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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

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

LETTERS to the Editor - Sonoma County Gazette November 2010

Dear Vesta,
Once again, a great issue! Your theme for the month re: animals was inspired and brilliant and so very important - thank you! You are making me think of the earlier role that community newspapers played, before trying to compete with TV and lost sight of their position of education and influence, earned by their integrity and fair mindedness. Good on ya!
Mary Luttrell


Dear Vesta,
Thank you for featuring local Animal Welfare and Rescue Organizations in the latest issue of the Gazette. As the president of one of those Non-Profit Organizations, we appreciate the coverage and dissemination of information to the public.

Please visit our website,, for more about our organization and about all the Animal Shelters in Sonoma County that we support.

For Current Spay/Neuter Programs & Events Available to North Bay Residents call: (707) 579-SPAY.
Ann Strom
President, FAIRE
(Friends of the Animals in the Redwood Empire)


Dear Vesta,
I enjoyed Martin Bennett’s well thought out article about the proposed Wal-Mart store in Rohnert Park. The community would truly be wise to reject these proposals for they do not bring prosperity to neighborhoods.

But one point of Mr. Bennett’s needs correcting: development in Sonoma County is not inevitable. Although the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) does say that the population will grow, ABAG is a pro-Builder’s group with the job of convincing the rest of us that population growth is inevitable. If you read any population projection, from the California Department of Water Resources to the United Nations, you will see that they all note that the projections depend on future trends, and they offer high, medium and low outcomes. We can choose the low-population outcome. If we do not allow the building that ABAG promotes, then the population will not grow.

Sonoma County is a beautiful region. Adding more people will not increase the benefits of living here. More traffic, more congestion, less open space, fewer farms and ranches, higher taxes, more crowded schools and urbanized living are not most of us want for our County.
Searle Whitney


The other day I was surprised to receive a call from someone who had read my article . . . in the Gazette! Thank you very much for making that happen. I hope your readers will find it informative.

However, the person that called was looking for clarification on a point I made. In following up on her question I discovered that apparently my original article was printed and not the corrected version I sent you 10/23. It’s nothing horrible, but the omission is definitely misleading. At the end of the article, under 2011 Highlights, the first point made about medicines should read:
Starting January 1, 2011 expenses for medicines or drugs will qualify as tax-free and reimbursable by an employer-provided health plan, including an FSA, HRA or HSA, only if:
- the medicine or drug requires a prescription;
- is an over-the-counter medicine or drug and the individual obtains a prescription; or is insulin.
Things are bit in flux at the moment as far as what will be available for consumers come 1/1/11. I’ll send you something when I know more.

Again, I really appreciate you printing this in the paper.
Bill Hannant


Hi Vesta,
Thanks for alerting me to something neither myself or neighbors knew or have even been informed about.

I am part of Veterans Village Regional. Last year the same people who were against housing our American Heroes – newly returned Iraqi and Afghanistan veterans (OIF/OEF vets) on Drake Road are now helping with a proposal to have formerly homeless housed on Drake Road through Community Housing Sonoma County.

This is truly amazing since our president, Nadia McCaffrey, whose son died in combat service in Iraq, was treated very badly by these same neighbors, one who collaborates directly with Community Housing – the same ones who were afraid of having young, newly returned heroes in their area.

All veterans services in the area will start working on this issue immediately.
Yes, Community Housing is doing a Veterans project in Santa Rosa, which I am sure will be brought up-it is NOT for newly returned veterans as was the possible Guerneville site-but that has nothing to do with a narrow and rural area like Drake Road. Having many families with children in such a small area is ridiculous!!!
We are not zoned for multifamily units-it is enough with the many vacation rentals we are surrounded by.

Let’s try to help our newly returned vets have someplace in the redwoods to relax.
Marcy Orosco, MSW


Dear Editor,
I have been meaning to write you a while to respond to the person in Graton who believes Graton is the only fire station with a siren.

I live between Hessel and Gold Ridge fire stations and I frequently hear the sirens from both of them.

When I hear them, I know that some member of our community is in need of help; and I also know that help is on the way. It is a very comforting sound.

I am reminded of the person who moved in next to the rural person with a rooster and then complained about the rooster crowing and threatened to sue her.

My response to her was “Get a donkey and some geese, and give him something to really listen to.”
Nan Waters, Sebastopol

Here's a bot of interest around that subject: Don Ford of CBS NEWS picked up a copy of the Gazette and was intrigued by the number of letters in the October edition on the subject of the Graton Siren - so he came out to do a story on it - here's a link to the story... - Vesta


Good day Vesta:
My two cents on the Rockin’ Rio Nido Column:
I like it. I reside in Monte Rio now, however, did live in Rio Nido for 4 + years. I am only too familiar with the RNHA. My heart goes out to these women columnists. If you do not see eye to eye with the RNHA they gang up on you!

