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Sonoma County Gazette
Letters to the Editor

Gazette Readers Respond
to Articles and Issues

Jan 30, 2018


Slanted in Favor of One

I really enjoy reading the Gazette and have for many years, and thanks for all your hard work! You provide a real service to the community. My question/comment is regarding the Film & Theater column.

I just read the column in the current issue (1/18). Actually, I read it through twice, to try to determine if it was an ad for the Summerfield, since that is the only theater mentioned in the article. Usually, when I see articles reviewing/recommending films, they will tell their readers all the area theaters where the mentioned films are playing. There aren’t that many theaters in Sonoma County that it would be difficult. 

For example, I’m interested in seeing The Shape of Water, and I know that’s playing at the Rialto also, so why doesn’t Don Gibble mention it? Is he an employee of the Summerfield or associated with them in any way? If he is getting recompense for this column from the Summerfield it seems to me that should be disclosed to the readers.

Thanks in advance for answering my question, and again, I really appreciate your publication! 

Louise Eisen, Sebastopol

Thanks for sending a letter I can forward to Don. Yes, we have other ART theaters in Sonoma County - The Raven in Healdsburg and Rialto in Sebastopol - Sebastian? in Sonoma…where else? Surely Petaluma has one!

Don is NOT an employee of Summerfield - he might LIKE to be - so I will encourage him to research other places where films he is recommending are playing so it is fair to ALL theaters in our home -

THANK YOU for reading and noticing this? ~ Vesta

Neighborhoods Object to Cannabis Grows

My friend, Nancy (and her husband Brantly Richardson who serves on the citizens' cannabis advisory board and who you published in Op-Ed in January) have provided me with the following information about a Healdsburg Palmer Creek neighborhood’s fight to prohibit growing in their neighborhood (narrow private road, endangered fish, etc). My friends were greatly impressed with your immediate attention to his last posting and I suggested that they submit the following information to you and your publication. Thanks for all the hard and effective work you do. ~ Charlene Stone

Palmer Creek neighbors are asking that their neighborhood be an exclusion zone. Palmer Creek is a private drive and everyone living there objects to a big commercial grow in their neighborhood. We appreciate any help you can give us to broadcast information and the Sonoma County Gazette is the only newspaper to help us inform everyone. The Next Cannabis Advisory Group meeting is February 28 at the Glaser Center from 3-5. The public is allowed to speak at the conclusion of each segment of the meeting.

Fluoride Neurotoxicity Suit Against EPA Now in Federal Court

On November 23, 2016, the International Academy of Oral Medicine & Toxicology (IAOMT), and Fluoride Action Network (FAN), in coalition with others, hand-delivered a petition to US EPA, accompanied by over 2,500 pages of scientific documentation, to ban the use of fluoridation chemicals because of the neurotoxic risks of fluoride ingestion.

Historically, when a chemical has evidence of neurotoxicity, for example, lead, EPA has banned its use. Since 2014, fluoride has been on EPA's short list of chemicals, including arsenic and lead, with scientific evidence of developmental neurotoxic harm to humans.

“This case will present the first time a court will consider the neurotoxicity of fluoride and the question of whether fluoridation presents an unreasonable risk under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  And, in contrast to most other legal challenges of Agency actions, TSCA gives us the right to get the federal court to consider our evidence ‘de novo’— meaning federal courts are to conduct their own independent review of the evidence without deference to the EPA's judgment.”  — attorney Michael Connett

EPA rejected the petition (2/27/2017) and, in response, the petitioners filed a complaint in Federal Court (4/18/2017), seeking a ban on water fluoridation, under Section 21 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).

EPA responded with a motion to dismiss "all claims in the present matter"(11/30/2017). The EPA motion to dismiss was rejected by the judge (12/21/2017), and the suit is now moving ahead in Federal Court in San Francisco.

