LETTERS - from Sonoma County Gazette readers in PRINT and ONLINE - December 2020
Gratitudes, indeed! First, I want to thank Vesta Copestakes for her 20 years of invaluable, compassionate, selfless service in providing Sonoma County with this amazing community resource in the Gazette newspaper.
Also, many thanks to Elaine B. Holtz for her commitment, energy, and kindness in writing her Santa Rosa column in this paper, and broadcasting on KBBF. Leslie Graves is a wonderful community organizer and event promoter, and I know she'll be a great columnist. I realized that in the nearly 10 years I've lived in Sonoma County, most of the organizations, farms, and local small businesses that I've come to know and love, are those I learned about through the Gazette. I consistently turn to this publication for accurate and factual information, whether about elections, COVID-19, climate change, and local events that may be of interest - all the more amazing that it's free!
I read your November issue, filled with gratitude for people like Evan Wiig, whose front-page article went far in setting the record straight on the benefits of Measure P, which thankfully passed (protesting for social justice throughout these last few months, I'm also grateful for the tireless organizing work of Love & Light, who did so much to get this measure passed and improve Sonoma County police oversight).
Welcome to you, Amie. I'm sure Vesta would not have entrusted handing over her labor of love, unless she believed you were the best candidate for the job. Best of luck to you, and I look forward to many more years of helpful resources for, and from, our incredibly diverse community in Sonoma County!
~ Irene Barnard — Santa Rosa
We should lose together
Dear Toni, WSCUHSD School Board Members, et al, I first would like to say that it is heartbreaking that things have come to the point that consolidation is the only viable option for solving the district’s financial problems. With that being said, I would like to lay out what I feel is a fair plan for all of those involved moving forward. I mentioned this when I spoke at the Town Hall meeting last night, but I want to elaborate.
There is no doubt that this will be a devastating loss for the community affected, leading to more feelings of resentment. It does not feel as though we are one West County community coming together to solve the problem, but an us vs. them situation where one side will “win” and one side will “lose.”
I would like to propose that we all lose together.
This is truly a no win situation all the way around. I think that Analy, El Molino and Laguna should cease to exist as we all know them to be. Let us all grieve the loss together. From the ashes we can work together to rise as one united community where there are no winners or losers.
Form a committee, guided by adults, that is mostly composed of student representatives from all of the sites, to reinvent what they want their school to be. Let them work together to choose a new identity. This identity should include a new name, colors, mascots, fight songs and all other things that have been exclusive to one school or another. Let them decide what they want the culture of their school to be like. They are the ones who will live in the culture, so they should actively decide what that will be like.
While all of the adults are fighting over this or that, it is the students who have to live with our decisions. It is their lives who are directly affected. They would then have a once in a lifetime chance to change the direction of the future of the West County community. They can unite the West County in a way that the adults can not. They can create an environment they are proud of, want to be a part of, and want to make better. I have faith that our students will create an outstanding, exemplary blend of our currently divided community.
Of course the location will be another problem. I am not going to argue the merits of one site over the other except to say that I feel El Molino should be the site chosen. I don’t say that because I have been there for almost 30 years. I say that because it is the location that is most centrally located within the district boundaries. It is the most fair choice for all of the students and how far they will travel. To address the issue of interdistrict transfers, I say that the students in our boundaries come first. If the interdistrict transfers want to be a part of our amazing educational community, they can drive for a few more minutes.
I feel that all students should be on one campus, including the Laguna students. Our school could offer the continuation/ alternative program as a pathway or school within a school. Students will have the same identity and benefits that everyone else gets to have. I also think the district offices should be located at the same location too. We should all be in this together, saving the most money possible.