‘Gotta make your troubles go – heigh ho!’

EDITOR: I watched Obama’s farewell speech; it was model of rationality, positive outlook, summing up, warmth and admirable human decency. Next comes the evil dwarf, singing, “Ha ha, ho ho, it’s down to the depths we go.” He’s not one of the seven dwarfs; this one’s name is Sleazy.

James Pendergast

Sonoma

No Obamacare? Try Okra-care!

EDITOR: With the Republican Congress bent on depriving 22 million Americans of medical insurance, this is a great time to provide our own, totally free and totally effective health insurance – a plant-based diet.

A study with 131,000 participants, in last year’s Internal Medicine, found that consumption of animal protein is associated with higher risk of death.

A couple dozen other massive studies in the past four decades had similar findings. None reached opposite conclusions.

According to National Institutes of Health, 1.4 million, or 68 percent, of identified U.S. deaths are attributed to heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes, linked conclusively with consumption of animal products.

Cost of medical care was estimated by National Institutes of Health at $3 trillion in 2014, or $24,000 per household, and rising at 6.5 percent annually – nearly four times the rate of inflation. Incredibly, this amount rivals our national budget and represents 17.5 percent of our gross domestic product. Even so, it does not include the costs of lost productivity, disability and premature death.

We have little control over the national cost of medical care. But, each of us has a great deal of control over our household’s $24,000 share every time we visit the grocery store.

Paul Holms

Petaluma

Tourism keeps Sonoma alive

EDITOR: I, for one, am tired of the negativity leveled toward tourists visiting Sonoma. With the growth of the wine industry from just red or white, has come an increased interest in all phases of wine-related activities. Growing, harvest, crushing, bottling and, of course, tasting from barrels and bottles.

Because of this interest, in the early ’80s Sonoma transformed into a wine-based tourist destination.

I have witnessed a collapse of most of the community-related businesses. In their place are the ones that survive because of wine-related tourism. Close the tasting rooms and we would have empty storefronts.

These businesses are vital to our town’s survival.

Tourists are not awful or bad people, why should they be treated as such? Should we harbor ill feelings for the people who want to spend a day or a few hours in a place we are fortunate to live? I, myself, was once a tourist.

We should all be reminded that cities and towns do not belong to just its residents! Have you ever spent the day in San Francisco, had lunch in Sausalito, shopped in Santa Rosa, or met friends in Napa? There are issues that are blamed on tourists that are exaggerated and, to me, nitpicking.

I view tourism as vibrant, fun and essential to our town’s well-being.

However, if you must persist in your attack on tourists – have you considered building a wall? And go to the tasting rooms and chant “Lock ’em up, lock ’em up!”

E. Schnurpfeil

Sonoma