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.

Dog leash

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 >>


State office endorsements

It is no longer clear to us that newspaper endorsements serve much of a useful purpose, except perhaps for the candidates who receive them. Given the current level of online information, there is little excuse for the average voter not to have arrived at a reasonably-informed opinion on candidates and election issues by the time… Continue Reading >>


Solve the water meter mystery

If you want to gauge the quality of municipal management with which the City of Sonoma has been blessed in recent years, you only have to look at the city’s budget, which emerged more or less unscathed from the fiscal onslaught of the great recession. Minor deficits, healthy cash reserves and no loss of city… Continue Reading >>


Climate change is coming home

There is a conventional practice – and an expectation – that editorials in small town newspapers focus primarily on subjects close to home, relevant to the local community. Which is why what follows, beginning with an observation about events happening right now, approximately 8,050 miles from the Sonoma Plaza, may seem a tad remote and… Continue Reading >>


The senior project portal

Posters of the projects parade across two long walls inside the Sonoma Valley High School Pavilion. There are 295 of them. They are called senior projects, but they are also senior dreams. At least some of them. Others may be senior nightmares. And some, clearly, are perfunctory assignments, completed with reluctance and resignation because they… Continue Reading >>


Commerce, community and motherhood

It’s not too hard to guess what Anna Jarvis would make of Mother’s Day had she been anywhere near an American mall on Sunday. Jarvis was the mother of Mother’s Day (surprise – it wasn’t Hallmark), an event she promoted to honor her own mother, a Civil War peace activist who cared for soldiers on… Continue Reading >>

DAWA SHERPA, right, saved Jon Reiter’s life during the avalanche that killed 16 Sherpas on Mt. Everest.

A Sherpa benefit straight from the heart

It is rare in this world when any of us, anywhere, can have a direct, positive impact on the lives of others in need half a world away. Sonomans are going to have that opportunity on Sunday, May 18. That’s the day the Sherpa community of Sonoma Valley and, in fact, of all California, will… Continue Reading >>


The Human Tide is turning

Set aside for a moment, if you can, issues of Democratic and Republican politics, homeland security, official language and national identity – all the real but ephemeral concerns around which we organize our national debate on immigration reform, and think for a moment about tides. Humans of every race, religion, skin color, language and political… Continue Reading >>

THERE WILL BE LIVE MUSIC and dancers at La Luz’s Cinco de Mayo celebration on Saturday, May 3. Index-Tribune file photo

And a happy Cinco to you

It is, in case anyone hasn’t noticed, spring. Some would argue that it’s been spring, on and off, since about New Year’s, and now it’s summer. The vernal equinox came and went without notice back in March and the summer solstice doesn’t arrive until June 21, bringing with it our longest period of daylight, notwithstanding… Continue Reading >>


Common Core no panacea

American education is at war with itself, again, and there does not appear to be any clear indication of how or when the endless battles over educational philosophy, funding and testing performance will end. After a decade of the failed experiment called No Child Left Behind, a majority of the country’s education leaders are now… Continue Reading >>

college essay

Guest editorial: Unique essays from SVHS seniors

(Editor’s note: Jesse Summers is a Sonoma Valley High School Senior and a student intern at the Index-Tribune. He organized the essay program described below for his senior project.) All Sonoma Valley High School seniors are required to complete the senior project in order to graduate in June. The project consists of four major components:… Continue Reading >>


The new water reality

The Colorado River, which frames the southeastern border of California, once fed a broad, alluvial floodplain before flowing into the Sea of Cortez, sustaining abundant fisheries and habitat for hundreds of thousands of migrating birds. These days, notwithstanding the experimental pulse flow now underway, the mighty, 1,500-mile-long river that carved the Grand Canyon is usually… Continue Reading >>


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