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Sonoma County Gazette
Letter from Gazzette Readers

Gazette Readers Respond to Articles and Issues

Sep 1, 2017


Rockin’ the River

We would like to thank Herman Hernandez and all the volunteers in Rotary for creating the wonderful “Rockin’ the River” music events. Thanks, too, for all the sponsors who support this summer music on Guerneville’s Plaza. It’s great for our local community and brings in people from other parts of the county. It unites us with beautiful music and dancing. The selection of bands has been very successful.

Last night the band, “Invasion Latina” were all very accomplished and talented. The singers were excellent and spirited. The whole band was full of good energy and love and they uplifted the audience and dancers.

Congratulations Herman!

Sincerely, Seann Zales and Zanzara Dancer

Stop the Vitriol

Ann Maurice wrote a rebuttal to my letter, which was printed in last month’s Gazette. I am now compelled to comment on Ms. Maurice’s rebuttal. First, I found it interesting, but not surprising, that she did not apologize for insulting the residents of Occidental. Instead she doubled down with more name calling! Now the people of Occidental apparently exhibit “moral turpitude,” and continue to be “demanding, manipulating, entitled prima donnas.”

Yes, Ann, go ahead.  Continue to demonize the people whose behavior you are trying to change. That’s a great way to encourage people to be receptive to your ideas. It’s bullying, plain and simple. We have enough vitriol coming from the Mr. Trump. We don’t need it here. I hoped that SonomaCounty folks could rise above his level. Sadly, that’s not the case with Ms. Maurice.

Mark Burchill
Santa Rosa, CA

Promote respect, equity, & justice within our schools

As educators, we have a moral imperative to confront racism and bigotry. This need has been brought to light by the recent incidents in Charlottesville, VA.

While we may think it’s best to protect young people from talking about these kinds of events, they are hearing about and seeing them play out on their many social media feeds. We cannot and should not shield our youth from learning about these events, as it reflects something significant that is happening in our county. We call this a teachable moment.

Nationally, more than 80 percent of public school teachers are white, while more than half of all students are people of color. In Sonoma County, our percentage of white teachers is even higher. Teachers need to be aware of this and address the benefits of diversity within our community, starting in the primary grades. In the upper grades, we need to emphasize the critical thinking strategies that will empower our students to work against bigotry and injustices.

We need to show students that the benefits of free speech do not equal a right to violence. While freedom of speech means you can share your opinions and exchange ideas freely without government control—even if they are hateful—there is some speech that is not protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution. This includes defamation, true threats, and incitements to lawless action. We need to show students that rights come with responsibility.

Educators have a responsibility to be role models in standing up and condemning hate and bias. We need to promote respect, equity, and justice within our free speech society. 

Steven D. Herrington, Ph.D.
Sonoma County Superintendent of Schools


Naked Ladies

This may be shocking to some, but there are Naked Ladies everywhere in Forestville. No, I don’t mean the skinny dippers in the river, I’m talking about the flowers. Why are there so many Naked Ladies around this area?

These are the two feet tall trumpet shaped pink flowers you see everywhere this time of year. Did Johnny Naked Lady come through here a couple of hundred years ago planting thousands of bulbs?

I have a lot of them at my house and I didn’t plant them, they just pop out (so to speak) every year. I’m not complaining as I think they are beautiful so I’m just asking if anyone knows why they are so ubiquitous. It’s hard to believe that so many people just happened to plant the same bulbs here.

Josh McKee, Sebastopol


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