Letters to the editor

Palm Drive dissolution

EDITOR: Thank you Gayle Bergmann and Tom Boag for your recent letters in the Press Democrat and Sonoma West calling for dissolution and/or sharing of significant concerns about the Palm Drive Health Care District (PDHCD).

When the majority of voters approved Measure W, we agreed to have our taxes fund a local hospital/ER. Now that we no longer have a hospital/ER, it is time to dissolve this administrative agency. (I’ve talked with numerous others about this, and, so far, I’ve had nearly 100% agreement.)

I appreciate the many hours others have put in to try and keep this hospital in operation. However, it is time to dissolve the district and apply the majority of parcel taxes toward the approximately $28 million debt — and not toward health care grants that were not proposed on the Measure W ballot. (See “What’s next for the Palm Drive Health Care District?” Sonoma West, Dec. 18, 2019.)

The time for fiscal responsibility is upon us. The tax money saved from dissolution not only reduces our property tax bill, but also those saved dollars can go toward voter approved, more pressing community needs like the upcoming high parcel tax (e.g. teacher salaries), fire district needs or assisting the homeless.

Please keep an eye out for the petitions for dissolution, which will be available and circulating soon.

Alan Murakami

Sebastopol

Another voice for dissolution

EDITOR: Now that the hospital and emergency room no longer exist, it is time to dissolve this district. The taxpayers of this district are quite capable of picking their own charities to support. We do not need to pay upwards of $230,000 dollars a year for this group to do it for us. (Editor’s Note: It’s closer to $500,000.) Certain members of this board have shown very poor judgment in signing the hospital on to a sleazy Florida lawyer's drug testing scam, which resulted in a $13.5 million lawsuit from Anthem-Bluecross.  The totality of the parcel tax should go towards paying off the $28 million dollars in debt that was run up, trying to save the hospital, not to this group's pet programs which most would likely result in even more debt!

Carol Mitchel

Sebastopol

Repurpose existing county buildings to house homeless

EDITOR: It was good the supervisors decided to spend $12 million in emergency homeless relief funding. I support the idea of repurposing existing buildings for  homeless housing. While I’m aware that some buildings (like many of the old Sutter Chanate Hospital buildings) are not earthquake safe, but surely there are others that are safe. The county shouldn’t quickly reject such a solution and spend the money quickly and unwisely, only on brand new structures, which, quite obviously, are more time-consuming and expensive to put into use.

Perhaps Supervisor Hopkins is willing to show more good leadership in this regard. Even the old armory building, which once was used to house the homeless, might be brought back into use.

Frank Baumgardner

Sebastopol

Over-population is the root cause

EDITOR: Our global warming crisis is definitely real, and our evolving measures towards its correction are certainly meaningful. (“Youth activism transformed the local environmental scene,” Sonoma West, Dec. 30, 2019)

Sadly, however, these ills are only symptoms of their deeper, more rooted causes from population growth, and one that we collectively refuse to acknowledge. Combined, they currently become the greatest threat to our survival. It is not difficult to see, with an open, objective mind, the connection between these two forces as they demonstrate themselves on a daily basis.

Locally, for example, our “housing shortage” is, in actual fact, a “population overage,” and with the housing developments being readied toward its resolution, serving to further damage our ecosystems and foster increased climate degradation. Another example, on the global scale, is the on-going defoliation of the Amazon rain forests, which, while being officially designated as a warming threat to our entire planet, has causes that are clearly based on pressures of population growth.

Our denial here can be understandable; thriving in a society that has taught us to generally feel superior to and detached from, all of nature, and adopting an economic system that is based on an illusion of perpetual growth, we, by now, have become addictively attached to a distorted interpretation of our natural role on the planet. Small wonder that we are  confused, and very apt to meet any serious suggestion of change with resistance, with a defense of our status quo, or, conversely, to run away. This, perhaps is our greatest threat to meaningful action.

Resolutions that focus on global warming, while never able to promise a total solution, can be relatively straightforward, with many that are easily doable; those that address population growth, however, will entail a severity perhaps greater than what we endured during the WWII years.

Our first, most fundamental, non-negotiable mandate will be to transform our society into one that is truly sustainable with all of nature’s processes and one that can promise a secure, permanent level of a decent lifestyle quality. This will require not only an end to growth, but a reduction in our overall numbers. The transition to this, due to our investment in our current system, will be excruciating.

We are almost out of time; and nature will soon “bat last.” Continued procrastination will erode the few remaining opportunities for resolution before our inevitable date with the moment of truth, with no one but ourselves left to blame.

Robert Beauchamp

Sebastopol

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