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Sonoma County Gazette
Savory Sonoma by Stephanie Hiller

It’s About Time!


Feb 3, 2017
by Stephanie Hiller


It’s exhilarating to see the photos of crowds at the second annual Women’s March all over the country, dotted with pink pussy hats and bearing strong womanly statements addressing the so many issues we are facing today. Thousands upon thousands of women stepping up to share their truth, and It’s About Time!

Here in Sonoma we had several thousand women and men of all ages, including many, many enthusiastic millennials. Organized by a core group of young women including Jen Palladini, Sarah Caroll and Angela Ryan, with Amy Gallagher at the helm for the second year in a row, supported by elders Beth Hadley, Chair of the Sonoma Democratic ClubBarbara Heiman, and yours truly, the March featured eight diverse and articulate speakers, includingDmitra Smith of the Human Rights Commission, Mayor Madolyn AgrimontiDenia CandellaChildren’s Resource Center; Supervisor Susan Gorin; Congregational Pastor Curran ReichartBetzy Chavez, Family Resource Center; high school senior Alyssa SchimmAbi Huff of Stinging Nettle and Celeste Winders, advocate.

Nearly a hundred women signed up to stay connected and keep on Marching On to the creation of a better world, a world where women are honored and children grow up safe and free. Write to me if you’d like to be included.

It’s time, for a corrupt patriarchy to step aside and let the women rule. In the great Sanskrit text, the Mahabharata, the many armed goddess Durga takes on a demon almost as big and terrible as the demon we now face, a greedy, deceitful, disgusting monster gobbling up the planet as fast as he can, and may he choke on his gluttony before the food is all gone. Durga won that battle, and we must win ours.

The challenges are many. This week the New York Times reports that 100 million dead trees in the high Sierra could fuel fires much worse than anything we have seen so far. Now that’s apocalyptic.

Maybe we should get Doug Bosco out there with his chain saw, and use that lumber to rebuild our county. Nowthat would be a public-spirited enterprise such as Rebuild North Bay claims to be.

Disasters call for the rise of our highest nature, and not for deceitful venture capitalists, salivating all the way to the bank.

When will we humans learn? The Old Testament Yahweh sent seven plagues against the Pharaoh who hardened his heart again and again rather than let the people go. Have we had enough warnings yet?

When the harvest falls short, the mothers divide the grain to feed every member of the family however much she can. These are difficult times, and we might as well face it and discover how to build real community and work together to tackle our problems. Here in Sonoma the lack of affordable housing glares at us from every street corner. On West Napa, the roar of the traffic in the morning hours is a constant reminder that people can’t afford to live where they work, driving driving driving, and spewing carbon fumes into the atmosphere. In a two-acre vacant lot on Broadway we have a proposed affordable housing project that has been approved by the city’s Planning Commission and partially funded by the County but the neighbors don’t want it there and have appealed. The City Council will vote on the appeal on January 29th. Supporters argue that the developer, SAHA Homes, has already made many adjustments to make the project more acceptable. Even then, the neighbors want a complete Environmental Impact Report, further delaying the construction of some 40 attractive, reasonably priced apartments so desperately needed in this community.

Nobody wants to see our quiet country town change its shape, but it already has, and all those busy restaurants, hotels and wineries that keep the tourist industry popping need workers, and so will the ten-year post-fire rebuilding project. The population is growing, and certainly not from immigrants, at least at the moment. We’re all going to have to share.

Sad to see and worrisome is the $2 million deficit at the Sonoma Schools with staff cuts to follow this July. The shortfall is allegedly due, at least in part, to the transfer of the sizeable costs of Special Education from the County to the cities some years ago. But whatever the cause, it’s a sign of the times. When empires continue to increase their military budgets to maintain their preeminence in a world rapidly learning to hate them, they are approaching their decline.

But I don’t need to live in an empire. Do you? Make America kind again, said a sign at the March.





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