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LETTERS to Sonoma County Gazette READERS - June 2016


LETTERS to Sonoma County Gazette READERS - June 2016

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

Fundraising Update

The fundraising event hosted by the Russian River Sisters was a huge success! We raised $9100 and had a great time. More than 150 people attended, enjoyed wonderful seafood prepared by guest Chef Evelyn Chatham (Sonoma County Woman of the Year) from Worth our Weight! Hog Island Oysters, Chowder from the famous Spud Point Crab Co, all of which was donated to help us keep our expenses down.  I will send you the photos in a separate email.  The event was attended by our 5th district Supervisor Efren Carrillo as well as those who are seeking election.

The second event “Rock the Crabsbah” was held on Sun 4/24 at the Mystic Theatre in Petaluma. Les Claypool and the Duo De Twang were the headliners. Sen. Mike McGuire spoke about the importance of climate control and just how delicate our oceans are. More than 450 people attended and raised $15,275! These two event raised enough money for yet another round of berthing fees to be paid and help for the deckhands too!  This means with all of our fundraising efforts and the generosity from this wonderful community we have been able to credit 3 months of berthing including their minimum electric charge of 9.68 a month. 4 rounds of Safeway gift cards for (85) deckhands valued at $100 each!

The Bodega Bay Fleet would like to express a sincere Thank you to everyone who donated, volunteered, sent kind words, thoughts and prayers during this very difficult time. It is extremely heartwarming to see their faces light up with joy when I deliver the news to each one of them as the stop by the office and I tell them, “I am happy to tell you, that your berthing fees have been paid this month. Many thank you’s are exchanged along with hugs and a few tears. Yes indeed, those big strong tough fisherman get tears in their eyes when they hear the news, as they reply “thank you for caring about us.”

Here is a list of sponsor/donors that I would like to Thank.

It is with deep gratitude that I would like to thank the following, first a foremost our community who donated.  Caryl Hart, our director who kicked things off in December with the first donations to the foundation!  Melissa Kelly, Executive Director for the Parks Foundation who coordinated monetary donations as well as writing a grant for a round of berth fees for the month of May. Shane Lewis, our ASO, Noah Wagner, Spud Point Marina Supervisor, Sen. Mike McGuire, Supervisor Efren Carrillo, Russian River Sisters, WOW, Les Claypool and friends. McNear’s Theatre, Redwood Empire Food Bank, the entire Bodega Bay Community, Dick Ogg, Rick Powers, Eric Holthouse, George Castagnola, Aaron Weinzinger, Northcoast Fisheries, Spud Point Crab Co, The Tides, Fishetarian, Wild Flour Bakery, Coastline Produce, Sonoma County Land Trust, Jim Kelly, The Sonoma County Gazette, KSRO, The Casino, Bodega Bay Chamber, Montgomery High School, Fisherman’s Festival Committee, Bodega Bay Fishing Association, The Se Gals and the countless volunteers who made it all come together. THANK YOU to everyone, you have made a difference.

Lori Cavanaugh
Spud Point Marina Assistant

Garbage Patch Kids

There’s no shortage of talking trash in an election year, but here on the River it’s something that means something different.

The Clean River Alliance, fondly known as the Garbage Patch Kids, some two dozen self-motivated volunteers have harvested and disposed of a staggering 73,000 pounds of trash that has been generated by other people.  Mainly produced by the riverside homeless encampments which stretch from Forestville to the Pacific, much of it would have washed down to the ocean and been consumed by hungry birds and mammals who would have mistaken it for food -  had it not been ‘harvested’ by those who care.  

The GPKs are an unstructured, un-sanctioned group whose ‘members’ recognize that someone has to ‘harvest’ the trash before it becomes lethal to unsuspecting critters. So we’ve cheerfully accepted the challenge to commit time and equipment and disposed of 36 tons ourselves. 

Last night, this most generous and pragmatic of communities turned out at a CRA fundraiser and more than 230 people acknowledged their appreciation of our ongoing efforts. It was enormously gratifying and we’re hopeful that other people and communities are willing to help keep the county as trash free as possible. It’s obviously a huge problem, and rectifying it  really does take a village! 

stephen d. gross G.P.K.



Based on animal studies, glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup, was classified as a probable carcinogen for humans by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer.  The California Department of Pesticide Regulation reported that over 87,000 pounds of Roundup were used in Sonoma County in 2012, and 

according to the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health, Sonoma County has the 4th highest percentage of childhood cancer in California.

