Email Vesta
Blog Home Page

Welcome to the Sonoma County Gazette ARCHIVE of PAST EDITIONS. Our NEW WEBSITE is up and running, so GazExtra is serving as your path to archived articles. Thanks for being part of our Sonoma County community...stay in touch...e-mail me - VESTA

Thursday, May 6, 2010

LETTERS to the Editor - Sonoma Coumty Issues

Vesta: Whether the proposed permanent lowering of the Russian River's flow rate, noted in this article (Protest Alert! for Permanent Russian River LOW FLOW - March 2010), is a reasonable response to protect threatened fish species is not clear to me, and I am not advocating for or against the NMFS position. I am looking for a reasonable discussion of the issues. The "Protest Alert" article does not provide that.

There are two areas that are especially troubling. The first is the insistence that the protest period be extended to after the completion of the environmental review. If the review in question is a formal Environmental Impact Review (not stated), the protests are best lodged before its completion to ensure they are addressed in the review. Protesting after its release is just a method to prolong the process, not a method of ensuring its adequacy, unless the EIR is faulty - which can occur.

My second concern is the article's all-too-common reaction to conflicting environmental pressures: the implication that what seemed to be okay 10 years ago - or 20 or 50, is the standard by which current concerns should be addressed. This trip down memory lane
fails to recognize the population and agricultural pressures that have shaped - and continue to shape - all aspects of the environment.

The statement, "...and we don't know why the frogs have all but disappeared," is emblematic of this view. Frogs, and other amphibians, have been disappearing worldwide for years. There have been numerous studies and hypotheses developed to account for this. They include general pollution, specific toxic substances discharged into waterways and on land, estrogen-mimicking compounds and derivatives from agricultural and pharmaceutical sources, reduced habitat, and loss of food sources (e.g., insects).

In recent years, drought could be a significant local addition to this list. What most of these have in common is that they are caused or exacerbated by population pressures. Looking back to 1950, or '60 or '30, while perhaps presenting a comforting image, will not make the river better. Pretending that our previous activities related to the river, whether recreational or directly economic, were benign is disingenuous.

More importantly, it sustains the notion that what "we" do to and for the river is environmentally kind and what ""they" do is bad. Looking for environmental answers, while insisting that there be no change that affects "us" will only give us more of the same river degradation. It is true that "long range impacts of low flow are unknown...", but this is true of all long range projections.

We DO know that what's happened in the not too distance past, even prior to the low flow actions, has resulted in ever-decreasing environmental quality in and around the river. Doing nothing will only continue this trend.

The saying, "There's no such thing as a free lunch," applies to all environmental issues. That said, the low flow proposal may be wrong. However, we must evaluate suggested changes from a current perspective, not from one that assumes a Norman Rockwell vision. When evaluating environmental damage or proposed mitigations, we must remember that Pogo was right: We have met the enemy, and he is us.

Kenneth Koutz - Guerneville

Briefly, the protest period is cut off before environmental review, so that issues that come up during that public process, and which inform the public, are not available now. The public is only partially informed at this point. Which comes first, the chicken or the egg? The whole point of the environmental review should be to bring forth the issues, NOT shut off the public’s ability to protest this formal and far reaching action.

The other part is very complicated and there is no real brief response. The river is artificially managed by the Corps of Engineers and Sonoma County Water Agency. They are supposed to consider all beneficial uses, but water deliveries always seem to get priority. (Yes, it’s a given that we have all contributed to the problem, but some have contributed a lot more damage than others and playing the blame game gets us nowhere. The loss of the frogs is indeed the “Canary in the mine” which I have pointed out on numerous occasions.)

Now that we are faced with probable dire flow limits in the summer time, it becomes a battle for all the interests. SCWA’s inclination is to prioritize water supply, although they are trying hard to accommodate the requirements of the Biological Opinion. The point of lowering flows, according the National Marine Fisheries Service, is simply to keep the mouth of the Russian River closed in order to provide habitat for young steelhead. In order to do that, they need lower flows. They say they are concerned about water quality issues, but the proof is in the pudding. We believe all flow changes should be temporary at this point and that a permanent change is totally premature.

