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Letters to the Editor, June 16 - 19


The reality about ‘fake news’

EDITOR: Mainstream media has primarily reflected the reality of upper middle-class life, and served the propaganda needs of the political classes for a long time. It has ignored the day-to-day reality of coal miners, steel workers, assembly line workers, waitresses, retail clerks. The disconnect has finally reached crisis proportions politically.

Government statistics claim a strong jobs recovery, a booming stock market, increasing productivity and record corporate profits, as if this reflected the day-to-day experience of the working and lower middle classes -- those who earn less than a living wage, those without affordable health insurance, those with food insecurity, those without affordable access to higher education or affordable housing.

These “fake news” statistics serve to improve the odds of the ruling party to get re-elected, but do not reflect the lives of millions of forgotten Americans who survive but are barely making it.

This “underclass” of voters resonates with a “populist” politician who asserts that the mainstream media is “fake news,” even if it seems apparent to others that this is for his own political self-interest. Because these voters are desperate to be seen and included, they don’t focus on the fact that it may be his goal to play the Russian game of official disinformation designed to make people look to a dictator to reduce the confusion, or to hide his business dealings where they conflict with his official role, or to discredit anyone who would make him accountable to the Constitution, and to get voters to trust only him as the one source of the truth.

Many of these voters will admit Mr. Trump’s shortcomings, but minimize them because their overarching goal is to be included in the American Dream.

Until the mainstream media and politicians do their job and start reflecting the lived, day-to-day economic experience and frustration of those who are not benefitting from the current surging stock market and lower unemployment numbers, these millions of disenfranchised voters will continue to regard mainstream corporate news as “fake news,” and the traditional leaders of both parties as advocating primarily for the economic elite, and they will be right.

Joseph Cutler

Sonoma

Fig tree ripe with history

EDITOR: This message is meant for Dan Gustafson, president of the Sonoma Valley Unified School District Board of Trustees.

I know you are the school board trustee representing the Flowery District. I chose to address my letter to you as I am a Flowery school graduate (1956).

Although I am president of the Sonoma Valley High School Alumni Association, I am writing as a SVHS alumni (1960).

I think it is important for the fig tree at Adele Harrison Middle School to continue to stand.

I knew Adele Harrison. She was one of the founders of Friends In Sonoma Helping (FISH). From the beginning FISH handed out food to anyone who asked.

Fresh fruit was a big part of that ministry to people in need.

When the district took the Matsuyama farm to build the middle school, these 22 acres had been a farm supplying food to Sonoma Valley and beyond since the early 1900s.

The oldest son, George Dolcini, ran the farm. Upon hearing that the farm would be no more, he said, ”We’ve grown food and now we will grow children.”

It would be a blessing for this interaction with a heritage tree to continue.

I would be willing to pay the entire cost to have the tree relocated to the edge of the school property using the correct equipment so that the tree roots will have a better chance to survive.

I realize the district has a timeline, but looking at the whole history of our unique Sonoma Valley, the few weeks setback in the schedule will become a tiny blip in our shared history.

Jurine Miller Biers

Sonoma

Hotel should have housing component

EDITOR: Our thriving economy depend on workers. It is a tragedy that there is not affordable housing for the workers who staff our tourist businesses. This is why I urge the Sonoma City Council not to approve the big new hotel project adjacent to the Plaza unless it includes some affordable housing. This hotel and restaurant will need to hire many new workers, but where are they supposed to live? There already is not nearly enough local housing for the many service workers at our tourist businesses. In all fairness we cannot expect the newly hired employees at this hotel/restaurant to commute from Fairfield, Windsor, or even further.

In the EIR the developers say that housing is in the development pipeline “on sites that are better suited to support a residential component.” I believe that being walking distance to shopping and the Plaza makes the proposed hotel site the perfect site for housing for local workers. It boggles the mind to try to understand how the EIR for this project could state that it would have “negligible” impact on housing. How could such a large project not hire lots of new workers? How could it not consider the acute shortage of housing for the workers who will be hired to do the new jobs that will be created? In Sonoma there is already a lot of lodging and vacation homes for high-net-worth individuals, and more always seems to be getting built. It is time to Sonoma to provide housing for those who work in our tourist economy.

Matt Metzler

Sonoma