I read their letters AND really? Come on! I say, “Ladies, keep plugging away!” 
You have a job to do..... keep writin’...cause I’ma reading!
Natalia S.


Hi Sonoma County Gazette,
I am writing about the girls who write the Rio Nido column. I grew up in the Hacienda area of the Russian River as a child and now reside in Cazadero. I have relatives and friends in the Rio Nido area.

I’ve been reading the Rio Nido column steadily and its been decent. I have to admit, since Eliza and Elaine took it over it’s been more interesting to read and I like the modern feel to it. It’s cheery and neat to see that some of my friends and acquaintances are mentioned in a few of the columns. It’s fresh and lets me know what’s going on in the area and I LIKE THAT. WAITING in anticipation to see what’s to come in December!  
Fondly, , Sarah Norhaus


Dear Vesta,
Love, LOVE, LOVE this column. (Rockin’ Rio Nido) I read it every month! It’s raining out and Ive read the gazette from top to bottom. These women – Elizabeth & Elaina – have the “411” on this tiny community. Last I read this column it is about Rio Nido and not the RNHA. Seems to me the RNHA blew their little statement out of context and overreacted miserably. Shame on you. Feeling left out? Perhaps the RNHA Board members should have their own monthly column to give an up to snuff account on how they spend the Homeowner Assn. members yearly dues.

I walk and drive by the Pee Wee Mini Golf, picnic area etc, ....and it looks as though no MAINTENANCE has been performed in over A DECADE! Put your egos aside and give these ladies a break...they are doing a fantastic job reporting the important & community minded issues that matter to us and go on here in this Village.
Darla G.


Hello Gazette:
I am writing to you because this column (Rockin’ Rio Nido) really speaks to me. I am a 15 year resident of Rio Nido and up until recently I’ve had no interest in this column. These ladies cover “everything and then some” that goes on in this small wooded town. I am an artist and rarely get out much, but have to say I enjoy finding out what happens!

In response to the Homeowners Assn. feedback in the front of your paper, it’s a sad shame they feel they need to posture themselves when all these ladies have done was praise their Association in past articles that I have read. Perhaps they are feeling guilt for not doing their share? To be truthful, the Homeowners’ grounds look worn, dilapidated and in need of some serious TLC. Maintenance? Uh......well, that’s another chapter in this saga! Enuff said! Sometimes the truth hurts......Ladies, keep on truckin! You ROCK!


Hello all:
We at the Occidental Bohemian Farmers Market (OBFM) are writing to correct disinformation that is being circulated regarding our farmers market and a new market in operation at the Occidental Community Center.

The Occidental Bohemian Farmers Market is a non-profit registered with the State of California and a 501(c)6 registered with the IRS, and has been in operation in Occidental for the last 9 years. It had humble beginnings in 2002, but has since blossomed into a thriving market hosting small local farmers, meat producers, artisan food preparers, and area craftspeople. We regularly host 500+ people on Friday evenings in Occidental, June through October, and attract not only local residents, but people from all over the country. We’ve been fortunate to receive praise in nationwide publications like Sunset and Lonely Planet, as well as abundant coverage by local media outlets.

As a California Certified Farmers Market, we are required to work with the Department of Agriculture and our vendors to insure that they sell only produce they’ve grown themselves in California, or in our case, Sonoma County. This certification is designed to add value to consumers wishing to purchase food grown locally in order to reduce waste and pollution and to buoy the local economy.
It has come to our attention that a second entity is putting on another farmers market in Occidental, running year-round and also on Friday nights. We are happy to see other people promoting local agriculture, albeit at a market that’s not California Certified, and we are happier still to discover that this market is being undertaken to demonstrate use of the Occidental Community Center, as it is at risk of being shuttered due to budget concerns.

This second market has been promoting themselves as if they are associated with the OBFM-their community outreach via internet forums, paper flyers, and word of mouth has sought to capitalize on the hard-won success of the OBFM by suggesting that we have moved to the Occidental Community Center and are now operating year-round. Additionally, the market at the Community Center has, through the same channels, suggested that only their market benefits the “community,” only their market is not for profit, and that their market doesn’t exist to line the pockets of people from outside the area.

