Letters to the Editor
Yes on Measure AA
Two hundred years ago, San Francisco Bay was much larger and cleaner than it is today. In the ensuing years, 90 percent of its marshes, which help keep the Bay clean and provide shelter and food for fish and birds, were filled in for buildings and farms. Looking ahead, a rising sea level will pose huge challenges for the people of the Bay Area.
Many organizations have been working hard in recent years to restore and preserve the Bay. One notable project has been at the nearby Sonoma Baylands where 1,000 acres of former marsh are being restored after the dyke along the Bay was breached last October.
This is an example of a project which Measure AA, on the upcoming June 7 ballot, will fund. This measure has been sponsored by the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority (sfbayrestore.org). It has pulled together all nine Bay Area counties to work together to save our iconic Bay. It would impose a modest annual $12 parcel tax in these counties for 20 years, a tax that will raise $500 million for projects which will improve the Bay for people and wildlife. The funds will:
o Reduce trash, pollution and harmful toxins in the Bay
o Improve water quality
o Restore habitat for fish, birds and wildlife
o Protect communities from floods
o Increase shoreline public access
Never before have the people of the Bay Area had such an opportunity to make such a difference in our own community. If we approve it, we will have committed ourselves to protecting the Bay and the region's economy.
As the Sonoma Baylands project, opened to the public on May 15, demonstrates, there are organizations poised to do more work on the North Bay shoreline. What's lacking is the funding. Measure AA fills that gap.
We urge you to vote for Measure AA. You can learn more about it, including its text and its supporters on the website, www.yesonaaforthebay.com.
Pat and Ted Eliot
We need relief from vacation rentals
What is it about R1 zones that some county leaders, and/or we, do not understand?
The planning department appears to recognize that the citizens in our rural neighborhoods need some relief from the foreign invasion of the rabid vacation rental/tourist industry. We and our neighbors are falling victim for the profit of others.
As we become an alcohol dispensing and hotel zone we are losing our legal right to the “peaceful enjoyment of our homes.”
Visiting drivers, unfamiliar to our area, create a danger on our highway and are breaking down our side streets, parking strange cars daily, and though some are respectful, many others are not; leaving flood lights on all night, partying into the wee hours, walking the neighborhood and peering into our yards, with full glasses of wine and dogs. And, as you know, our last piece of community, our revered playing field, is going to be an off-leash dog park for strangers. Wine tasters and vacation renters are to be invited on the World Wide Web.
Recently, four of our county supervisors voted not to impose a 10 o'clock curfew on vacation renters in our town. These supervisors do not even represent our district. This is unacceptable.
In our town we may not, do not, and would not, disturb our neighbors after 10 o'clock. Every and all concessions are made for visitors, with no protection for us.
These commercial businesses in our R1, rural residential neighborhood are allowed so people with money can make more money and, of course, kick some down to the County, and nothing, ever, comes back to us.
Ron and judy Williams
In support of Susan Gorin
I have worked with Supervisor Susan Gorin during the length of her three-and-a-half-year term with Sonoma County in District 1. As a board member of a community group in Kenwood, the Valley of the Moon Alliance, whose mission is to preserve rural character and protect our agricultural heritage, we do not always fall on the same side of every issue. However, I have always found her to have an open door to our group. She seeks our input and is respectful of our interests.
I fully support her re-election and would be very concerned to see her tenure interrupted by an opponent who desires the office more than she wishes to serve the county. It seems that the campaign is falling to the same tactics that we are experiencing at the national level. The same might be said in District 5, where experience in office is being 'trumped' by looking to inexperienced newcomers.
Be careful what you wish for!
I want to go on record as endorsing Susan Gorin for First District Supervisor. Susan brings excellent credentials and experience to this position, having served on the Santa Rosa School Board, Board of Public Utilities, Planning Commission and the Santa Rosa City Council. Since being elected First District Supervisor, Susan has exhibited leadership and honesty in all her dealings with the public.
What sets Susan apart from the usual politician is her accessibility, responsiveness and straight forward manner. In my dealings with her I found her to be up front, collaborative and most of all not afraid to tackle difficult issues.
