.Letters to the Editor: Sept. 5, 2012

Three-Ft. Throwdown

We’re now being told we should cross over double yellow lines to provide safety room to bicyclists. Have we lost all reason?

Double yellow lines and solid white lines are there for a reason. I will never put my life or my passenger’s lives at risk by crossing over solid lines into oncoming traffic. I’ll slow down until conditions are safe.

Most roads are not safe for both cars and bicyclists. We all know it. Roads that are safe should be marked as such; all others, “Not Recommended for Bicycle Riders.”

The rules of the road should be that bicycle riders must wear helmets (all ages), must wear bright, reflective clothing, must pass a DMV road test and must have a comprehensive insurance policy (collision and medical).

Glen Ellen

False ‘Sustainability’

“Sustainability” has become a buzzword. But what does it really mean? One definition is that it requires a triple-E bottom line—economics, the environment and equity. Yet there is a new group calling itself Sustainable Sebastopol that only focuses on business. It uses “sustainability” to greenwash and promote things that are not sustainable.

In 2001, a salon was formed called Sustainable Sebastopol. Now an anti-sustainable group has co-opted that name. A member of the new, misnamed group recently published a letter to the editor in a local paper, allegedly about sustainability. But she only wrote about business, neglecting the environment and equity.

The group endorses the two big-business candidates for city council, incumbent Kathleen Shaffer and Kathy Austin. Their advocacy of Chase Bank/CVS Pharmacy is drawing big bucks from outside for their campaign. Its website is mainly letters advocating Chase/CVS. What’s sustainable about such big chains? Meanwhile, the longtime Sonoma County Conservation Action group endorses the other two viable candidates, Robert Jacob and John Eder.

Sustainable Sonoma’s stated goal is “to enhance the business community.” Its slogan, “Buy Sebastopol,” reduces sustainability to commerce. It evokes a former president’s response to 9/11—”go shopping.” Such slogans differ from the group named GoLocal, which promotes more than buying.

Founders of the original Sustainable Sebastopol group published a response to the letter, co-signed by many people, including four former mayors, which denounced the current imitation. Don’t be fooled by greenwashing co-optation.


Ryan’s Grand Scam

Let’s get the facts straight about Medicare, the preservation of which should be of vital interest to every American regardless of political affiliation. The cost-saving measures of the Ryan plan and Obama’s proposal, an estimated $716 billion, are exactly the same. There are major differences in the two plans, however, in that the Democratic plan is geared to maintain Medicare as it is—guaranteed healthcare for older Americans, and the Ryan plan wants a voucher system. Seniors get a fixed amount of money to go shopping for an insurance plan and pay the balance of that cost if it’s not enough. That’s people in their 80s and 90s at the mercy of private insurance companies. Good luck with that, seniors.

In the Obama plan, there are no benefit cuts. The cost-saving measures ($716 billion) come from reduction in payments to insurance companies and hospitals. The hospital industry has agreed to this because they’ll get more patients and fewer people who can’t pay to be treated for which hospitals have to pick up the costs. These are modest, reasonable cost reforms over 10 years that are needed to keep the program viable.

It was Democrats who conceived of and enacted Medicare (1965), and Republicans fought them every step of the way, just as they did Social Security and the minimum wage. Every advanced country on earth has some form of universal healthcare for its people. Remember Canada? There’s lower growth in healthcare costs, they spend half as much per person as the U.S., and the healthcare outcomes are the same. Understand this if nothing else, the Ryan-Romney voucher system ends Medicare, the only guaranteed healthcare plan for seniors. That’s a fact and that’s the truth. Mull that over, voters.

Boyes Hot Springs

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