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Letters to the Editor, May 8

Lasseter article jumped to conclusion

EDITOR: I was pained to read the New York Daily News article on John Lasseter (“John Lasseter’s Six-Month Leave of Absences Is Almost Up – But Return to Pixar Not Likely,” April 25) that was run in the Press Democrat.

Pained because it felt like an article that had initially chosen its conclusion and then went out to try to support that conclusion. As the former President of Walt Disney Music, I worked alongside John for 25 years working on every Pixar Animated Feature and every Disney Animated film since John and Ed Catmull took over that division of the Disney Company. So when I read things like John would only take notes from Steve Jobs, I knew that to be preposterous. I sat in hundreds of creative meetings with John and he listened and drew creative notes from all the participants, myself included.

On our personal favorite project, “Frozen,” John did amazing creative work alongside a leadership team that consisted of a strong woman co-director, a female composer and a female writer. The article also said that John would make comments about a woman’s looks. Again, as someone who was in those rooms, he never once made a remark like that in my presence. You generally know who of your male friends say those things — John is not one of them.

And now as I am a fellow resident of Sonoma, I know very well of John and his wife Nancy’s incredible generosity to our community.

While no individual is perfect, I can definitively say the John Lasseter described in that article is not someone I have met.

Chris Montan

Retired, former-President of Walt Disney Music

An apple for the teachers!

EDITOR: After the fires we, like so many of us in Sonoma Valley, wanted to hug every first responder in sight. Bring them cookies, cakes, wine and other treats. They saved our homes, perhaps even our lives. And, we should continue to shower them with the appreciation they so deserve. But that is not our primary reason for writing today.

After the fires smoldered and were finally doused, another group of people stepped in to provide help and support to those displaced and traumatized by the fires – even while many of them had lost their own homes and were dealing with their own traumas.

We call this group of people the “Second Responders.” The people at La Luz, FISH and members of the Rotary Club to name a few.

But, one group that is still providing vital assistance to our children in the post-fire recovery often gets ignored. Our teachers. And their role, according to experts in the trauma recovery fields, is critical.

It falls upon our teachers and our schools to foster resiliency in children by creating schools as safe, joyful, playful places – giving children the capacity to engage their attention in pursuits that do not remind them of trauma-related triggers. And, to give them time to talk and process and heal so that they can focus on learning.

May 7 to 11 is Teacher Appreciation Week. Even if you don’t have children or grandchildren in schools, it’s a good time to start a habit of remembering all the great gifts teachers provide our communities. Take a moment to drop a note off to teachers at a local school, bring them a treat or put posters up around town thanking them for all they are doing for our children and their families as we move into the recovery stage of the wildfire disaster.

Vicki Whiting

Kid Scoop News

Debra Garber

Sonoma Valley Education Foundation

Museum name reflects reputation

EDITOR: We are both honored to have served several terms on the board of our beloved Sonoma Valley Museum of Art, we have designed many of its exhibitions, and we are the donors of its art library. We would like to explain why we applaud the decision not to change its name (“Sonoma Valley Museum of Art to Keep Its Name,” May 4). First, “Sonoma Valley,” because of its fine wine and aura of fine living, is internationally known and respected, much more than “Sonoma County” or “Sonoma Town” or the ambiguous “Sonoma.” Why would we sever this highly honored and beneficial connection? Second, there exists considerable confusion with other museums in the area, such as the Sonoma County Museum of Art in Santa Rosa. Dropping the word “Valley” from our name would heighten the confusion. Third, and of most importance, the museum has been remarkably successful in forging a reputation for world-class exhibitions, showing the work of Goya, Hockney, Picasso, Diebenkorn and Rodin, to name only a few. We fear the stellar reputation of the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art will be lost if there does not continue to be a Sonoma Valley Museum of Art. It is a name we should proudly keep.

Stanley Abercrombie and Paul Vieyra

Sonoma