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Pandering to pot lobby

EDITOR: Compared to the scores of letters from residents calling out the numerous problems associated with the county’s plan to weave thousands of commercial pot facilities throughout our rural neighborhoods, how many letters have you seen from the pot industry, which stands to make millions under the current ordinance, extolling the virtues and benefits of having this sort of commercial activity next to our homes?

I challenge any of the applicants for a commercial cannabis permit to sit down with my neighbors and explain why having a big-fence commercial pot compound 300 feet from the bedroom windows of their children would be good for their welfare, safety, property values and already depleted groundwater. This reality is about to happen to hundreds of families throughout the county, and this is just the beginning. Object now, not after the problem has become systemic.

Contact your supervisors. Attend Tuesday’s board meeting. The supervisors work for all of us, not just the cannabis industry, yet the board is rushing to get the industry up and running, pandering to the powerful cannabis lobby at the expense of neighbors.

PHOEBE LANG

Petaluma

Build the crossing

EDITOR: Staff Writer Kevin McCallum’s article about the stalled Jennings Avenue SMART railroad crossing was depressing and infuriating, especially for those of us who have gathered signatures, convened a neighborhood meeting with the California Public Utilities Commission, attended Santa Rosa City Council meetings, printed flyers and obtained approval from all concerned (“Officials stall on crossing,” Saturday).

The excuse that SMART is giving — safety — doesn’t pass the smell test. The status quo, with no Jennings crossing, is far more dangerous for pedestrians, especially schoolchildren, who are forced to walk 20 minutes out of their way to cross the tracks on busy Guerneville Road or College Avenue.

Our neighborhood has been cut in half, and east-west pedestrian/bicycle access has been stymied, but why? SMART’s leadership is evidently holding back its real reason for stonewalling. The city should simply build the crossing, as it has every legal right to do.

RICHARD HEINBERG

Santa Rosa

Threatening Americans

EDITOR: So now Donald Trump is threatening a government shutdown if he does not get his wall at the Mexican border (“Trump sees no problem in shutting government,” Tuesday). Presumably, he is threatening the American people as the government is supposed to be the true representatives of the people. When kings threaten their own people, the next step is often a military one. Is that his next step? It’s time to knock the crown off this spoiled child and be done with him.

IAN ELLIOTT

Sebastopol

A divisive law

EDITOR: I’m still reeling from the Israeli government’s official designation of Israel as a nation state for Jews only (“New law deepens divide,” July 20). What about the 20 percent of its Palestinian population, supposedly Israeli citizens? Or the more than 200,000 Palestinians in East Jerusalem, annexed by Israel in 1967. And the 5 million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza?

What will happen to these indigenous non-Jews, Muslims and Christian Palestinians? What will happen to their ancestral lands and homes, which under this law no longer belong to them but to Israeli settlers?

My grandfather had olive groves near Ramallah, the best of which are lost to us. Other family members had many acres of beautiful orange groves in Jaffa, which they lost, too. Are Palestinians not human beings with basic human rights? How long before we are brave and honest enough to admit that Zionism is racism and that a Jewish state cannot be democratic?

Better than supporting the self-destructive state Israel has become, we should be encouraging it to do the work of healing from its past, rather than inflicting its festering pain on the Palestinians.

I have a bumper sticker that reads “All lands are holy, every people is sacred.” This I believe and practice. What about you?

THERESE MUGHANNAM-WALRATH

Santa Rosa

Kiribati isn’t sinking

EDITOR: Joshua Keating’s article in Sunday’s Forum section (“An island nation sinks as climate changes”) wasn’t supported by science within the article. An examination or the particulars of Kiribati shows why.

First, tide gauge information for that area of the Pacific shows fluctuations predominantly caused by El Niños, not climate change. Information from two Kiribati tide gauges: sea level at Christmas Island was higher in 1982 and 1997 than in any year since; Kanton Island had higher sea levels eight times before 2016, and the highest was in 1997.

The author also doesn’t know the physics of coral islands, which grew as sea level rose over 400 feet in the past 18,000 years as the 100,000-year glacial period (ice age) ended. Recent photo and satellite studies have found that a majority of Pacific coral atolls are the same size or have grown in the past half-century as sea level has risen at a modest rate of 4 inches per century with no sign of acceleration.

The article you published was alarmism without any climate change science.

MICHAEL COMBS

Gualala

Farm bailout

EDITOR: I was absolutely disgusted to see this headline in last Wednesday’s Nation/World section: “Trump to pay farmers $12 billion.” Again, the taxpayers must bear the burden of his ignorant leadership. And what will we hear from Congress? Probably just another, “Our thoughts and prayers are with you.”

KAREN McMILLEN

Santa Rosa

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