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LETTERS to Sonoma County Gazette READERS - December 2016

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LETTERS to Sonoma County Gazette READERS
December 2016

CORRECTION:

Vesta, the content below was left out of the column, Springs Splash, in the December edition.  That gives the appearance of support for the project and that’s not necessarily the case. When those assembled were asked to raise their hands if they supported this project there seemed near unanimous approval. There was no request for hand raising of those who might be opposed. Re., Trump victory/Student Protest, the high school demonstration was significant for the number of students involved.

Thomas Martin

THIS was left out…. 

Another view…At least one respondent commented that it appeared to her this will be a “glorified food truck” stuck in the middle of the Springs. She went on to say that after five years, “What then?” Will the container trucks for housing be dismantled? Or, will the owners move on and the Springs left with an eyesore across from the hoped for Springs Plaza?

Press reports indicate that Ken and Stacy Mattson who are partners in this venture have also invested elsewhere in Sonoma in recent months. They purchased the Boyes Food Center (Callé del Monte and Hwy 12), Sonoma’s Best Deli and Cottages (E. Napa Rd), as well as a home in Sonoma.

We will follow this new development in the midst of the Springs with great interest. Will it be a first move to improve the quality of life in the Springs or is it simply an investor’s experiment in a community of need? We shall be interested to see.

Springs neighbors join Trump protest…Following the election 300-400 Sonoma Valley High School students marched up Broadway to the Plaza to announce their opposition to the election of the Trumpster. On Friday evening  of the same week the mostly adult Trump Protest at the Plaza included many Springs’ residents. They waved flags, banners, and signs were met with resounding support from horn honking citizens passing in front of the Plaza/City Hall. Among those participating was a family that included students from Flowery School.


Hate Crimes

I am a student at San Jose State University writing in response to the article, “Op-ed On Hate Crime and Homelessness”, published November 27th, 2016. The article discusses a rise in hate crime, especially as we move into a new presidency under Donald Trump. A solution brought forth in response to this issue is to implement the “National Hate Crime Hotline Act”, which will allow people to report a hate crime committed towards them or others. I would like to take this opportunity to state that I feel this is a great step towards cracking down on hate crimes.

In my own city and on the university campus (where hate crimes often occur), we are instructed to contact police. However, as someone who has experienced a few hate crimes, it did not feel worth it to get police involved. I feel as though the police do not have time to legitimately investigate these types of crimes. I believe it will be helpful and more effective if there is an organization that specifically adheres to these issues. This is especially true if there are people like me who are skeptical of reporting a hate crime at all. It would be great for more cities and states, as well as college campuses, to get on board with this policy!

Londyn Pitts, San Jose


Local racism & bigotry 

Thank you, Betty Meritt for calling out the verbal assault incident at the Starbucks. You are correct, it’s the passive bystanders, the non-allies to whom we have to address ourselves. We cannot pride ourselves on any liberal or progressive identity if it is not backed with action. Take it personal folks!  An assault on one is an assault on all the rest of us. Stand up, be at each others’ backs, or don’t crow or complain. If we are not bringing in the light through the crack, it isn’t getting in at all, it’s just an illusion. 

Laurie B. Lippin


Housing the Homeless

For the Homeless Service Center, Sonoma County wasted precious time and money on the George’s Hideaway site in Guerneville, which was a bad idea and never part of the RASAD recommendations. 

An overall strategic plan is required to address the diverse needs of the River homeless community. Diverse solutions include housing, mental health counseling and health services under coordinated case management. 

The County has 4 sites that have been considered (Community Church, St. Hubert’s corner lot and Hall and two lots on Old River Road) and each site has big challenges. Instead of building another building and bureaucracy, we need to utilize existing service providers on the River: the Health Center and West County Community Services both already provide services to the homeless community. 

Strengthening and coordinating case management for individuals with the Health Center and WCCS housing would zero in on the individual needs of people who stay at the shelter or in outlying encampments. We do not need to devise another non-profit bureaucracy. The Health Center may not want to get into the housing business however, they are already serving homeless and an essential part of healthy living is housing. 

We can start now with intense case management coordination for both housing and health. This could mean daily check-in for those who need that kind of support. The Housing First policy of the County is well and good but we need to look at individual needs and provide services to get people off the streets. Ultimately, we need to address the causes of disabilities and/or addictions that devolve people into chronic homelessness.  

