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Letters to the Editor, July 11 - 13

Field of dreams

EDITOR: Regarding Bill Lynch’s recent column (“Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” June 23), I agree that Arnold Field is a treasure. I played in the first softball game there, in 1952 – Our Resort vs. Tiny’s Hut from Walnut Creek – and I continued there another 30 years. I believe Don Eraldi and I are the only ones still alive who had played in the old Sonoma Ball Park, corner of West Napa Street

and Second Street West, and Arnold Field. In the late ‘50s our semi-pro town team hosted many weekend baseball games and, for several years after it disbanded, I would still get requests from teams wanting to play the Sonoma Valley Merchants. The great ball park and the wine country was a nice weekend experience, for them and their fans.

Don Parsons

Sonoma

We have become ‘Disney Land for

wine drinkers’

EDITOR: It does not surprise me that three letters in Darius Anderson’s newspaper, the Sonoma Index-Tribune, were all pro-hotel project last week. It is his project and it is his paper.

I personally have not supported this hotel from the get-go. A hotel of this size so close to our sacred historical Plaza is not a good idea in my opinion. There are many reasons that I don’t support this hotel and many reasons why I don’t support Darius Anderson’s approach to buying up many properties in Sonoma. He is a venture capitalist and, first and foremost, has his own interests in mind. He has bought Ramekins, the General’s Daughter, Cornerstone and the Press Democrat and Index Tribune and who knows what else he owns. He is like our own local Donald Trump.

He is all about elitism and capitalism and not what is best for the town of Sonoma. He is all about what is best for himself and his rich friends.

When I first stepped foot on Sonoma Plaza in 1978 it was August and it was hot. I pulled up to the Plaza and parked and I think there were probably about 20 cars parked around the Plaza and as I walked around the Plaza on that hot summer day I remember thinking to myself, “I guess this is the sleepy part of Sonoma County.” It was peaceful, quiet and I really enjoyed that feeling. I came back a few weeks later in September and I had the exact same experience.

Many of my friends against this hotel have stated that we are at a crossroads now between going full steam tourist town versus maintaining the quality of life that many of us enjoy here as residents of Sonoma. I disagree. We have already passed over to being a tourist town. We are Sedona. We are Aspen. We are Big Sur. We are Disney Land for wine drinkers.

I think now the City Council needs to decide whether to continue in this direction or kinda put the brakes on to keep us from going further into the wine swamp.

I wonder what would happen in this mono cultured wine town if wine bottoms out price-wise in conjunction with an insect that kills off grapes at the same time another recession hits and tourists stop coming to Sonoma. If the economy tanks our town will tank. I think Darius Anderson and his Kenwood Investments would then be faced with a bunch of buildings, a hotel, a cooking school and whatever else he owns that he would be forced to sell and Sonoma would be faced with a mess. More and more and more is not a good idea. I hope our City Council wakes up and realizes that this place does not have to go in the direction of the rich investor and that we can preserve the quality of life that we all love.

For the love of what once was Sonoma.

George Thompson

Sonoma

Editor’s note: Thanks for writing George. I feel I should chime in, however, on your contention that anyone but the I-T editorial department would have influence on which letters to the editor appear on the Opinion page. We typically run letters in the order in which we receive them – with exceptions as we see fit, often having to do with length or timeliness of topic. It happens that three letters in support of Hotel Project Sonoma came within a couple of days of another, so they ran in conjunction on June 27 – too late for the previous week’s City Council meeting on the hotel, I might add. We’ve run several letters both opposed to the project and in support of it – and will continue to do so, as they come in. – J.W.

The ‘Ken Brown Experience’

live!

EDITOR: Several years ago my wife and I decided that wine country was going to be our retirement location. After researching every town in both the Napa and Sonoma valleys, we kept coming back to Sonoma. Our goal was to buy a property on the east side of town; this was in 2010. After having no luck underbidding many homes, we decided to rent and did so outside the city on a 5-acre plot and decided that we liked the space. Stay with me here; I am getting to the point. We bought a home on Arnold Drive, just south of Madrone. We love it here!

Every time I pick up the paper, I thank my lucky stars that we were unsuccessful in our quest for one of the lovely homes east of the Plaza. One controversy after another that, in my opinion, are fueled by a small group of reactionary individuals in town would have driven me crazy.

Methinks that the “Ken Brown Experience” impacted our City Council at its last meeting. It is unwise to annoy this very well-organized group, with lots of time on their hands, if you want to keep your council seat.

Mr. Anderson’s project seems to be their latest and constant target. After five years of dealing with the process, he must be a very patient and determined man. The hotel is beautiful, well planned and will serve to keep Sonoma the “best small town in the nation.”

Bill D’Allaird

Sonoma