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LETTERS to Sonoma County Gazette READERS - July 2016


LETTERS to Sonoma County Gazette READERS
July 2016

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

Petition to BAN Pesticides near Schools

Today PAN starting an online petition calling on the California Department of Pesticide Regulations to protect schoolchildren across the state and enact a 1-mile pesticide-free buffer zone around schools. We’ll hand deliver all comments and signatures we get for this petition to DPR’s Director Leahy on July 12.

I’ve written an accompanying blog which has the petition linked to it.  The Sonoma county pesticide drift issue is also mentioned in this blog, though due to space constraints I kept the mention brief. We plan to do a more in-depth blog focusing on  Sonoma county’s vineyard pesticide use and impacts on schools sometime soon, and would love to have a guest writer from the Sonoma county write that piece for PAN’s ‘Ground Truth’ blog. Any thoughts or suggestions for such a person to whom I could reach out would be much appreciated. 

Please consider sharing the petition and blog with your networks. The more signatures we can get, the stronger our impact on the DPR is likely to be.

Medha Chandra, PhD
Pesticide Action Network N. A, 


Homeless (Under) Count

The interesting sidebar “Preliminary Results from the 2016 Homeless Count” includes the comment, “homeless people seem to be more visible these areas we never saw them before.”  It went on to say that “analysis...will aim to provide more understanding of this issue.”

I can save the trouble of any further analysis.  The count figures do NOT accurately reflect the homeless population.  The government guidelines, slapdash methods of the out of town contractors tasked with the tabulations and the elusiveness of those being counted have made the results ridiculously inaccurate.  Take it from someone who has been involved in helping the homeless for over 20 years, worked at over a dozen permanent and temporary shelters in SR and Guerneville, and was involved with the homeless count since its inception (before it was farmed out to the contractors):  Believe your eyes, not these figures so positively portrayed by a well-meaning writer.  If your hometown looks like Calcutta on a bad day, your eyes don’t lie.  There are people living under every bridge in the County, as well as along all the lovely streams and rivers, bespoiling the environment. Tents line the trails along Hwy 12.  Sadly, not enough substantial progress has been made to prevent this population explosion of the unfortunate dispossessed. Don’t believe anyone that tells you otherwise. 

Sam Barnhart, Occidental



Farmworker Housing

A friend forwarded your article about the Ortiz Family affordable housing development because a new development is planned for the City of Sonoma. We continue to note that other developments are smaller than what is proposed for 20269 Broadway. We want to see this housing built but we think 49 units and 237 people on less than two acres of land is too dense for our small town.

Please check our website for more information. We are the South Sonoma Group and we strive to publish correct and current information about this project along with the process of planning and building it.
Lynn Fiske Watts

Primary Election Votes

Although it has not been highly publicized, many, even maybe millions of votes were not counted and may still not be counted. Yet elections have been called (supposed final tallies). How is that possible? Propostion AA  required 2/3 majority to pass and is “said” to have been approved. In a Washington Post article or June 14 as many as  2.3 million votes remain to be counted. 

How is this possible? 

I am not wishing for any miracles I am concerned about the state of our Democracy. This is the California messiest election in my memory and I’m 74 years-old. The Democretic Presidential Election was called for Clinton the day before our primary. That’s not right and should not be allowed. Now this vote count SNAFU makes this election more questionable.

Has my vote been counted? How many votes have not been counted in Sonoma County? I would like these questions answered. 

Gary Bodwin, Forestville

Keith Rhinehart, 1st District Supervisorial candidate, released the following post-election statement:

“I want to congratulate both Supervisor Gorin and fellow candidate Gina Cuclis on their election results: 

First, Supervisor Gorin for clinging to her incumbency by a modest majority; and candidate Gina Cuclis for her strongest showing yet in a Supervisorial contest.

I want to especially thank my supporters and voters, who believed in me, and in my vision for a more fair, and less-intrusive County Government. Nearly half of 1st District voters are justifiably unhappy, and I am still working to bring people together over these serious County issues:

1)  Pension reform and roads

2)  Winery overdevelopment in our County

3) A thorough and compassionate transition for Sonoma Developmental Center residents

4) Property owners’ rights and VRBO issues

5) Low-income housing/homelessness

6) Mental Health and Disability issues

7) Law enforcement issues

I look forward to working with the Community in these areas, and I know that working together, we can accomplish anything. 

I reiterate my general distaste toward the extreme cost of the election process as it now exists, which causes useless squandering of funds along with undue and improper pressure and influence over our Government officials, at every level, across our great Nation. I am always advocating for a free and fair election process that results in better representation for our residents, and I am extremely pleased by the results I have achieved in the this County election, having received over 10% of the vote at a cost of less than 14 cents per vote. 

I remain hopeful that, as social media and the internet continue to grow in creativity and outreach, and gain greater acceptance as a viable tool for communication, all future candidates will be able to conduct robust campaigns that will lessen the negative impact of excessive campaign funding.”