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Sonoma County Gazette
LETTERS - from Sonoma County Gazette readers in PRINT and ONLINE

LETTERS - from Sonoma County Gazette readers in PRINT and ONLINE

Apr 4, 2019


Brenda Adelman

Thank you for all the years that you gave space in the Gazette for the information articles by Brenda Adelman. It’s wonderful that she has received recognition for her work and hard-won expertise through extensive, unpaid research. However, you are to be applauded and appreciated for creating the Gazette which has become such a font of information about our local communities and causes. I am so impressed these days with the diversity and quality of the writing. Bravo, Vesta. You have been the cause of building great communities in Sonoma County. Thank you for your tireless work to bring us all together. ~ HolLynn

Thank you for this excellent article by Carol Benfell re the outstanding, tireless advocate Brenda Adelman - advocate extraordinaire for the health of our water system - esp. the Russian River. Kudos to the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board for giving her this well-deserved award. ~Marsha Vas Dupre, Ph.D.

Veterans Village

I applaud the new veteran’s village in Santa Rosa (Home at Last, March 2019) that now houses 14 formerly homeless vets.  It’s an important step in the right direction but the current situation begs clarification on a number of critical issues.

First, given the severity of the homeless emergency crisis here in Sonoma County (3,000 people experiencing homelessness) the expenditure of $1.9 million to service 14 seems excessive and leaves the remaining 2,986 human beings out in the cold.  The cost of $133,000 per unit compares favorably with costs for standard housing here but falls flat given that far less expensive options are available to us. 

According to detailed analysis and formal proposals submitted to the new County Continuum of Care entity (Home Sonoma) by Homeless Action! it is in fact possible to bring respite to around 600 people for two years for a mere $5 million.  Such a plan includes safe parking for cars and rv’s as well as a variety of sanctioned tiny home village options with hygiene, security, trash collection, case management and wraparound services, a far cry from the unsanctioned, unmanaged encampments of old.  In addition, such villages can serve both as transitional housing as well as permanent supportive housing.   According to Scott Wagner, who has spearheaded such proposals for Homeless Action!, tiny homes with insulation, windows, heat, lights, lofts, fold-down desks and lockable doors can be built for around $6,000 each.  Central kitchens and bath houses service the community.

Meaanwhile, people living on the streets are still systematically subjected to police persecution and confiscation of their tents, sleeping bags, clothing and other possessions.  Their human rights and civil rights are trampled on a daily basis.  They have no legal place to sleep and suffer grave physical and emotional consequences as a result.  Our societal failure to ensure the well being of this vulnerable population cannot be overstated.

Many social scientists are pointing to an accelerating medical crisis among the homeless as a direct result of our shortcomings.  In the United States, the average life expectancy in the homeless population is 42-52 years compared with 78 years for the general population.   Because they are forced to live without basic hygienic needs and other life-sustaining health measures, serious infectious epidemics are breaking out among homeless people throughout California and elsewhere, including typhus, hepatitis A, MERSA, shigella, trench fever, pneumonia and syphilis.  Health providers say that because police constantly break up small encampments, people scatter, are hard to find and thus cannot be given appropriate medical help.  Not surprisingly, emotional disabilities run rampant and for the same reasons and cannot be properly administered to.   In comparison, a village context allows for centralized case management and quick response medical services for all residents. 

Given the shortage of funding and housing stock, it’s obvious that we need to get the biggest bang for the buck by taking care of the greatest numbers as quickly as possible.  .  Therefore, a $12 million windfall in new state funding for the homeless pales in the face of the fact that were we to try to accommodate the remaining 2,986 at the rate of $133,000 per unit, it will take $397,000,000 to create comparable housing for our homeless population!  There are 1,000 emergency shelter beds in the county but they’re available only for temporary short-term stays

As a consequence, when the Gazette quotes Supervisor Shirlee Zane as saying that housing projects such as the Santa Rosa Veterans Village “are more likely to keep people off the streets in the long term,” there seems to be a complete disconnect from reality.  How can we fail to recognize that until that happy day in the far distant future, nearly 3,000 people are already relegated to lives of perpetual misery for the long term and their prospects in this lifetime are very bleak indeed.  ~ Kathleen Finigan

Santa Rosa Plain Groundwater Sustainability Fee

The fee structure is crafted to be unfair, with the wine industry paying significantly less than their fair share, and rural residential well users significantly more. The claim rural homes use 0.5 a-f is nonsense; it equates to an average of 460 gallons per day. All winter we do no outdoor irrigation at all. De-minimus users should be exempt from a fee. We use but a tiny fraction of the rainwater that soaks into our land anyway. We do not adversely impact the aquifer/groundwater and we will NOT be provided any benefit by this new greedy government bureaucracy. It is the municipal and commercial groundwater use that is the issue, deep industrial scale wells, that need to be monitored as to what effect they are having on the groundwater levels and how they may be impacting nearby shallow wells. ~Mike Hilber

The Santa Rosa Plain Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) Board of Directors met yesterday to review the proposed fee schedules, a Registration Program, and a number of other issues. 

