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Immigration debates

EDITOR: The arguments for and against stricter immigration enforcement, the wall especially, seem to focus on illegal immigrants and crime. Back and forth: “They’re dangerous!” “They are not!” “They are too!” Excuse the pun, but it’s driving me up the wall.

Rarely do I hear the argument, or simply the observation, that people come here from Latin America, and elsewhere, for the jobs — jobs that need filling. Agriculture, hotel and restaurant, domestics, etc., all would collapse without the immigrant workforce. Everybody — Republicans, Democrats, independents, children, elders, the sick, the heathy, the wealthy and the middle and lower classes — benefit from the immigrant workforce’s contributions. It is hypocritical to condemn immigrant workers, illegal or otherwise, while enjoying the fruits of their labors.

Has any journalist ever thought to investigate Mar-a-Lago, and all the other Donald Trump properties, to find out how many illegal immigrants he has working there? That would be interesting reading.

STEVE O’ROURKE

Santa Rosa

A sustainable planet

EDITOR: The recent wildfires, hurricanes and increased temperatures make it obvious that global warming is a threat to our planet. Unfortunately, President Donald Trump refuses to acknowledge the problem and instead proposes increased coal production and the possibility of opening more areas of our pristine California coast to oil exploration. A pathetic response in my opinion.

We must join our state lawmakers in promoting alternative forms of energy and increased vehicle mileage standards. I am committed to leaving my granddaughter and future generations a sustainable planet.

JACK VERMEULEN

Rohnert Park

Madness of war

EDITOR: I heartily agree with Rama Kumar (“Glorifying war,” Letters, Wednesday). We do glorify war, and in order to not look like actually supporting war, we glorify warriors. Now I don’t in any way want you to think that I have anything but admiration for young people who sign up to serve in the military, for whatever reason, be it patriotism, need of a job, the promise of an education, the limited benefits downstream.

What I decry is the ongoing glorification of the actual act of war and the threat, real or imagined, of war. I was born and raised in World War II London, being bombed regularly and living with the aftermath. I was flying in and out of Vietnam during that war. I see photos of the current horrific acts of war, and I have to ask myself, “why?”

We, the people allow despots (Hitler, Assad, etc) to overcome the human needs we all have, like food, shelter, clean water, security for our families, etc. For what? We live under the constant barrage of fear-mongering by our leaders, both here and abroad.

How do we, the people, stop this madness?

KAY OPPENHEIMER

Santa Rosa

Bathtub art

EDITOR: Don’t worry, Petaluma. The ridiculous bathtubs on stilts art project will never get built (“Debate rages over Petaluma art project,” Aug. 21). Why? Because the tubs wouldn’t be handicap accessible.

LORRAINE ISAACS

Petaluma

Socialism and capitalism

EDITOR: Peter Schwartz (“Socialism’s failures,” Letters, Monday) claims that Nordic countries afford vast social programs by avoiding defense costs. I believe Nordic countries are prosperous because they prevent their wealth from flowing to a privileged few.

We abandoned such taxation policy in the Republican “trickle-down” con game, and we’re left with unfilled potholes in our roads, while a small group of ultra-wealthy individuals leads profligate lives. Our defense costs used to be bearable by the middle class along with great social investments, but we’ve forgotten how to do it.

Schwartz claims that Venezuela’s meltdown is an example of failed socialism. Venezuela’s problems are largely due to past over-reliance on the volatile value of oil exports. It’s not the only country to have made such mistakes, and many of those are capitalist. If unbounded socialism is the problem from Schwartz’s view, then he has forgotten what happened in the U.S. in 2008.

Both systems can work well, but that depends on containing their excesses. We ought to do what works. We have elements of socialism here, but not as much as European countries. We have plenty of capitalist excess here, so there is certainly an optimum that we have not reached.

PAUL S. ZYGIELBAUM

Santa Rosa

Smoother roads

EDITOR: I speak for myself and many others here in the west county after many miles of our Skaggs Springs and Annapolis roads were repaired and chip sealed in recent weeks.

Hats off to our county supervisor, Lynda Hopkins, for facilitation and to the great job the county road department did to protect public safety, increase road and vehicle longevity and maintain an official evacuation route.

CHRIS POEHLMANN

Annapolis

Harris for mayor

EDITOR: I’m a recent Petaluma High School graduate. During my time in school, Mike Harris came before our government classes and spoke to us numerous times. We always learned a lot from his talks, and he always answered all of our questions.

In addition, he was always a supporter of our school sports teams, and he could always be found cheering on our teams on the sidelines. Now that I have turned 18, my first vote in a mayoral election will be for Harris. Many of my friends in my age bracket are voting for him, and I hope everybody else joins us in supporting Mike Harris for mayor. He’s a leader we can look up to.

MICHAEL BARIBAULT

Petaluma

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