The whole thing is an experiment, and if flows are too low for too long there will be enormous impacts on water quality and recreation and the whole lower river economy. Our view is that we need a lot more information before we know that it is a “reasonable response” (not our call) and we are asking for a much more gradual lowering until this can all be studied.

Brenda Adelman, author or protest article


My Thank You Story
By Dana Dunne
Site Supervisor at 4Cs WKJ Infant Development Center

This past September 13, my mother died. The following month, on October 13, my daughter was diagnosed with a brain tumor - again. The first diagnosis came a few days after my daughter, Noel, turned 21. The first time was bad. The second diagnosis was even worse. The first time, we mistakenly thought it was a one-time ordeal but it turned out we were wrong and it may even happen again. Community Child Care Council of Sonoma County (4Cs) was and is a life line for me and my family.

Many 4Cs employees made personal financial contributions, offered emotional support and donated their sick time so that I would not have to worry about a loss of income during my time off of work to care for Noel. Sue Katz, Jim Walters, Lilly Watters and Sharon Caesare burned up the telephone wires and the internet to find information about the tumor, about agencies, and to even make hotel reservations. Daily phone calls from these people eased my heart and mind with their kind words and from some the promise of prayers. Among the phone calls I depended upon came from Anne Brown, former 4Cs Centers Director, whom many of you will remember fondly. She made a deal with me that if I was strong for Noel , she would be strong for me.

Many contributions came from people I didn't even know. People talked to their families. Families talked to their friends. My brother and his wife began collecting information and funds almost immediately. Sharon Caesares' dad sent money from his Lodge. Allison Goodwin, the Site Supervisor of the 4Cs center in Healdsburg offered us lodging with her family while we were in Redwood City for the surgery. Allison's mom gave us $50.00.

4Cs William K. Johnson (WKJ) Infant Development Center, located on the campus of Healdsburg High School, is names after a local attorney known for his generosity and care of the less fortunate. While I was caring for Noel, the staff at WKJ held a surprise benefit for us. I love the WKJ staff! Our center is small - only 15 families - but they bought enchiladas like crazy to the tune of 65 dinners at $10.00 each. 4Cs office staff bought enchiladas too. With the money raised, we were given gifts to brighten up our bedrooms and bathrooms along with pre-paid gas cards and a pre-paid restaurant card.

We are long time residents of Guerneville, a small West county town. Here too a benefit was created for Noel. My friend, Mary Mount a realtor with Prudential Realty, Beth Rudometkin of Community First Credit Union, Richard and Donna Hines of Pat's Restaurant and Bar along with Shasta and Jen brought together - all through word of mouth - a benefit in a matter of 4 days' time. This was a surprise for us, too!

Neighbors, friends and family showed up at Pat's on a Monday night bearing homemade food and then they all paid $5.00 per plate to eat each others' food. LOCAL BUSINESS in town and Razorback Construction of Cazadero were involved. Bob Burke of Bob Burke's Cancer Kids and his sister Linda shared the love. Two old friends Gary and George were huge contributors. People from Guerneville Elementary School gave love with their contributions. I heard the Stumptown Brewery showed up with a bucket of cash collected from employees and customers. 4Cs staff attended, too, bringing their collection of money and food to share. These are just a sampling of the generosity of good people wanting “to do something”. I was so proud to have my friends, family and co-workers all there offering their love and support.

My husband was a fragile doll that night so in awe was he of all of the support for us and for Noel. His dad told him if you have one true friend you are lucky and here we had ALL OF YOU - about 250 of YOU!!!!

Approximately $5,000 was raised and of the $1,000 was donated to the Dunne Fund at Community First anonymously!