Reducing or eliminating the use of herbicides and pesticides that are probable carcinogens should be a priority in Sonoma County. Most genetically engineered plants and grasses are modified to tolerate the use of large amounts of Roundup. The Board of Supervisors should enact into law the Sonoma County Transgenic Contamination Prevention Ordinance. It would prohibit the cultivation of genetically engineered crops and grasses in our county, and would protect our children, water, and environment from exposure to an increased use of this probable carcinogen. There has been a 527 million pound increase in the use of Roundup in the United States from 1996-2011 when genetically engineered crops started being grown in U.S. fields. Five California counties prohibit growing and raising GMOs. Make Sonoma County the Sixth!

Patsy Driedger
Santa Rosa




Wow. I felt the transitioning times about 8 years ago. Hence, I moved back to my home state of Maryland. (DMV) after 35 years in northbay, 25 of which were in Healdsburg, 1986 to 2012. I lived through the tides of change & knew it time to move on. I cannot believe the new, positive opportunity having been placed in my path since departing in July 2012.

I am grateful for my life, family & friends in Healdsburg. It will always be my left coast hometown.

Kim Miller Dietrich



I was talking to friends about you today and a thought came up.  While I love reading about what makes each town unique there is actually more that we share than what makes us different.  That gave rise to the notion that, say, quarterly you give each correspondent a topic.  How about water in the summer, food in the fall, celebrations in the winter and gardens in the spring ... or some such.  That way we can see that throughout our wonderful region that we are doing many of the same things, enjoying our environment communally and connecting to our place.

Your most devoted fan

Jay Beckwith

A Brief History of Mothers Day

Interesting that Mrs. Howe who wrote a song calling for the death of Southerners was a woman of peace?

Human beings are very contradictory.

Interesting article.

R Webb 

That is so true. I just finished a novel called March, written by Geraldine Brooks from the perspective of the Little Women’s father who went off to war to be the clergy for Union soldiers. He and his wife, Marmee had run an Underground Railroad house and were very involved in freeing slaves. It’s a very painful and insightful journey through the Civil War.


KOWS Antenna

I live in the community where the proposed KOWS antennae has become a source of friction and controversy in our community. I am also a KOWS show host so I can honestly say I have seen both sides of this issue. 

After due diligence, research, listening to both sides of the arguments and facing my fears and distrust of government, I am writing to you today to voice my total and unequivocal support for the approval of this project. 

Having attended the February Planning Commission Meeting and the May 3rd Sebastopol City Council meeting, I am becoming deeply dismayed and concerned by the growing misinformation, distortion of facts, innuendos, veiled threats of lawsuits and insinuations (one of which is SHARP’s hinting at a collaboration between members of KOWS and you the City Council Members) as manipulative maneuvers by SHARP to influence your decision to deny the antennae relocation to Pleasant Hill Road.

Equally disturbing is SHARP’s demeaning and condescending attitudes questioning KOWS integrity, honesty and transparency in this process.

SHARP’s sleek, very well organized and orchestrated 1 ½ hour presentation with endless visuals, prepared statements, letters from attorneys and “expert” opinions obviously cost a lot of money and took a lot of time to organize. While the KOWS team is totally dedicated to local public radio, our members volunteer tirelessly to keep the station up and running and bringing the best programmers on board. Our financial resources are limited and pale to those working against this project which creates an uneven “playing field.”

As members of the City Council, you have a lot to sort through. While many of these issues have already been addressed and voted on and approved before, they seem to continue and to multiply.

What IS the truth about the radio waves that will be emitted?

Is an EIR really needed?

Issues around CEQA

Property devaluation 

Is the tower a visual blight on the neighbors?

How do you ensure a neighborhood that there would be no colocation of cell towers?

What is the real value of an FCC approved Emergency Alert local community radio station to the community? Is it worth the wrath and potential litigation by a small group? 

I support moving the antennae to Pleasant Hill so that KOWS can:

Fulfill its mission of being the voice of west county providing opportunities to showcase and highlight the talented members of our community 

Host forums to discuss local, national and international events that we are we facing

Showcase the many talented members of our community

Enjoy the richness of diverse music not heard on corporate media

Provide access to members of our community with no internet access

Be our local Community Alert Station and THE voice to alert the community about local dangers, safety issues, resources and help.

