Marin IJ Readers’ Forum for Sept. 8, 2021


View from ER is one of exhaustion, frustration

As a social worker in a hospital emergency room, I can say that, for a while during the coronavirus pandemic, there was a pause in the storm while people were in lockdown. But now, every day at work, I again see unvaccinated people coming into the ER and seeking treatment for the severe pain and air hunger they’re suffering from this disease.

This time they are all ages, not mostly older people like before. Most of the elderly got tired of being isolated and were thrilled to get the vaccine.

I’m angry that my colleagues must risk exposure and treat people who are more than happy to accept all the shots, pills, IVs and airway tubes that modern medicine has to offer when they get this disease. They endure this because they refused to take a simple, quick and preventative vaccine shot.

We are tired. We didn’t get to stay home and bake bread and watch Netflix during the lockdown. We wear masks all day every day at work — I think my lips are permanently chapped. The nurses and doctors have to wear protective gear with so many of our patients again. They suffer the grating, grinding stress of fearing they’ll carry a particle of this disease back home to their families.

Please urge your friends and family to get the safe and effective vaccine. I don’t want to mingle in a group with unvaccinated people. I’m afraid that I could unwittingly carry the delta variant with its 1,000-fold higher viral load to an unvaccinated person. The unvaccinated are highly susceptible.

If you are not vaccinated, it is your responsibility to let those you socialize with know. Please, get vaccinated.

— Marian Cremin, Woodacre

Water district board must support desalination plan

I am writing about the recently published Marin Voice commentary by Marin Municipal Water District board members Cynthia Koehler and Monty Schmitt (“Charting a drought-resilient path forward in Marin,” Aug. 29). It is unfortunate that both directors continue to push off any immediate thought about desalination by saying that, while it may be in our future, we have more and higher priorities.

In the commentary, they made claims about the cost of desalination and times when plants are mothballed because we will have good rain years. But that thinking is similar to how we approached climate change. While the science community identified that climate change was a real and serious issue in the late 1980s, for the most part, the U.S. still does not have a nationwide program to meet the Paris Accord, much less the ability to stop our country’s average temperature from going up.

At a minimum, Marin leaders need to start engineering feasibility studies right now. We must identify the best technology, which has and continues to both improve and decrease in cost. That alone will take a few years. If it proves feasible, actual construction will take a few years before desalination can supply Marin with the water it needs from a supply that is drought independent. It will also provide time to address the costs and how to subsidize those whose economic situations require subsidies.

As the climate continues to change, it would be foolhardy to assume that we will have a majority of rainy seasons in the future. We either plan ahead or stick our collective heads in the ground.

— Steve Ziman, San Rafael

Focus on pipeline to solve water supply problem

Looking at nearby San Francisco Bay, many people want to desalt bay water to solve our water problems. There are problems with that idea.

Planning for and permitting a desalting plant would take 10 years or more, as it did in San Diego. The financial, energy and climate costs of a desalter are enormous, and will dramatically increase water rates. Climate mitigation costs would raise rates even more.

If discharge of the brine waste from the desalter were not outright prohibited in ecologically sensitive and enclosed San Francisco Bay, the cost of a brine diffuser pipe many miles long would significantly increase the cost of the desalter.

A pipeline bringing water from the Sacramento Valley would eliminate all these problems and provide a reliable water supply.

— Jerry Meral, Inverness

Water board focuses too much on conservation

I appreciate Cynthia Koehler and Monty Schmitt, who are both directors for the Marin Municipal Water District, for their recently published Marin Voice commentary (“Charting a drought-resilient path forward in Marin,” Aug. 29). However, I consider it an illustration of why Marin is not currently on a drought-resilient path.

I am concerned that the two of them (and possibly others on the district board) are fanatical conservation-only true believers. From my perspective, it seems that they believe the only road to full enlightenment lies in the removal of every square inch of lawn in Marin. If that’s the case, then Nirvana will look something like Nevada.

Now I know why nothing has really been done on the supply side since the 1970s. Now I know why a voter-approved desalination effort was left to languish.

I fear that MMWD’s recent $200 million savings will end up being a partial deposit on our water layaway plan with Central Valley farmers. It is long past time for the current water district board members to say goodbye.

— Michael Sillman, Larkspur

Don’t let bus services compete with SMART

I am writing about the Transportation Authority of Marin’s proposal for a pilot program to allow public transit buses onto the right-hand shoulder of Highway 101 to speed up transit time (“Study: Highway 101 bus lane could cut Marin commute time,” Aug. 10). This is not a good use of public money.

It sets a dangerous safety issue with merging traffic, as well as stalled vehicles and other emergency vehicles using the shoulder. We should also remember that this service is in direct competition with Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit trains for the same riders along the corridor southbound between Novato and San Rafael.

If you want to travel on a public transportation service that is congestion free between Novato and San Rafael, then I suggest riding SMART. It travels unimpeded from downtown Novato to downtown San Rafael in much less time during traffic hours. We spent hundreds of millions to bring SMART to fruition, with its own exclusive right-of-way. Now we want to spend millions of public dollars to help take revenue away by making the bus faster on the same corridor.

I suggest that TAM spend the proposed $7 million on other noncompeting projects or forward it to SMART so it can build more tracks, bridges and bikeways.

— Michael Strider, Santa Rosa

Biden made the wrong decision to pull forces

I am writing in regard to the recent official last day for U.S. military forces in Afghanistan on Aug. 31. I believe that this was one of the biggest debacles in U.S. history and that the Biden administration is to blame. Joe Biden’s decisions are disgraceful.

All of you who voted for Biden must ask if this is really what you wanted. Or is everything OK no matter what, as long as former President Donald Trump is out of office?

Our most ambitious enemies are now most likely planning their next moves. Clearly, the Taliban now has a full arsenal, ready to be used upon us at its leisure. I noticed that certain people in the media who helped get him elected by “blowing smoke” have suddenly become silent. I presume they are laying low until the sun shines again, if it ever will.

Biden’s response to the bomb that killed 13 of our brave service people at the Kabul airport on Aug. 26 amounts to a dog barking over its shoulder while running away from the fight with its tail between its legs. It is time for Americans to wake up.

— Chuck Nerviani, Fairfax


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