If there is a silver lining it is YOU! All of the employees of 4Cs who have hearts big enough to love and care for children by working at the Community Child Care Council of Sonoma County and supporting a friend in need and to the Guerneville community who have hearts big enough to love and care for one of its own. YOU have honored me and my family and we thank you all.

Dana, Jonathan and Noel Dunne who are proud to be GUERNEVILLIANS
Editor's Note:

Currently, the tumor has been removed and Noel is receiving chemotherapy for three months. In June, monthly MRI's will begin to watch for any signs of recurrence. The Dunne Fund at Community First Credit Union is still accepting donations.



I know that there is etiquette on sending proper thank you's. I hope Miss Manners will not ban me from society for my lack of timely response.

My family and I would like to Thank the community of Forestville, Our friends and the many local organizations for their unconditional support and help given to my family.

The fundraiser held in January 2010 for my husband Randy was and incredible show of love , kindness and community support.

Unfortunately I was unable to attend as I was a guest of Memorial Hospitals ICU. The monies raised from that helped tremendously with utilities and entirely for Randy's medical expenses.

Again I say THANK YOU FORESTVILLIANS AND FRIENDS this truly is a special town that we live in.

As you know, we are both on our way to recovery.... Randy is finally done with all his cancer treatments and the prognosis is promising.

From one local Forestvillian to all others thank you.
Mo Hull


Happy Spring West County!

The sun is shining and the birds are chirping the apple trees are blossoming! Spring has sprung and Active 20-30 is growing. Men and women between 20 and 39 are invited to join us in our adventures. Active 20-30 is an international service organization that is dedicated to improving the quality of life for the children in need in our local communities. Sebastopol #63 is one of the newer clubs in the process of forming in this amazing organization!

Stop by Mary's Pizza on May 11th at 6:30 p.m. and learn more about who we are and what we have coming up or join us on May 25th in the beer garden at Hopmonk Tavern at 6:30 p.m. to meet the current and prospective members of this club in formation.

Looking forward we are hosting our first fundraiser at the Forestville School to raise money for their Library. The school needs $15,000 annually to maintain the Library and provide books for the children in Forestville. I encourage you to purchase your ticket ($20 for adults and $10 for children) to the all you can eat pasta feed on May 8th from 5 - 9. Tickets are available in the school office, online at or by calling me at 707.536.3252. This is a great way to take the family out for a wonderful dinner catered by Sally Tomato and support a local school at the same time. DJ Lazy Boy will be playing your favorite music and we'll have a 50/50 raffle where you have the opportunity to win 50% of the pot!!!

As a club we have chosen to create a playground fund that will be funded by the community as well as 5% of proceeds from all fundraisers we host. Our goal is $30,000. When this goal is reached our club will move forward with finding a location to add onto or build a handicapped accessible playground for the children of Sonoma County and surrounding areas to enjoy! You can help with this endeavor by contributing directly to the playground fund and/or attending our future fundraisers.

I look forward to working closely with our community in improving the quality of life for the children in and around Sebastopol. Please contact me with any questions or suggestion!

Samantha Mineo
Incoming President, Active 20-30 Sebastopol #63 Club in formation

One never stands so tall as when kneeling to help a child.


Letters from Vietnam: 1968-69

Thought you might want to see what I have been up to. Just today I published my first Hub - kind of like a blog, more like an article. Many of the letters I wrote while I was in Vietnam 1968-69 have been saved by mom, grandma and my great aunt. Mom kept most of them and also photos. Just recently I have needed to re-read these for veterans' purposes and I have shared a few with other friends and family. I may be thinking of putting together a book of these letters and photos with my experiences while on tour in Vietnam. So if you wouldn't mind, please check out this first one at: (you'll see my profile at HubPages - and click on the link to my first attempt) Its called "Letters from Vietnam-1968-1969.

One more thing: please be sure to go all the way down to the end and click on the video link there to hear my #1 song choice from back in those days!

Please leave rate it UP and leave me a comment - in the comments box ! I really appreciate this support.

