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Letters to the Editor: 10/15/2010

Letters to the Editor

Think seven generations ahead and support Prop 21

Dear Editor,

On Nov. 2, Californians will have a chance to save our state’s once-thriving but now endangered State Parks. By voting yes for the Vehicle Licensing Fee charge of $18 per non-commercial vehicle, you can provide 278 woefully understaffed and neglected parks with a stable funding source. In return, you will no longer have to pay the daily entrance fee – up to $8 in most parks. Just think, after your second visit you and your car will actually be making money every time you visit your State Parks.

Because our dysfunctional legislature has steadily refused to provide adequate budgets, it has come down to the voters to decide if we want to stand by (or drive by) and watch as supposedly protected ecosystems and valuable facilities continue their disheartening decline (at last count, a billion dollars in deferred maintenance!) – with gates to historic parks that remain closed, campgrounds crumbling, pristine resources threatened by uncontrolled campfires and poachers. Already there are the alarming reports we’ve all heard about in the news: hundreds of acres of preserved land ruined by environmentally disastrous marijuana plantations supplied with poison, armed guards, and booby traps, right here at Sugarloaf Ridge and Jack London State Parks.

As a park volunteer and previously as a ranger in the Sonoma Valley, it has been a challenging experience to work against the tide of disintegration over the last 20 years. I believe our parks are something we can’t afford to sacrifice – the earliest California natives believed we should be wise enough to plan seven generations into the future. If we begin now by voting for a stable funding source for State Parks we won’t have to look back with regret on what has become of the beautiful parklands – degraded and overgrown with weeds – that were entrusted to us.

Greg Hayes
President, Valley of the Moon Natural History Association

Elect Jim Judd

Dear Editor,

Inheritance tax is responsible for many family farms and businesses to have to sell to pay the tax. Even being appraised at agricultural value, my stepson is required to pay over $1.3 million dollars in inheritance tax on a beef and sheep ranch that has been in the family over 160 years.

Representative Lynn Woolsey stated in the debate with Jim Judd in Santa Rosa on Sept. 20 that she was in favor of inheritance tax (which is going down to $1 million next year) and that she favored it for farmers also. Agricultural land in Sonoma and Marin counties can well exceed over $1 million and often the next generation has to sell the property to pay the tax.

When I met Jim Judd, who is running against Lynn Woolsey for the 6th District seat, I told him my sad story and he shared his story of what inheritance tax has done to his family and their farm. Jim Judd is in touch with what is happening now with family farms, agriculture, businesses and people trying to survive. Judd is in business for himself, knows the issues, is a good leader, and will do an excellent job replacing Woolsey when elected.

Roxanne Thornton
Santa Rosa

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