Letters to the Editor: Feb. 27 - March 1

The broader problem of below-grade-level reading in Sonoma needs to be addressed pre-K, says letter writer.


Why we fight

Editor: I think it’s important to explain the reason why parents are so irate over the cancellation of HP English. The last two articles that appeared in your paper on this topic (“Sound and Fury Over SVHS Honors English Class,” Feb. 13; “Fahrenheit SVHS: High School Backpedals on Honors English,” Feb. 16) made no reference to this and I think the community needs to understand why the fight.

The reason is this – more that 50 percent of our high school students are reading below grade level. Think about this. We need to bring students up to grade level standards not cut grade level English classes! This is a broader problem and can’t be done overnight.

Cutting out a middle level class, which is basically the grade level class, is not the answer! The focus needs to start at the pre-K level and carry on through middle school to high school. It’s important that parents of our elementary and middle schools know this. This is reminiscent of “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” Parents of students in our school district need to know this. Our community needs to know what our high school is up against and the ways in which they are trying to manage.

This is why I think that it’s important that both sides of the issue be included your stories. There’s a reason for the fight and tenacity to keep our district accountable.

This vocal parent group is calling attention to ineffective programs that have been going on for too long and need to change. We are looking at other districts with similar demographics to see how they fare and what criteria they have in place to close this gap.

The service that the I-T provides our community owes its readers objectively written articles that inform and take into account all aspects of an issue.

Lisa Ziganti


Issue is larger than one development

EDITOR: There will be an important meeting at the City Council Chambers on Thursday, March 1 at 5 p.m.

The agenda: An appeal by the community to oppose the development of Schocken Hill. The issue is larger than this one development. There is in place a development code to protect and respect our hillsides.

Does the community prefer more housing for the 1 percent or maintain our environment, trees and hills? Do any of the Planning Commission members have any relationship or association, connection or affiliation with the developers? Ensure our general plan and development code is maintained and respected by attending this important Valley issue and have your voice heard.

Judith Friedman


Build at the base of Schocken Hill

Editor: In his Valley Forum piece (“Minor Skirmish, or Tempest in a Teapot?” Feb. 23), Bill Jasper would have us believe that the only reason to preserve a hillside in Sonoma Town is, if it is seen from the Plaza. As I understand it in conversations with former council members who drafted the original “Hillside Ordinance” in 2003, they meant to protect all Sonoma whether residential or commercial, whether seen from the Plaza, from the eastside or westside or a fly over. The contested site is Schocken Hill, a very visible prominence driving into Sonoma from the east or walking the very popular Fourth Street East north to Brazil. I call it Sonoma’s signature hill appearing in a rounded ice cream scoop form, rising above the lowlands. It is part meadow and luscious oak forest, has a rock outcropping and a distinctive name.

To think that a road will be scratched up the hill to the city limits by the developers to support the building of two large south-facing homes should have General Vallejo turning over in his grave. A hundred aged trees are slated to be cut down for this enterprise, although the developer claims some will be replanted. Will these trees in anyway recapture the groves of native oaks, madrones, manzanitas, which cover the hillside?

This plan got pushed through a now defunct Planning Commission in 2017. Over 1,000 persons have signed a petition opposing this development and supporting a formal appeal to the City Council to have the reconstituted Planning Commission revisit the plan. There is no reason under God’s heaven why the planned houses can’t be built on the same lots at the base of Schocken Hill. That placement would then preserve the beauty of the hillside, and let whoever resides there also enjoy the existing hillside as it so significantly is a backdrop to the town of Sonoma.

You can make your opinion heard at the Council meeting, 5 p.m., Thursday, March 1.

Todd Evans