I feel very passionate about this since it has been so hard for me to revisit these days for such a long time. And I have my mother's blessing, as we have talked many times about the letters and how precious they are to all of us.

Take care, Aloha!
Dick Jr. (Richard)


Good Morning

The Census Bureau has been ignoring the Deaf community since the early 1800's. Here is Sonoma County we are changing that by educating the census bureau and working with legislator's to not only improve the Deaf for the 2010 census but also to ensure that the Deaf community are allowed by congress to self-identify as a Cultural linguistic minority for the 2020 census. Not all Deaf community member's consider themselves as "disabled" or "handicapped." By allowing the Deaf community to self identify so they too will be listed on the census form that will give them visibility and funding that will filter into their community to enhance their everyday lives.

Sadly, the Deaf are still looked upon in the some of the hearing world as a group of people who are dependent on the hearing and can not make decisions on their own. So by Congress allowing the Deaf to self identifying as their own minority group, they will be able to stand on their own two feet and make their own decisions. Until there are changes, the oppression and marginalization continues.

I was interviewed by Bruce Robinson, KRCB radio this morning (the interview is on their website) to inform the community. However, this is not just a community issue, this is an issue that affects all of us. The Deaf are made up of a community who are our friends, neighbors and family and I may add voters and tax payers who struggle on a daily basis to survive in a fast pace hearing world. And sadly they are ignored and forgotten.

I am asking each and everyone of you to please follow KRCB's lead and help us spread the word through the power of the media. The only way that we will make any head way for the next 2020 census is by informing and educating Congress and the community. I am available for an interview.

Here is the link to our PSA that is on the State of California's official census website. W are also on the Alameda's website and on you-tube.

There is an event and a DVD presentation on April 18Th that will be sponsored by the City of Santa Rosa. Here is the announcement.

Thank you

Patricia Boyd
Sonoma County Census Complete Committee/Community Advocate for equal accessibility for all


Hi Vesta,

I promised to update you this week on the outcome of the vote by the Planning Commission April 1 regarding the proposed quarry on Roblar Road. After the third public hearing, the commission voted unanimously to recommend the project to the Board of Supervisors for a decision. No date has yet been set for the supervisors meeting, although we expect it will be within 2 to 3 months. CAARQ was disappointed with the decision by the commission to recommend the project, but not surprised. We felt the decision had been made before the hearing started. The County staff provided their final staff report to the public less than a week prior to the hearing, so CARRQ and others did not have adequate time (as called out by CEQA provisions) to prepare detailed rebuttal to the final report.

CARRQ will continue to fight the development of the quarry next to the unlined, uncapped old County landfill on Roblar that will sit next to Open Space property paid for by County taxpayers. Taxpayers, in effect, will have paid the applicant John Barella, owner of North Bay Construction, to build this quarry through the Open Space dollars (he was paid $2.3 million for the development rights of the property that would have allowed only 3 homes to be built anyway) despite the fact that he had already contacted the County about his intention to build a quarry next to the Open Space. CAARQ feels this egregious misuse of taxpayer dollars to benefit one individual’s business should be made more public. This will be one point CARRQ will continue to push out to the public, in addition to our continued concerns about water and air quality and our agreement with experts, such as the Russian Riverkeeper organization, that the County has not proven there is an economic need for the rock from this proposed quarry.

We count the Sonoma County Gazette as one of our primary sources for getting information out to the public. Will you please tell me your publication schedule and what we need to do to get more coverage in the WCG over the next several months?

Please visit CARRQ’s Website and become a Fan on Facebook!

Thank you very much.

Kind regards,
Donna Spilman

My Blog:



You can go read Chapter 1 of the book I'm submitting to the competition I mentioned in the Gazette. I'd love to hear what you think.

Please feel free to share it with anyone who might like to see the beginning of a metaphysical fiction or like to read it and consider voting for me to get it published.

It's on "Book Preview" at the website I just launched. Just click on the link below.

