Friday's Letters to the Editor
Published: Thursday, July 19, 2012 at 7:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, July 19, 2012 at 11:45 a.m.
EDITOR: Is it reasonable to attack those who have achieved great wealth because the political system has failed? Should the American Dream be thrown out because of political corruption?
No to both questions. Attention should be focused on the failure of our elected representatives at all levels of government (local, state and national) to compromise and to move ahead in the solution to the concerns and the affairs of the nation and the people. Lobbying is a critical part of the process of educating our elected officials. Paying for the privilege of lobbying corrupts the system and restricts the public's access to those who govern.
It is time to restrict our elected officials from receiving any compensation or benefits from any source other than the salaries and benefits provided by direct voter approval.
Holding our elected officials to a higher standard will go a long way in eliminating the potential for corruption in politics.
That same day, I mailed a check to the city of Petaluma for my water/sewage bill; the bill is twice what it was two years ago. Later, I read that City Councilwoman Tiffany Renee is seeking re-election and that she is against Target and Friedman's stores in Petaluma and instead wants to increase the sales tax and allow medical marijuana co-ops in town (“Renee seeks re-election in Petaluma,” July 10).
So, instead of having two stores employing people, generating tax revenue for the city and saving its residents gasoline expense, let's tax everybody more and put pot shops all over town.
Pot shops and additional taxes address no problem in Petaluma. They would create even more problems and budget deficits. Renee is not getting my vote. I don't vote for insane ideas.
EDITOR: I wonder how many people caught the last two paragraphs of an article on Page A4 of Tuesday's paper headlined, “Congressional Democrats dig in on fiscal fight.” Here we are four years into the greatest economic collapse since the Great Depression, swimming in unemployment problems, and our government still pays companies to export jobs overseas. Attempts to stop this are just getting under way but are unlikely to succeed.
If true, our government is collectively brain dead, its actions have absolutely nothing to do with the vast majority of American citizens, or both.
Handling public funds
EDITOR: Sonoma County employees' salaries, benefits and pensions stand at almost $500 million, about 40 percent of the budget before expenditures on any services.
The Board of Supervisors approved a $300 million pension-obligation bond at the height of the recession in August 2010. Now we hear that the Sonoma County grand jury has discovered a possible failure by the board to comply with the law when it approved pension increases in 2002 (“Panel urges pension inquiry,” July 1).
Supervisor Shirlee Zane indicated an internal review is under way. Handling of public's money is an open matter, not to be hidden behind closed doors.
Where is the shame on the part of past and current supervisors who are elected to watch out for us? Where is the outrage on the part of the taxpayers and the electorate in hearing of this squander and lame reaction by the Board of Supervisors?
It is the supervisors' responsibility to adequately reply to the grand jury claims of not following the rules.
If their reply is not forthcoming, it is hoped that The Press Democrat and the people of Sonoma County will support a legal fund to force disclosure of what happened in 2002.
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