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LETTERS to Sonoma County Gazette READERS - February 2016

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LETTERS to Sonoma County Gazette READERS - February 2016

Our readers let us know what's on their minds.....Please send LETTERS to vesta@sonic.net

Correction

The January Barrister Bits column inadvertently noted that SB 643 legalizes marijuana for “social use”.  Currently, in California, cannabis is only legalized for medicinal purposes.  However, the November 6, 2016 ballot may contain an initiative that would in essence legalize marijuana for social use, with limitations.     

Debra A. Newby, Attorney at Law
P.O. Box 552
Monte Rio, CA 95462


 

On Homelessness

Editor,

Your front page article about the homeless people in our County really got to me. I liked the way you talked about the individuals you encountered. Very brave of you. They are all real people who have many different stories and needs, different wants in terms of being ‘taken care of’.

I know so little – just having been involved through the Sonoma County Taskforce for the Homeless and handing out a lot of dollars here and there to people who obviously need it.

There is a new encampment near us along the freeway right of way (101 & Westside Road). In years past, there would usually be a few transient guys that would stay a few days kind of hiding away. Now there is a large blue tarp and lots of additional covering that’s been there for months. Lots and lots of trash and stuff.

I am torn between feeling sorry for them in this horrible weather, being afraid of them because of what desperation or mental illness may make them do and disgust with them for creating the mess. Mostly, I feel sorry, knowing that ‘there, but for the grace of God go I’.

Thanks for your great newspaper.

Jan, Healdsburg


Editor,

I loved your article on the homeless in Sonoma County. It has become a real issue this past year. It is clear that not all homeless people are in that position in life because of circumstances out of their control.  In fact, some have actually chosen it as a way of life.  The tricky part is to be able to see past that and reach those that don’t want to be homeless and really need assistance.  With the cost of housing out of control, once a person loses a roof over their head, it is hard to come back without assistance.  But how will we provide housing to those in need (and want it) without others taking advantage?  This will always be the dilemma of helping others.  

Thank you for the insightful article.
Maureen Weinstein, Sonoma County resident since 1969

 


Vesta

 

Good article. 'Im a recovered addict with 29 years sobriety. I agree with your insight. I work alot with the homeless in the medical field. I have a lot of respect and love for them. I live in Dixon.

Thank you for your article.
Richard


Vesta,

I am a long time resident of Guerneville, and I attended the recent town meeting regarding the homeless situation. Once again, there was a lot of finger pointing. First, the blame was put on Santa Rosa. Claims were made that Santa Rosa is sending the homeless people to Guerneville. Evidently the accusers did not know about the services that are in place in Santa Rosa: homeless shelters, Catholic Charities counseling and women’s shelter, the Jewish Health Clinic which is free to all denominations, and Social Advocates for Youth (which provides shelter, counseling, job training and placement for many of the over 700 homeless kids in Sonoma county).

There is the possibility that we may get a shelter, and Catholic Charities have offered to run a counseling program. The site that is being considered is away from the business district, school and residential areas. However, there are still people who object. I think that the citizens of this area regard themselves as ‘’Christians”, however they must have forgotten about the ten commandments!

Within the past month I have had a personal encounter with two homeless men. The first encounter was when I had a large, but not heavy, box to get down a flight of stairs. I was afraid that I might fall if I tried to carry it, so I set it down on the stairs and gave it a shove. It thumped to the bottom of the stairs! I then saw a man with a cane hurrying to the noise, he saw me and asked if I was o.k. I answered, yes, that I just shoved the box down so that I did not have to carry it. When I got to the bottom of the stairs he asked what I was going to do with it now. I said I was going to put it in my car and take it to the dump. He offered to lift it into the car for me, which he did. He then told me that he had a brain tumor and life expectancy of 6 weeks! I’ve only seen him once since then, but I want to thank him publicly... thank you Rick!

The other day I was on Church street and there was a man with a bike. He was sweeping the sidewalks and gutter on Church Street! I walked over to him and gave him a little money and thanked him for cleaning the street. He responded that he didn’t do it for money, he did it because it needed to be done.  He mentioned that he was 63 years old.

During that same time frame I also saw something that was unsettling. I was walking on a back street and observed a late model sedan pull up to the dumpster, a very well dressed woman got out, opened the back door of the car and pulled out a huge black garbage bag and put it in the dumpster! I would have thought she could afford garbage service to her house. If her can was full she should have taken it to the dump instead of having the town pay for it!

