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Letters to the Editor, May 11 - 14

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Park that thought for a minute

EDITOR: I have lived in Sonoma Valley for 55 years and my business was in the City of Sonoma for 35 years. I love this Valley and the City of Sonoma and am proud to call it my home.

As a result of several issues with my back, I must use disabled parking in order to get close enough to places I wish to patronize. If the people that did the traffic and parking study for the massive remodel of the Cheese Factory would try to park at any time during the day (except before 10:30 a.m.) they would find that it is almost impossible to find a space without making several trips around the Plaza. That being said, they would also find the same problem most of the time (especially on weekends) at the free parking lot north of the Plaza. Also, they would find the disabled places there furthest from the restaurants, etc. Add the presence of tour buses and the problem multiplies exponentially!

Going to the Plaza on a weekend day for lunch means getting there before 11:15 to 11:30 a.m. or not getting a place to park. The parking lot is virtually filled at this time.

The concept of the Cheese Factory is not a bad idea, but for the current problems with parking and minimal disabled spaces the addition of 25,000 square feet of retail space is ludicrous to say the least.

I am surprised that only the Dunlaps and the Marionis have challenged the proposed project. I believe that it is not the competition that bothers them, but the traffic and parking situation should concern all businesses surrounding the Plaza along with the local people that patronize their restaurants and retail shops. Also, it seems to me that the Viviani’s want to upgrade their property and that’s fine. I just urge them to consider the above reasons and scale the project to meet these issues.

Rich Caselli

Sonoma

Arms against a sea of troubles

EDITOR: Speaking of guns...

On April 29 at the reception for the Star Award Volunteers, I had a chance to speak with Congressman Mike Thompson about the insensitive Sonoma magazine cover that showed him posing with a gun. He asked if I read the article that accompanied the photo. I told him the picture was so offensive that reading the article was the last thing on my mind. So, he explained his responsible gun ownership position and support for banning assault rifles and requiring background checks. I already knew that. But at that moment in time, I really wanted him to hear a constituent’s response to that cover.

I would not be writing a public letter now if I felt he really heard my concerns. But, he seemed focused on explaining his position. With numerous school shootings, random shootings in public places, gun accidents happening with children in their homes, children afraid that their school may be next, etc., it seems highly insensitive to be photographed for the cover of a local magazine holding a gun. America is drowning in gun violence and has a perverted fascination with violence, guns and bullying. Let’s not flaunt the gun culture in a country already awash in its results.

As director of a peace education nonprofit, Praxis Peace Institute, I am very concerned about how the media and culture portray violence, guns and bullying. Our culture wallows in Second Amendment rights with little concern for Second Amendment responsibilities. Though Rep. Thompson is walking that fine line between gun owners’ rights and the responsibility of a society to deal responsibly with guns, I think that magazine cover erred too far into “proud” gun owner territory.

TV shows and video games that glorify bullying and violence seem to be the norm in our entertainment. Some of the more sophisticated shows even glorify organizations that wallow in violence, assassinations and disinformation campaigns. Such entertainment tends to normalize anti-social behavior.

While I agree with most of Rep. Thompson’s positions, I do not agree with his judgment on said cover. I respect his right to own guns but differ greatly in flaunting them on the cover of a magazine. What does this say to our young people? Students? The public? If a picture is worth a thousand words, this photo certainly sends the wrong message, and the magazine editors should have known better, too.

Georgia Kelly

Sonoma

Earth, wind and fire

EDITOR: PG&E has been placing full page ads in the Sunday papers explaining all of the measures they are taking to prevent future fire events due to wind-driven flames. The force of the winds evidently cause aerial wires to flail around and transformers to arc and start nearby fires.

They, however, have not addressed their plan to prevent their equipment from causing a similar result in case of a moderate or major earthquake. Aerial electrical systems are subject to displacement and subsequent fire whether it is caused by wind, earthquake or a traffic accident.

Electric pole line systems were a practical means of furnishing power back in Edison’s day. Today we need a secure, redundant and fire-safe method of delivering power. The technology has existed for decades to solve this problem. Just move their facilities underground. We do it in downtown Sonoma and certain other areas. Why not everywhere else?

Lynn E. Barr

Sonoma