Letters to the editor from Feb. 7
Published: Monday, February 11, 2013 at 3:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, February 8, 2013 at 9:42 a.m.
School bond concerns
EDITOR: Capital appreciation bonds, or CABs as they are known, are the latest scourge in public schools financing. Once voters approve a school bond, district officials can issue either traditional current interest bonds or CABs. Unlike current interest bonds, for which repayment begins immediately upon issuance, CABs defer repayment for years, allowing tremendous amounts of interest to accrue.This allows school officials to misrepresent to voters the true cost of the bond by ignoring the long-term cost.
Total repayment cost for current interest bonds, much like a homeowner’s mortgage, is typically two to three times the amount borrowed. As bad as that sounds, the repayment cost for CABs is ten to fifteen times the amount borrowed. A $15 million CAB issued by the Jefferson Union High School District in Daly City, for example, will cost residents of the district over $127 million to repay. Hundreds of CABs have been issued by school districts throughout the state and represent ticking time bombs for unsuspecting residents.
State Treasurer Bill Lockyer and State Superintendent of Schools Tom Torkelson have called for a moratorium on CABs and legislation has been introduced in both the Assembly and Senate to ban the practice. We encourage passage of this legislation.
Dan Drummond, Petaluma, Executive Director Sonoma County Taxpayers’ Association
EDITOR: These things seem to come in waves. While ignoring the consequences of the lack of dredging in the river, our city “leaders” did get focused on creating a first-class state of the art sewage system, a tribute to the best environmental approaches, and award winning, too. That focus may have been a bit too narrow, though, as their vision of the future of Petaluma failed to include places for the people here to work, or possibly found their needs unbecoming to a perfectly ‘green’ city. Let them haul that nasty stuff out of town, right? Well, now that we are facing an economic downer, we’ve grown to appreciate those guys, and are actually thinking of attracting others. Oops! Not only are others not interested, but those that are here are facing costs that could well send them to friendlier sites. What is incredible is that the city has been busy wooing more processing firms without an understanding of the flaw in our services that makes them look ridiculous.
This sorry consequence, unless it can be corrected, will seriously limit our options as a community. Petaluma needs leadership that understands a vision inclusive of all the elements needed to produce a city that can support its citizens with jobs, services and a well maintained infrastructure for the long term, avoiding the trap of becoming a dependent ‘bedroom community’ to the metro complex.
What can you do? Well, if you care at all, the first thing would be to stay informed by reading this paper, where you find local news about us and our community. Then when you see the actions of leadership straying from reality or basic governance, just make your voice heard. That doesn’t require writing letters, but can be e-mail, voice mail, or a simple note to any of the leadership honestly expressing your thoughts and concerns. Enough feedback from the people they seldom hear from will help keep things on track, and overcome the usual ‘squeaky wheels’ with special interest agendas. You can make a difference, and help Petaluma serve all its citizens !
John McNeill, Petaluma
Real cause of the flu
EDITOR: The flu epidemic has invaded 48 states, overwhelming medical facilities, exhausting vaccine supplies, and killing 29 children and thousands of seniors. Both the problem and solution to this disaster hinge on how we relate to animals raised for food. Indeed, 61 percent of the 1,415 pathogens known to infect humans originate with animals. The more recent, contagious, and deadly viruses among these include dengue fever, ebola, H5N1 (bird), HIV, SARS, West Nile virus, and yellow fever. The pandemic “Spanish” flu of 1918 killed 20 to 40 million people worldwide, and the World Health Organization predicts more pandemics in the future.
Today’s factory farms are virtual flu factories. Sick, crowded, highly stressed animals in contact with contaminated feces and urine provide ideal incubation media for viruses. As these microbes reach humans, they mutate to defeat the new host’s immune system, then propagate by contact.
Each of us can help end animal farming and build up our own immune system against the flu by replacing animal products in our diet with vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. These foods don’t carry flu viruses, or government warning labels, are touted by every major health advocacy organization, and were the recommended fare in the Garden of Eden.
Paul Holms, Petaluma
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