Sunday’s Letters to the Editor

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Refocusing NASA

EDITOR: Lori Garver, a former deputy administrator of NASA, expressed the need to refocus the energy and expertise of NASA on the most critical needs facing the U.S. (and the world) today: environment science and innovation in the era of water scarcity and climate change (“Finding a new mission for NASA,” July 21). Her article spoke for me and many others who admire NASA but question whether a manned flight to Mars or the moon is worth the effort and cost.

Her article especially struck me because my daughter is a scientist at NASA. She and her colleagues are struggling not to become cynical about their purpose, and many are trying to find ways to contribute more directly to fighting climate change. I am convinced that such a refocus would not only energize these dedicated professionals and unleash their considerable expertise, it would unite more U.S. citizens in support of this effort.

A San Francisco native, I spent 35 years working in Africa and the Middle East. I find the Bay Area as environmentally fragile as the often desperately poor countries where I worked. We need to take practical steps immediately. NASA could lead this effort if allowed to do so.



Medicare coverage

EDITOR: Since getting on Medicare in 2017, I am puzzled by the term “Medicare for All” from Sen. Bernie Sanders and all the Democrats who back that proposal. It makes Medicare out to be free for those on this federal government program and a single payer. Here is the reality on Medicare:

It is a hybrid program that Medicare administers and pays much of the costs. First, working people pay 1.45% of their total income to Medicare, and so do their employers. When on Medicare, recipients pay a monthly premium, which is taken out of their Social Security check.

But there are coverage caps on medical and drug prescriptions. As a result, many people pay for a supplemental policy with a PPO or an HMO. These policies vary in coverage and cost. The services are usually administered by third parties from the private sector, although it can come from a municipality. Not from Medicare.

What Sanders wants is a Department of Veterans Affairs-style program. The federal government provides the services directly, owns the facilities and employs all the health care workers and administrators. And no cost to those using the system. So why not call it “VA for All”?


Santa Rosa

Duped on bipartisan basis

EDITOR: I think I’ve got today’s political tensions figured out. The Democrats are being duped by the Republicans, and the Republicans are being duped by the Russians. A dire forecast for our country.


Santa Rosa

The new chief

EDITOR: For several years, the permit process required me to meet with the Santa Rosa Police Department’s traffic division and special events officer, Lt. Ray Navarro. With his promotion to captain and now chief, I offer a few observations.

During our meetings, I felt at ease and comfortably reassured by his soft tone and pleasant demeanor. He was always polite, organized, well prepared, steps ahead on some issues and impeccably dressed, which to me reflected respect and pride for the uniform, his department and the community he represented.

His willingness to actively listen (a rare and compassionate leadership skill) helped establish a feeling of trust, a key dynamic for positive relationships and mutually beneficial and acceptable resolutions in a fair decision-making process.

I concur with retiring Chief Hank Schreeder, “Ray is probably the most conscientious person I’ve ever met. … He is just a genuinely nice person and really cares.”

The selection committee members likely felt the same since they recommended a man of confidence, vast experience, obvious class and solid character to lead the department during the challenging times ahead and into an era of community trust, safety and protection.

Congratulations, Chief Navarro.


Santa Rosa

Consequences needed

EDITOR: I came from Mexico, legally, many years ago. The Mexico of my childhood was in a big city, yet there was very little crime. Those times are long gone. Do we want Sonoma County heading in the direction of today’s Mexico and other countries where there are no consequences for lawlessness? Where lawlessness thrives?

I have nothing against illegal immigrants if they came out of desperation and if they are honest, law abiding and hard working. I am not for asking people their immigration status, but I am for reporting their crimes, even if petty. If they are here illegally and know that their crimes might send them back, they will not take the chance and commit them.

No consequences for driving without a license? Is it OK not to know the laws and cause accidents? Is not having insurance OK? Be irresponsible, let the other person pay?

I do not agree with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency separating families and sending back honest, hardworking people.

Neither do I agree with Sonoma County Sheriff Mark Essick (“Essick promotes solidarity with Latinos,” July 27).

Whether we were born here, are here legally or illegally, committing petty crimes has a negative effect on society, and treating them as inconsequential promotes them.



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