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Every species at risk

EDITOR: Someone once referred to me as “our congresswoman who has never met a tiger salamander she didn’t love.” That was absolutely accurate. I was proud to fight for the California tiger salamander, because it needed and deserved protection. In the end, it took compromise and bipartisan effort to win the battle for the salamander to be listed as “endangered.”

Those were different political times in 2009 from what we are experiencing in 2018. Tennis Wick, Sonoma County’s planning director, suggested that we “keep our powder dry” when dealing with the Trump administration’s plan to roll back the Endangered Species Act (“Local habitat may be at risk” Sunday). I disagree.

We are dealing with a divided House and Senate, led by Republicans who are doing the president’s bidding on almost everything he wants whether they disagree or not. Unless we object loudly and clearly to rolling back the Endangered Species Act, every species listed as endangered will be at risk, including the tiger salamander.

We can count on Reps. Jared Huffman and Mike Thompson to fight the fight, but they need our support. Plus, they need a new Democratic Congress that respects the progress we have made to save endangered species and the environment and will move forward not backward.

LYNN WOOLSEY

Petaluma

If it make sense … 

EDITOR: During recent conversation about policy and process, a comment was made that if a solution made sense, it will never work. This elicited some chuckles soon replaced with sadness, as it is true. A case in point is Judge Rene Chouteau’s decision to void the sale of the Chanate hospital site as the negotiation itself is subject to the California Environmental Quality Act (“Sale of SR property canceled by judge,” July 27).

One of the primary tests of value is the ultimate use of the land, so it made great sense that the final compensation would be based on the number of housing units allowed on the Chanate property. This determination would be made within a CEQA process by the city of Santa Rosa. The CEQA process itself would help to determine the land’s value.

But the court ruled that terms of sale are subject to CEQA, ignoring that the process would be overseen by the county itself, a party to the negotiation and a blatant conflict of interest.

This decision provides no help at all as the community struggles with a crisis of housing.

Pogo was right — we have met the enemy and he is us.

MIKE MARTINI

Santa Rosa

Trashing Trump

EDITOR: I’m just wondering if J.W. Hale used the words of the day from his “I Hate Trump Calendar” to create his letter to the editor (“Trump’s rhetoric,” Monday). Or maybe he just has what most Democrats have nowadays, Trump Derangement Syndrome. It is similar to Obama Derangement Syndrome, except we were able to rise above it and keep quiet for those eight years when Barack and Michelle Obama brought the morality and wealth of this country to a screeching halt.

J.A. O’BRIEN

Costa Mesa

Pot and property values

EDITOR: Suppose you bought a house in Sonoma County. You worked hard to pay the mortgage. You worked hard to build up equity in your house. You worked hard to make your house a safe environment for your children. Then the Board of Supervisors voted to allow a large commercial cannabis operation to be built just over your fence.

Suddenly, your house is worth $100,000 less because no buyer, particularly a family with children, will want to live next door to a commercial cannabis operation.

That is a great deal of money to lose. It’s particularly galling because you aren’t losing it to fire or other natural disaster. You are losing it because the Board of Supervisors has given it to the pot growers on the other side of your fence.

The supervisors have committed a grievous breach of trust in choosing to enrich pot growers at the expense and against the wishes of the vast majority of their constituents. Calaveras County voted out their supervisors for similar offenses.

Attend the Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday.

PATRICK BALL

Sebastopol

The bailout tab

EDITOR: Under any ethical accounting system, the $12 billion going to overwhelmingly red-state farmers should be charged not to the Commodity Credit Corp. (taxpayer money) but to the Republican National Committee.

JIM MARTIN

Santa Rosa

Fire hazards

EDITOR: I have a cabin and property in Cazadero. Cal Fire has been sending representatives to educate owners on vegetation management because of heightened fire danger.

Ironically, even though Cal Fire has a station nearby, there are at least 11 places where dead saplings and trees are laying on top of utility wires. The majority of these have been there for at least a year and a half, and nothing has been done about clearing the lines.

I held my breath all last summer, hoping nothing would happen. But I can’t do it again this summer. We don’t want another fire like the 1978 Creighton Ridge fire.

I’m also a homeowner in Oakmont and, thanks to first responders, still had a home to come back to last October, so I am feeling a little sensitive about fire prevention — be it a citizen or public entity responsibility.

CHERYL BUTTON

Santa Rosa

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