Giving Sonoma away
Thank you, Bill Lynch, for your recent editorial (“How Soon We Forget,” Jan. 26) sounding the alarm on the planned development on Schocken Hill – that beautiful, tree-laden swath of land that rises above the east side of our town.
I lay the blame for this at the feet of our Planning Commission, most of whom have forgotten that their responsibility is to serve the community, not the developers. It’s as if the development code, which so many worked so hard to define, no longer exists.
Time and again I’ve watched in frustration as our commissioners grant numerous concessions and allow loose interpretations of the code for setbacks, building heights, lot size, aesthetic impact, neighborhood and historic character. Why do they do this? Why can’t they just say, “No, you have to follow the code to the letter and we may allow you to build something, but only if it meets our very high standards for all criteria, no exceptions!”
It’s as if they want to make the developer happy while the rest of us must live with the results for a long, long time. My plea to the current Planning Commission and City Council – raise the bar and don’t give this town away. We are depending on you!
Cutting honors English a real wipeout
EDITOR: Regarding Jason Walsh’s editorial (“Honors English, To Be or Not To Be,” Jan. 26) that is not a question but a choice that the Sonoma Valley High School principal has to make, whether to continue providing students with equal opportunities for a quality education so they can thrive in all three English levels or, eliminate the middle option, so students have to either jump up or back down. Mr. Walsh suggests we compromise, but there is no middle ground here so there is nothing to compromise. Yes, the AP classes give students opportunities for college credits, but only if they have a passing score of 3 or higher. According to College Board, the state of California had less than 60 percent of passing rate in the past two years.
Imagine there are no “blue” runs at your favorite ski resort; the beginners have to either stick to the “green” runs forever or, premium up their health insurance and take risks on the “black diamond” runs. I am a comfortable “blue” runner, would not go to the “black diamonds” with my already injured knee, neither would I want to be forever bored on the “green” runs. Luckily, there are many ski resorts out there.
We have only one high school in Sonoma, with families from all ethnicities and educational backgrounds. I am hoping the SVHS principal will make a wise decision. Although, in the paper, it looked like it was a final choice, I still have faith in the administrators of SVHS, and I still believe they care about their students and will not make a harmful mistake.
Save the Plaza ginkgo!
EDITOR: I attended the Saturday, Feb. 3 gathering on the Plaza held by Mayor Madolyn Agrimonti, discussing the City Council decision to remove the Ginkgo Biloba tree on the northeast corner due to the mess it creates two months a year.