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LETTERS to Sonoma County Gazette READERS - March 2017


LETTERS to Sonoma County Gazette READERS
March 2017

Cannabis Tax-Measure A

(Before the Community Meeting on February 21st - and the end of the Survey period, we posted information for readers on our website.)

The County and the City have been working over the past two years to developing ordinances and policies to create comprehensive regulatory schemes for the cannabis industry tailored to address local needs.

All residents are encouraged to provide comments and suggestions on the recommended policies for the Board of Supervisors and Santa Rosa City Council to take under consideration.

Additional information on the County’s Ad Hoc, current laws and policies and the regulatory process can be found at Questions and comments can be emailed to

Additional information on the City’s Subcommittee can be found at


There are many more responses on the Gazette FACEBOOK page - these came to us via email...

March’s special election in Sonoma County is solely a MegaTax called ‘A’.  Vote NO on this tax grab which goes directly into the General Fund where the county bureaucrats bloated pensions will suck it up while our infrastructure and roads decay. 

Herb is already too expensive. Remember that the Summer of Love was fueled with $6.00 lids and $65.00 kilos. 

Austin Navarro, Cazadero


It’s another general tax and regardless of the supposed use of the funds it will all go to shoring up our disastrous public employee pension program. We have to stop giving them money to shore up public pensions, then maybe our elected officials will have to finally do their job and clean up this mess, sorry unions, you’ve drained our resources for far too long.

I’m voting no.

Stephen Hann


More General Fund bucks.  Fire and EMS services in Sonoma County have been neglected too long!  

Not to mention all these taxes from cultivation thru the chain will make it so expensive the industry will go underground...again.  

Liz Martin


I am asking some questions and offering my perspective on the Cannabis Business Tax Measure A.

We are jumping quickly to add a hefty tax onto an agricultural product. Citing tobacco as an example for this argument, it is an agricultural product that is taxed heavily, so, yes, it makes sense that recreational cannabis would be taxed similarly. Yes, taxation of the wine industry is the model for this taxation of cannabis at every point, including point of sale: grape growers, vineyards, winemakers, wine sellers.  But Measure A would set a precedent that could open the doors to heavily taxing any simply grown plant that the government sees as a way to grab more of our money in the form of taxes.


And speaking of simply grown… I am almost positive that once cannabis legalization goes into effect, MANY people will be growing their own. How would that be regulated? If we follow the alcohol model, people would be able to grow a certain quantity for their own use. But who will police this, and how do we pay for this ridiculous policing? 

Medical Use vs. Recreational Use

How would the industry determine what is for recreational use and what is for medical use? I think that is nearly impossible. It would not be fair to apply this hefty tax onto a product that is totally for medical use by some users. That’s what big pharma is doing to sick people already, many of which are also in danger of losing their healthcare insurance with this present administration. If she hasn’t already, Brownie Mary will be turning in her grave.

My understanding is that no matter how many states have legalized cannabis, and even though the Federal government has made raiding dispensaries a very low priority, cannabis is, federally. still an illegal drug, so that AT ANY TIME, the federal government can use this fact to shut down a state controlled cannabis business. What happens to the taxes collected on an illegal sale? How are we able to tax something that is still illegal? During prohibition, when the government was busting up stills and pouring barrels of liquor and beer down the sewers, there were no taxes collected by the states.

Safety Regulations

One of the government’s arguments for controlling and taxing cannabis is that the purity and consistency can be regulated. I would have more confidence in this argument if I weren’t familiar with what happened to the tobacco industry. Chemicals are added to cigarettes, primarily to keep tobacco more addictive, and even resulting in more carcinogens. Full time lobbyists are powerful enough to keep this deadly product on the market for many decades past the time we learned for certain it is deadly. Who was watching out for the safety of tobacco smokers, hmmm?

We Can Have One Without the Other

It should be remembered that cannabis legalization and Big Pot Commercialization are two different things. We COULD just legalize it, and allow the normal (near 10%) sales tax be enough of a state revenue. The hefty (greedy) tax structure is just money grabbing by opportunists.

