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LETTERS to Sonoma County Gazette READERS - September 2015


LETTERS to Sonoma County Gazette READERS - September 2015

End of Life Option Act
SB 128, the bill which would allow terminally ill people with less than six months to live the right to, with the aid of two willing physicians, receive a prescription to end suffering,  was modeled after Oregon's Death With Dignity law which has served the citizens there for over 18 years without any problems.

SB 128 was able to go through and get approval from the Senate.

Once it moved on to the Assembly the certain religious groups  were able to stop the movement of this bill through the Assembly committees. It seemed to have hit a wall.

But now the bill has a chance to move forward. It can once again be heard by the legislature in a special legislative session called by Governor Brown to deal with medical costs which burden the California State Budget. The cost of end of life options the medical industry prescribes adds greatly to the high costs, These options for the most part only prolong the suffering and the costs to patients and famies and do not prolong the QUALITY of life but increase costs, suffering of patients and family.

I hope readers might contact Assemblymember Jim Wood and Senator Mike McGuire, who cosponserd this bill.

Gary Bodwin, Forestville

Sonoma County Fair Hall of Flowers

I couldn’t wait for Dinosaur Day at the Fair on Thursday.  Free admission!   What a perk for living forever!

I was itching for ideas from the displays of the professional landscapers who exhibit at the Hall of Flowers each year.  I'm developing a zero water use front yard landscaping and expected to see lots of great plantings focused on Sonoma County water realities.  Sigh!  The pros still think we’re living in a rain forest.  Disheartening.

Back to the sites I’ve been using on Internet for ideas!  The Gazette has some great links for that.

Arthur Hills



Bodega Red Potato News - Sonoma County Grown

I'm growing Bodega Reds in "Organic Mix" from Sequoia Landscape in SR - in 100 gallon "Smart Pots" at 800' elevation off Sonoma Mtn. Rd.  I obtained 'seed' from The Shed in Healdsburg ( Preston ) and from Sebastopol Farmers' Market (Bloomfield Organics) plus some from the Cotati Farm Market, reputedly grown "on Stony Point Rd.".

Only those from Bloomfield have broken soil surface but they have surprised me in that they look more like squash or melon seedlings! I am just beginning gardening but am a retired botanist (Ph.D. Berkeley, '72) who taught it thirty years at SSU (1970-99). 

These plants mimic cucurbit seedlings with two cotyledons and simple first foliage leaves. But I KNOW they have come from small potato tubers! Driving me crazy?

Best. Chuck Quibell




Traveling through Freestone recently I saw this new sign on the eastern entrance to town.  I am wondering if this was installed by the county or by an individual?  The reason I ask is the bucolic farm image on the sign so closely resembles a new vineyard being constructed on the property behind the same barn adjacent to the sign.  Replete with American flag which, I assume, was also hung by the property owner.   Is this some ingenious, devious plot on the part of the developer to make it appear the barn, hence the winery, is, or has always been, an integral, essential component of the community?  There is no complementary sign on the other end of town and this one, as far I know, is the only one of it's kind anywhere in the county. Is this matter worth a look? Am I onto something or, ahem, simply "on" something?

Rick Kaufman, Occidental, Ca



Healdsburg Working Homless

Reading the recent Calistoga promotional article "Calistoga evolves into food-and-wine epicenter" in the Press Democrat August 2nd, I couldn't help but compare it to the experience the working class residents of Healdsburg are facing as they are being displaced by real estate investors seeking to jack up rents and "seek a tenant demographic more appropriate to the refined nature of the Healdsburg community" (The face of Healdsburg's housing squeeze PD 7-9-15).  1/2 of Calistoga is latino, most of whom work in the wine industry and they will be displaced from where they are trying to raise their families as Calistoga joins Healdsburg not just as a great food and wine destination but also as a place the working class can no longer afford. These once great little towns are becoming play towns for the rich tourism that has taken over our communities, and our politicians. Hwy 29 and Silverado trail will get more clogged with traffic as the residents of Calistoga are forced to move south to Napa while the residents of Healdsburg are forced to look to Santa Rosa for housing. 

Ken Sund, Windsor



Event Centers

If memory serves, Chinese investors are involved in the proposed Tolay Vineyard/EventCenter/Farmer's Market/Bridal Shoppe/Mall/Nuclear Reactor/Amusement Park facility being proposed for Hwy 12 near the Sonoma Raceway, the application for which is currently pending before the PRMD.  PRMD generally rubber-stamps its approval of all applications from wealthy investors, provided there is any ink left in the stamp pad.  If memory serves, stamp pads are made in China.