What I like most about Susan is her honest approach to problems and the fact that she will put the people first and herself second. Too many times our leaders tell us what we want to hear and never see the big picture or make the hard decision for the greater good. Susan has proven that she is the right person to lead us for the next four years.
What do local politics mean for the little guy? I'll tell you what it means to me. I'm not a political person and don't really follow the political scene. I think of myself as a regular person, going about their busy life and doing the best they can. I depend on the people we elect and the system to take care of what needs taking care of. I'll refer to myself as the little guy - probably like a lot of you reading this letter.
I have been hearing a lot about the local supervisor race and feel compelled to share my story. It's about the little guy. It's about how Susan Gorin and her office went above and beyond for me and my business, Republic of Thrift. When Susan Gorin was able to secure funds for the Highway 12 improvement project, I was pretty aggressive with her and her office. I hammered them with questions all of the time about the bridge work, crosswalks, my parking lot, public parking, etc. I still do. They are always polite and professional, always answering my questions and helping me understand the process. When PG&E came along and shut down my business for six weeks for gas line relocation, Susan Gorin was there for me. She and her staff helped us navigate the process and fought for us. When PG&E tried to renege on their compensation agreement, Susan Gorin met with them personally and demanded that they honor their deal. This enabled me to keep five employees on payroll - good local people that would have been laid off. This enabled me to keep my nonprofit thrift store afloat. This enabled me to still pay out donations to the 11 public schools that we support. I would have been put out of business without her help. That matters. It matters to our local economy, it matters to the public schools and it matters to me.
Susan Gorin listened, acted and fought for me. I have no political clout. I'm not involved. I'm not making campaign donations or throwing fancy parties. Instead, it's about very practical and regular life stuff. I KNOW Supervisor Gorin. She or her staff attend monthly Springs business meetings with me. I can call and email her directly and she personally replies. I can contact her staff by cell or email and they reply immediately. I have never had that experience with anyone in politics before. That means something to me…the little guy.
In support of Gina Cuclis
I'm the immediate past president of nine years of the Sonoma Developmental Center's Parent Hospital Association. My son lived at SDC until he passed away in 2011. For several years I've been impressed with First District supervisor candidate Gina Cuclis' advocacy on behalf of SDC residents and employees.
Unlike the current First District supervisor, Gina didn't wait to get elected into an office with a six-figure salary to get involved. A few years ago when the debate over the future of developmental centers was heating up in Sacramento, Gina got the Sonoma City Council to go on record asking the State to keep SDC open, and she and I organized a rally in Sonoma to demonstrate community support for SDC.
Furthermore, Gina has always had her priorities straight. When others organizing to save SDC were most concerned about the land, Gina was always most concerned about the vulnerable people who lived there.
I trust Gina to be the best choice to lead the community in designing SDC's future while protecting its residents. She's lived 30 years in Sonoma Valley and at one time around the corner from SDC. Under her leadership, a planning process will be transparent and inclusive. Please vote for Gina Cuclis for First District supervisor.
Support Kenwood School Parcel Tax
I'm a new parent of Kenwood Elementary School. This is a great small town school. Our daughter has attended other schools in Sonoma County, but for various reasons they were not a fit for her. When my husband and I toured Kenwood School we immediately knew we were making the right choice for her. Bob Bales the principal, all the teachers and support staff are welcoming to us, but most of all to our daughter. What makes Kenwood Elementary so special? For us it is the small class size, aides in the classrooms, and the programs that are being offered. There are schools in our county that don't offer some of the programs that we have because of the budget cuts. I can go on and on why our school is fabulous, but I know a lot of you already know that.
The Kenwood and Oakmont communities will be voting for a parcel tax. The campaign is called Friends of Kenwood School. This campaign will be a flat rate of $52/year. This will provide critical funding for small class sizes, teachers aides and educational enrichment programs. Look for the ballot to be mailed out early August 2016. The Kenwood community has helped out our school on this Measure in the past and I hope you will consider doing it again.
This will provide a wise investment in our children's future.
Chair, Kenwood Parcel Tax Committee