Local community radio is a dying breed. I hope this is not true in our town and that in fact, Sebastopol gives KOWS new life with it’s sorely needed antennae with greater access for all.

I know that you have the best interests of our community at heart. I ask that you please assess the facts and not be influenced by veiled threats of lawsuits and intimidation to guide you in your decision making. 

Thank you for all that you do.

Roberta Teller


Community non-commercial radio is one of the best platforms for participatory democracy. A small-town radio station is an exercise in community sharing and bonding. It can help give a town a personality, providing community members with on-air opportunities in the field of radio, including having their own show which can be anything they want it to be. It’ll be the only radio station that Sebastopol citizens will have easy access to, in terms of expressing their opinions, performing their music, sharing their lives, especially for those more isolated from the mainstream, like seniors and youth.

Only a minority who will actually see the station from their homes.  The antenna will effect only a small % of Sebastopol’s population. I’ve listened to all the scientific data, and it seems that the EMF radiation effects of this signal will be less than the effect of carrying a smartphone with you. About75% of household radiation is caused by the devices and appliances we have. This antenna will make that figure 75.01%.

The tradeoff is providing Sebastopol with its own radio station. Imagine if the first radio transmissions, over 100 years ago, had been blocked by community skepticism.

Robert Feuer


I am in favor of the antenna. KOWS Radio is an important community resource. It is by its very nature the most democratic of institutions.  KOWS is the voice of our community. We allow guess, artists, musicians, poets, writers, and community leaders and organizers to come onto our programs and perform or speak at length. The only institution I can think of that is more democratic might be a town hall meeting. Think of community radio as a very large Townhall meeting, where many thousands of listeners can potentially squeeze into the room and participate in democracy or enjoy a culturally enriching experience. 

The opposition to KOWS has claimed that our tower will blight the neighborhood. But the reality is the tower will look like any other utility pole that lines Blackney Road or Pleasant Hill Road or any of the roads in our town. The average utility pole which carries telephone, cable, and high-voltage electricity lines is about 40 feet high. Our proposed tower will be 60 feet. (We have tried to compromise and lower the height from 70 feet.). I find it disingenuous for the opposition to say that our tower is somehow more unsightly than other poles which carry gangly black wires and dangerous high voltage wires. And the arguments concerning electromagnetic radiation are in my opinion a red herring. 

I believe the City Council should support the KOWS radio tower because our station provides an invaluable service to our community and to our democratic society. The wealthy landowners who live on the top of Blackney Road are  making a specious NIMBY argument against a small but dedicated group of talented and creative individuals who comprise our radio station.

Phil Lawrence


Dear Mayor and City Council Members:  Please support KOWS radio for the new placement of an antenna at Pleasant Hill Road, Sebastopol.

KOWS has served the community for 8 yrs with diverse entertainment, and pertinent information, analysis and debate of local issues relevant to our lives. The environmentally safe antenna is in compliance with NIER standards, and will expand a much needed broadcast reach within West Sonoma county.

Maria Pelletier MEP @ Rohnert Park

A No for Noreen Evens

As a resident of  Graton, I am very concerned about the coming election for 5th District Supervisor. Noreen Evans admits she wanted to be a judge of the California Court of Appeals.  And, for something like three years, she tried to get Governor Brown to appoint her as a judge.  The Governor obviously didn’t believe Evans is qualified, she is not a judge.   Next she tried for at least one other Sacramento job and then when that didn’t pan out she bought a home in Rincon Valley way across to the other side of the county in East Santa Rosa.  That was just a year ago.  

Then she decides to move to Sebastopol and rent a house just a few months ago so she could run for 5th District Supervisor.  Talk about job shopping!  It should be obvious to everyone with common-sense that Noreen Evans doesn’t care a wit about the 5th district, she cares about getting a cushy political job with a big salary and a rich retirement package.  I guess this is the experience she is so proud of, it sounds just like Sacramento.  No thanks…vote for anyone but Noreen Evans.

Jennifer Butler


After attending the Bodega Bay and Sebastopol candidates forums, reading the newspaper coverage and many letters to the editor, including Lois Pearlman’s and Lynn Woolsey’s on target letters, it is clear who should be our next 5th district supervisor.

