Letters to the Editor, March 9 - 12

At the highest branches of the musical tree: Leonard Bernstein.


Fanfare for the common man

EDITOR: The reality is that things do not fix themselves. A buffoon is a form of primate. Primates can run for office and they do get elected to the highest office in the land. There should be a separation between church and state. The church of capitalism is a house of worship. Wall Street is the place which serves as a shrine to the almighty American dollar. Both religion and magic are based on a belief system. Harry Potter casts his spell and presto-chango – the children of our society believe that their future will magically be provided for them.

Leonard Bernstein was a cross between a musician and a magician. He waves a wand and everyone within earshot is immediately enriched. Pop music delivered me to his excellence. There is a musical tree that grows in the garden. There is a great deal of low-hanging fruit. Near the top of the tree is Leonard Bernstein. I’m no culture vulture. I listen to everything, except rap. Good taste has denied me so many things, give or take a night or two. Tom Waits is like an alcohol-induced diamond in the rough. Bravo. There is a difference between fiction and nonfiction. The Disneyfication of America. The Harry Potterism and Taylor Swiftification, the pussilanification of America’s youth, the mercy rule are all part of soft socialism. Pain will make you smart. The school of hard knocks is still handing out honorary degrees. There are at least three generations standing in line and they are saying, “Hi, I’m here for my lesson.” Reality is going to reach up and slap them in the face. There is no substitute for paying attention. What’s in your wallet?

Eric Heine

Glen Ellen

NIMBYs, lots of ‘em!

EDITOR: The northern hillside forms our city’s beloved scenic backdrop (“Hillside Projects Still in Limbo,” March 6). Whenever Sonomans have been asked to weigh in to protect it they have – with their votes, dollars and sweat labor.

Here are some facts.

* In 1999, when Rosewood proposed that a resort grace the summit, the City Council directed various city commissions to hold hearings to gauge public opinion.

We were given five scenarios: (1) Don’t do anything; (2) Clean up the property but prohibit any public access; (3) Clean it up and allow limited public access; (4) Permit modest commercial development; or (5) Allow the proposed resort to go forward. Overwhelmingly participants chose option (3), which resulted in the Overlook Trail.

* That same year citizens circulated a petition that resulted in Measure A, which prohibited the city from using or leasing its land for a resort or hotel. The measure passed with a 70 percent vote.

* When the owners of the nearby Montini property proposed development, city negotiators were able to talk the Sonoma County Agricultural and Open Space District into purchasing the property and prevent it. Following, in 2006 Sonomans passed county-wide Measure F with a 76 percent vote, which dedicated one-quarter cent of the sales tax to be used by the Open Space District to continue purchasing/protecting open space through 2031.

* Respecting public opinion, in 2003 the City Council unanimously passed an ordinance limiting residential development to an aggregate of 5,000 square feet per parcel.

* As of this writing, almost 1,400 persons have signed petitions opposing any residential development on the hill.

* Back to the Overlook Trail. We co-chaired the task force that established the Overlook Trail. The cost of building the trail was 100 percent covered by donations from the community, including substantial contributions from local service clubs such as Kiwanis and Rotary.

Sweat labor was provided by hundreds of participants, including classmates from the leadership program at the high school, where one of the students adopted the trail as his senior project.

NIMBYs? Perhaps. But thousands of them.

Karen Collins and Maggie Haywood

Overlook Trail taskforce chairs