Friday’s Letters to the Editor
EDITOR: Why don’t we all try to get along, not think about ourselves and focus on prayers for our neighbors being affected by all the fires in California?
Bonds and labor costs
EDITOR: I read with dismay your Saturday editorial arguing that the city’s proposed housing bond shouldn’t require builders to pay prevailing wage (“Housing bond shouldn’t drive up housing costs”).
The entire editorial — except for the last sentence — was a defense of cutting building expenses by paying cheaper labor costs. The focus on labor costs completely misses the purpose of the proposed bond.
There are two major cost centers for construction: labor and materials. The rationale behind the proposed bond is to allow builders to decrease their direct costs for labor and materials, including subsidies for paying prevailing wages. By reducing these costs, construction can proceed as it otherwise would, while the resulting cost to the consumer is reduced.
The proposed bond, therefore, is a direct benefit to the builder: It would encourage the employment of skilled labor and apprentices, increase the likelihood that construction will be of higher quality, produce the desired housing at an affordable cost and still ensure a reasonable profit.
Whether the bond would provide sufficient revenue to effectively defray builders’ costs could be an argument. Using this issue to argue for cheap labor just doesn’t win me.
EDITOR: SMART is holding the Jennings Avenue pedestrian crossing hostage, blocking construction until it gets something it wants from Santa Rosa and other cities. Meanwhile, children walking to Helen Lehman School from the east side of the tracks have to walk a detour three times as long as the old route (any wonder people climb the fence?)
The at-grade crossing has long been approved, and the city of Santa Rosa agreed to pay construction costs. Everyone thought it would happen in 2017.
Now SMART wants cities along the line to unconditionally shield it from any liability arising in accidents in “quiet zones” (where train whistles aren’t automatically sounded). This is a ridiculous and unfair demand. The courts are well able to divvy up liability based on the specific facts of any incident. Nevertheless, SMART thinks it can force its way by holding unrelated projects hostage. Stop it, SMART.
EDITOR: Pete Johnson’s argument that our sympathies should lie with families who are citizens rather than families who are immigrants mirrors Donald Trump’s false view of the world (“Misplaced sympathies,” Letters, Monday).
Trump divides the world between winners and losers, because he doesn’t have the capacity to solve problems where all are winners. Johnson similarly divides the world between those who deserve our compassion and those who do not, apparently believing we don’t have the capacity to be compassionate to all.
This dystopian vision of the world must be soundly rejected if we are to “form a more perfect union.”
A bad neighbor
EDITOR: It’s legal in Sonoma County to grow cannabis on a 2-acre agriculture-zoned parcel bordering Sebastopol’s city limits and surrounded by homes or parks. Imagine plants 300 feet from your house or 100 feet from your garden. Imagine indoor cultivation structures and employee activities about 20 feet from your relaxing swing.