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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.

MONICA BOETTCHER

Santa Rosa

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.

ALEXIS SOTIROS

Santa Rosa

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.

ANDREW McLAUGHLIN

Santa Rosa

Skip the rallies

EDITOR: When the so-called president of the United States has his rallies — I call them “lynch mob rallies” — they should get little or no coverage from the media.

The media, especially the TV networks, should resist their addiction to covering this non-news. Resist the idea that it is good for ratings. Consider the fact that the news media is only there as a whipping boy. There is no news there.

Most of the public has no interest in the lynch mob rallies. It is getting more and more dangerous for the news media people. What if the president gave a lynch mob rally and the new media did not attend at all?

BYRON J. DURKEE

Santa Rosa

Medicare for All

EDITOR: Regarding Michael Hiltzik’s rebuttal to Charles Blahous’ economic analysis of the Medicare for All proposal (“A surprise case for universal Medicare,” Thursday), there are two important points to remember:

First, under the law, at least the version that passed the California state Senate last year, private health care plans would be outlawed in order to force everyone into the Medicare pool. If you like your current doctor and your current health care plan, you would not be allowed to keep them unless they can live with the paltry Medicare reimbursement rates. Everyone would be forced into the Medicare pool, competing for the few doctors who will accept new Medicare patients.

Second, one of the selling points for Medicare for All is that the increased costs would be paid for by tax increases, which would be offset by the elimination of private insurance premiums. This ignores the fact that nearly 85 percent of insurance comes as an employment benefit, paid for by the employer. When private plans are outlawed, will employers grant raises to reflect the costs of insurance plans that are no longer bought? Will that be mandated under the law?

We need to take a good, hard look at the proposals, and Blahous’ analysis is worth reading.

JOE GAFFNEY

Rohnert Park

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