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Sonoma County Gazette
LETTERS from Gazette Readers

LETTERS from Gazette Readers - February 2019

Feb 1, 2019


Mountain Lions

Mary Leo’s article offers great advice to livestock pet owners and a good overview of the state of mountain lions in Sonoma County.

Just to add to this conversation, a young male mountain lion did kill two llamas in West County recently. Instead of getting a depredation permit to kill the lion, their owners opted to contact us at Audubon Canyon Ranch. OurLiving with Lions team captured and collared the lion and will now be able to track this young lion.

This is the first GPS-collared lion outside of the Sonoma Valley area. The landowners were very upset about their beloved llamas but also determined to support the science and conservation goals of the project.

The BEST prevention is nighttime secured housing. Check out the PEEP program atSonoma County Wildlife Rescue. Larger herds do not seem at as much risk. Small herds grazing near or in wooded areas with a fenced yard as their only measure of protection are at risk.

We at ACR are incredibly grateful to the landowners who opt to keep mountain lions on the land. If you or your neighbor has a conflict with a mountain lion, please get in contact with us, right away if possible as we will have the best odds of capturing and collaring the lion.


Wendy Coy

Very good article. For years I worked on a ranch above Calistoga. They had a small flock of sheep (10+/) and always kept a llama or 2 in with them.for protection. Those llamas killed at least one lion, so I know first hand that they are effective. No need for humans to kill if we care for our animals properly. We need our predators, too.

Jane Eagle, Graton

Homeless Solutions

You put me in touch with John Dierke, (p 14) a very good friend from teaching 50 years ago at SF State. We laughed, energized one another, and will have lunch.  A special blessing.  Thank you very much.

You are on theLower Russian River MAC with Lynda Hopkins.  She writes an uncommonly thoughtful column, but not a word about the homeless. With her cooperation, we could house hundreds in warm, dry, lockable quarters (nirvana to people wet and freezing under at tarp on the creek or cheek-by-jowl among 190 at Sam Jones) at no cost to the city/county. We have met with her, were encouraged, were offered a pilot and plane to fly her and Tom Schwedhelm to Portland to look atCamp Dignity, 20 years old, housing 60, with excellent acceptance among neighbors and Portland staff, she was excited and then cooled to it.

This is criticaland press and electeds don’t understand: The county director of social services came from Portland where they have been successful with Single Room Occupancy. She’s a Judy-One-Note.  This county is also sold on SROs because two years ago they hired Ian de Jong, a national speaker, to advise them, a really unfortunate confluence of influence. 

SRO is all he talked about. It’s a wonderful answer where you have an old city with old hotels and abandoned industrial buildings that can inexpensively be converted to SROs. We have none of those, nor do we have enough money to build anything from scratch, as supervisors insist we will do.

If there is anything you can do to use your pages to help Lynda and other readers understand that their dream of SROs will never come to fruition and every year these deplorably unfortunate neighbors are left to molder in the brush, it’s a pox on the electeds who stand stubbornly, ignorantly in the way. I’d be glad to help find knowledgeable writers to address the issue.

I’ll take you and Lynda, or you, to lunch wherever you like.

Best to you,

Bob Higham

Marijuana etc. Regional Parks

I just got done reading the Gazette article regarding Trail Systems is designated as Linear Parks with Protections.

Can you explain what that means exactly, I’m not familiar?

But I did agree with your thoughts about the problems with marijuana grows causing FEAR because of the crime issue.

I read in a Marijuana magazine that Cartels come illegally on people’s property and try to steal plants and overrun people off their own land!

We were fans of legalizing it through long before GAY MARRIAGE because:

1. This state is so liberally backward when it comes to making Laws.

2. The only way to regulate it is to legalize it.

3. It should NOT be advertised on a County Court website.

Why? Because! It’s still not completely regulated yet due to the lack of laws on the books - including what you said about the fact that cannabis still suffers from its own black market.

So NO when I go to a Sonoma County Law Enforcement website, I don’t want to see a big marijuana leaf on the front page!

That’s still disrespecting our Law Enforcement officers, I believe because of the criminal problems with it.