Love, Jeanne



My name is Algeo Ché Casul and I am the new Business Liaison for West County Community Services (WCCS). I’m writing you today in the hopes that your business will be interested in partnering with WCCS and the community by hiring our program participants. We offer several different incentives for businesses to hire our people.

We have two programs in which while our program participant works for your business they will technically be an employee of WCCS. These programs are designed for temporary employment where we will pay an employee’s wages, do their payroll, and be responsible for workers compensation.

In return your business will be responsible for supplying the employee with much needed work experience. Basically you get free labor for providing work experience. Another of our programs is called on the job training (OJT) where if your business was looking for a regular employee and hired one of our program participants we will offer up to $1,500 dollars to offset training cost for a probationary period of the first 90 days of employment.

After the 90 days we have something called Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) which can give an employer tax credit off of our program participants wages between %25 to 40%. Obviously there are some strong monetary incentives for hiring our program participants but there is also the simple fact that your business will he helping the community and someone in need.

Please contact me at or (707) 889-4379 to get connected with our programs, their benefits, and to help the community your business is based in.

Thank you for your time,

Algeo Ché Casul
Business Liaison
West County Community Services
(707) 889-4379


Dear Vesta,

I have further thoughts about our conversation yesterday during the intermission at the Sonoma County Planning Commission Orrin Thiessen review. All things considered I have chosen to support Orrin's downtown project design.

Grouping residences together in a downtown core will have a much smaller energy "footprint" than the seventy one-acre homes that you proposed for the Crinella land yesterday. You rightly praised our Forestville Youth Park and questioned why we also really need a downtown square. I see that they serve different functions. The Youth Park is not an easy walking distance from the downtown. The amphitheater and meeting areas of the downtown square will be a valued place in the core of our downtown.

That Orrin's project will provide space for more stores and professional spaces for our downtown makes sense to me. To walk or drive a short distance for a medical appointment, for instance, saves us energy and time. Although Orrin's project doesn't look "green" (where are the solar panels, etc.!) the design concept and the many unseen construction materials he proposes do meet the minimum "green" Sonoma County guidelines.

There is no doubt that Orrin's project will have a major impact on the feel of our downtown. I feel the mix of mediterranean and victorian styled buildings Orrin designed are beautiful in themselves. The question is whether the strength and passion of these styled building designs belong in downtown Forestville. Fortunately the proposed building designs for the Forestville project have more integrity and are more robust than the buildings he designed for the Windsor project which many feel, I included, have a Disneyland-like quality to them.

One approach to the project would have been to use one style of architecture through the whole project. The Monte Rio Elementary School designed by Michael Singer, to me, has a handsome "West County" kind of feel. Architect Steve Sheldon's live-work project at Florence and Highway 116 in Sebastopol is an excellent example of a very green project of what I would call an organic style in that form pretty much follows function. Note that you must look closely at the details of the construction of his project to really understand how green it is. But unified design styles of both these projects would definitely stand apart from the rest of downtown Forestville which has a mix of styles of architecture. Of course you could say, "so be it".

At the public hearing yesterday Orrin stated that he tried to create a project design that looked "built organically over time". I love the diversity of buildings of many traditional downtown areas as most people do. Witness the many preserved "historic downtowns" of many cities. Orrin, in attempting to duplicate the look of some of our demolished historic local buildings, tried in his project design to suggest this sense of history and individuality which we cherish. So the "historic" replications of buildings in his project are then a celebration of the exuberant designs of a past time.

I admire Orrin's courage to follow his passion for replicating the architecture of a time of our local history that spoke to our optimism and individualism. Some of the architecture may appear to us pretentiously grand, and so it was! My sense is that we Forestvillians pride ourselves for our individualism. "Boring" and "nice" are not what we are about as Forestvillians (I would like to believe). No one has complained that Orrin's project is boring! Orrin, a Forestville resident, brings his particular passion for architecture to our community, a gift that I would have a hard time rejecting.

Ken Smith, architect



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home