Letters to the Editor, Jan. 11

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A light in the darkness

EDITOR: Christianity has been accused of so many wrong doings over two millennia, and often rightly so, but Sam Keen’s letter (“Dreaming of a Green Christmas,” Dec. 21) accusing Christians of “killing a tree for Jesus” is certainly one of the most novel I have encountered. If memory serves me, a lighted tree has its origins in non-Christian traditions around winter solstice – with the gradual return of more light to our days as the earth in time tilts toward the sun and subsequent warmth – not Christianity itself.

I myself do not remember the last time I saw a “slaughtered” tree in someone’s home. Most seem to come out of a box these days and can be reused ad infinitum, thereby, I suppose, reducing one’s personal carbon debt. Would Mr. Keen object to an artificial tree under those circumstances?

Most modern Christmas trees are farmed and are considered a renewable and recyclable resource that are replanted yearly to ensure an ever-ready supply of trees and thereby oxygen. For years, I saw how Moon Mountain Christmas Tree Farm operated and how they carefully husbanded their trees to ensure a steady and responsible supply of trees each year. Please note that this year they decided to not sell any trees at all, due to the overall health of the trees from the environmental stresses of these last few years. That is careful stewardship of an invaluable resource.

Mr. Keen, however, rightly critiques our excessive consumer culture. I was aghast to watch Thanksgiving over the years gradually be turned into a pseudo-Black Friday where families were encouraged to eat early to be at the malls by 4 p.m. Thanksgiving Day to get the best “deals.” Thanksgiving for me was always the least exploitable of holidays, as it was just a meal with family and friends.

But we truly are in the darkest of times both politically and socially. Mr. Keen’s letter saddened me to no end, as it added to the darkness in these difficult days. We do stumble about in this very imperfect world, but I, for one, desperately need hope. A lighted Christmas tree is not intrinsically selfish or irresponsible.

Mary Shea


Sullivan’s travels

EDITOR: I am responding to Joel Taylor’s letter from last month (“Bowser Not Good Enough?!” Dec. 7), where the writer simply looked up the dictionary definition of “sully” – the name of the late H.W. Bush’s service dog – and found only derogatory adjectives. I learned from various newspaper articles and from Bush’s television memorial that his wonderful yellow Labrador retriever as named after Sully Sullenberger, the accomplished airline pilot who, a few years ago, masterfully set his disabled airplane on the Hudson Bay, allowing all crew and passengers to be safely rescued.

Sully. Quite an appropriate name for a service dog, don’t you think?

Sully is also a nickname for the Irish-Gaelic name Sullivan, which means “black-eyed one.” Feel better?

Sue Weingarten


Bridge toll to nowhere!

EDITOR: This letter is regarding your editorial “Traffic lightening Initiative Stuck in Gridlock,” (Dec. 27). A quote from the editorial states: “Regional Measure 3, the initiative on the June ballot which required a simple majority to pass and went on to earn about 55 percent voter approval, raises tolls by $3 over a six-year period on seven state-operated Bay Area bridges, with its expected $125 million per year in revenue going toward recalibrating such commuter slogs as the Highway 101 Sonoma-Marin Narrows, Highway 37 near Sears Point and the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit’s planned expansion to Windsor.”

I do not know how you came to the financial funding information in the above quote, but it is not correct, RM3 as proposed was increasing the toll for all seven Bay Area Transportation Authority bridges with one dollar on January first for 2019, 2020 and 2021 in order to generate a total $4.45 billion in the next 25 years.

There are two important issues missing in your editorial:

While Regional Measure 3 was proposed and approved to generate $4.45 billion of revenues for 25 years, increasing the toll with $1 at three consecutive years, checking the real estimate for the generated additional income from the proposed measure results in $11.8 billion! This is found using the total number of toll-paying vehicles per year on the seven BATA bridges of Bay Area. The conclusion is that Bay Area population was greatly mislead and just a $1.50 toll hike would have been more than sufficient to achieve the goal of $4.45 billion. The agencies that proposed RM3 shall take the responsibility for providing such significant disinformation in order to pass the measure.

The proposed and approved RM 3 has a negative impact on more than 90 percent of all working people in the Bay Area who need to commute to work, or to use a vehicle for their work. In addition, the media should be aware that these people are the ones that provide for the entire population of Bay Area – and hurting them will be an additional burden for them and will have an impact on the prosperity of the region.

Roumen V. Mladjov

San Francisco

From Sonoma with ‘Love’

EDITOR: The Plaza’s “Love” sign represents the Sonoma community traits of goodwill, neighborliness, fair play, courage in times of disaster, tolerance and open-mindedness. It represents a “happy place” for visitors and our community. I vote to leave it just where it is.

Patty Milligan


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