Bob Edwards - Sonoma



Re: Bodega Bay Beat, July issue

Bravo to Joan Poulos for an especially heartfelt and passionate column in your July issue. I couldn't agree more with her stance on the Death with Dignity bill - this is one of the most fundamental and personal rights that should be accorded to all of us, and should not be defeated due to religious or other ill-informed fear-mongering. As Poulos states, the bill has clear protections against "Death Panel"-type abuses. Like many of us, I've dealt with this issue directly with family members and friends, and when my own death approaches, I certainly hope I'll be able to face it with dignity and the freedom to act decisively - however that may be.

Thanks, Irene Barnard



RE: Sonoma County Housing Crisis - or – Opportunity

This was a very good article on the background of housing debate in Sonoma County, not unlike other environmentally sensitive areas around the country.

Yes, we have preserved the environment with urban growth boundaries, but who have we preserved it for?

Yes, we have planned for commuter rail, city centered development, and affordable housing, SMART GROWTH, but who will take advantage of our planning (Dr George Ellman, Dr Bill Kordum, Rick Thies, the other’s and myself), who is it that the “SMART TRAIN” developers are going to design their commuter site for?

Will it be affordable housing, and is “affordable” measured in the eyes of the “Bay Area” as according to the Economist the City brought in to explain our housing shortage (read “crisis”, as that is the wording in the CA State Planning Code Sec 65000, et sic)?

His definition of affordable was $2.5-$3.5 per sf per month, so an 800 sf apartment will cost $2000-$2800/month? X 3 as required income = $6000-$8400/mo?

Or will we consider affordable according to our own standards of income in Sonoma County? here where 83% of us spend over 45% of monthly income on our housing and transportation combined, the highest % in the US. Information provided by Kathleen Kane to the Tiny Homes Conference.

If we go toward Tiny Homes, let us not forget that we can influence the main body of housing economics from the Margin, this is what economics is all about.

If we have many of these units placed close into regional centers (read SR or Petaluma), we stand the chance of increasing prices of standard housing.

We need to think broadly about the numbers, how many locations for Tiny Homes are required to reduce homelessness, if we go 6 units at a time?

Where can we get 400 sites to locate 2200 plus developments of 6 units each? Or is that the wrong configuration?

Shouldn’t we think of the available parcels which are already subdivided and yet are currently un-buildable? Guerneville has some 3,000-10,000 such lots.

Appropriate standards for development can be generated to allow owner occupied dwellings of Tiny Homes in areas currently unbuildable.

Lets look carefully at this alternative to homeless housing, while remembering to keep affordable housing affordable to Sonoma County residents & workers.

Thanks,  Thomas Ells



RE: Supervisors Drop Fluoride from Their Agenda

One would think that after 70 years with 74% of the whole country drinking fluoridated water we should have great teeth by now and not epidemics of tooth decay in most fluoridated states and cities.

The May 2015 CDC Data reports that 41% of children have enamel damage (dental fluorosis), 90% of all adults have cavities and two-thirds of 40 to 64-year-olds lost one or more teeth due to decay. Tooth loss and untreated cavities are drastically higher in African-Americans and the poor are more cavity-prone.

The Surgeon General's 2000 report identified oral health as a "silent epidemic." The CDC’s own data cannot even show a correlation between fluoridation exposure and better oral health. In fact, some of the most fluoridated states like Georgia (95.8% fluoridated) and Kentucky (99.8%) also have the highest rates of tooth loss among the country.

James Reeves



Water Quality

Hi Vesta, as our Coastal Plan is being revised and open for comments at this time I'm wondering if this is a good time to look at the Big problem of too many nutrients in our runoff. I've read the Russian river is overrun with algae and Bodega Harbor is, and I've read the entire west coast is overrun with algae this year. We need to look at ways of capturing the extra nutrients that will get into the water tributary through; agriculture, viticulture, domestic herds, golf courses, commercial landscape companies, and home users we all need to create a way of dealing with the anaerobic environment the rivers, pools, streams and ocean are becoming. Without rich top soil or compost many home gardeners will feel they need to use fertilizers. With the way we water due to the dry climate (sans trees and shrubs), much of it leaches out into the ground waters. Speaking of water and small farmers, why do I see many watering during the heat of they day? That is the most inefficient use of water. It's the best time in the morning when the soil is moist and able to hold more. When it's dry it disappears into the dry, cracked ground. As the sun warms the plants the water dries the leaves, and the plant is refreshed all day and stays healthy.




