the threat of being deported or separated.

LESLIE GRAVES

Organizer, Families Belong Together Rally in Santa Rosa

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