For brief background on the petition, a detailed timeline, including links to all filings and rulings to date, and the names of petitioning organizations, and their attorneys, please read our webpage: Petition to EPA on Fluoride Neurotoxicity:

We'll keep you posted.
Dawna Gallagher Stroeh
Director, Clean Water Sonoma-Marin Follow-Up


Fluoride Follow-up

This is a followup to my article in the 2017 October Gazette,”Take Action: Stop or Amend H.R. 2422.”H.R. 2422, the Action for Dental Health Act of 2017, would have authorized fluoridation promotion programs through 2022 and would have cost taxpayers 160 million dollars.

Congratulations! You helped stop that waste. Because of Sonoma County emails and calls to our Members of Congress, added to messages from concerned citizens across the country, including some of us who went to Washington DC to talk with Congressmen and staff members in person, H.R. 2422 was withdrawn.

Thank you for a strong, speedy, effective response!

The ADA has proposed and lobbied for similar bills in the past, and we’ve stopped them. When bills like this come up again, you’ll know. Together, we’ll stop those too.

Stuart Cooper

Honor Peacemakers

 I’d like to invite you to help us honor the peacemakers among us by submitting a nomination for the Sebastopol Living Peace Wall. If you know someone you feel deserves to be honored on the Peace Wall, please go to and the page “To Nominate” and follow the instructions. 

Nominees may be living or deceased, public or private figures who have worked nonviolently for peace and justice. 

Nominations must be received by February 1, 2018 to be considered for this year.

As you may know, four people are selected each year from these nominations and are honored at an annual Induction Ceremony held in early Fall. In case you haven’t already seen it, here is the link to the mini documentary made from last year’s ceremony:

Thank you for your participation and for helping to make the world a more peaceful loving place for all of us.

Michael Gillotti, Founder, Sebastopol Living Peace Wall


The Forestville Food Closet celebrates all the indispensable contributors who so generously support this twice-monthly food give-out, a lifeline for up to 73 Forestville families year round. 

Our amazing volunteers, including our inspiring leadership, Ken Jones (2017 Volunteer of the Year), Chuck Bishop, Ginger Minnich, Barbara St. Louis, Chan Castleberry, Denise Wood plus the indefatigable Rev. Monique-Cheri Pierre, who bring it all to fruition.

We thank our volunteer recipients who give back to our beloved community by picking up the trash along Main Street almost every week now via the JD Kaiwi Downtown Beautification Project. All this simply cannot happen without the full support of our entire “village”, the Forestville community.

Our volunteers & recipients give a full-throated shout-out of thanks for the generous grants from The Bodean Fund, Eastern Star Gold Ridge Star Chapter, Forestville Chamber of Commerce, Forestville Planning Association, Russian River Rotary, Sebastapol Rotary and the Trappe Family. Important In-kind contributions came from Andy’s Market, Bohemian Creamery, Redwood Empire Food Bank, Safeway, St. Vincent de Paul, Speers Market, and Traditional Medicinals.

Since our last public acknowledgement, community donors include many FUMC anonymous members, Kathleen J. Barnes, Joseph & Katherine Best-Smith (honoring Emma Smith),Tom and Sandy Glover, Timothy Beutel & Lisa Harris, Stephanie Cika, Jane Cochrane, Cathy Ann Coleman-Cutler & Rick Cutler, Clay & Celeste Gantz, Tom & Sandy Glover, Victoria MacKinnen, Jill McClary, Jim & Valerie Niskanen, Jackie Reuling, Cathleen & James Smith, Russian River Vineyards, The Service Station and John and Julie Thompson.

Our recipients (we affectionally refer to them as our “Monday congregation”) receive all the essentials including a variety of proteins, fresh and canned fruits and vegetables, eggs, milk etc.. Picture the happy faces of delighted children! 

We wish each of you—all essential partners in feeding these Forestville families—the gift of faith, the blessing of hope, and the peace of His love always.

Forestville United Methodist Church

We CAN make a difference!

Hopefully, we are all concerned about our very fragile planet and what we can do to help sustain it.

Recently I did a survey /as part of an environmental committee locally on the use of cups etc in our local coffee shops. I must say it was quite interesting. It was heartwarming to see one of the smallest, independent shops doing the very best job, with recycling of all places that serve coffee.