Jean Marquardt, Guerneville

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Housing the Homeless

For the Homeless Service Center, Sonoma County wasted precious time and money on the George’s Hideaway site in Guerneville, which was a bad idea and never part of the RASAD recommendations. 

An overall strategic plan is required to address the diverse needs of the River homeless community. Diverse solutions include housing, mental health counseling and health services under coordinated case management. 

The County has 4 sites that have been considered (Community Church, St. Hubert’s corner lot and Hall and two lots on Old River Road) and each site has big challenges. Instead of building another building and bureaucracy, we need to utilize existing service providers on the River: the Health Center and West County Community Services both already provide services to the homeless community. 

Strengthening and coordinating case management for individuals with the Health Center and WCCS housing would zero in on the individual needs of people who stay at the shelter or in outlying encampments. We do not need to devise another non-profit bureaucracy. The Health Center may not want to get into the housing business however, they are already serving homeless and an essential part of healthy living is housing. 

We can start now with intense case management coordination for both housing and health. This could mean daily check-in for those who need that kind of support. The Housing First policy of the County is well and good but we need to look at individual needs and provide services to get people off the streets. Ultimately, we need to address the causes of disabilities and/or addictions that devolve people into chronic homelessness.  

Jean Marquardt, Guerneville

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Make Building Permits Affordable - Make Housing Affordable

It costs more, in the Bay Area than the median income of $64,500 to get permission to build on a residential parcel.

The housing and construction industry account for almost 30% of the work force in the USA . Investing in U.S. infrastructure is a priority for the newly elected president.  Housing is a nightmare for many.

We must house a growing population. Innovation suffers and creativity is compressed down, when people get fenced in, functional space is limited and regulators lock up development. The country urgently needs to build more homes. We need to fix our roads and bridges. Gridlock is damaging the human spirit. Humans are part of the environment too.

A huge roadblock to achieving this goal is the licensing and permitting system. We used to be the envy of the world with modern housing and great public works that created well-paying jobs and affordable homes.  This was the foundation on which we built the American dream.

Highway 101 widening has been going on for decades. It takes years to get through the maze of regulations and reviews to the point where you can start building. U.S. Highway construction projects, airports, dams and power plants usually take between 9 and 19 years from initial planning to permitting and completion.

The American Dream is fading. In the 70’s almost 90% of the working 30 year olds made more money than their parents did at that same age. Today it is barely half. We are over licensed, over regulated and over taxed.

The universe is expanding and we need to allow human life to expand. We must understand that people are part of the environment, too.  The costs add up in human suffering and dollars when housing is denied by regulations and NYBYISM (Not in My backyard).

Richard Paille’, Santa Rosa


Can we choose NOT to treat an illness?

Dear Kira Reginato,

I found your information relating to dementia to be very cold and sad and uncaring. Who gives you the right to write an article that wants us to believe your feelings and what a family’s outcome should be. You encouraged the family and the person to believe it is OK to say goodbye to their dementia parent because they in turn may have to make sacrifices and changes in their lifestyles. 

If they love their mom or dad they would leave no rock unturned. It was not their parent’s choice to get this sickness. You make it sound like leprosy. This disease is nothing to be ashamed of and it is not an Old Age Disease. Young people have been diagnosed with this. You go on to say and make us feel it is ok to not prolong this person’s life due to having dementia and go on to say it is OK to refuse them treatment for a simple urinary infection, treatable pneumonia, and antibiotics. 

What kind of human being are you ??? Do you not realize that this person might still have a strong heart, and possibly squeeze your hand and whisper they love you? I wouldn’t put my dog to sleep let alone by parent or beloved one. You pick a power of attorney so that person is entrusted to take care of that person. You think this dementia can’t happen to you? 

I feel sorry for you that you are such a chicken and don’t value life to the fullest, and because you have this disease you feel it is alright to take someone’s life.  Why is this disease any different from people suffering cancer and strokes? Learning how to walk again and talk again like a baby etc. I believe God gave you your life and He will take it when He sees fit. Yes you can choose alternative roads, but in the end God will decide your outcome. 

I sure am glad that I am not related to you or have you as my friend. I feel you are a very cold uncaring person and if you don’t have the will to live that be your choice, but don’t you ever try to encourage others to you way of your inhuman thinking. Right or wrong, everyone is given choices and you are Not The Almighty.

Barbara