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LETTERS - from Sonoma County Gazette Readers in PRINT and ONLINE - July 2019

Letters July 2019

Sonoma County Animal Services Director

Dear Sonoma County Gazette:

We, the undersigned, have recently learned about the elimination of the Sonoma County Animal Services Director position in the County’s FY2019-20 Budget. We are writing to encourage the Board of Supervisors to reconsider this detrimental decision and do what they can to “add-back” this position. And we’re hoping Sonoma County residents will ask them as well.

The Director position is simply too important to eliminate or divide up. As representatives in neighboring jurisdictions, we care about what happens to Sonoma County Animal Services (SCAS) -- as many of our animal welfare issues, policies, challenges and solutions require a regional approach now more than ever before.

We respectfully disagree with the Public Health’s conclusions that there will be “no client impact” and no “provider impact”. Without a director, decisions will be delayed, oversight of the animal services program will be a lower priority and partnerships with agencies will be hampered. Sonoma County seems to have a high turnover with its leadership at ACC and this won’t help! Constant turnover is hard for staff both for morale and to have consistent policies and direction.

It also takes time to build relationships with other organizations. Given the lessons learned with responding to disasters, we have built an important network of animal organizations and strengthened the communications among the humane societies and animal service agencies in Northern California. Regrettably with the elimination of the director from our network and communication channels, we are concerned the role Sonoma County Animal Services will have in future disasters will be compromised as well.

We hope the County will consider other options before the director position is permanently eliminated from the FY2019-20 budget.

Sonoma County Animal Services has made great strides in the past few years, and all of us want to see that progress continue with a director at its helm.


School Supply Drive

Dear friends at Sonoma County Gazette,

Thank you so much for running information on our school supply drive for the children of farm workers on your website.

We truly appreciate your assistance in getting the word out.


lauren Ornelas

Founder/Executive Director

Food Empowerment Project

To Honor and Grieve for the Gray Whales

Over 70 gray whales have washed up dead on the US Pacific shores this year, 13 of them in the San Francisco Bay Area. Most have died of starvation, a few by collision with ships.

My heart is breaking as we witness what may be the beginning of the end of this magnificent species that has shared the earth with us for as long as we have been human. Our world will be a poorer place without them.

My friends Doug von Koss, Francis and Judith Weller, Elizabeth Herron and others are planning a memorial service and grief ritual for the whales July 20 at Dillon Beach. The ritual will begin at 9:00 AM. All are welcome. If you are touched as we are by this tragedy we invite you to join us.

In solidarity with all beings,

Larry Robinson, Sebastopol

Fire Safety Tree Removal by PG&E

PGE threatening to take out a large number of redwoods and Douglas firs for “fire safety” as they improve the power lines here at Odd Fellows Park. I’m sure this is happening all around us.

PGE has made outrageous proouncements about what they intend to do. We’ve had 4 different companies—all sent by PGE—to mark areas and trees that need thinning—each with a different color. All eventually replaced by a new group that will come in and do the same thing.

Well, serendipitously, Bob and I went to an annual fundraising event Forest Unlimited whose executive director helped and guided a small group of Park members to intelligently oppose and ultimately defeat an effort to launch a timber harvest above our cabin back in 2002 - 2004. He and many of the group’s members also planted redwood seedlings up there to help stabilize the mountain.

Unbeknownst to us, They had a brilliant guest speaker, Brian Nowicki, [916] 201.6938 —California Climate Policy Director of the Center for Biological Diversity [] who gave a slide show presentation demonstrating that the trees did not spread [let alone start] the fires of Paradise and many others. He repeatedly made the point that the homes were what burned and the aerial photos showed that the trees were not the problem [since they didn’t burn] and that the fires were spread from house to house. Another slide showed a fire fueled by chapperal—which is a fire hazard. He also made the excellent point that if the trees are cut, it will result in the growth of grasses and chapperal which are very fire hazardous!

He said that PGE does not have the right to cut these trees unless the property owner give their permission [which people are unwittingly doing]. He advising us to just say “NO!” and asking to see any permits for cutting these trees. Push back!

We gave this same info to our Park Manager who will try to get him to address our Board of Directors if not the entire membership.

By the way, there was a surprise for our friend, the executive director, Rick Coates. There was a proclamation by our State representatives acknowledging the great work Rick has done over the years, 2 plaques, speeches, etc. Great night.

