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Sympathy, please

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?

LINDA WALSTROM

Santa Rosa

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.

SABRA BRIERE

Santa Rosa

SMART’s hostage

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.

JAMES AVERA

Santa Rosa

Dystopian vision

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.”

NANCY PEMBERTON

Sebastopol

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.

That’s my reality living next to a commercial cannabis business. I don’t feel safe living next to nearly a full acre of plants. My neighbors don’t either.

Mixing commercial businesses that produce a high-value crop prone to home invasions with residences isn’t how I define neighborhood compatibility. The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors can improve neighborhood compatibility on Tuesday by creating an appropriate buffer between commercial cannabis businesses and homes. The supervisors should expand setbacks to a property line: 2,000 feet for outdoor plants and 500 feet for indoor cannabis operations.

Please write to the supervisors and voice your support if you agree that commercial cannabis cultivation doesn’t belong in neighborhoods.

GRACE GUTHRIE

Sebastopol

The road to bankruptcy

EDITOR: Gee, I missed possibly the event of the year. Newly nominated congressperson Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made a beeline to San Francisco to raise money for fellow Democrat/socialist/progressive political hopefuls.

From seeing her interviews on the Sunday talk shows, she could have just sent mailed flyers to everyone. She hits all the left-wing bullet points: dismantle Immigration and Customs Enforcement, open borders, free education, free medical, equitable wages for everyone, housing, give the store away. But she can’t back it up with any substantive plans on how to do all this. Oh, I forgot. Tax businesses and the rich more. That will bring in the bucks until there are no bucks to grab.

She is an empty suit.

Allowed to pursue her agenda, Ocasio-Cortez, along with her fellow travelers, will bankrupt this country. Obviously, she has never studied what happened in the great socialist countries of the USSR, Cambodia, Cuba and, the latest example, Venezuela. All that oil and natural resources, and the people starve. Wake up, people.

ANTHONY MORGAN

Cotati

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