Looking back over the years I can remember other uproars over an influx of “other” people  “invading” our space. First it was the Hippies! It was all the fault of San Francisco! Then it was the Gays! Horror! The tourist won’t want to come here any more!

In reality, gays have improved the look of the town, revived some failing businesses, and for the most part, are easy to get along with.

Yes, homelessness is a problem, so let’s deal with it! First of all, press the law enforcement to arrest the drug dealers! There seem to be three or four houses that are known to be dealing. Throw them in the slammer! Give backing to a homeless shelter. I have never met anyone that has said that their goal in life was to be homeless!

Marylee Carli


 

Vesta,

I was at the meeting last night; my perspective is unique because I am a homeowner in Guerneville for almost 20 years and I have worked running chemical dependency and homeless programs for years. I currently house about 7-10 homeless veterans monthly – veterans who are not interested in being enabled and living in shelters year after year.

What is happening in Guerneville at this time is different than in the past. I now cannot go to Safeway or even the library  with my 10 yr old daughter without being exposed to drug use/sales or being accosted. We cannot shop in our own town anymore. If we start more enabling services in our town-the people who pay taxes and live here will have zero rights – which is how we already feel.

I do feel grateful to Efren Carillo and our sheriff for helping with homeless encampments along the river this summer-we had several. It was not delightful to take my canoe up river and see people leaving trash and defecating (in front of my daughter who is 10).

I would like to be on a meeting list for solutions on this issue. Many people who actually live here did not know about the meeting. I only found out when inside Safeway I overheard someone talking about it and asked. How can we have a viable solution if we are not included? 

Please let me know how I /we can work together to help.

Marcy Orosco,MSW
Regional Director, Veterans Village
707.290.7775
www.veteransvillage.org


Editor,

Regardless of anyone’s situation, each of us have the potential of becoming homeless and an addict!

Take a moment to think if you and/or your significant other lost your job(s)  or had a workers comp claim! Just think... You guys are likely to rack up your credit cards and exhaust your savings and then you exhausted all your family and friend resources and ultimately separated due to the fights and stress! You fail to realize you are not as strong and as you thought..then you each are  Unable to get a job because the market is harsh ( I’ve seen over qualified applicants  apply for a file clerk job at minum wage and get denied because they are over qualified)! Where does that leave you? Hmmm, let us take a moment... You get  what I call criticized and put down in a nice and respectfully way because the longer you are with family or friends it will wear on them, if you seek help thru church, it will as well only last so long!  SSI isn’t much! sdi runs out and ssdib takes too long and then what?? No friends, family and you get to the point where you hate the system/ government because that leaves you begging for some type of assistance for all you have put into it, you expect a return. The waiting list for shelters are long and the requirements become too much for those whom have lost hope. Reality tells us we do not have enough for our veterans or the mental health or our seniors much less for those whom have jobs and can’t afford the rents in Sonoma county! So tell me those whom have jobs and can’t afford rent and have no stable address end up where? In a tent? Then after a few months...imagine what they do? Reality is people get tired of being told what to do because when you lose everything you are told what to do! And are criticized for being homeless! Or having exhausted your other resources! Which can evenutally lead to addiction...realize!! People who have their lives in order also have an addiction and yet fail to realize it. We need to make jobs, housing, mental health and housing for our people, we need to make them feel like the are worth something vs making the feel like they are only getting assistance because of pity! Rich or poor we are human and both have one thing in common! They feel they have no worth, the difference, one has the unlimited resources and the other doesn’t! So tell me when we have the church, community and wineries and casinos in Sonoma county, why don’t we have a cure to homelessness and rent control? The answer:  no tax deduction and lack of humanity aka  someone who won’t embezzle the $!

Mi G


 

Vesta, 

I took a position recently driving patients from Guerneville because the health center was burned, to Sebastopol Health Center for care. I read your article on Homelessness and after some experience volunteering at West County Community Service Agency and my studies in Psych 1A I realized that there seems to be a correlation between our American Western Individualist cultural way of living which I believe is connected to the effects of homelessness vs. Societies/countries that think and live collectively or as a collectivist society.

What America has done is throw away like trash if you will, the mentally ill onto the streets from the closing of mental hospitals including the nearly 90% of veterans returning home or that have returned home from war with an excess mental baggage of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, which doctors are still trying to understand and test their pharmaceutical medications on. I am asking myself many questions now that pertain to the study of Social Science in the differences between individualist and collectivist societies. How do these two very different ways of thinking contribute to the ideas of war, elderly care, mental care, health care and education?