In a surprise turn of events, the two Supervisors on the Board suggested a change to the payment schedule that has been being discussed at public workshops and in recent Board and Advisory Committee meetings. 

A similar proposal had been made last year, but it stalled at that time. I sent summaries of the fee structure that had been proposed prior to this. 

Here are two links that may help you sort it out. The presentation at the recent March public workshop: Yesterday the City representatives expressed concern about their obligations and questioned the fairness to their constituents. 

As has been true in the Workshops, several domestic well users and a (very) few agricultural interests stated their objection to the metrics used to quantify their use (upon which the amounts were based). 

Mike Marini, speaking for his interests in the winery industry questioned the 3 years of expenses because the funds will primarily be spent on writing the Plan, not on implementation - which means monies will be spent on what he called administration. 

Staff reported on the turnout at the workshops being primarily “de minimus” (residential/limited use) water users who spoke passionately in opposition to paying for water use - giving a variety of reasons and positions. Supervisor Zane and Chair/Supervisor Hopkins offered an alternative. It was not detailed, but the gist was that the County might pay the portion that is proposed to be allocated to “de minimus” and small Ag operations. 

I was not clear if it would also offset large agricultural water users. The difference being that the larger Ag operations are often monitoring their water use so data is available for their use. The motion that carried included continuing to flesh out the currently proposed fee structure, and to further explore the way the County (as representatives of us in the unincorporated areas) might functionally and legally cover the costs that would be allocated to lesser water users in the unincorporated areas within the Santa Rosa Basin for the next Phase when the Plan is developed.

 Upcoming Meetings (current schedule): April 11, 2019SRP GSA meeting to review groundwater user fees Public Noticing June 13, 2019 SRP GSA Public Hearing for fee adoption and Approval of Resolution 2nd reading of Groundwater User Registration Program July Implement Groundwater User Registration Program August 1, 2019 Deadline to submit fee schedule to County Assessor .

Stay tuned, be involved.  ~ Rue Furch

Schellville Wildlife Preserve Under Siege

Great work by the author. The question unanswered: who is the buyer of the gas? Is it local utilities? There is a monetary reason the tanks are stored here and not another location. I do hope Rabbit and Zanefeel pressure from this article to act on our behalf and consider the notion that if there is that much money involved that money could be used to help develop safe and permanent storage facilities that reduce the risks to local residents including our wild friends and neighbors in the wildlife preserve. I will be looking to the Gazette to follow up on the good work of Mr. Martin. Thank you. ~Beef McWin

OpEd: Measure A: What Voters Actually Approved and What’s Needed

A big thank you to the author of this piece for a clear-headed analysis of the mess we call a ‘hospital’. It is important to remember that when one cannot achieve persuasion of another via brilliance of thought, one can perhaps achieve the desired result by substituting BS for brilliance. 

This is what is going on now with AAMG fogging the lenses of the hospital board of directors. The entire charade before us is a demonstration of how simple it is to befuddle a well-intentioned but under-informed citizenry into voting blindly with no real knowledge of what they are voting for or against. 

As a detachee, I encourage everyone who wants real medical coverage in the west county to drive this bad business out of town and start over with what originally was a great idea. ~Beef Mcwin


SB 38 California legislation to ban sale of flavored tobacco approved by Health Committee


ONLINE article

And what about the hundreds of thousands of adults that rely on those products to quit smoking. Really planning ahead aren’t you. If those kids don’t hav ecigs than your just going to line the pockets of big tobacco cause I know where they will go if they can’t get the safer alternative. I wish they had these products when I stupidly started smoking years ago. 

Please reconsider and don’t do this.


Paul Mcmullen




Just to be clear - it’s not a ban on e-cigs or even flavors that are not candy-sweetened. It’s only the candy/fruit flavors kids find appealing that are in this proposed ban. ~ Vesta


LOTS of  controversy around this proposed marathon...but because it’s being postponed until planners can obtain the permits they need, if you are interested in the details and the discussion, please visit our website:SEARCH Sonoma Coast Marathon @



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