So let me see if I have this correctly: Ms. Hodgson was forced to leave the safety and comfort of the little wine cottage in the valley and venture out in the "pouring rain" to "report" on a speech to a group of people who didn't look like her, didn't think like her, and even drove vehicles that were not like hers (From the Publisher, "Vintage Arkley," March 24).

One can imagine that she was even forced to converse with these individuals. I cannot begin to imagine the terror - lions and tigers and bears, oh my!

Glenn Ziemer, Eureka



 The part of Judy Hodgson's article on Rob Arkley that I liked best was where she quotes him as telling local small landowners that the big timber companies "‘spent money to make your land more valuable.'" Yeah, opening timberland to residential development will vastly increase its real estate  value for owners large and small. In addition to curtailing future timber production, it will have terrible environmental impacts, while sticking the public for the extended public services required by urban sprawl. No wonder local development interests cynically scream for indefinite delay of the county's General Plan Update, already 12 years in the making. They don't want any plan, and they join Arkley in electing people who agree.

Nationally, Arkley also seems more than happy to stick the public for the speculative losses of banks like his own that nearly busted the economy these past few years. Hodgson notes that "Security National specialized in buying lower-grade loans at a discounted rate from the banks and making those loans perform." When the housing bubble burst, his risky speculations sucked - until, as Arkley states, "‘the banks effectively transferred the risk to the government.'" But does he praise government for saving the whole credit system at the base of our economy? Of course not! Suddenly he shifts blame away from speculators like himself who caused the mess. "‘Now,'" Arkley snaps, "‘the governments are free-wheeling, running deficits.'" So, of course, all civilized public services must be drastically cut to cover the deficits - which saved the speculators, but not yet the rest of us. Hey, we can't tax the speculators!

 Arkley illumines the key local issue of endless urban sprawl versus smart growth as well as the dominant national issue of whether to cut public services or raise taxes on those most able to pay. Thanks for the fine report, Ms. Hodgson.

Chuck Harvey, Fieldbrook



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