Ah, the mind of the student is ever so eager to have answers and a need for precise data to these questions, for it is when we question something that is wrong we move in a direction of answers which can lead to change. 

Sincerely,
Celeste Singh


Vesta,

I just wanted to say thanks for writing your beautiful piece on homelessness. I have always believed that the best writing about big issues is writing that turns big issues into small, personal issues. Personally introducing members of the homeless community was very powerful, and it’s very honest (even if it’s hard for some people to hear) that there’s no one magic bullet solution for this multifaceted problem. Thanks for spotlighting the real people, both homeless and heroes, in your piece.

Lynda Hopkins


Editor,

Although I have penned a letter to the editor twice before, I have yet to be published. I pick up your “for free” paper because it gives me local businesses to patronize, correspondents writing of local area news; one who has become a favorite, Zoe Tummillo, who writes with much wisdom and humor; plus new state demands, and finally can be used to start up my fire. The P.D. could satisfy my last requirement, but not much more.

Having started with positives, I must now resort to negative impressions.  Although the latest issue has more of an upbeat quality (New Year optimism and promise) there seems to be a preponderance of attention paid to victims – the homeless, police brutality, etc. In the same issue, correspondents laud the efforts of many volunteers who have been cleaning up homeless encampments before their garbage can further pollute the Russian River. There are now efforts to build  housing for the homeless. We have been spending trillions for years trying to alleviate poverty, and yet with the vast number of governmental agencies, the homeless and poverty rates still soar. Along the way, inspite of government”s ineptitude to solve problems, more and more people look to it to solve problems. Where has individual responsibility flown? 

There are commissions galore and much talk, but little solving of major problems. We have become a people who do not solve problems by interaction, but shun solutions with name calling for those who disagree or resort to smart phones for personal contact. As you pointed out in your editorial, Vesta, “mumbling to people of like mind doesn’t create awareness, it only reinforces our beliefs.”

I continue to be an optimist, hoping common  sense and a feeling of community will prevail, but sometimes I think it is a wild hope.

Barbara Cuneo


 

Kudos for Wine, Water and Dirt Series

I just read all 4 of Don’s well-written pieces titled Wine, Water & Dirt. Thank you for the balanced look at DCV and agriculture in Sonoma County.

Karen Giovannini, Agricultural Ombudsman
University of California, Cooperative Extension

 


 

Response to Wellness Corner

 Doctor Jordan, 

Thank you for the clarity and objectivity in your column in the January Gazette. I am one of the people who supported the Act by way of communication with Senator McGuire and Governor Brown.

A couple of weeks ago I went to Mass at St. Rose Catholic Church and was startled to find people tabling in the church lobby, asking people to sign a petition calling for a referendum for the purpose of revoking the law. At first I just walked by, but after mass I decided to sign the petition.

As I told the woman at the table, I actually favor the law, but I have compassion for those who oppose it based on their interpretation of Thou Shalt Not Kill. Now is time for gathering together for the purpose of mutual understanding.

We do not need a repeat of the bitterness that followed the proposition regarding the right to marry by homosexual couples.

The following is the message I just sent through the County website to my Supervisor, James Gore:

Hello James,

Please read Wellness Corner, the column on page 26 of the January 2016 issue of the Sonoma County Gazette. I ask that you sponsor a town meeting or forum to discuss the concept and its application or use for an individual case. I did sign the petition at a Catholic church for a referendum on the law. I signed it NOT because I am opposed to it, but because I believe the whole community will be closer together once each side listens to the other. 

I will be pleased to do what I can to work with a staff member so this can happen at a County meeting room. Many thanks and please let me know your opinion on having such a forum.

So, Doctor Jordan and others who are receiving a copy of this message, what do you recommend as a next step in this educational process?

James Francis Holwell

 


 

Palm Drive  District Taxes

Editor,

The stupidly of this situation is beyond the pale. With much larger medical facilities struggling, what was the board thinking when they decided reopening was financially viable?     