There is only one conclusion I can make about this commercial takeover of a grass roots movement: We end up screwed again.

Chris Dec


This is wrong for all the right reasons. At least put in something for Sonoma County Veterans. We’re the hardest hit by this law.

Jim Kelly


What is the use tax per acre of vineyard?

Or what is the use tax per acre of lettuce? 

All of the county should pay the tax not just unincorporated

And proceeds go to drug and alcohol rehab and schools

The vineyards should pay the tax also.

A lot of lives, environment and water are destroyed from vineyards

Cress Cresswell

Steelhead Valentine

Just a note to thank you for republishing “Steelhead Valentine” in your February issue.  Nor could it be more well-placed than there in the upper right-hand corner of the page.

I’ve been getting emails from friends who saw it. Several have commented on the eye-catching photo of the fish above the text. It is drawing your readers eyes to the article, and I’m just delighted. 

On this foggy drizzly day, I know the steelhead are in our creeks, shoving their way upstream. The local people here used to say (as all Native Pacific coast people say), the fish need our conscious receptivity to find their way back. 

And doesn’t it make sense that our welcoming hearts help bring them home?

Thank you again and many blessings,

Elizabeth C. Herron

Occidental's Sewage

Karen reads your articles in the paper about the Guerneville scene and saw a recent article you did about that lame brained plan of the SCWA to truck Occidental’s sewage to the Guerneville plant at exorbitant cost, not to mention the load on the Guerneville plant. 

My employer, Lescure-Engineers, has done several large package treatment plants: Orenco AdvanTex systems, that are self-contained trickling filters that use a thick felted textile as the treatment media, sewage trickles down and thru the textile where the attached bacteria consume the organic nutrients, nitrogen & phosphorus and clean up the waste water. 

The end result: secondary, denitrified, effluent is dispersed by drip tubing, installed by hand labor, in redwood groves, which can consume large quantities of water and nutrients via evapotranspiration and cellular metabolism. 

Lescure did Camp Newman on Mark West Springs Rd at 20,000 gpd, Odd Fellows Park and recently River Bend along the River, which are about 20K and 10K gpd respectively. So we have the technology and the expertise in house (local) to design and put into operation a system for Occidental for a small fraction of the estimated cost of the SCWA scheme. 

A major problem in Occidental is all the infiltration into the system which jacks up the winter time flows enormously. Nobody has bothered to run a simple smoke test to see where the infiltration is coming from! Typically it is rain down spouts from roof gutters plumbed into the sewage system (illegally).

Max Kroschel

Peaceful Conflict

Like many of us in Sonoma County, I was appalled by the hostile confrontation of a Trump supporter, Nathan Morton, whose video of the scene went viral. I read about the incident in the Press Democrat, but it was the video that induced me to write. It is a perfect lesson of how not to have a conversation where there is conflict.

Our nation has never been more divided and our conflicts will exacerbate as long as we continue to verbally abuse and disrespect one another. Many of us are horrified by the passage of too many resolutions by the House of Representatives within the first three weeks of the new administration, which will further divide us and return us to the bleak days of Charles Dickens. 

We have been so caught up with our present crisis, most of us, especially our news media, missed an opportunity to raise awareness about a positive,  culture changing bill, which was introduced without any fanfare. It not being reported is a sad fact because this bill, HR1111, is probably the most concrete legislation to address the violence in our country, and one that can effect a change in our increasingly violent culture.

Violence pervades every aspect of our lives and woven into our justice system affecting us all, especially immigrants, people of colour and the poor. 

We tolerate unprincipled business and banking practices; agribusinesses’ violence to domestic animals and their flagrant use of pesticides and GMOs, together with the fossil fuel industry, destroying our land, ocean and watersheds. 