We saw in the 4th district how wine industry lobbyist Gore overhwelmed the most qualified candidate for supervisor backed by the same network that backed Carrillo. Carrilo’s staff is already in Hopkins camp coordinating the cash that is rolling in from out of state real estate industry Political Action Committees (PACS). Tom Lynch, Carrillo’s pick for the planning commission (who helped give us Ratna Ling and the ill-located Fort Ross winery) looks like Hopkins running mate on the platform during these forums. Kind of reminds me of Chris Christie. The Sonoma County Latino Democratic Club is not endorsing Carrillo’s choice but is endorsing Noreen Evans as is the Sonoma County Democratic Party. Hopkins’ backers are Republicans in Democrats wrappers. Vote Noreen Evans for supervisor and save us from another pro wine industry supervisor.

Ken Sund




An Open Letter to Lynda Hopkins

Dr. John Ikerd, renowned agricultural economist, told us to be on the lookout for a new breed, a new generation of young farmer acquiring small acreages, farming organically, selling at farmer’s markets directly to consumers, totally committed and passionate and able to usher in a new era.

Enter Lynda Hopkins. You are brilliant and impressive, worth every letter of your Stanford Masters in land use, and just the kind of excellence Dr. Ikerd said was coming! I’ve watched you brainstorm creatively and step fearlessly into controversy. Your enthusiasm and candor will certainly enliven Board discussions.

We need your youth and energy. You shine brightest when you open the discussion to your audience and invite any and all questions on anything under the sun. Your replies reveal the depth of your understanding of the wide range of 5th District issues, from our poorly maintained roads, to conflicts between agriculture and rural residents, groundwater management, coastal protection, affordable housing, and education. 

We need innovation and alternative technology. We need thinking outside the box. You’ve clearly got what it takes and will be a refreshing addition to the Board of Supervisors. You have my vote.

Ann MauriceAd Hoc Committee for Clean Water


I’m supporting Lynda Hopkins for 5th District Supervisor.  As a longtime resident of the West County I have had my fair share of frustration with county government.  From fighting with the Sonoma County Office of Education on behalf of my special needs son, to working hard to control gravel mining and institute green belts within the general plan when I helped to found Sonoma County Conservation Action so many years ago; I have long been active, interested and oftentimes incensed at the seemingly self-defeating way our local government conducts its business.  

I had contemplated taking my experience and education into this battle at the request of my friends, colleagues and neighbors last September.  For a variety of reasons I decided not to run and to instead throw my support, such as it is, behind a woman who I think exemplifies the best of what we stand for here in this seemingly uber progressive region.  

I have heard innumerable horror stories from those in my network regarding an underlying corruption and incompetence borne of generations of closed door politics.  Whether we are discussing the opaque workings of our Sheriff’s office, our horrific road conditions or the inability of our Supervisors to reign in and properly direct the actions of our zoning and permit departments we deal with vested interests who have long held this community in its grasp.   Interests who fight back, even clothed in progressive garb, against any true progress in terms of economic, environmental and social rights.  Lynda is not one of those interests.  She has not suckled on the sweet milk of our “establishment” democratic party for decades.  She has no agenda to maintain a status quo that allows police to murder, basic infrastructure to degrade or working families to suffer from housing and food insecurity.  She is fresh, bright and ready to do a job that will entail a great deal of heartache.  

The post is not just a lovely 6 figure salary for sitting in a bunch of meetings, it is a non-stop litany of complaints, pressure and manipulations.  It is a system that has been hijacked by the interests of lucrative mono-culture, whose agenda is to create a beautiful land of the rich, by the rich and for the rich as they continue to ignore the needs of the common people.  All other concerns fall by the wayside as the years roll on and we see little consideration for future generations.  The creation of a racially, economically, environmentally and socially homogeneous region through catering to the desires of the self-interested and unimaginative powers that be in our County should horrify us all.

It is going to take a courageous, heartful and intelligent outsider to step into this position and shine a light on these agendas.  An individual who is willing to listen to those who have fought so long to create a better world right here in our own back yard.  A person with the ability to work with others, but at the same time hold on to her deep and abiding commitment to creating a community where people of all kinds can live, work and love.  Lynda is exactly that sort of person, no other candidate comes close.  Not the career politician and certainly not the former county employee.  The solutions for the problems that face us can not come from those beholden to or developed by the very system that has created those problems, I will remember that when I go to the polls and vote for Lynda.

Lew Brown


Is it fair to call Noreen Evans a carpetbagger for moving into the Fifth District to run for supervisor? Fair or not, a lot of people call her that. It seems inevitable because Noreen only left public office when her self-confessed “burn-out” had her looking for a softer seat. So the value proposition Noreen places before us is that her record in office makes her a bargain, since her broad experience means she can slide right into the Fifth District seat to conduct business as usual.

