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Letters to the Editor, March 24 - 27

Parcel tax is regressive

EDITOR: I suspect the new vote on the hospital parcel tax may not turn out the way proponents, including me, would like. 

Because Prop. 13 prohibits parcel (special) taxes from being based on the value of property, measures like B become increasingly regressive as they grow in response to demand for and cost of hospital services. By law, general taxes assessed according to property value need to provide direct benefit to the tax payer in proportion to the amount of the tax, while parcel taxes (special taxes) are expected to provide uniform benefit to all members of the taxed group and, in the case of Measure B, to the broader population. The problem with special taxes like Measure B is that as their dollar amount grows they become increasing regressive within the taxed group (property owners) AND within the general population. Less affluent property owners pay the same absolute dollar amount in parcel tax as the wealthiest, and the number of parcels against which a special tax might be levied almost certainly can’t grow at pace with the increasing cost of providing hospital services for a growing and aging population. Retirees with modest incomes who own their homes, and property owners in general, as a relatively small part of the Valley population, may be feeling imposed upon, consciously or not.

The solution, of course, is to be honest about the value to us all of a healthy community, and to devise a revenue stream that distributes fairly cost of keeping the hospital solvent. 

Bill Foley

Sonoma

The friendly beast

EDITOR: Dear Lynette Lyon and family,

I was so saddened to read the article about your beloved Hump-free (“Remembering Hump-free the Camel,” March 14). I could barely get through reading it with all the tears in my eyes. My heart goes out to you and your family for your loss.

Being in the veterinary field for the past 30 years I’ve seen countless animal intoxications from various foods and medications that are safe for us but not for them. I agree that education is key. As he would have benefited from the education of others, now others will be benefited from him.

Thank you for all that you do in your rescuing of these wonderful animals. You are truly a loving and selfless family.

Valerie Hudson

Sonoma

Don’t turn that dial

EDITOR: KRCB, the local public radio station, could use its $72 million windfall and offset the negative impact of the budget on ALL Sonoma organizations several times over. Will they be generous?

Ed Shoop

Sonoma

A turn for the worse

EDITOR: The West Napa Street traffic tie-ups are bad enough already. The coming “Hotel Project Sonoma” will worsen the condition exponentially.

Regardless of current peer reviews and EIRs stating that a left-turn lane would not be required (“W. Napa Hotel Back at Planning Commission,” March 17), it isn’t difficult to envision what will happen without a left turn lane. It will probably also require a traffic signal at Broadway and Napa to help relieve a bottleneck of cars and slow-moving pedestrians.

How about NO LEFT TURN when coming from the east.

Either way, we can expect more frustration when visiting downtown.

Bob Blosser

Sonoma