Editor, Index-Tribune:

Sonoma Mayor Ken Brown deserves better than ad hominem reactions to his vote against a leaf blower ban. Remarks impugning his integrity reflect shame only on those making them. I support transitioning high-impact landscaping equipment to environmentally-sound energy sources and decibel levels, and I applaud the Index-Tribune’s call for a more comprehensive and informed examination of economic and environmental implications. The results will vindicate the council’s decision if the way forward is a cooperative process instead of a battlefield. Mayor Brown’s record says he’ll be part of that.

As a longtime advocate for homeless services, affordable housing and the rights of new immigrants, and as a Sonoma Valley resident, I have accumulated literally countless reasons to appreciate Ken Brown’s leadership, which I believe embodies democracy’s highest aspirations for local government.

Of forms of government Churchill said, “Democracy is the worst – except for all the others,” underscoring the difficulty of deciding not between competing interests but between meritorious needs, values, concerns and rights in conflict.

These hard choices are made in the community so local leaders can make a difference. The best listen to constituents and then, most attentively of all, to conscience. Over 20 years, I’ve never known Ken Brown to do otherwise. His unique body of service is now ineluctably woven into the character of this special place. I, for one, am grateful for that.

David Hinkley

Agua Caliente