Anne Lohmann: An open letter to Gov. Newsom |

Anne Lohmann: An open letter to Gov. Newsom

Anne Lohmann
Other Voices

An article in the The Union newspaper in Grass Valley explained your new contract with China for face masks. I do understand that you are, rightly, very concerned about the virus — I am too. But, I’m also very concerned about what happens after we conquer this problem.

Twenty years ago my husband and I owned a small business in Los Angeles area. When we retired we were successful enough to ultimately sell and retire to Nevada City, which we dearly love. But with the advent of this virus, I keep thinking of the younger people, those whose time has not yet come to sell. The ones closed down today. If the virus shutdown had happened to us, our lives would have been permanently changed and would be quite different from the life we live today.

To a certain degree I believe that the skills (and lessons from mistakes, and there were many) learned as an small business owner can be successfully transferred from one enterprise to another.

Instead of giving China the $1 billion (wow) contract for face masks, how about investing that money here at home? I am sure that making face masks is not a rocket science, but something that can be learned. For the cloth masks, quite easily. Clubs could make them as a money-making project, individuals at home could make them to supplement the family income. Businesses could make them, too — I saw this morning that Disney is making baby Yoda face masks to sell.

For the more complicated surgical masks (i.e. the N95) the state could step in and help some of our now unemployed small business owners set up a new business. My husband’s university, Stevens, published a newsletter telling how students are producing and donating face masks using the new 3D printers. A quick Google search showed that people all over the country are making these masks on the available 3D machines. These machines are our future — they already produce everything from plastic parts and artificial working hands to actual body parts. National Geographic wrote that these machines would be as significant in our future as computers are now.

Small businesses could quickly learn to churn these out. And, as the need hopefully decreases, learn how to transfer the work of these machines to other areas, i.e. other surgical supplies or farm equipment, or who knows? We would be investing in our future, not supplementing China’s. By keeping the money at home our children, and probably grandchildren, could use their money to better their lives, not pay off our bills.

This may seem a simplistic approach — it is. But there are many readers out there who do know how to get results, what works in politics (parades, petitions, taking the governor to dinner and explaining what we want, etc.). They would also know how to implement this plan, or possibly a much better plan. Hopefully they will chime in and help or offer guidance. It would be so welcome.

Since we live in this rural area we personally have not had any contact with the virus and are very thankful for this. However, there is another seemingly contagious phenomena. I call it the “hi – ho, hi -ho; Here I go; to Idaho.” So far my neighbor down the street, a good friend who lived a mile away, and my car’s best friend, a great mechanic, have been struck and moved.

They say it is mainly politics, but financial stress brought on in part by high state expenses also plays a major part. These are all taxpayers whose departure leaves me paying a larger proportion of the expenses. Not only do I miss them, so does my pocketbook.

If we work together we can make this beautiful state prosperous again. And, with luck, the long trek to Idaho will not be necessary.

Anne Lohmann lives in Nevada City.

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