Linda Schmidt

 


 

More Senior Housing Needed

Editor,

We are writing in support for Mr. Alain Serkissian, Administrator of Mirabel Lodge in Forestville, in his request to expand his 6-bed assisted living home in Santa Rosa into a 12-bed one. It is the same “NIMBY” attitude expressed everywhere, which only results in having to build large institutionalized buildings in zoned areas to house the elderly, that are away from the support facilities they require. Seniors living in assisted living and residential care homes, do not drive, and cause little impact in a neighborhood. Also, residential facilities have to operate under strict guidelines and regulations, for proper housing, care, and medical needs of the residents on a 24 hour basis. This type of housing has been acknowledged as “urgently needed.” And yet, our Supervisors bend to the objections of the few disgruntled people at meetings, and reject one application after another – in order to appease their electorate to not blight their neighborhoods. This type of housing has just as high a priority as housing the homeless, but has less taxpayer impact being privately financed for the most part.

Mr. Serkissian has operated his Mirabel Lodge in Forestville, as one of the finest facilities for Senior Residential Care, in Western Sonoma Co. The care provided is exemplary, and at a reasonable cost to the residents. It is obvious that Supervisor Carrillo did not investigate this facility operating in his 5lh District well enough, to report back to his fellow Board Members, as to the merits and the necessity for more of this type of housing for Seniors in neighborhood areas. The Board of Supervisors, instead of using their authority to provide for the well being of all their constituents, by creating less stringent obstacles toward developing smaller residential care facilities in the County, take the easier way of discouraging applicants, or simply rejecting applications outright, to keep peace.

Shame on you Supervisors for taking this approach. But what the heck, with your recently published salaries and pensions, you won’t have to require such housing yourselves in your last years, will you? We think that you need to take another look at Mr. Serkissian’s application, and do the right thing, by granting him his expansion, and also taking a position by establishing policy to make other residential housipg and assisted living facilities easier to go through the permit process. We are asking other readers to let their Supervisors know, if they support more action at the Board level, to take a leadership role in providing this necessary housing for Seniors and Disabled residents.

Richard and Maria Blanz
Occidental

 


 

The TRUE CAUSE of the housing crisis in Santa Rosa

By Mikeal OToole

I came to Santa Rosa 16 years ago on a greyhound bus headed to Eureka but got off to have a cigarette and the bus left , Everything I owned was on that bus and all my money and ID.

So I truly started from scratch here and I’ve gone from being homeless to being a major player in many public issues, I have given back to my community 10 fold, and have always kept the greater good of my community as a whole, I am a private sector advocate for both mental health peers as well as the homeless, I am a public speaker on the topic of stigma and I am a co founder of C.C.A.N. and Camp Michela I sat on the Sonoma County Mental Health Board as representative for the 3rd district and I work at a local mental health peer center.

And I’m on a fixed income disability for a seizure disorder and depression, I have lived at 833 Sonoma Ave ( Renee Apts owned by Sonoma County property management co in Windsor ) for 4 years, when I moved in the complex was 75+% HUD residents over the last year the owner has displaced all the people living there on HUD except me and one other and we were served 90 notice’s on December 29th 2015.

The reason I see concern is that most if all could afford the rent ( why the 90 day .. You can’t fight a 90 day ) what this does in effect is displaces people for no other reason but greed, and it burdens that already strapped social services by increasing the current homeless population and causing a domino effect on cost to the general tax payer in police, medical ( including ER visits )and other publics services.

While these landlords reep money for themselves, next Tuesday the Santa Rosa City Council tackles the issue of renters reform and how to address it, landlords are now saying they have no defence against renters when in fact they do , simply by including stipulations in they’re lease’s.

We need to support our public officials in returning Santa Rosa to a community where you can not be evicted simply because the land owner is greedy and doesn’t have any concern as to the impact on other public services they’re actions might cause.

Tuesday January 26th the Santa Rosa City Council will hear this issue please support those who seek protection for all concerned both the renter and the landlord and remember you could get a 90 day notice any time for no other reason than greed.

 


 

On the Right to Bear Arms - 2nd Ammendment

Editor,

I’m obliged to take pen to hand in reply to the recent remarks of our mitzvah maidel, Tish Levee, in her January column, “What about the 2nd Amendment?” [p. 9] She says that “better” gun control does not violate the 2nd Amendment, and then proceeds to quote it in its single-sentence entirety, without further comment – as if to suggest that the compatibility of the proposition and the Amendment were evident in the Amendment’s text alone, without need for a syllable of discussion. One can therefore only guess, alas, at her reasoning, and I will try my luck. 

It may be that she intends the term, “well-regulated militia,” to make her case. If so, then this will bear some scrutiny. It is true that in contemporary parlance, the verb, “to regulate,” is synonymous with to control. However, the word also has another definition, this being to adjust, as in, to adjust to a standard, or to adjust for accurate operation – a meaning perhaps less common in our own day than it was during the 18th century, when the Amendment was drafted.

