Letters to the editor

Too many fires to not vote 'yes' on B

In the past four years, west Sonoma County has seen not one, two, three, but four devastating wildfires resulting in evacuations as well as a devastating flood. Every year it seems we are bound to confront the reality of having to leave our homes and seek safety elsewhere. While we do this — ideally having planned in advance and responded early to emergency notifications — others stay behind to protect our beloved countryside, hotels and residences.

When tourists come to west Sonoma County what do they seek? They seek our beloved countryside, hotels and residences, our wonderful dining options and farms; they desire to relax and enjoy that very same thing we are forced to leave behind when disaster is at our door. And yet, the instant logical and reasonable proposals hit the table to ask these tourists to chip in a bit more to protect the very thing they are coming to visit, what do we hear? Hemming and hawing from none other than the very people who benefit from the hard work of our emergency services. This, my fellow west county lovers, is called hypocrisy.

Measure B is a small four percent increase on an already existing tax. But let’s put it into perspective: Measure B would tack $6 onto a $150 hotel room. With these facts on the table, the hotel and restaurant industry is trying to argue that this $6 is a deal breaker. They are trying to tell us that someone who is willing to spend multiple hundreds of dollars on a place, hundreds more on food, hundreds more on wine, spas, etc, will look at that $6 and go: nope, that’s too much. The absurdity of this argument aside, it reveals the crux of the hypocrisy: those opposing Measure B are wealthy enough to discount the work done by our emergency services and schools. They have money enough to insure against losses, own second or third homes, send their children to private or charter schools, and profit off tourists who wish to enjoy what they take for granted. The rest of us do not.

Measure B should be passed and those who can afford the exorbitant prices required to vacation in Sonoma County can pay a small four percent more so that Sonoma County can continue to be here, remain as vibrant as possible and not be a pile of ashes.

Miles Sarvis-Wilburn

Forestville

(2) comments

Billkrawetz

Regarding Miles Sarvis-Wilburn thoughts on Measure B, I respectively offer a counter view.

Miles points out our area has experienced 4 devastating wildfires resulting in evacuations as well as a devastating flood over the last 4 years, requiring the efforts of our emergency service providers. This is a service chiefly benefiting ALL residents (the tourist are a minor portion of the total folks). Doesn’t it make sense we the residences should pay for this service?

Measure B points out 80% of the emergency services are to support tourist. It doesn’t point out that 95% of those tourists are day trippers that don’t stay overnight. So measure B which only targets the overnight guests are taxing the wrong folks.

Half of the funding for Measure B is to support the current high school structure of three campuses. The school’s problem is not money per say (that’s the effect); their problem is declining enrollment so that there is no longer enough students to support 3 campuses. There is no longer a critical mass of students at any one location to offer the best program choices. More money isn’t going to solve this.

JamesRuss49er

Tourist facilities are already paying their share of property taxes to support local fire departments. Either pay for what you want or don't claim to really want better fire protection.

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