Sadly, mountaintop removal by the coal industry continues and I read this morning, about the possible demise of the EPA; the unethical multinational pharmaceutical and medical Insurance corporations will have more power while public radio and public education are headed for the chopping block to make way for emerging big business enterprises. 

It is our children who will suffer the most and it is this legislation that can change this culture. The bill, HR1111, for a US Department of Peacebuilding, was reintroduced by Representative Barbara Lee on Thursday 16th February. It is “ a multi system approach to violence prevention and intervention which will generate a positive impact toward cultured nonviolence.” 

The establishment of restorative justice practices in all our institutions will change the way we think, what we say, what we do, and how to manifest our goals with honour and integrity.

It starts with respectful dialogue.

Thank you Vesta for your informative, irreplaceable newspaper.

~ Margaret Koren   Volunteer to help realize a culture of peace through legislation and the Sonoma County Season for Nonviolence Coalition


In case you don’t know about this already I wanted to let you know about the Ides of Trump coming up March 15th. 

From the Ides website “On March 15th, 2017 each of us will mail the White House a postcard that publicly expresses our vocal opposition to the new president. And we, in vast numbers, from all corners of the world, will overwhelm Washington.”  

The goal is One Million postcards!  

As an artist I always look for ways to do things a little differently and inspired by a FB post have started making my postcards out of my recycle bin!  No box or carton is safe in my home and to date I have already cut out over 100 colorful cards with a goal of 200 for The Ides event.  

My moto is – Fighting Trash with Trash and my favorite postcard source for this event are my cats kitty litter boxes! 

I hope you will post something about this important event in your next issue of the Sonoma Gazette and/or on the website to inspire all the folks in our county to participate because together we can do so much!  And One Million Postcards?  I think it’s  just the tip of the iceberg.

Thanks Vesta – Lauri Luck


Over 530 West County people are a part of our local Indivisible group, found on Facebook at Indivisible Sebastopol. Go there now and sign up to receive the weekly newsletter. Learn what actions you can DO. We tell you everything you need to become an activist (again), what the top priorities are nationally and locally. Your mental health will improve through action! This national grassroots effort is stunningly effective, especially when many individuals are involved working together to apply pressure.

Go to : to learn more about how it began and what is happening now in this dynamic, urgent situation for our county.

As soon as weather permits, we will host a picnic at Ragle Ranch and invite all our members to come and meet each other.  

Patti Brunelle


Indivisible Sonoma County

Inspired by we are voters from Sonoma County, California* rallying to resist the Trump agenda — an agenda based on racism, authoritarianism, and corruption.

We object loudly and powerfully to ensure that people in Sonoma County understand how damaging the Trump agenda is from the start. We will not support false promises and partial concessions that will further victimize us and our neighbors.

What We’ve Achieved:

Created our Working Group based on Principles found in Indivisible: A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda.

Hired a bus to the Oakland Women’s March on 1/21/17

Launched Facebook Group, Facebook Page and Instragram feed.

Work with Member of Congress (MoC) staff for regular Indivisible Sonoma County meetings.

Coordinate with several other Bay Area Indivisible groups including San Francisco, Petaluma, Healdsburg and Napa.

Met with over 130 new Indivisible Activists

Attended Sonoma County Democrats Organizing meeting.

Made hundreds phone calls to House and Senate members!

Our next large meeting for new and returning activists is Monday, March 13, 2017. Please sign up as either a NEW or RETURNING activist. If you have been to any other Indivisible meeting this year, sign up as RETURNING.  If you are have not been to a meeting, use the NEW Category.

Lyme Disease Prevention

I didn’t realize what a valuable service opossum provide us. They remove up to 90 percent of Lyme ticks, eat rats and police up garbage while not causing any problems, and doin little or no damage. Very cool! Perhaps we should be encouraging them or transporting them to in Lyme hot spots in West County.

In addition the Western Fence Lizard or blue belly reduces the incidence of the spirochete carried by the Lyme tick. You can build a sunny rock garden and encourage them to to come and hang out.

 Bob Rawson