Letters to the Editor, April 21 - 24

Never give a Sucker an even break

EDITOR: Our lives require us to change. We must adapt to our lives at different stages of our lives. The ways in which we change must be supported by our philosophical and emotional tenets. In a musical the score must support the characters and their actions. The older we become the more we long for our youth. The more creative we must be at reinventing ourselves. The music of our lives becomes softer, emotions are more instep with our philosophy. Then there is just life and it is what it is.

There is a mosquito in the room. The little bastard has been keeping me company day and night. I have affectionately named him “Sucker.” The pollen has backed up my sinuses and somehow this has affected my hearing. I can’t hear him coming. By the time I zero in on his position he escapes my grasp. The long-acting nasal decongestant, antihistamine and antibiotics are kicking in. I’m three days in, my hearing is getting better. Sucker is getting fatter and slower. The idea that if I just lay in wait, like bait. Sucker will land on my exposed skin and I will smack him is my resolute plan of action. In the mean time watch him zing by.

Incidentally, when I was younger I could catch a fly. The little winged emperor stood no chance, especially on cold days. So, I’m older and I’m slower. This does not affect my ability to fold the laundry. Sucker is getting older, too. His days are numbered and fewer than mine. Sooner or later he has to go to sleep. Then the shoe will be on the other foot. I will dispatch my well-fed companion. He escaped a direct blow with a fly swatter. I have known him since he was little. Just a spot on the wall. I’m going to miss missing him.

Eric Heine

Glen Ellen

Hotel vital for economic future of Sonoma

EDITOR: As a local business owner and native Sonoman who works in hospitality, I support the

the Hotel Project Sonoma proposal as I personally feel it is vital forward for the economic future of Sonoma Valley. The hotel will offer a minimum 60 full-time living wage jobs, add more than $9 million to our tax base over five years, will improve an underutilized brownfield, and is within the urban growth boundary.

Having hosted many events in Sonoma where we seek lodging, it is continuously a challenge to locate enough hotel rooms to lodge our guests. We have hosted 10 years of cheese conferences; food and wine based seminars and hope to plan more in our future.

After reading through the proposal, I understand the proposed hotel is important to not only our economic future but also to our environmental future. It will incorporate sustainable design strategies and will be LEED certified, a green building certification. There will be state-of-the-art water and energy reduction programs and there will be a fleet of bikes enabling visitors to leave their cars behind.

This project is a “win-win” for Sonoma, bringing economic development and an environmentally sustainable business to our town in a location that is starved for a drastic renovation.

Sheana Davis


Hotel not appropriate for Plaza

EDITOR: I want to voice opposition to a complex on the Plaza that includes a 62-room hotel, parking for 115 cars, and a restaurant that seats 80 people. The additional cars, pedestrians, delivery trucks, not to mention months of construction, will overwhelm our beloved Plaza and change the character of our downtown area.

I was surprised as David Goodison went through the main points of the EIR and then spoke for the City staff in recommending that the commission approve the EIR report as it was. I do not pretend to know the details of the report, but what I heard in that meeting did not seem like a thorough assessment of the environmental impact on the Plaza. For instance, comparing the impact of this hotel with MacArthur Place seemed dubious. The latter is not on the Plaza. It is not generating more foot traffic in the crosswalks around a crowded area. It is not surrounded by shops and restaurants. It is not bringing delivery trucks to an already bustling area.

It was clear from the report that some questions had been satisfied, including testing the soil for toxins and scaling back some of the original plans. But, the EIR did not appear to examine foot traffic, which is the major cause of traffic back-ups around the Plaza.

I am not against the construction of new hotels in Sonoma, but the Plaza is not the place for them unless significant changes are made in that area. In Europe, when hotels with 60 rooms are located on or close to the center square, the square is closed to car traffic and is only open to pedestrians. The entrance to this hotel is on a major highway that has only one lane going in each direction. Looking ahead, there is only going to be more traffic on this road, which will further congest the Plaza area.

I think the hotel could work if one or more of the following ideas were implemented:

1. Reroute Highway 12 so that it does not come through the center of Sonoma. It might be rerouted along Arnold Drive.

2. Close off at least three streets bordering the Plaza to pedestrian-only traffic — at least on weekends. I can picture cafe tables in the closed streets during the warmer months.

3. Eventually, another street north of Spain Street might have to be constructed for cross town traffic.

These ideas may seem far-fetched, but without one of more of them, there is going to be constant congestion on the Plaza with cars and trucks stopping for pedestrians and cars entering and exiting the hotel parking structure and main entrance. And, we have to factor in the additional traffic that will occur over time. The EIR report did not appear to factor in long-term projections of traffic in the Plaza area.

Georgia Kelly


Water and oil

EDITOR: A message to the Sonoma City Council:

I do not believe this is the right way to treat our water customers in the city of Sonoma.

First they made individuals put in back flow valves and have to pay for annual checks. R.H. & Sons did that for $20 but over the years raised to $45. A few years back our city started charging $20 to process the paper work that R.H. & Sons prepared on site for every backflow valve. Now the city is charging $7 per month for every back flow valve.

Reason for doing this god only knows, but we do know the city transferred money from water fund to the general fund in order to justify price increases for water users.

Our city is the only city that has every major shopping center within the city limits and the only car dealership also within the city limits.

Besides the above, they’ve have every major hotel except for the Mission Inn within the city limits and with all that they serve about 12,000 people but over 40,000 support our city and then they say they need the addition half-percent sale tax.

Enough is enough, so let’s get proactive and raise money without raising taxes or raising water rates.

Let’s allow Safeway to build their gas station and all the citizens will be winners as even with the 12 cent tax per gallon increase by Jerry Brown. Our gas prices will be lower than they are now. The City will benefit by $300,000. To $500.000 per year without raising any taxes in additional revenue.

Jerry Marino