I must say some of our local shops are not doing the job we would hope they would be doing.

I urged each shop to post incentives for folks to bring in their own mugs.

I think it would be a big help if we all mentioned this to the shops we visit. Maybe that way we can get each shop to step up to the plate in helping us all. It was quite surprising to hear one local shop only offers cents off if you use their mug. Tsk!

This is only one small step to help take the burden off our overfilled landfills. Think of what a wonderful role model Sonoma could be if all coffee shops offered such great incentives to help us with sustainability.

We can all take this a step further if we are a part of meeting group and suggest that we all bring our own utensils, plates, cups and napkins.

Sonoma can be a shining example for our planet.

Lets just do it it!!!

Joy Bennett, Sonoma

Recommending Tiny Town in Forestville

As you know, this is the hardest time of year for many businesses. You did an article on Tiny Town sometime back when they opened.

It’s now our go to place for breakfast, but we are surprised that so few people in the area know that Tiny Town is THE place for breakfast in Forestville. Big as there sign is, you really can’t see it when you drive by. They need another article in the Gazette.

Here’s what’s news worthy. It’s run by two immigrants, one from Mexico ( Rico) and one from Burma (Julie). (We all should be supporting immigrants right now). They have reinvested every dime from the day they opened to make it worthy of Forestville in the past year they have installed a new expresso machine and now make great coffee drinks. They have a new, healthier menu with BREAKFAST GREENS like spinach, advocator, and green chilies, a variety of smoothies. They also now have fresh croissants, homemade brownies  and more. They just put in a new floor. The place is clean and friendly and they will bend over backward to give you what you want.

As you recall, the former place was a coffee shop first and by the way they could cook an egg. This is a wonderful improvement for Forestvillians looking for breakfast and save some gas in the mornings.

An article from you might be just the shot in the arm they need right now to justify their recent investments and provide winter support to keep them growing.

We have no interest in Tiny Town other than wanting to see good people, do a good job for breakfast in Forestville succeed.

Check it out!

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey

My Hometown

women march posterSEBtown does communal so well and Saturday’s Women's March was no exception. It felt wonderful to be there among friends and like-minded folks of all ages, genders and races. I was made aware that it was also a personal statement: I must never, ever again not speak up against all injustices. My favorite poster stated: “The (GOP) Elephant in the Womb.” Yes, and yes and yes.

I regret I did not get the woman’s name who made the wonderful poster. 

Deanne Thompson

Detached from reality

The only time I hear the word "killing " it seems to come from some anti-hunting liberal that simply has no clue why hunters enjoy the hunting experience and work so hard to harvest a deer with a primitive method such as archery.
Take a look at the unbelievable public improvements that FOLS has financed with the additional revenue from the controlled hunting at Lake Sonoma. The destructive invasive pig population has dropped significantly and the recreation areas are in great shape for many people hiking, biking, horseback riding, boating, ect., and of course hunters to enjoy.
Keep up the good work FOLS, it's a no-brainer to keep the hunting program running strong.

Rob Rowland

SCWA River Access

First thank you very much for addressing the redwood tree removal on River Drive several years back. Bob Thistle and Kon Zaharoff, Sr appreciated your insights and follow up.  Luckily several of the redwood trees were saved along the Russian River at Hacienda Bridge due to several entities coming together and stopping further cutting of trees.

I want to ask you about SCWA Educational Building site and access by Wohler Bridge in Forestville. In the past, we were able to park and access the trails easily. Not anymore. Now we can only access the walks from SCWA Building at Wohler Bridge from Nov 1-April 31. Why is that? A huge empty parking lot with locked gate keeps us from parking. Why? In addition ‘no parking signs’ are posted from Wohler Bridge all the way to Moshin Winery down Eastside Road. And more ‘no parking signs’ are posted from Wohler Bridge to Raford House on Wohler Road. Limited hiking and swimming access is increasing along the River. I would like to be able to walk and hike and swim along the Russian River but it is increasingly difficult to access any points along the River legally. What are the legal rules and regulations to accessing the River? Why are hiking and walking trails being gated? SCWA seems to have locked down a lot of the access on both sides of Wohler Bridge. 

