The Sonoma County Gazette: Community News Magazine
Sonoma County Gazette
| more

Photo Gallery

LETTERS from Sonoma County Gazette Readers - November 2014


LETTERS from Sonoma County Gazette Readers - November 2014

Ebola Editorial 

It appears that Ebola is now a major threat to the world human population. Ebola can be as contagious as the common cold (it can be contracted from a person sneezing on you), but more deadly with a mortality rate of up to 90%.  This outbreak is occurring in one of the most densely populated and underdeveloped parts of the world, namely Western Africa.

A newly infected person can fly to the USA within 18 hours.  The USA’s response to containing the virus is to provide travelers with a questioner, and to check for fever.  This policy is reckless and warrants consideration for more severe travel restrictions.  

I wish to share with you my experience in dealing with African viruses.  I am the owner of B Bryan Preserve Conservation and Breeding Center which is located on the north coast of California.  We have rare African Hoof Stock, which include the Rothschild’s Giraffe, Grevy’s Zebra, Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra and several Antelope species. Four years ago I explored importing the rare Cape Mountain Zebra.  The species numbers  only 400 and are only found in South Africa.  What I ran into was a mountain of federal government regulations which ultimately prevented us from importing the animals because of cost.  The USA government required us to quarantine the animals not once but twice.  We were told to quarantine the animals in Europe and New York for 30 days each.  The quarantine was required for the Brucellosis, Tuberculosis  and African Horse Sickness.

When we apply my experience with requirements for people coming into the USA from Western Africa I am baffled as to the lack of uniformity. I can only conclude that we are dealing with either politics, economics and/or incompetence on the part of our government.  I recommend we require quarantine of all humans coming in from infected parts of Africa until the virus is contained.  My position is not alarming but more pragmatic in regards to risk, and I recommend all concerned persons contact their government representatives. 

Frank Mello, PhD, B Bryan Preserve

Point Arena, California


Wood Smoke

I don’t see any smoke when I look for who is doing all the smelly, sickening wood burning. If I did, I would talk to them. I live in a townhouse surrounded by 269 other townhouses. There are people who burn constantly, even in the summer because they like the smell of smoke and lets face it wood burning is mostly about achieving a feeling, not something to keep you warm.

 I have no objection to people who would like to burn wood and KEEP ALL THE SMOKE and pollutants in their homes. The problem is I have sealed every vent, it is warm here this morning and there is the usual one or two wood burners fouling the air for everyone, so we can all experience the burning lungs, coughs etc.

Suzanne Angioli


Well - in my case and for many of my neighbors – it’s our ONLY heat source. Our homes were once summer cabins and have never been outfitted for heating systems.

And that’s why there are laws and why those of us who use wood - a sustainable, renewable fuel - get wood stoves with catalytic converters, just like exhaust systems on cars.

I’ll publish your letter because it’s that time of year again when people need to know the proper way to build a fire that is smokeless.

Thank you - Vesta


Closing the Gap on the Fluoride Debate

I am a former water operator who was injured in a fluoride accident.  I was exposed to approximately a liter of concentrated fluoride.  My accident was in 1997.  Back then even less was none about the cause and effect of fluoride.  The fluoride put into most water systems is also contaminated with many byproducts at various levels.  The current testing required does not require these levels to be tested.  I believe the effect on the thyroid is also causing many problems in our children.  Increased levels of autism, ADD and other neurological problems could be caused by the hormone levels affecting the growth and de elopement of the brain.  My medical problems were laughed at by the Arkansas Health Department and the CDC.  Just because it was fluoride and it cannot hurt you.  Even though I was exposed to concentrated acid, they still couldn’t admit you could be harmed.  The Fluoride Deception is a great read on this subject.

Joe M. Walls


Who’s Keeping Track?

The local health authorities assure us that the amount of fluoride added to Healdsburg’s drinking water (& proposed for the rest of Sonoma County) is safe for human consumption.  But some of us drink a lot more water than others.  And what about the fluoride we ingest from other sources?  Processed foods are made with fluoridated water as are soft drinks, sports drinks, juice drinks & beer.  Teas are naturally high in fluoride.  Seafood is another source.  The pesticide sulfuryl fluoride is used on many foods.  Cryolite, another fluoride based pesticide, is used in many vineyards & consumed in wine.  So who’s keeping track of our total intake?  How do we know when we’ve exceeded the safe level?  How does the safe level for an adult differ from a child?  What is the safe level for the immune compromised or otherwise vulnerable?  How do we know when we’ve exceeded the safe level?  The EPA website states that excess consumption of fluoride causes “bone disease (pain & tenderness of the bones.)”  Since there are so many unanswered questions, I’d rather spend the estimated 1 million per year on dental & nutrition education.

James Jorissen, Santa Rosa


I cannot believe that with all the scientific evidence out there anyone, even a moron cannot refute that Fluoride is toxic, a drug and in the long term, regardless of the amount ingested will have an adverse effect on ones health.