Thought you might want to know this, spread the word if possible.


Barbara St. Louis

Gambling & Cannabis Saving our Budget

Supervisor James Gore stated during the budget hearings that “gambling and cannabis are saving our budget this year.” He pointed to $11 million in revenue from the Graton Resort & Casino during the past seven years and $2.6 million in cannabis revenue during the past 3 years. On an annual basis, gambling brought in about $1.6 and cannabis about $900,000. This revenue accounts for 0.14 percent of the $1.78 billion budget. Some say that not only does Supervisor Gore seem to be math-challenged, but that he also fails to account for the cannabis-related murder investigations and other Sheriff’s Office expenses that gobble up any “surplus” cannabis revenue.

Bringing cannabis production out from the dark shadows, many residents are severely impacted by odor/air quality, scenic corridor horror, traffic, water/aquifer drawdown concerns, environmental concerns, violence concerns, and neighborhood incompatibility. Add to this, the potential increments of greenhouses, processing barns, and ruined visual ridge lines. These industrial grows belong inside monitored industrial areas - not in any neighborhood.

Marsha Vas Dupre, Ph.D.

Former Santa Rosa City Council Vice Mayor, SRJC Trustee

There’s nothing in here about the increase in law enforcement costs and gang-related issues in Rohnert Park - as well as increased traffic, etc. as a result of the gambling casino. Do you want to add this information so it’s a more balanced and accurate response to Gore’s comment? BOTH activities have increased expenses. Have the expenses outweighed the income? ~ Vesta

Stopping Homeless Seeking Shelter

“The planning department is currently enforcing codes that prevent 65% of our local homeless population (1882 people, according to the HUD 2017 point in time survey) from finding shelter in buildings not designed for that purpose.

When asked why they’re denying these people their human need to sleep somewhere, they cite a lack of authority to circumvent building codes enforced at the state level.

But, governor Gavin Newsome declared a state of emergency in Sonoma County on Feb 21st as a result of the floods. State level emergency declarations exist to empower local officials to circumvent state level codes. The majority of our county’s unsheltered population, 1251 people according to HUD, are severely mentally ill. These people need a safe place to sleep much more than we need to enforce building codes.

The only reason for code enforcement officials in Sonoma County to continue to deny our unsheltered population the right to shelter themselves in city and/or county owned buildings is that they either don’t know about these declarations or they’re choosing to ignore them.

How effectively can we possibly be planning if we’re unaware of the state recognized emergency that affects the people we’re planning to serve?

The governor’s declaration coincides very neatly with the needs recognized in the City of Santa Rosa’s recently continued declaration of homeless emergency, as well as the Sonoma County wide declaration of homeless emergency, which local officials charged with the enforcement of codes couldn’t possibly be unaware of. The only possibility that leaves is that this department is planning to ignore the state of emergency created by their inaction. That ignorance is the emergency that needs solving. Ignoring the needs of the community you serve means inflicting damage on that community. We have to stop acting like the homeless emergency just fell out of the sky and start acknowledging that our environment, the good and the bad, is something that we create. Ignoring the needs of our citizens is creating an emergency. We can’t just keep declaring it. It’s time to start fixing it. We’re out of excuses. It’s time to use city and county buildings to shelter the people who need it.”

George Uberti

Immigrant Stories Column

Dear Mr. Kerosky,

While I enjoyed the SCG for a period of time, I finally dropped my subscription, your article being one too many that displays a lack of knowledge of policy and law, and several statements that are simply false. One glaring example you wrote in the June Issue:

“This may be changing now with the Trump Administration’s broad and aggressive anti-immigrant agenda.” President Trump is NOT anti-immigration, he echoes President Clinton and Obama (see below).

While I am an Independent, and see fault on both sides, the current philosophy by Miss Pelosi seems to be that of a Contrarian. Whatever the President might utter, Pelosi will say the opposite, which is really childish and hurting all of America.

Please read the excerpts from our recent past below, which you conveniently either ignore, or perhaps you did not do your homework.

Our Country has always allowed Immigration, but as of now we have no true border. Your lack of respect or understanding of the law of our land is sad indeed.

Another reason I am no longer a Democrat are Cities like San Francisco, who harbor murderers and refuse to work with ICE who are trying to protect our citizens.

I doubt that you will have much time for the truth, individuals who are over the top liberal such as you are simply not to be bothered with the inconvenient truth.

