Some regulation is needed

To the Editor:

I am writing in response to the Guest Column of July 4, 2018 by John Stossel. As I was reading along, I was pretty much agreeing with what he said about keeping government small and letting creative individuals (not corporate “persons,” mind you ) flourish, until I got to this: “Ironically, government has grown so much since the founding that you might not even be able to buy fireworks where your live. In much of America they are now illegal because government officials have declared them to be too dangerous.”

Guess what? They are. Since living here the last 15 years, my awareness of fire danger has increased 100 fold. Whatever you may attribute it to, fire danger across this nation has magnified.

Sadly, self regulation only goes so far. I personally know some very nice people who have inadvertently caused a fire with fireworks, all in good fun. There is a time when the public good supersedes the individual’s right to pursue their happiness. This goes as well for the self regulation of corporations: think Exxon, BP, and Goldman Sachs.

It is that constant, thoughtful, ever-changing balance of power that makes us a truly free, creative, and prosperous country. We live in a society, so our freedom has a responsibility to others’ freedom, or there is no real freedom for anyone, just selfishness and greed.

Susan Reichle


Main Street program works

To the Editor:

It was interesting reading about the revival of the Greenley Road extension and the possible impact on merchants downtown.

The East-West bypass was the reason the city brought the Main Street program to Sonora back in the ’80s. The goal was to keep the shopping traffic coming downtown while sending the through traffic to the bypass.

This doesn’t work if your only attraction is pretty pink sidewalks and petunias. You need to take the Main Street approach:

1) Organization

2) Promotion

3) Design

4) Economic Development

Back in the ’80s we hosted an event downtown each and every month.

And we studied who was shopping downtown and what businesses were needed.

For “design” we focused on sprucing up downtown storefronts, not blocking their entryways and removing parking like Vision Sonora does.

The organization was a strong group of retailers and professionals working together to invite locals and tourists downtown.

The result after four years of hard work was that the revenues from sales tax in the city increased at a higher rate than the rest of the county.

Give shoppers a reason to come downtown. Good customer service, coordinated promotions, good looking storefronts, and a desirable business mix will do this.

Here’s a hint: The concepts proposed by Vision Sonora will only drive business away. Ask Kenosha, Wisconsin. They took the Vision Sonora approach and lost business. They had to remove the design elements of bulbouts and blocked streets before they could draw shoppers back.

They’re doing okay now, though. They adopted the Main Street approach.

Elena Linehan


Goodbye, Jerry

To the Editor:

Instead of lambasting or praising Trump, I want to wish our soon to be ex-Governor Jerry Brown a long and healthy retirement.

He leaves office this time as he did in the early 1980s — with prison populations down, crime in our communities at all-time highs, and higher and more taxes. To his legacy he’s added a “Sanctuary State” policy that complicates law enforcement and an out-of-control homeless population. What a great record, Jerry.

Back to taxes. He has had a lifetime commitment for more and higher taxes (and “fees”), and finds it offensive that there are citizens who object to the recent tax increases on fuel. “Un-Californian,” he said. “We need those funds for our roads and highways.” Never mind that the fuel taxes already in place had been hijacked for other projects; one example being the Central Valley bullet train.

Then there’s his commitment to mandating all Californians drive cars that can’t make it to Sonora Pass and back to Sonora without finding a non-existent charging station. Meanwhile, he tools around his hilly Northern California off-the-grid ranch in a gasoline-powered ATV, instead of a battery-powered golf cart. Same old story; different people, different rules.

For water I’m guessing that he has his own well. If so, will he, like us average citizens, be restricted to his mandated 55 gallons per person per day? Probably not. Who’s going to install the meter?

Goodbye, Jerry. Unfortunately, if Newsome becomes governor, I’m probably going to miss you.

Ray Bailey