However, the definition of business as usual has tended to remain static in the minds of public officials while the burden of Sonoma County retirement pensions and other fixed county expenditures has rapidly ballooned.  Consequently the supes now have discretionary power over a mere nine percent of incoming Sonoma County revenue. The rest has to cover existing programs, salaries, pensions and mandatory funding.  Obviously a host of problems and crying needs—homelessness, affordable housing, road repairs and infrastructure improvements among them—can’t be addressed with the shrunken funding available.  

What that nine-percent figure might tell us is that nine out of ten dollars needed to address emerging issues in our Fifth District, or ninety percent of the energy and resourcefulness to deal with a problem, will have to come from public-sector private-sector cooperation that has never been leveraged before.

When they don’t have the power to fund, the most important power supes have is the power to permit. That, as it happens, is the direction of Lynda Hopkins’ proposals for community-improvement districts. Lynda also advocates dedicating more land to low-income affordable housing, reducing fees, and increasing densities for small units. She talks about creating an ordinance permitting second units to maximize use of existing housing stock. If Noreen wants to help, Lynda would have Noreen push for a reduction in state-imposed building-code costs for affordable housing.

We out here in the Fifth District have had multiple opportunities to ask Lynda about her proposals because she has shown up for a lot more events than candidate nights.  In that regard, she has been like Efren at his very best.  

Scott Kersnar



National Politics

The Democratic Primary has been fierce; a real good matchup between two heavyweights. There were some really cool moments and a few low blows, but not too many. At times it almost seemed like a pro wrestling match. But now we are 30 rounds in and while 1 fighter has the lead it’s not a knockout win. So what do we do?

We know for sure that they’re going to be up against a spray-tan Archie Bunker so we’ve got to develop a plan to beat this guy. Not just beat, but annihilate. Crush. Humiliate. Not just so the giant oompa loompa himself knows that America rejects his kind of politics, but the rest of America needs to know that, and hell so does the whole world. The Ugly American stereotype exists for a reason. Let’s not elect one.

So what’s our way forward? If Hillary wins there are going to be a lot of Bernie supporters who are are upset and won’t vote for her. If Bernie wins, the same will be done by Hillary supporters. (I believe P.U.M.A. was the acronym used during the 2008 election “party Unity my ass”) But what if there’s a third way that makes more sense?

It’s time to form up Voltron.

I humbly propose that if both Hillary and Bernie say they want what’s best for the country then they put their personal differences aside, and Hillary offer Bernie the vice presidency.

Now some of you Hillary supporters are saying, “but wait, he’s not a real Democrat!” Shut up and eat your organic kale.

And some of you Bernie supporters are saying “that means he’s just selling out to the establishment!” Shut up and eat your GMO corn.

Here’s the thing. If Hillary truly supports all these progressive things that Bernie has championed for years, then who would be a better fighter for those issues then Vice President Bernie Sanders? Bernie would still be in the executive branch, and it would help her with trust and likability, where she is suffering with Independents. And where Bernie is lacking in foreign policy, she would bring that to the table. Yes they had their differences, but this isn’t supposed to be a romance, this is an arranged marriage.

Obama ran against Biden and Clinton in 2008, and he was smart enough to bring them into his administration. If some of Bernie’s policies got through the process and actually got signed into law, does it really matter whose signature is on it?

And if those Bernie and Hillary forces were to combine, can you just imagine how powerful it would be? Both Hillary and Bernie traveling the country giving speeches to support their agenda? No more worries about who would do better in the polls against the petulant man-child?

Now for Bernie supporters like myself some people might have a problem with that, because he’s supposed to be the anti establishment candidate, and he would be joining the establishment. First off, what better way for him to make the changes then from the inside? Bernie would still be in the executive branch, and he would have the bully pulpit to keep his message going strong and his supporters active. Just what the Democratic party needs, and just what the country needs. Secondly, he’s not running for the chair of the Democratic Party. Currently that’s Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Please check the date of this publication to make sure that is still true.

Putting their differences aside to unite under the majority of what they do agree on, even if they have different approaches, is best for America and I really think they could show the country what they offer in contrast to the name-calling and backstabbing of the Republicans.

Instead of it being the choice of a historical election of the first woman president, or the first Jewish president; why not both?