It is more than apparent, I would offer, that what was intended by the framers of the Bill of Rights was a well-trained militia, not merely one more public agency, in the grip and under the control, of an all-powerful state. (They’d already seen enough of that.) Remember, if you will, that in the America of 1787, the “militia” was not a formal organization (as it is today), but rather, the collective assemblage of all able-bodied adult men (and occasionally, women) who could be called into action on short notice. Hence, the expression, “minutemen.”

An important clue as to the clear distinction between the framers’ conception of the militia, and that manifest in our day in the state-maintained organization of the same name, is to be found in the phrase, “the right...to keep and bear arms.” [emph mine – MZ] The arms of modern-day militias (and the National Guard) are not ‘kept’ by their members, but (except when in actual use) are retained under lock-&-key in state and federal armories; this is very significant.

I would submit, thus, and with all due respect, that the entity known in our day as the “militia” is in no way the physical embodiment and constitutional fulfillment of the principle encoded and protected in the 2nd Amendment.

Tish goes on to venture that the drafters of the Constitution had reference [only] “to the arms of their day – single-shot musket, which took time to reload.” I’m sorry but this notion is beyond absurd; it is preposterous, and indeed, frankly, bone-headed. The framers did not explicitly codify the particular characteristics of the arms – and why would they? Why would they lock in such a provision and thereby confine it to their own time and place? The Bill of Rights is a document necessitated by the acknowledged fact that without it the Constitution would have lacked the requisite support for ratification. With this abiding fact in mind, are we to understand the framers’ intent to have been to create the Bill of Rights as an intellectual antique?

What could be clearer than that the framers wished to bequeath and ensure the availability – to law-abiding citizens in any era – of the standard means of defense in general usage at whatever time those citizens lived? 

Clearly, the Amendment (second only to that protecting free speech) was not some ceremonial measure included strictly for reasons of quaint ritual, cultural nicety, or hidebound tradition – but a terribly serious and earnestly practical matter deemed concretely fundamental to the defense of citizens, and not merely against criminal elements in their midst. It was seen as vital also, and indeed yet more significantly, to the defense of the citizenry against a government which (as long shown by the history of government) might well be someday tempted to usurp any or all of the liberties enumerated and encoded in the Bill of Rights – and into which document the Amendment was therefore incorporated, and to which formal instrument this particular provision was conceived to constitute the document’s very “teeth” and guarantor of all its other assured liberties.

That’s how it looks from out here in the bleacher seats.

Michael Zebulon
Rohnert Park

-----

Tish Levee Responds: The background of the 2nd amendment is a bit more complicated than Mr.Zebulon’s letter indicates. Space prevents more than a few notes. First the “right to keep and bear arms,” was not original to the 2nd Amendment. Long a provision of English common law, it was specifically protected in the United King-dom in the 1689 Bill of Rights.

While several of the new states’ constitutions protected arming the militia, now cited as being funda-mental to the freedom of speech, they also referred explicitly to the right to have guns for protection of one’s home and hunting. However, the Congress chose not to include these provisions, which seems to indicate that they saw the right as limited to militias.

Also, the militia didn’t necessarily keep their weapons personally, as Mr. Zebulon states. Article 6 of the Articles of Confederation, adopted by the 2nd Continental Congress in 1777, states, ”...every State shall always keep up a well-regulated and disciplined militia, sufficiently armed and accoutered, and shall provide and constantly have ready for use, in public stores, a due number of filed pieces and tents, and a proper quantity of arms, ammunition and camp equipage.” (italics TL)

Interestingly, the meaning of the 2nd Amendment was not questioned until 2008 when for the first time the Supreme Court decided that the 2nd Amendment protects an individual’s right to keep and bear arms for self-defense.

As to weaponry, the flintlock rifle used at this time was the principle weapon for 200 years. While I’m certain the framers didn’t intend to “…lock in such a provision and thereby confine it to their own time and place…” (Mr. Zebulon), I also don’t believe that they could begin to imagine the future advances in personal weaponry. The first repeating weapon, the Spencer repeating carbine, wasn’t invented till 1860; the Gatling gun followed in 1861. Since then the advances have bee unimaginable to an 18th Century per-son.