Efren reunning - support

We don't know yet whether Efren Carrillo will run for re-election as 5th District Supervisor. If he does I will support him because he has been a hard worker who represent his constituents competently. I would like him to have a second chance if he is willing to put himself in the spotlight again and drive past signs that say "Honk if you know where Efren left his pants" as he makes his way to some riled-up community meeting or hotspot for some River-access issue or a pothole-marred stretch of county road. Merely being dignified and personally discrete does not qualify anyone to deal effectively with problems like these.

If others want to replace  Supervisor Carrillo, I would like them to do that by beating him on the issues, not by leveraging his personal indiscretions--for which he has already suffered and will continue to suffer.  There are those with and without sin who will continue to cast stones at him, but I will not be supporting any candidates whose claim to competence is never having made horrible adolescent fools of themselves when working hours were over.

Scott Kersnar, Guerneville



Technology will give us ample warning in Iran

If ever I have had a moment to feel proud of my president and my country it is now: diplomacy has won out over fear and over the military-industrial complex--at least for the time being.

President Obama has shown what true patriotism is: leaving the troops at home, out of harm’s way. Naturally, there are those denouncing Mr. Obama’s mature and heroic deed, but the answer to these hawks’ concerns is simple: technology. Satellite surveillance--in addition to the right to physically inspect the country--will keep Iran on a very short leash. Not ratifying the proposed nuclear deal will lead necessarily to the death of more soldiers and innocent civilians as well as the destruction of another country.

As one commentator morbidly noted on Face the Nation recently, there is no need to rush into another war because the U.S. has the ability to drop bombs any place and at any time. It is now time to do the mature thing and let satellite technology do the dirty work for us. “Trust, but verify,” said Ronald Reagan.

Joseph Persico




Earth’s population will increase by two billion to over nine billion by 2050, even though there have been 1.3 billion abortions worldwide and 58 million in the U.S. since 1973.

U.S. productivity is up eighty percent (80%) since 1979. Fewer workers are needed to work; Baxter the robot, can be trained by a factory worker with no computer or special skills to do their task and are only twenty five thousand dollars ($25,000.00), available now.

The first quarter of 2014 there were one hundred two million (102,000,000) game console users in the U.S. That is one third of the U.S. population who throw away hundreds of millions of man hours per day on games. The overall average screen time for Americans was five and a half hours a day. With three hundred nineteen million of us that makes a total of one billion seven hundred forty nine million (1,749,000,000) man hours per day spent looking at screens.

What do all of these disparate facts point to?

The deproductivisation of people. 

We have grown a culture that must sideline significant portions of our populace. There is not enough room for us, or enough work to be done, or enough resource for us to be making things and building stuff. A large portion of us must just sit still and do nothing.

This may not be a massive failure of foresight, yet we suffer a colossal squandering of potential at the time when we should be planning the future of our species.

Our ‘Golden Age’, of the last fifty years, has been the healthiest, wealthiest, most peaceful, rise of human civilization in all of history, but it has become an exercise in the diminution of our individual worth. Our efforts are based on stepping on the next fellow to elevate ourselves through exploitation of those masses looking for work, or providing convenient video hidey-holes and other escapes from the insane reality that one’s life is of little consequence and is not a worthy endeavor. It’s easy to goof off, or blow off, what were once considered virtuous activities and responsibilities, but are no longer valued.

The manipulation of the populace to lower expectations by the distractive circus of electronica and the continual bombardment of ‘Madison Avenue’ propaganda, that is couched at a twelve year old’s level, has mollified us into a state of mere resigned existence.

Young people aspire to getting disability payments as the best solution to life challenges in a work-game world that will never get them enough capital to buy a home or inspire them to practice a worthwhile vocation.

The old, who stashed away their money, flit about on endless vacations and yet, still grump about the price of a day laborer sweating it out taking care of them and their properties.

The middle-class work longer and longer hours to fulfill unrealistic production schedules to find their reward is hypertension, and stress, and they don’t know their children, if they ever found time to have them, because they’ve worked so long and hard to attain a dream that they once had a taste of when they were young.

So, we pay great sums to the gambling speculators, bureaucrats, and to the exploitive class, cut our leisure time that was the promise of a more productive future, denigrate simple labor to the point of literal slavery that can barely manage to clothe feed or house themselves, and addict our most valuable asset, our human potential, into dark rooms with glowing screens that flash and bang and tingle our senses a bit more than the lackluster reality that we can’t afford in our post-modern world.

Is it a wonder that there are so many who are plucked untimely from the womb, or that drugs find their way into our society and become accepted as valid anesthesia for our woes, or that we hide alone and vicariously kill the demons so well portrayed?

Ray Morgan