Katrina Milks

Throughout Sonoma County the Cannabis Ordinance declares that commercial Cannabis facilities and farms cannot be established within 1,000 feet of public parks and schools.

But the Joe Rodota Trail, although managed by Regional Parks, was designated a public thoroughfare instead of a park. Other park trails have been designated linear parks and therefore were protected by the 1,000 door setback rule.

When a cannabis permit was requested by a farm and CBD processor onproperty next to the trail, local residents objected. By designating the Joe Rodota Trail as a linear park, the1,000 foot setback ruleapplied to this trail as well, which means the cannabis operation has to re-do their plan and permit if they are to farm that land. ~ Vesta


The Santa Rosa Plain Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) is hosting a community meeting on January 30. (edited for space - see all online):

If you rely upon a well for water - this meeting is for you. If you care about our groundwater - this meeting is for you... a community meeting to discuss a proposed groundwater sustainability fee to provide short-term funding for the new agency. Attendees will also learn about a proposed well registration program. We’ll give you an UPDATE online after the meeting.

The GSA was created to sustain the quality and quantity of groundwater in the Santa Rosa Plain (generally, the valley floor stretching from Cotati to Windsor and from the foot of Sonoma Mountain to Sebastopol). This state-mandated agency is nearing completion of a year-long study to finds ways to finance day-to-day operations and groundwater planning. A groundwater sustainability fee – based on estimated groundwater use – is being considered.

 Dorothy StoneInouye - There are plenty of commercial wells they can use for study. Private should be left alone and there should be no fee from anyone. The state has a budget surplus - take it from that. Fight this.

Any monitoring should be leased and with permission and contract and equipment removed at the conclusion of the study. The State should be leasing private wells for this “study” and removing equipment afterward.

At the very least removing equipment and charging no fee or tax. They also should not be taxing well owners at all to fund a new agency.

There’s a big difference between “agency” and “study.” If it was just a simple matter of this needed groundwater study, it would not be a big deal but with this plan it now is. There is a great deal of power and money in who controls water. Californians should say YES to the studies and NO to taxation and permanent use of their private wells.

If there was not this effort to use private wells - which have been paid for and maintained privately, the state would have to be drilling their own study wells, as has been done in the past. Or leasing the private wells, as has also been done in the past.

This plan uses private property with no compensation but a tax on top of it. Also, past meetings of those in favor quite freely paint well owners as wasteful and selfish!

GOOD to study groundwater. Long overdue to study groundwater. BAD planning on how to go about it.

I hope well owners and others understand it’s the way they intend to go about this that is so unsettling. Having a well is not just a hole in the ground. One has the county fees and taxes; and the upkeep and testing to be sure the water is safe and even making sure there is no danger being made to the water quality.

The homeowner takes these expenses themselves. There is no county or city well service to call to repair or restore water. The pumping and storage tank, filtration etc all privately paid.

Cassie Thomson - Then monitor the water by voluntary participation. I’ve had my well monitored for free for many years byLand Smart for monitoring any impact by the Casino.

Randi Francis - I hope to go and be educated on this. I don’t want to pay for my own well water, it cost me a bundle to put a new well in, plus sewer fees are huge.

However, I’m concerned about the aquifer and groundwater quality and we should all be, and make sure there’s a sustainable future for our well water. Let’s have an open mind and show up.

Michael Siminitus - We need to all plan to protect this precious resource. Hopefully, residential well owners will show up and participate instead of just complaining on Facebook!

Dionne Mitchell-Maniaci- Private should be left alone, considering the amount of commercial there is and the companies that are not from here and not paying anything for water and making money hand over fist while taking from private wells. Commercial needs to pay. They make a profit, while private use it to live.

David Gray- In 2014 the State of California finally recognized the risks of overdrawing the aquifer after massive land subsidence and private wells going dry in the Central Valley. Aquifers are not infinite and do not rebound after collapsing.

Bridgett Petersen - For more info check out SGMA. It was passed back in 2014.

Edwin Ruddick - I would happily pay $8-13 per year for someone to monitor the aquifer. Especially when you consider the alternative of having the state impose much higher fees...... Thank you for the heads up, so I have an opportunity to learn more about this!







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