For the planet, in peace,

Tish Levee



 

Abou Ben Adhem: A Poem for Peace

Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!)
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
And saw within the moonlight in his room,
Making it rich and like a lily in bloom,
An angel writing in a book of gold.

Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold;
And to the presence in the room he said,
“What writest thou?” The vision raised its head,
And, with a look made of all sweet accord,
Answered, “The names of those who love the Lord.”

“And is mine one?” said Abou. “Nay, not so,”
Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,
But cheerly still; and said, “I pray thee, then,
Write me as one that loves his fellow-men.”

The angel wrote, and vanished. The next night
It came again, with a great wakening light,
And showed the names whom love of God had blessed;
And, lo! Ben Adhem’s name led all the rest.

—Leigh Hunt



 

First Flush - Winter 2016

For the first time in 10yrs.  - we pleased to announce the results of our first flush survey on salmon creek beach for the stewards of the coast and redwoods and the Sonoma coast state park.

   At one time we were amazed at the amount of house hold goods we encountered on our beaches; it was like houses had fallen into the river and washed out, and we knew there hadn’t, then after study we found that up to 80% of the debris we find on our beaches is from inland. In studying where this trash is born we found that besides litter from storm drains there was river born tourist and fishing, then, there is homeless camps along the river bottom.

   Each year for the last decade we would pick up an average of 1,000lbs. of weighed debris on our first flush survey when the mouth of the river opens each year, this year we picked up just over 100lbs! so why the 90% drop in trash washing out?

  It’s can only be from one reason; the amount of cleanups that have gone on this last year. Especially Chris Brokate and the “garbage patch kids” these wonderful hero’s have picked up an incredible amount of trash out of the river bottom this year. We can never thank them enough it takes only the amount of plastic to make up a ping pong ball to stop a bird from eating for ever. Chris Brokates Clean river alliance pulling hundreds of thousands of pounds of trash out of our river bottom has saved an untold amount of suffering and deaths along our coast.

No one before has ever accomplished this before!

Keary and Sally Sorenson

Volunteer coordinators for marine debris for the Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods and the Sonoma Coast State Park.



 

The stench of mendacity 

In an old Tennessee William’s play one character remarks to another about the obnoxious smell of mendacity. It’s a line and an image I’ve never forgotten and unfortunately reminded of all too often. One recent example was a self-serving article by former county Supervisor, Eric Koenigshofer, on the accomplishments of the Community and Local Law Enforcement Task Force to address and ostensibly correct the Sheriff’s Department and local police department’s excessive use of force, sometimes fatal. The Task Force was indeed created and convened because of the slaying of 13-year-old Andy Lopez a few years ago by a Sheriff’s deputy. 

In a self- congratulatory pat on his own back, a twist worthy of a practiced yogi, Koenigshofer heartily commends himself and his team for successfully addressing and rectifying the matter at hand. I submit that it does no such thing because it doesn’t establish the need for an independent, special state prosecutor when there is a fatal police killing under questionable circumstances. It also does not call for a county Civilian Review Board or make compliance with it by the Sheriff’s Department mandatory. And lastly, the new agency recommended for oversight under the aegis of the Board of Supervisors has no subpoena power and the Sheriff’s Department’s obligation to it is voluntary. Without those teeth the Task Force’s work to resolve excesses and questionable deaths at the hands of police in Sonoma County is akin to being bitten by a baby. 

This should cast no aspersions on the volunteer members of the county-appointed Task Force. By all accounts they were smart, dedicated and admirable individuals worthy of our thanks and respect. They must have spent countless hours researching, reading and gathering pertinent data. It wasn’t their fault the bureaucratic deck was stacked against them. But it was and the result will not change law enforcement attitudes or actions and that was its sole purpose. 

It doesn’t matter to me if a litany of small changes or tweaks were made vis-à-vis police and public relations, or will it when there’s a repeat tragedy as in the Andy Lopez death. 

In-home police investigations or by neighboring brother police departments, even including the DA’s office, which is deeply interconnected with police departments politically and otherwise, provide no impartial, independent oversight and therefore indictments of police officers are rare and convictions even more so. The new recommended agency, as designed, has no investigative authority or means of enforcing compliance. In other words, it ain’t got nothin’, and the Sheriff’s Department or police departments don’t have to pay it no mind. This is not a triumph or even an improvement in the crucial matter of changing police tactics when it comes to life or death situations or holding police to account. 

Koenigshofer’s white-washing has the unmistakable smell of mendacity. Is that the smell of politics? 

Will Shonbrun, Boyes Springs