In this article, you will get all information regarding Marin IJ Readers’ Forum for Jan. 26, 2023

Easy, important ways to protect watershed

I read Tom McAfee’s recently published Marin Voice commentary with interest (“MMWD can do more to prevent fires on watershed land,” Jan. 22). As a 40-year veteran of the San Francisco Water Department who started my career by cutting fire trails through the San Francisco Water Department’s Crystal Springs watershed in San Mateo County, I would like to offer some further advice about preventing fire events.

At the very least, the Marin Municipal Water District should limit the public’s access to its watershed lands. It’s true: If a major fire were to occur on MMWD land, it might not be able to use the water in the reservoirs due to a decrease in potability. Certainly, San Francisco officials don’t allow public access to the Crystal Springs watershed, even though the city’s water supply could withstand losing it in an emergency (as long as the Hetch Hetchy water system is intact).

MMWD should limit public access to just Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Extra personnel should be put in place as a safety precaution and the use of airborne drones with cameras should be considered.

All cities in Marin, along with MMWD and the North Marin Water District, should seek to pool a fund to extend the runway at Novato’s Gnoss Field Airport in order to support borate bomber firefighting planes (I am talking about DC 10s). I know that, prior to Novato’s Hamilton Army Airfield being converted to housing, there was a borate bomber wing stationed there.

I believe the cost to extend the runway would be relatively low. The water districts should draw on any new funds supplied by the state to spearhead the project. Considering that plans for as many as 14,000 new housing units are required by the state’s latest housing mandate, the more we add to our firefighting capability the better.

Finally, I recall that it was Gov. Gavin Newsom who recently stated that Californians have a right to pure clean water. With that in mind, I think Newsom needs to supply at least 2% of the state budget toward various water plans. Compared to the 40% he has directed toward education, 2% for water is not very much.

— Rick Johnson, Novato

Free Marin County transit is within reach

I am writing in regard to M.S. Popovich’s recently published letter to the editor. Popovich stated that Marin County Transit District’s operating revenue was $5.6 million and $4.4 million in 2019 and 2022, respectively.

If each Marin County resident was assessed $20 annually, then the operating revenue would be covered. Marin Transit could then offer free transportation to all residents. One would hope that free buses would improve ridership and lead to significant improvement in Marin County traffic.

If not, then it would seem that mass transit will never be the answer to our traffic issues.

— W.R. Gala, Novato

It is time to rethink concept of growth

Recent media attention points to the fact that China is facing a decline in population. Economists argue this presents major problems, including a severely declining workforce and the inability to support their retired citizens.

China’s population of senior citizens is larger than the total population of the United States. Now China’s leaders are asking the new generation of youth to suddenly increase population. The request is complicated by continuing data showing a gender imbalance toward a male majority in China.

I think declines in population are a good thing for the planet. It cannot sustainably support the current world population. In some ways, the problem of overpopulation is being solved on its own. While this is certainly a conundrum that we will all face, I believe we need to think “outside the box.” Economic growth is not sustainable. We should rethink the whole concept of growth.

We must develop new strategies so humanity can maintain a healthy economy. This has to be solved by creative approaches we have not yet imagined. The U.S. will eventually face the problem of unsustainable growth and population decline. Robots, artificial intelligence, mechanization and increased productivity, along with the international exchange of human resources between developing and developed nations, will have to be implemented.

We will not be building new cities, roads or skyscrapers. We will be maintaining the existing infrastructure. This should certainly keep many young people well employed.

— Howard Ortman, Sleepy Hollow

Marin IJ Readers’ Forum for Jan. 26, 2023

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