While we are hesitant to even respond to these types of inaccurate and unprofessional characterizations, they do generate ambiguity and confusion with our regulatory and area partners, as well as customers and community members. It is for that reason that we wish to state unequivocally that the market at the Occidental Community Center has no association with the OBFM and that the OBFM plans to operate our market in the same place and at the same time in our 2011 season, opening on June 3rd for our 10th year of operation. We’re looking forward to yet another year of fulfilling our mission of preserving the vital agricultural tradition of our community and connecting our community members to the food they consume.

We thank you for your attention to this matter and hope that you won’t hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have.
Occidental Bohemian Farmers
Market Board of Directors
Greg Fisher
Sherry Huss
Kim Dow


The advocates of racial hatred continue to beat their drums of fear and mistrust.
Here in Sonoma County, we witnessed this when a candidate for county supervisor decided to support “sanctuary” for undocumented immigrants. In response, a campaign mailer from the Sonoma County Alliance Political Action Committee suggested that Sonoma County would be turned into a haven for murderous immigrants who would prey upon local residents.

As Latinos involved in our community, we want to set the record straight: “o más derecho.”

As community leaders, we refuse to remain silent while our people are stigmatized and dehumanized. “Illegal immigrants” has become code for Latinos in California, and our nation. That many Latinos feel the same as we do is witnessed in our voting patterns.

Recent polls by the Pew Hispanic Center and a Democracia USA survey found that three out of four Latinos have a bad impression of the GOP, mostly because of their hard stand against immigration policy and their support of Prop 187. As proof of this, the recent election saw Democratic victories here in California, in part because of Latino voters.

Yet the anti-immigration rhetoric continues. The result? As a recent New York Times article recognized, “The nation’s largest minority (approximately 47 million) feels beleaguered by backlash from the polarized debate over immigration in the past year...”

Our county’s recent anti-“sanctuary” campaign mailer reminds us that these problems are indeed close to home.

We do not find solace in the fact that this mailer limited its attack to those who are “illegal.” We see this mailer for what it is: a hostile caricature, full of empty rhetoric. Most Latinos believe that the differentiation between “legal” and “illegal” simply serves to mask prejudice against Latinos and is a cover to fan the flames of racial intolerance. Otherwise, why would more than 6 in 10 of us say discrimination is a “major problem”?

Those who advocate for immigrant (documented or not) rights do not “protect criminals.” They speak on behalf of an overwhelmingly hard working, family-oriented, religious, and under-represented people who are seeking a better life.
That some immigrants put their lives in danger to enter the country without permission is a testimony to their desire for a viable future for themselves and their children, not proof that they are “mere criminals.”

Most Latinos understand this, and abhor the vitriol aimed at these members of our ethnic group.

The Press Democrat has acknowledged that, “As America grows more Latino; the perils of immigrant-bashing will begin to outweigh its rewards.”

That day is coming. Every year for the next 20 years, half a million Latino youths will reach voting age. These young people will remember being called “illegal” or “anchor babies” (regardless of their or their parents’ actual immigration status) because they are of Latino heritage.

Yes, within a few short years, thankfully, mailers demonizing Latinos will be a death knell for the candidate they represent. State Representatives who liken undocumented immigrants to rats, as recently happened in Tennessee, will find themselves voted out of office.

As a nation of immigrants and the ancestors of immigrants, both documented and undocumented, none of us should stand by quietly while self-serving groups, candidates, or political parties pound their hateful drums. The time has come to condemn race baiting campaign tactics, and to support comprehensive national immigration reform that provides a pathway to citizenship.

Michael Aparicio – Professor, SRJC (sympathetic partner)
Dennis Boné – Community Activist
María Cañas – PODER, Community Activist
Davin Cárdenas - Organizer, North Bay Organizing Project
Omar Gallardo – Graton Day Labor Center
Dr. Ellie Galvez-Hard - Professor, SSU
Laura González – President, Sonoma County Latino Democratic Club
Carl Jaramillo – UAW Lobbyist, Retired
Holly Jaramillo – Secretary, Sonoma County Latino Democratic Club
Dr. Ron López - Professor, SSU
Lisa Maldonado – Executive Director, North Bay Labor Council
Omar Medina
Michaele Morales – PODER, Community Activist
Abel Moya – “GANA” Grupo de Apoyo Nuevo Avance
Mujeres Unidas of Sonoma County
Tiffany Renée – Petaluma City Council Member
Alicia Román – Attorney at Law
David Rosas – Roseland Community Advocate
Alfredo Sánchez- Community Activist
Alicia Sánchez – Attorney, Union Activist
Denise Soza – Business Rep. for IBEW Local 551
Elsa Chinea Stevens
Dr. Francisco Vásquez - - Professor, SSU
Georgina Warmoth - Community Activist