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Letters to the Editor, June 2 - 5


Electric bill has him feeling zapped

EDITOR: Why are my electricity bills so high? I just don’t know why my electricity bills are so high. I read where California has a growing glut of power, yet we’re paying billions of dollars for power we don’t need.

If California has such a big — and growing — glut of power, why is it costing us so much, and why are we Californians paying 50 percent more for electricity than other states?

I found an interesting website that may have the answer to high electricity costs and how to spend less for what you use — www.cadirectaccess.com. It looks like it’s mostly for companies. Maybe residential soon?

They talk about a utility program called Direct Access, with saving examples, and there is also a section about saving on natural gas.

Bob Felton

Sonoma

Sonoma generosity deserves bragging about

EDITOR: As a former fundraiser for nonprofits and a citizen of Sonoma, I have often bragged about the unparalleled generosity of our community. Having lived in such diverse communities as Honolulu, Kauai, San Francisco and Mill Valley, I am always quick, and proud, to point out that I have never seen such philanthropy on the scale that I witness in Sonoma Valley for a community of our size. From children’s programs, education, the arts, social services and migrant care, the citizens of Sonoma wholeheartedly support the people and programs that make your community rich and unique. Last week’s article in the Index Tribune regarding the Sonoma Valley Fund (“Report: Sonoma Philanthropy Must Change,” May 16) more than verified my bragging rights. It substantiated them. Who could have believed that the yearly total of nonprofit contributions would be four times greater than the annual budget of our city? What extraordinary generosity! I wish to express my heartfelt gratitude to everyone who contributes to making life so very rich for all who live here and to the Sonoma Valley Fund for nurturing it.

Kelsey Maddox

Sonoma

Why I’m voting for Measure E

EDITOR: On or before June 6, each of us is being asked to vote on Measure E, to make a decision regarding replacing the “expiring $195 per year parcel tax with a tax of $250, a $55 increase per parcel per year for five years...” (“Hospital Parcel Tax Makes Final Push,” May 26). Before you decide, just for a moment, put yourself in the shoes of a sick or injured individual or those of his or her family member. Last month I walked in those shoes.

About 4 p.m. my husband took a fall in our home, ramming the left side of his head and face into a wall. I called 911 and within five minutes paramedics were in our home tending to him. The decision was that his injuries required immediate medical attention, and he was taken to the emergency room – a simple five-minute drive away.

Now, much of the criticism against Measure E centers around there being too many administrators or administrative salaries being comparatively too high. I do not have a clue if the allegations are correct, and as concerned citizens we should press the hospital board to address those matters. But what I do know is casting a “no” vote on Measure E is not the answer. Without a well-funded community hospital with an up-to-date emergency facility, we all lose.

How would you feel if your loved one had a possible skull fracture or internal bleeding and could be attended to within less than 20 minutes after the injury? Alternately, would you prefer him or her to have to endure at least a 30-minute ambulance ride to Napa in Friday afternoon rush hour traffic? I have walked in those shoes, and paying $250 a year pales in comparison to what that drive would have meant to my husband or me.

Thank you Sonoma Hospital. You had our “yes” vote before, but this incident confirmed why.

Arlene Holt

Sonoma

Measure E: devil is in the details

EDITOR: Much discussion continues within the community regarding Measure E, the proposed parcel tax to support the Sonoma Valley Hospital. Most are well-meant testimonials regarding experiences with the hospital/emergency room. I fully support a hospital and emergency room in the Valley.

However, data on which to evaluate the need for the parcel tax is missing. With the generalities published to date, I cannot make an informed decision regarding the parcel tax. Hospital administration is quoted as saying they need the parcel tax to keep the hospital/emergency room fiscally afloat. An article in the May 5 Index-Tribune (“Measure E: The E is for Emergency,” May 5) states that the parcel tax will “bring in an estimated $3.8M annually for the health care district, which would finish about $1M per year in the red if the tax doesn’t pass.” Why does the hospital need $3.8M annually if the deficit is $1M annually?

Much negative data has been published in local social media regarding the hospital administration and salaries. I don’t blindly accept this data, but then I cannot confirm nor deny the data because the District Board of Directors has not provided specific data to support the need for the proposed parcel tax.

The data available on local social media strongly suggests a management culture void of fiscal restraint. The Sonoma Valley Health Care District Board of Directors needs to come forward with detailed specific data to allow the voters to make an informed decision regarding the parcel tax. Not a broad brush presentation, but rather a function by function presentation showing revenue vs. specific expenses: salaries, benefits, supplies, proportional utilities/maintenance, etc. The tax payers need to be given the data necessary to evaluate the need for the parcel tax. The Sonoma Valley Health Care District is a public entity and public entities need to be transparent.

Douglas Ghiselin

Sonoma Valley