Further, I would challenge anyone, regardless of their credentials to resolve this in an International court of law. They would be unable to disprove the evidence out there today. Dublin just voted to end this practice and Israel has banned it forever. 

Joe Dennie

Burlington, Ontario, Canada


Whenever I read something negative about fluoridation, I do attempt to verify if there is any substance to a claim.  One article mentioned here I’d not read before, so I did my due diligence and took a look.

In 1958 Galletti and Joyet, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism an article that looked at the therapeutic effects of high doses of fluoride for hyperthyroidism. Contrary to what this post claims.  Those researchers found that giving Sodium Fluoride at amounts 20 times what is provided in water fluoridation provided no significant effect in most cases. To quote the authors in their summary, “Our aim was to elucidate the inhibitory effect of chronic administration of fluoride upon thyroid function in cases of hyperthyroidism. It was demonstrated that such an action appears only occasionally among persons subjected to massive doses of this substance.”

I appreciate the updated references Linda Rosa provided on this topic.  From those more recent reviews, it is clear that water fluoridation has no impact on the thyroid at the low levels that do have an effect on building stronger teeth and a healthier dental environment in the mouth.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment.

Emily Firman, MPH, LICSW

Seattle, WA


Why is the Sonoma West Medical Center a worthy of your support?

#1 Reason: Having An Emergency Department Saves Lives

Although only 15-20 minutes from Santa Rosa, SWMC will provide the only full-service ER west of the Laguna - saving vital minutes for critical cases in West County

Of the three proposals accepted by the District Board regarding what to do now that the hospital is closed – the Foundation’s proposal is the only one that proposes a plan for the empty building and that plan includes a full Emergency Department with required ICU and surgery beds

The proposal is the only chance to preserve the hospital’s operating license and keep 24/7 ER services in West County

Here Are 15 More Reasons To Support For Our Plan To Open Sonoma West Medical Center 

  1. A five-member publically elected Board was tasked with overseeing the hospital’s complex operations. That did not work. We propose an over-sight board of 11-15 savvy, local stake-holders to improve over-sight and strategize growth. Eleven of these key business leaders have already been identified & nominated to oversee the hospital’s administration. This model has worked for other hospital districts
  2. Detailed research showed that two expense items – Salary and Supplies – spiked way above state-wide norms representing all of the operating losses for 2012 and 2013. The oversight Board and new hospital administrators will bring those costs back into line and be on alert for future problems
  3. Historically poor billing management is addressed with a specialized outside service, preserving on-time and secure revenue
  4. The national trend to fewer hospital stays and more out-patient procedures is addressed by bringing at least six specialized Medical Institutes (Doctor’s offices) inside the hospital to provide not only patient care, but also education and research revenue
  5. We have learned much from studying two bankruptcies and knowing what does not work and what not to repeat is powerful learning
  6. We have a very good building that will require less than $1M in improvements to reopen
  7. Our proposal assumes that the District Board provides $1.5M in financial support from the $2M available annually from our parcel tax (that’s 75% of their funding). The balance can be directed by the District Board to other health services in the District 
  8. This $1.5M in funding requested from the District Board would be used for building improvements and equipment upgrades only – not operations – to increase the value of the District’s property every year as needed
  9. We have hired a highly respected and very successful hospital administrator, Ray Hino, as CEO. Ray started work on Nov. 1st
  10. Western Health Advantage, which offers a competitive and in some cases lower priced medical insurance than Kaiser, gives local employers a new group policy option that allows their employees to use their hospital of choice
  11. SCAN (Senior Care Action Network) is a managed Medicare product priced to compete with Kaiser (actually a no premium, therefore less expensive, plan) with comparable benefits to Kaiser’s Medicare Advantage Plan. It allows seniors to stay local and use local physicians, labs, pharmacies and hospitals. SCAN is new this year but it is offering open enrollment now. It has been successful in Southern California for 35 years.
  12. Lack of marketing is replaced with a strong marketing budget focused on specific service lines only available at SWMC for the tri-county region. Palm Drive Hospital had both excellent patient care (rated 5th in the US), broad telemedicine support and a rare stroke certification – none of which was promoted.
  13. Our proposal includes a “No Wait ER” which is based on a unique protocol seeing patients within 5 minutes of arrival. This model increased the market share in St. Helena’s ER by 50% because people would travel to get to an ER with rapid, quality care
  14. Palm Drive Hospital’s ER saw over 7,000 patients a year, some without insurance. New ACA coverage will increase the number of patients who will be able to pay for a portion or all of their services
  15. Bringing a full Medical Center back to Sebastopol creates almost 200 direct jobs and supports hundreds of peripheral jobs for a safer and more vibrant regional community.

Thank you for supporting our effort!

Dr. Richard Powers and Dennis Colthurst