Could you shed any light on the situation of River access? 

Sue Zaharoff, Forestville

Freestone Hearing Coming Up

Help save Freestone from event center commercial development! On Thursday, February 1st, 1 PM, the Sonoma County Planning Commission will hold a public hearing at the PRMD office at 2550 Ventura Avenue in Santa Rosa to vote on the staff proposal to correct the inaccurate zoned mapping in Freestone that currently conflicts with the General Plan.

An event center developer wants to operate in Freestone and unless the zoning is corrected, the unique, small village character of this historic town is at risk. Please come to the hearing and urge the planning commissioners to protect the integrity of the General Plan and not re-define Freestone as a commercial center!

Padi Selwyn

Another Idea on Vacation Rentals

I’d like to offer another perspective on Airbnb or VRBOs. Why not offer limited (60-90 days) vacation rental permits? There are many, many people - including myself - who have second homes that we’d like to rent out on a very limited basis; enough to help pay the expenses and taxes. I have no interest in ever renting our home on a 24/7 basis because my family spends a fair amount of time there, but a 90-day permit would allow me to legally rent the house and cover some of our expenses. As it is now, I follow the rules and rent the house for 30 days at a time (two or three times per year) to cover expenses and the County earns zero for this. Clearly, this isn’t a win-win for me or the County. A limited vacation rental permit would allow the County to collect TOT and BID taxes, while I also meet my objective of home maintenance. Isn’t this worth considering?

Mary Jackson


Vacation Rentals Article Rebuttal

I just read David Abbott's article in the January 2018 Sonoma County Gazette about Vacation Rentals, and it needs a serious rebuttal. He made several omissions and errors in his article - gosh, we hope he does not have a hidden agenda.

The list is long:
No mention of some 1,000 AirBNB hosts offering up over 2,000 bedrooms for free to people fleeing the fire and/or first responders a day or two after the conflagration.  A community that is participating in the sharing economy is tremendously more resilient then one that is not.
- The study cited by Abbott - "The Impact of Vacation Rentals..." is tremendously flawed.  It is misleading throughout including the claim that Vacation Rentals displace workers.  As we see in Healdsburg (where there is a strict ban on unhosted AND hosted rentals, that people still buy vacation homes, but restricted from renting them out when not in use by family and friends means they just sit empty.   
- His story lacks any perspective on what a vacation rental is.  That the average total days rented for a typical rental is under 90 days a year.  That hosted rentals become important housing for visiting or rotating workers (like found in health care, education, and other fields).
- That property owners have rights to determine what to do with their property.
- Whether the exclusion zones he is a cheerleader for ban all types from of the sharing economy whether hosted or not.
- As is common with people not taking time to understand the nuances, definitions that carry specific legal weight (although that changes by jurisdiction) are used freely: "Vacation Rental" is used generically, when in Sonoma County they picked the same term to describe just "unhosted" full house rentals.  Abbott does not take the time to describe hosted and small Bed and Breakfast Inns.
- There are many more issues to clarify.
Looking forward to being of service,
Eric Fraser

Politics divide yet we connect and spread kindness

I felt the urge to write you personally instead of my usual Letter to the Editor.

Reading your editorials and comments give me a feeling that although we would be a long way apart politically, we could enjoy each others' particular worth and friendship.

Not so many of your contributors. Two opinion pieces stand out…

So many things negative and downright false. So many of the so-called Progressives or Leftists have never gotten over the past election. We on the Right have put up with the same old, same old for years and especially in the Golden State where we face added regulations, higher gas taxes, and a climate that contradicts all that Trump is trying to renovate because it doesn't fit in with the Left's agenda. To add Obama to the list of celebratory days is a real no-winner. To many of us, he was the worst president yet.

I've only gotten as far as the Sonoma correspondent and she is so hateful, I had to come up for air!

Trump does things I don't particularly like, but to demean him and his family on lies and pure rancor is to demean us all.

Thanks for listening - and you and I will try to spread kindness.

Barb Cuneo



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