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Wednesday’s Letters to the Editor

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Republican rule

EDITOR: May I suggest that Art Hackworth (“Immigration plan,” Letters, Friday) search Google for the immigration reform measure passed by the U.S. Senate in 2013? The Senate passed a comprehensive immigration modernization act by a bipartisan vote of 68-32, and President Barack Obama would have signed it. The House of Representative refused to bring this bill to the floor to be debated and/or amended. House members turned their backs on it as they do so many critical issues we need our government to deal with.

Sound familiar? The past two months of embarrassing all-Republican rule have shown us a degree of disorganization, conflict of interest, sheer ineptitude and ignorance that is deplorable and not really what this usually great country is all about. How did we end up here? Is this what happens when you hate government? The current Republican Party is a pox on our country. Vote them out.

KAREN SMITH

Willits

Special interest money

EDITOR: One doesn’t have to leave Sonoma County to witness the corrupt role that money plays in our political system.

Just as outside special interests funded campaigns for county supervisors during the November election, it is happening again.

Last year, a responsible Santa Rosa City Council approved a reasonable rent control ordinance. However, local and outside interests funded a misleading petition campaign in order to postpone the ordinance and arrange a costly special election in June.

Now, some of those same interests, either real estate associations or developers, have raised almost $400,000 to defeat rent control, previously negotiated and approved by elected members of the Santa Rosa City Council after extensive public input. The bulk of the money to defeat Measure C is coming from an association of realtors based in Los Angeles and a lobbying group in Sacramento for owners of large apartment complexes.

Don’t let special interests from Los Angeles and Sacramento undermine local attempts to address the housing crisis and provide relief for working families in Santa Rosa. While other measures need to be taken to provide affordable housing in Santa Rosa, Measure C is a positive start.

TONY WHITE

Santa Rosa

Taxing grapes

EDITOR: Vaughan Whalen suggested a tax on grapevines as a means to support county services (“A tax on grapes,” Letters, Sunday). As a vineyard and winery owner, I would whole heartedly support such a tax, just as soon as each of my grapevines can produce $2,000 to $3,000, or more, in product every year.

JOHN MASON

Emtu Estate Wines Forestville

Fixing roads

EDITOR: After the rainiest winter in memory, many Sonoma County roads are in deplorable condition. The $65 million that the Board of Supervisors has invested in pavement preservation during recent years has enabled 300 miles of well-traveled county roads to largely escape the storms’ ravages. We thank the supervisors for addressing the decades of neglect that transformed the county’s road system into one of the worst in California.

But we still desperately need money to repair the 60 percent of the county road system that remains in poor or failing condition. Properly repaired roads will stand a better chance of surviving future rainy seasons.

The state Legislature and the governor are addressing this problem with a proposal to adjust gas taxes and registration fees for inflation. Legislation designated as SB1 would eventually provide more than $18 million annually to fix Sonoma County roads. Our cities face similar challenges and would benefit greatly. For example, Santa Rosa and Petaluma would eventually receive $6 million and $2 million a year, respectively.

Of Sonoma County’s five legislators, only Assemblyman Marc Levine hasn’t endorsed this proposed legislation.

Save Our Sonoma Roads urges voters to contact Levine and insist that he support this vital legislation.

CRAIG S. HARRISON and MICHAEL TROY

Save Our Roads Sonoma

Fueling housing crisis

EDITOR: The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors continues to approve permits for wineries and tasting rooms that no one wants. These facilities require staffing by low-wage employees who move to Santa Rosa and then can’t find affordable housing. The supervisors wring their hands about the housing crisis. Stop creating projects that county residents abhor and help to diminish the influx of workers who can’t afford to live here. Seems like a no-brainer to me.

HARRIET PALK

Santa Rosa

Career skill classes

EDITOR: As a high school senior planning to major in computer science, the lack of STEM learning opportunities in my school and others is disheartening.

My school offers auto mechanics and wood shop to help prepare students for possible jobs. It’s said that software developer jobs will grow by 22 percent by 2022, and the average earnings are $90,060 a year. Classes that expose students to such a growing industry should be available at all high schools, especially in Sonoma County.

During my participation in the seven-week-long Girls Who Code summer immersion program, the other 20 students in my class had taken or were going to take AP computer science classes. All of those students lived in the Silicon Valley. Their schools have obviously realized the importance of STEM education. I hope that it doesn’t take too long to realize it here as well.

ASHLEY FLORES

Santa Rosa

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