Rohnert Park resident Joe Gaffney today filed a rebuttal to my Sunday column. In Gaffney’s take, the greening of Sonoma County is costing local residents a different sort of green.

-Pete Golis

Here’s Gaffney’s letter:

In the May 6 article, “Remembering When Sonoma County Turned Green,” Pete Golis celebrates the fact that “Sonoma County now can be counted among the greenest political landscapes on earth.”

While I applaud the efforts of the environmental community in Sonoma County and elsewhere, we must also consider some of the unintended consequences of this environmental movement:

– Home prices have skyrocketed from what they were in 1968, partly due to the growth of industry and, hence, jobs in the county, but also due to the restrictions on growth resulting from greenbelt and other UGB policies.

– Water and sewer rates have also grown as the environmental community continues to place obstacles to the orderly, and legal, growth of these vital utilities.

– Trash rates continue to go up as we read about another waste disposal company abandoning the county, the closing of our existing dumps and the plan to truck our solid wastes to Colusa County.

– We suffered for years, and continue to suffer, with commuting on a freeway that was in the same shape it was in the 60s, because environmentalists fought every effort at improvements, hoping that it would throttle growth in the county. Finally, enough people voted in favor of a tax initiative that is funding the current improvements.

Yes, the environmental community has brought us many things. And, I think they should step forward and take credit for them.

JOE GAFFNEY
Rohnert Park