Letters to the editor: June 2021

The great charade

Dear Editor,

Soon, we will arrive at the great patriotic day in July, with hopefully a sigh of relief.

But I have news for the mayors, parade organizers, country singers, veterans, political candidates, and chamber of commerce gurus who will once again be crowing loudly about “our democracy.”

Every real democracy passes out land to families, publishes and sticks to a written law, and requires civic and science education of the youth. Democracy must have an independent judiciary, term limits and return limits, and supremacy of the legislative branch.

Democracy curbs luxury, bans special privileges for the rich, and focuses heavily on public health. Democracy protects local decision-making power, uses impeachment to rein-in would-be dictators, and requires citizen oversight of government.

Oh, and yes, democracy establishes broad voting rights among the people and insists on equal justice for all.

In actual fact, we are doing exceedingly poorly on virtually everything except praising ourselves.


Kimball Shinkoskey

Woods Cross, Utah (Formerly of Solano County)

Rhi Alysander letter


I was rather horrified by some of the things I read in Rhi Alysander’s piece in the May issue of the Sonoma County Gazette. First there was the bigotry exhibited by members of the Active 20-30 club. I guess I thought that people in Sonoma County were very tolerant of gender differences and different orientations because I belong to a very gay friendly church. (Our pastor is a gay man who got married to his husband in our church and there are many gay and transgender members, so I live in this tolerant bubble.) Definitely she was not accepted by the women in the club who looked down upon her and seemed to have indulged in victim blaming.

Secondly, there was the reputation of Dominic Foppoli. The club members knew his reputation as a person who exhibited predatory behavior, but it seems that no one spoke to him about his behavior or held him accountable. He should have been urged to leave the club. The fact that club members felt compelled to warn newcomers of his behavior was a sure sign that he should have been kicked out of the club.

I find the ignorance, intolerance and blind decisions made by people in the club and also people who should have known better in Windsor City government to be very disappointing. The hammer should have come down with the first incident that was reported in an email. It isn’t as if people did not know his reputation.

For too long, entitled men have been getting away with grievous treatment of women. This should be stopped before it gets too far. There were a lot of failings revealed in this case. I am very disappointed that this so-called liberal county failed so miserably in this case.

Linda Robinett

Sebastopol, CA

Unsustainable and Unscientific Economic Development


Sonoma County is pushing a new marijuana ordinance that would blanket our lands with unsightly hoop houses, strain our already depleted water resources and ignore environmental laws, all in a panic to pay for a bloated bureaucracy.

Most marijuana jobs are low skilled: trimming, sorting, hauling product and water. One of the many reasons Napa has kept this new “industry” out is because the vineyards already had problems with labor and housing shortages.

In February 2020 unemployment was at 2.8% in Sonoma County, then the virus hit. We are on track to get back to full employment, so there’s no urgency for adding thousands of low skilled jobs here during a housing crisis. Where will all this new labor live? Might this impact our homeless crisis? What about the impact on our water resources?

This ordinance does not promote smart nor sustainable economic development. Instead, why not partner with a leading scientific laboratory to create a THC and CBD research institute? Sonoma could be a leader in establishing the scientifically proven benefits, or harms, of these new and unregulated drug products. These higher skilled and better paying jobs would also shed light on this murky industry. Follow the science!

Moira Jacobs

Santa Rosa

Water, Water! How precious!

Dear Editor:

Please, can we all help to be so aware and conserve our very precious water.

Put a drip system on your garden/it helps to save water.

Kids, relearn and shorten those showers.

Collet shower water in buckets and put on garden

Folks who have grass, pls consider the rebate the City offers and TAKE yours out!! We need that precious water for other things.

Folks who can, lets collect what precious water we may get and let it collect in rain barrels or the like and save it

Those of you who have tall dangerous grasses as far as fire hazzard goes, pls cut those down for all our sakes. It takes water to put fires out.

Think what this planet would be like with little or no water.

We would all have to relearn how to eat, how to grown food, how to survive.

Please, when you think of smelling the beautiful roses, think what makes them that way.

We all need to band together and conserve water NOW!

Joy Bennett

Sonoma, Cal

Fair representation


Thank you for printing several letters criticizing the current Sonoma County and City of Santa Rosa love affair with marijuana. Today, because of massive citizen pressure and input and the involvement of a lawfirm, the County Board of Supervisors were forced to change course on their dangerous cannabis policies.


Santa Rosa

The willingness of most of your readers to go along!

Dear Editor:

I stopped reading your really lovely paper during the pandemic because I found it too focused on one viewpoint. I had always enjoyed many articles but found your readers not interested in a discussion , but their own viewpoint. Only through different ways of solving differences, can we make progress. Do you really believe that offering big lottery rewards will encourage people to get the shots? It will for the greedy. The so-called experts have failed to convince some of us that their science matters - it changes daily! To make it a requirement to gain employment, shop or whatever, borders on a deletion of democracy.

I am truly of an advanced age, having witnessed much in my lifetime, but I find these times especially troubling - too much regulation over our lives, too much complaisently on the part of the citizens to go along with whatever is required of them and to believe whatever falsehood is uttered. We are and have been a nation welcoming whomever appreciates the special freedoms we offer, and altho' we have faltered at times, we are not a racist country. The present attempt to turn us into one is bound to fail if enough of us care.

It is interesting that 1984 and Animal Farm are so much in demand, having been penned so long ago!

Barbara Cuneo

Windsor, Ca

Can one letter cover more than one topic?

Dear Editor:

I first want to say “What?!?” to Chris Brokate’s leaving. I’m glad you let us know. I always wanted to join the group, but my deteriorating back would never let me. Realizing he is leaving seems to put the final realization out there that I’ll never get to the job that is so needed. BUT - I can contribute and urge everyone else to do so. Go to russianriverkeeper.org to find out how. Thank you Mr. Brokate for making this a better place and good-bye and good luck.

Secondly, I want to thank Will Shonbrun for his opinion piece on the homeless. His phrase “outcasts in their own land” is sadly appropriate. It reminded me of a meeting I went to last Saturday, June 5, with our JC neighborhood group, Council member Victoria Fleming, City of Santa Rosa representatives, and more. They are working on the long-range plan to begin in 2023. When I let that settle in, I realized that the problems and hopes they had us list in a bonding exercise would not be published until that date and then tackled through the years well beyond. But what about now? We have rampant crime, the unserved mentally ill roaming our streets, and about 3,000 homeless people (including children) in our city. We need creative, think-outside-the-box solutions that can be implemented NOW. Waiting for 3-5-7 years is an insult to us all.

And thirdly, please take note of the Open Letter to “Sonoma County’s Educational Leaders” by Rocio Mondragón Reyes. Two things come to mind: can anyone deny that the family is important for a child’s success? And have you noticed how many young people are involved in violent crime in our city and county? What is happening with our young people (especially, if you read the Press Democrat reports, our Hispanic youth, ages 19-23)? As Mr. Reyes points out, if the parents don’t know their rights and powers, how can they raise children to be responsible, powerful adults in our society?

Mr. Reyes goes on to help us realize that now, today, we must consider “the ways in which we have contributed to the empowerment and disenfranchisement of parents.” If parents everywhere don’t know how to get help through the schools and local non-profits in raising their children in this confusing world, how can they be expected to raise children who will respect others and succeed? We need communication to all families, in all school districts in Sonoma County, of the parents’ and students’ rights to express themselves with hopes and questions of how to get to their dreams.

For both issues brought up by Mr. Shonbrun and Mr. Reyes, we need to take action now, not later. Please read them.

Kay Ashbrook

Santa Rosa, CA

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