EDITOR: I’m voting yes on Measure A, the cannabis tax on the March 7 ballot. Commercial marijuana cultivation has a significant financial impact on our county, especially for code enforcement and public safety agencies. Medical and non-medical cannabis businesses will pay the tax to offset these costs. It is not a parcel tax.
The marijuana industry wants to come out in the open and be a legitimate part of the Sonoma County economy, so paying taxes — like the rest of us do — is fair. The tax will also allow for the issuance of permits so cannabis businesses can operate in designated zones.
Napa County is not allowing any commercial cannabis cultivation in unincorporated areas. Sonoma County is allowing cultivation in agricultural and industrial zones. Therefore, please vote yes on Measure A so the local growers can successfully operate while contributing to the economy the same as other Sonoma County businesses by paying their fair share of taxes.
Common sense column
EDITOR: Regarding Roger Gitlin’s Close to Home on Friday on SB 54, the “Sanctuary” legislation to protect illegal criminals, he could not be more right. Read it. SB 54 changes the current law on reporting non-resident criminal arrests to immigration authorities. If passed, California would be closer to being a “sanctuary” state. Only after implementation would we see whether the rule of unintended consequences occurs. While SB 54 may be intended to protect law-abiding, non-resident immigrants, it hamstrings and directs law enforcement not to work with federal law enforcement officers.
Lawmakers, make a distinction between public safety, law enforcement and political correctness. Get informed about the murder of Kate Steinle, killed by a five-time deported felon who San Francisco protected with sanctuary city status. I applaud Sonoma County Sherriff Steve Freitas for stating he will prosecute criminals in Sonoma County regardless of immigration status. Freitas gets it. Enforce the law. If that means working with Homeland Security to deport criminal illegal immigrants, so be it.
The United States admits an estimated 1 million legal immigrants per year. We do not need to protect criminals regardless of status. Start thinking about what it takes to live in a law-abiding country.
Facts of the road
EDITOR: I am a retired fireman. I drove my department’s highway rescue rig for 15 years. My job was wreck recovery. I agree with Del Norte County Supervisor Roger Gitlin’s view on illegal immigrant drivers.
In this cash and carry society, you give cash for an old car, and you are on the road — no driver’s license, no insurance and no knowledge of the rules of the road.
Pay and pensions
EDITOR: In their Close to Home (“Why county employees should support pension reform,” Feb. 19), Jack Atkin and Rebecca Jones say that the funding of county pensions cuts into take-home pay. They seek more net pay for county workers by eroding the current defined-benefit plan into a hybrid defined benefit/defined contribution plan.
I work for the city of Santa Rosa, but I recognize that such proposals would chip away at defined-benefit retirement plans of all government employees. My response to Atkin and Jones is: Keep your spend-thrift fingers out of the defined-benefit plans. More practical reforms are available elsewhere. For instance, my pension plan requires that I have a smaller multiplier (2 percent instead of 3 percent) than anyone hired six months before me. I must earn the salary used to calculate my pension for at least five years instead of one year as my predecessors. Nonetheless, the stress of dealing with inflation when one has a predictable monthly benefit is much less than having both an unpredictable income and unpredictable expenses.
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