Letters to the Editor

Thanks for vaping coverage

EDITOR: Kudos for publishing the comprehensive special April 25 report “Teens and the Vape Debate” in the Sonoma West publications which highlights the frightening rise of youth vaping. Publisher Rollie Atkinson’s introduction says it best, “If we ever thought we were conquering the health scourge of tobacco and nicotine, the current horrifying epidemic of underage use of e-cigarettes will clear all our heads of any smoky illusions.”

In December, the U.S. Surgeon General issued an

e-cigarette advisory calling on federal, state and local governments, teachers, parents and health care professionals to “…take aggressive steps to protect our children from these highly potent products …”

Locally, groups like the Tobacco-Free Sonoma County Community Coalition (preventioninfo@sonoma-county.org) are banding together, unwilling to lose another generation to smoking/vaping nicotine addiction. When the FDA reported a 78% rise in e-cigarette use among high school students and 48% increase among junior high students between 2017 and 2018, everyone said “enough!”

We are fighting back in each city against contributing factors to teen use and addiction, such as ease of access, luring flavors, techno-toy designs, misinformation, retail proliferation and predatory marketing, with proven strategies such as tobacco retail licensing and public education. Thank you for supporting those efforts by sponsoring the community conversation about vaping, including an expert panel discussion in the library at Analy High School on Wednesday, May 22, from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Pam Granger, chairperson

Tobacco-Free Sonoma County

Community Coalition

Switch from wait list to housing lottery is unfair

EDITOR: The Sonoma County Housing Authority proposes to abolish its first-come, first-serve housing voucher waitlist, which currently consists of 26,000 households, and institute a lottery waitlist instead. The Authority also proposes to eliminate the preference rating for Sonoma residents, opening it to any U.S. citizen.

Abolishing the current waitlist and converting to a lottery is a serious injustice to those who have been on the waitlist for years. A more just approach would be to select the 500 households that have been on the waitlist the longest and place them on the new wait list of 500.

Eliminating the local preference is a disservice to residents who have lived in Sonoma County for at least as long as they’ve been on the waitlist, who have families, employment and community ties here, who have children in local schools, who attend local churches, who are served by local medical programs. Why should all these ties be arbitrarily ignored by eliminating the local preference? The local preference is both fair and humane.

While the Housing Authority is trying to cope with its overload of applicants, its proposed changes do not serve Sonoma County residents struggling with high rental costs.

Cynthia Poten

Sebastopol

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