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Trashy roads

EDITOR: When I moved to California from the East Coast almost 30 years ago, one of the first things I noticed was how trash-free the roads were. Now, I can’t drive a few yards without seeing trash along the side of the road. The Highway 101 exit to Highway 12 is an appalling local example.

For a while, I thought the increase in roadside trash was due to the fires and assumed that public agencies had more urgent matters to deal with. But I’ve noticed that the problem extends east past Sacramento and south to Marin County.

Whether it’s Highway 101, Interstate 80 or small county roads, the amount of trash is inexcusable. I’ve been embarrassed showing out-of-state guest our otherwise beautiful area with bottles, cans, cups, cardboard boxes and all sorts of objects littered on the side of the roads.

Whatever happened to “adopt a highway” or roadside clean-up crews? It’s time for Caltrans and the other responsible authorities to step up and do their jobs. Clean the roads.

BLAIR PLEASANT

Santa Rosa

Economy, then and now

EDITOR: In response to Michael S. George’s claim that Donald Trump saved the economy (“Out of the doldrums,” Letters, Friday), just a few minutes of research would have shown him that when Barack Obama took office, the Dow was at 7,900 and unemployment was 9.3 percent. When he left office, the Dow was at 19,800 and unemployment was 4.6 percent. After eight years, the Dow almost tripled, and unemployment was half of what is was when Obama started.

When Trump took office, the Dow was at 19,800 and is now at 25,000. That’s a 26 percent increase in 1½ years. Adjusted to eight years, it would result in the Dow rising at half the rate of the Obama years. Looking at job growth, five out of Obama’s last seven years in office beat Trump’s job numbers. It’s obvious that Trump took office when the economy was already very healthy.

Please save us all a little time and research the facts before you make claims. And by the way, during the George W. Bush administration, the Dow dropped from 10,600 to 7,900, and unemployment flew from 4.25 percent to almost 8 percent. It’s pretty clear that economic performance under Obama was much better than during the Bush years or Trump’s years so far.

TED LUTHIN

Sebastopol

School start time

EDITOR: Before Gov. Jerry Brown signs SB 328 to change the start of the school day for middle school and high school students, I hope he will consider this no-cost solution: Have those parents tell their kids to get off the computer, turn off their phone, and go to bed earlier. If they do that, they’ll get enough sleep, wake up refreshed and be ready start their school day at the current time. Problem solved.

BRIAN THOMAS

Rohnert Park

Housing measures

EDITOR: Proposition 2 heads in the right direction, but it doesn’t go far enough (“Yes on Prop 2: Build housing for the mentally ill,” Aug. 24). Besides the homeless mentally ill, there’s an elderly population increasingly in need of affordable accommodations where they would have better access to care and comfort — your so-called “supportive housing.”

Looking back, we had “old folks homes” and “mental institutions” meant to serve these dependent populations. These fell out of favor decades ago. Few remain today. That may have resolved some complaints, but it did little to serve the underlying needs. The result: It’s every man (and woman) fending for themselves, with many well-meaning if marginal support groups trying to assist.

Communities could benefit from reintroducing continuing-care group facilities (call it housing if you wish) to serve these fragile populations, possibly at less expense to the public coffers than how we deal with it currently.

For the elderly, think of it as a continuing care retirement community, where they chip in what they have. For the homeless, most of whom have next to nothing, consider it cleaning up the streets for everyone’s benefit, most especially theirs.

Come to think of it, Sonoma County already has a possible base to develop such a concept. It’s the now-shuttered Sutter Hospital on Chanate Road in Santa Rosa.

THOMAS RICHARD HARRY

Windsor

Music at the square

EDITOR: I attended the 150th birthday for Santa Rosa at Old Courthouse Square and appreciated the effort put out by community members for this event (“Celebrating Santa Rosa’s 150th year,” Sunday).

The short set by the Luther Burbank Center youth mariachi ensemble was great. But as a music lover and a lifelong Sonoma County resident, I knew something was missing. Why didn’t our mayor and City Council think to hire a local band to get us dancing and tapping our feet while we patiently waited between various presentations? There was plenty of time for it.

We have amazing musicians living and working in our community who are a vital part of our history and culture. After all the money and effort spent renovating the square, purchasing a new bandstand and fancy event tent, surely the city could have managed to hire a local band or two to fill those voids between speeches and cake cuttings. Hey, maybe the funds to hire bands for future community events could come from raiding those expensive downtown parking meters.

SVEA NORTON

Santa Rosa

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