Letters to the Editor, Feb. 24 - 27

City Council is causing hysteria

EDITOR: Sonoma needs the federal funds plus grants necessary to operate the county. The new President did not say he was going after working, law-abiding Hispanic folks. So I find it totally out of line that the Sonoma City Council is even discussing this (“Council to Discuss ‘Sanctuary,’” Feb. 21) and causing more hysteria among our community.

No non-citizen has a right to our tax-supported benefits; they can, however, begin taking the steps to become citizens. The City Council should be discussing how to help our Hispanic community members accomplish this citizenship.

We are all afraid of terrorists and most of us are glad the President is taking steps to protect all of us.

With all the inclement weather it is not the time to be discussing not having federal funds needed to protect our communities and infrastructure.

It is sad when our officials panic instead of using a steady, informed head. Perhaps they are the problem.

Dianne Fournier


An explosive situation

EDITOR: Approximately 80 tank cars capable of holding nearly 3 million gallons of “liquefied petroleum gas,” similar to propane, are stored just south of town. Instead of keeping this flammable material at a refinery, Doug Bosco, of the Northwestern Pacific Railroad (NWP), and SMART (Sonoma-Marin Area Rapid Transit) profit by allowing highly combustible material to be warehoused in railroad cars along Arnold Drive south of Schellville.

Accidents happen! Since the late 19th century explosions in the Bay Area have killed and injured scores of people. Property damage has been extensive. In 1879 an explosion at the Giant Powder Company in San Francisco killed four. By 1892 there were three more powder explosions killing 66. In 1883 an explosion at the Giant Powder Company in Albany killed 37 Chinese workers. Later within a 38-year period, 59 deaths occurred at the Hercules Powder Company across from Vallejo.

The worst conflagration in the Bay Area occurred at Port Chicago in WWII where the mishandling of explosives being loaded on two ships exploded and 320 sailors and civilians lost their lives.

More recently, in 2004, a Walnut Creek gas pipe explosion sent a 40 foot plume of fire into the air and killed five workers. In San Bruno in 2010, a faulty natural gas line exploded. Eight people were killed and 38 homes destroyed. PG&E was fined $1.6 billion for failure to maintain the pipeline.

If a loaded tank car in Schellville caught fire and exploded would it ignite the other 79 cars in a huge conflagration? What if a domestic terrorist attacked the cars? How far beyond Schellville would the inferno reach? As far as Sonoma? If 2.6 million gallons of LPG exploded, how high on the Richter scale would it register?

The truth is there is no way to predict the extent of destruction and loss of life. These LPG tankers must go. It’s time for citizens to act. Support the efforts of Supervisor Susan Gorin in opposing the storage of these rail cars near Sonoma. Let her know your views.

Tom Martin


Another ‘fine-tuned’ mess you’ve gotten us into!

EDITOR: Fine-tuned machine vs. imminent engine seizure: During his recent press conference, Donald Trump said his administration is running like a ”fine-tuned machine,” despite obvious signs of chaos, conflict and confusion within the White House. Trump didn’t mention what kind of “machine” he was referring to but let’s assume he was talking about a six-cylinder automobile engine.

When an automobile engine is “fine-tuned,” it’s normally firing on all cylinders with all of its moving and non-moving parts synchronized with each other in perfect timing. Parts like the crankshaft and the camshaft and the timing chain are well oiled, thus preventing any buildup of friction that could lead to engine seizure. The spark plugs are clean and the fuel lines are free of any contamination, while the radiator keeps the engine block from overheating which could cause the engine to freeze up. A fine-tuned machine makes very little noise and rarely needs any adjustments.

Now let’s compare the fine-tuned, six-cylinder engine I just described to the White House staff. Imagine that each staff member represents an engine cylinder. Clearly, one of those cylinders (Michael Flynn) is completely dead, while two other cylinders (Kellyanne Conway and Sean Spicer) are misfiring with conflicting statements about the President’s support of Flynn. Another cylinder, (Reince Priebus) is sputtering along trying to keep everyone in the White House on schedule, while one of the two remaining cylinders (Stephen Miller) is plugging all of the oil leaks with alternative facts and the last cylinder (Steve Bannon), is quietly injecting a dose of far-right conspiracy fluid into the Trump supporters to keep the revolution alive. Then there’s Trump, trying to keep the engine from stalling by blaming the media for filling the gas tank with “fake news.”

If I were the White House’s mechanic, I would say that Trump’s “fine-tuned machine” needs more than a tune-up or even an overhaul. I would recommend a complete engine change. But I’m not a mechanic. I’m just an ordinary citizen who expects Trump and his White House staff to get their act together and get the car back on the road again heading in the right direction or turn over the White House to some adults who know what they are doing.

Mike Wallace