Best of luck. Our country needs luck with fictional writers such as yourself.

Larry Harmacinski, El Segundo

1995 - Bill Clinton: “All Americans, not only in the States most heavily affected but in every place in this country, are rightly disturbed by the large numbers of illegal aliens entering our country. The jobs they hold might otherwise be held by citizens or legal immigrants. The public service they use impose burdens on our taxpayers. That’s why our administration has moved aggressively to secure our borders more by hiring a record number of new border guards, by deporting twice as many criminal aliens as ever before, by cracking down on illegal hiring, by barring welfare benefits to illegal aliens. In the budget I will present to you, we will try to do more to speed the deportation of illegal aliens who are arrested for crimes, to better identify illegal aliens in the workplace as recommended by the commission headed by former Congresswoman Barbara Jordan. We are a nation of immigrants. But we are also a nation of laws. It is wrong and ultimately self-defeating for a nation of immigrants to permit the kind of abuse of our immigration laws we have seen in recent years, and we must do more to stop it.”

2005 - Barack Obama: “We simply cannot allow people to pour into the United States undetected, undocumented, unchecked, and circumventing the line of people who are waiting patiently, diligently, and lawfully to become immigrants in this country.”

Coast Citizens Protesting Detachment! from Palm Drive Health Care District

There has been an ongoing effort to detach Bodega Bay from the Palm Drive Health Care District (PDHCD). This effort has resulted in much misinformation, confusion and many questions here in Bodega Bay The Palm Drive Health Care District (PDHCD). cannot fund future services such as home care, mental health treatment and mobile telemedicine for our Bodega Bay community if we detach from the district.

There is more to be gained by NOT detaching from the Palm Drive Health Care District than there is by detaching. Other localities may also be pressured to detach from PDHCD so there are facts we all in West County need to know.

f Bodega Bay detaches from the PDHCD, people in the district will lose a vote in the health care district. They will have no vote in any services that could be offered in the future and no access to the services.

If we detach, we will still have to pay about $106 of the $155 you pay now in District taxes until any debt is retired. That leaves $49.00/year per household or $4.00/month that you are saving by detaching (about a cup of coffee at your favorite coffee house).

To detach means that we will continue to be taxed but without any representation or vote in the District.

If Bodega Bay detaches, people will lose access to any future services that the health care district may offer to Bodega Bay. For example, the PDHCD had planned on opening a health screening clinic and drug abuse services when the detachment effort started.

The detachment leaders unceremoniously told the District they were no longer interested in these services – speaking for all of Bodega Bay residents. The population of West County is getting older and will need more, not less, medical care options in the future. Detaching also denies those who are least able to pay from future services in Bodega Bay. If we detach, any new services that may be offered by the PDHCD will not be available to Bodega Bay. The PDHCD still wants to provide services to Bodega Bay but it will not be able to if the detachment is approved because PDHCD cannot spend public funds on those areas that are not within the District.

If you wish to share your sentiments opposing the detachment from the health care district with the county agency that determines the size of the health care district, you need to submit a “Written Protest Form” and submit it to the Committee to Stop Detachment by July 1st. Time is short! If you are a registered voter or a land owner in Bodega Bay, please contact for a protest form.

Look to the future and support the effort to stop detachment!!

Committee to Stop Detachment

Perry Marker

PO Box 787

Bodega Bay CA

Corporate Prisons

We have more people in prison than any other country in the world. In order to keep corporate prisons with a full “labor force”, police in certain areas have been known to go looking for people to arrest. These corporate prisons have deals which reward departments for arrests. They do this because it is cheaper to pay prisoners $1 an hour than pay minimum wage, or a prevailing wage, or a living wage to a non-prisoner, particularly if they are unionized. Additionally, they don’t need to provide health insurance or worry about safety conditions, because the prisons do that. This is wrong.

People blame the shrinking job market on trade deals and automation, and yes, those are definitely contributing factors, but people don’t usually think about how many decent jobs have gone to corporate prisons at exploitative wages. Corporate prisons are wrong, on so many levels. They need to be outlawed as part of a comprehensive criminal justice reform that reforms prisons, police departments, the cash bail system, the court system and the war on drugs needs to be looked at as a health issue rather than a criminal issue.

Jason Kishineff

American Canyon

Democratic Congressional candidate

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