A bad neighbor
EDITOR: The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors is considering allowing cannabis grows closer to regional parks. It is unnecessary to cultivate cannabis near the parks. California grows more than five times the cannabis needed for legal demand and, according to news accounts, 80 percent of cannabis grown in California (11 million pounds) exits the state and enters illegal markets.
The current setback regulation is 1,000 feet from property line to property line. The proposed change would lessen the distance. Cannabis has a strong odor, is oily and highly flammable. Cultivation closer to parks creates safety risks for people and animals accidentally crossing out of the park and onto sites protected by dogs or guns (to prevent robberies). Some growers use strong pesticides and rodenticides, which could leach into the parks, threatening wildlife.
Growers have lobbyists and business supporters to tell their story. The public isn’t aware of how permit decisions will influence their quality of life. We, the general public, have no large support organization to actively look out for our safety and interests. Locating cannabis grows closer to regional parks is an ill-advised, short-sighted decision. Park users should speak out to their local supervisor and Bert Whitaker, the county’s director of regional parks.
An unfair burden
EDITOR: I find the proposed Santa Rosa housing bond a complete trick developed by misguided City Council members (“Sales tax increase, bond on ballot,” July 25). Why should homeowners shoulder this?
The bond would increase my property taxes to pay for housing. Would I receive a return on my money in the form of a percentage of new home sales?
Would rent prices go up because landlords would never pay the property tax themselves?
What happened to all the funds created by the affordable housing mitigation fee associated with building permits?
This increase in property taxes would last 30 years. Would the county forgo increasing my property taxes per the usual Proposition 13 annual increase?
Please vote no on the new bond. Financial bondage is the more appropriate title for this farcical attack on property owners.
A firefighting corps
EDITOR: There appears to be a lack of available resources with which to combat wildfires in our region. California needs a volunteer wildfire corps that offers systematic training to civilians who want to help fight fires, or who want to help law enforcement keep order in evacuated communities, and which deploys these resources regionally or statewide.
We need a strategy of massive retaliation. We need an air wing of 1,000 Boeing 747s, 3,000 C-130s, and 5,000 helicopters; industrialized, scaled mobilization similar to a military operation — corps, divisions, battalions of firefighters. We need investment at the state and national level. We need student loan forgiveness or tax credits, or relocation stipends, to those who sign up for a summer deployment in a fire-stricken community.
To my mind, this is great politics. Any political leader should see the benefit of uniting constituents behind a shared enemy. There would be employment opportunities, professional skill development, increased civic awareness, greater social unity.
These fires aren’t going away. They are going to reoccur and intensify with climate change. Thank you for publishing my comment, and for doing your part as journalists to cast more light on this issue.