Sunday’s Letters to the Editor
No easy solutions
EDITOR: I have noticed a rash of letters recently accusing us, as a community, of ignoring the plight of the homeless. Gail Outlaw says that “we can’t or won’t come up with a plan for low-cost housing” and suggests we find a “space where they can put their tents” (“Cruel treatment,” Sept. 25).
What she and her compadres don’t include in their letters is a way to fund living space for the poor and unhoused. Who should pay for this vacant lot where the homeless might camp?
There is a finite amount of money in any budget. Some is earmarked for road maintenance, but we can’t even afford to have all the potholes fixed, much less entire roads repaved. Cities have trouble keeping police and firefighters because we can’t pay them as much as other communities. Parks are short staffed and can’t even hire enough minimum-wage employees to keep toilet paper in the stalls.
It’s not that we are heartless or, worse, evil. No instant solution to this problem exists. It will take much cooperation between government, private and faith-based charities and the general public to come up with a viable plan.
Betraying a public trust
EDITOR: Everyone we know loves Point Reyes National Seashore with the park’s iconic Tule elk. They were brought back from near extinction, beginning in 1962 when they were placed in protected status once Point Reyes National Seashore was established. Having lived in both Marin and Sonoma counties for more than 45 years, my husband and I are frequent visitors to Point Reyes because of its great beauty, diversity and wildlife.
We are shocked to learn that Rep. Jared Huffman has joined forces with Utah’s Republican Rep. Rob Bishop to co-sponsor House Resolution 6687, which leapfrogs over a National Park Service scoping process with public input for Point Reyes and thus ensures ranchers’ leases for 20 years (“Bill aims to preserve ranches at Point Reyes,” Sept. 29).
H.R. 6687 cuts into the democratic process of decision- making while opening the way for the possibility of legislation in favor of leaseholders in other national parks without public input and scrutiny. Finally, what happens to Tule elk and land/water protections for Point Reyes as a result of H.R. 6687?
Park preservation, not exploitation of lands and resources, has been the intent of our national parks. H.R. 6687 is a betrayal of public trust here in California.
Yes on M
EDITOR: At long last the environmental impact report is complete, and Tolay Regional Park will open later this year. Soon, the Petaluma City Council will review a plan to add 44 acres and a new southern entrance to Helen Putnam Regional Park.
These are exciting developments for hikers, cyclists, equestrians, runners, school groups, picnickers, photographers and just plain walkers who enjoy these south county recreational gems.
While county parks attract 5 million visitors a year, our Regional Parks Department lacks the necessary funds to clear new trails, install restrooms, increase support for educational programs and provide many other amenities that will make all of our parks fully accessible, safe and enjoyable.
Measure M would generate $11.5 million each year, exclusively for park maintenance and development. Measure M would add one-eighth of a cent to the sales tax, or 3 cents on a $25 purchase. Two-thirds of these funds would be used for the 56 county parks.