Editorial: CSEC Plaza policy is misguided

The Sonoma Plaza is considered by many to be hallowed ground, consecrated in the minds of many citizens by the generations of residents and visitors who have found peace and pleasure in its leafy eight acres, never mind that no one is known to be buried there and no ecclesiastical authority has ever, to anyone’s knowledge, bestowed an official blessing.


Editorial: Stage II water crisis

On Monday, the Sonoma City Council officially adopted the Stage II, mandatory water conservation measures dictated by the Water Resources Control Board’s July 15 emergency regulation.


Editorial: Water bond is just a step

There is no reliable evidence that Mark Twain ever said it, but the over-used cliché attributed to him has become ever more relevant since Twain graced California in the 1860s. “Whiskey is for drinking, water is for fighting,” and, it should be added, The Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, is the perennial battleground.


Editorial: Thank you, Robin

Because he was far more than simply a brilliantly funny man, because he was also a gifted actor, intelligent, compassionate, unpretentious and kind, the loss of Robin Williams has created an almost incomprehensible hole in our cultural universe.

Editorial: The legacy of Deets Winslow

Competitive wrestling is not one of life’s glamor sports. It requires a high pain threshold, the ability to repeatedly lose (and sometimes gain) weight at will, and to spend a great deal of time on one’s knees. And wrestling teams seldom fill stadiums.

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Editorial: Shedding light on Fryer Creek

Examine any watershed in urban, suburban or even much of rural America, look at the topographical arrangement of streambeds, the channels carved by flowing water and the hand of gravity, and what you don’t see, hiding in plain sight, is plumbing.


Editorial: Heal, don’t punish, Sonoma Developmental Center

A close reading of the 207-page “Statement of Deficiencies” at Sonoma Developmental Center, released July 25 by the California Department of Public Health, leads to a variety of disturbing conclusions, by no means all of them about the quality of care at SDC. Those findings are of critical importance because they could lead to the loss of $2.5 million a month in Medi-Cal funding for the beleaguered facility.


Editorial: Lois Wolk’s water war

State Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, has been waging what at times seems like a one-woman campaign to point California in the direction of an ecologically sensible, economically affordable and politically possible water bond for inclusion on the November ballot.


Editorial: A wine bridge to Cuba

When you stand on the shore of South Beach, on the edge of Key West, and look across the Straits of Florida, it’s not hard to imagine you can see over the intervening 110 miles of open water to the looming Castle of the Three Kings at the mouth of Havana harbor. It’s 50 miles closer than Miami, but viewed through a temporal lens it is more accurately 54 years away.


Editorial: Public pool is not a threat to water supply

The Sonoma Valley is the only area in Sonoma County without a single public swimming pool, a deficiency that has weighed on the hearts, minds and purse strings of Valley residents since the high school pool was plowed under nearly a decade ago.


Editorial: Water officials want to light a fire

A headline in Britain’s Telegraph newspaper exclaims, “California takes drastic action to tackle worst drought in recent history.” News “anchors” all over Bay Area TV announce breathlessly, “Stiff new fines for water wasters.” Would that it were all true. Here’s what the state’s Water Resources Control Board announced on Tuesday: Californians will no longer be… Continue Reading >>


Water reform – running out of time

At one time, as recently as the 1990s, there were well over 1 million acres of irrigated cotton in California, largely fed by cheap water contracts through the federal Central Valley Project and the State Water Project. Each of those countless acres of cotton consumed something on the order of three feet of water, or more, per acre of cotton a year – well over 3 million acre feet, which is close to 1 trillion gallons a year. Cotton in California was a very thirsty crop.


Gun culture is hard to change

With the announcement by District Attorney Jill Ravitch that criminal charges will not be brought against Sheriff’s Deputy Eric Gelhaus, the tragedy of Andy Lopez returns to haunt us anew.


SDC update

There is good news, bad news and no news concerning the fate of the Sonoma Developmental Center and the remaining 439 residents of the bucolic, 1,000-acre Glen Ellen campus now in the center of a policy debate over how, where and when to move the majority into small, mainstreamed community facilities.


Transcendence – Just be there

Buried in the lyrics of “Being Alive,” Stephen Sondheim’s classic from the Broadway musical “Company,” is the encrypted password to the creative riddle of the Transcendence Theatre Company, which opened its 2014 season at Jack London State Historic Park – the third in its young and meteoric life – last Friday.


In defense of NASCAR

Over the years, some readers have expressed opinions ranging from baffled confusion to undisguised contempt over the space, time and attention devoted in this newspaper to coverage of motorsport activities at Sonoma Raceway, which lies just south of our fair city, on the northern shore of San Pablo Bay, and which only became unclogged with NASCAR weekend traffic late on Sunday.


A better water bill

For the past year – and beyond – public dialogue in the Delta has been drowning in a flood of competing claims, studies, plans, proposals and promises for resolving California’s increasingly desperate water problems, with much of the hope hinging on a horrendously expensive, scientifically suspect document called the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, or just BDCP.

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A real dog park priority

This may be how wars start. Over dogs. The great irony, of course, is that most of us profess to love our canine companions, and many of us would agree there aren’t enough places in this increasingly compacted world to let them run free. Or even, it seems, on a leash. And so it comes… Continue Reading >>

Drake's Bay oysters. Internet photo

One last Lunny long shot

Amazingly, you can still buy Drake’s Bay oysters. That’s because the oyster war continues to unfold on the Pt. Reyes Peninsula, where Kevin and Nancy Lunny – with family roots deep in Sonoma – have been driven to the brink in their stubborn efforts to continue farming shellfish. The Lunnys are still in business, but… Continue Reading >>


We hope to hear from you soon

From time to time we find it useful to explain to our readers the protocols required to have their submissions appear in print. But before reviewing the rules, let’s talk about the reality of the relationship between this newspaper and those who read it, many of whom have been doing so for decades. In a… Continue Reading >>


Top Two not real reform

If the electoral landscape looks a little sparse these days – gaps in the platform foliage, a decline in campaign diversity, the expansion of party monocultures – that could because of the incremental advance of political climate change. Compared to the campaign complexity of the 1970s and ’80s – when Sonoma County ballots were crowded… Continue Reading >>


The importance of a pool

Communities, like people, have a hierarchy of needs. Anyone with a psychology degree will remember Abraham Maslow’s famous hierarchy for psychological health, starting with physiological needs – food, water, shelter, sleep, sex – moving up through safety and security; incorporating social needs (including love); esteem needs such as achievement and mastery; cognitive needs, including learning… Continue Reading >>


The rest of the ballot

One objective of California’s new top-two, open primary election rules was to weed out extreme candidates who could qualify for the general election with a small percentage of the overall vote, and to reduce the number of safe districts. The results suggest the status quo is at least being shuffled, perhaps at the expense of… Continue Reading >>