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Letters to the Editor, June 15 - 18

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Vallejo becoming the ‘Hamilton’ of Sonoma…

EDITOR: Thank you for the fair-minded and excellent article, “A Bear Flag Revolt ‘Revolt’ in Sonoma,” June 8. This review of the complicated politics surrounding this still-controversial military action in American and Sonoma history was both comprehensive and insightful.

I hope those Sonomans who told you they are displeased with my re-enactment had a chance to see our living history performance on Sunday June 10; they would have seen Gen. Vallejo in one of his finest hours. They would have also received a thorough recitation of all the facts, and experienced viscerally the unpleasant takeover foisted upon a peaceful Mexican community by 33 large and angry Americans.

I most certainly agree with Juan Hernandez, executive director of La Luz, when he states that the revolt was born of a racist belief: “Which maintained that the United States was destined – by God, its advocates believed – to expand its dominion and spread democracy and capitalism across the entire North American continent.” Whether it would be better for the town of Sonoma – and its citizens – to brush this true fact under the rug in the future, and no longer perform this re-enactment, well… I don’t know.

I do know that what you see is what happened, and that the hero is shown to be Gen. Vallejo, not the Bear Flaggers.

For those who would like a more sugar-coated version of local history, I suggest you visit Buena Vista Winery on Saturday, July 28, at 4 p.m., when a new play written by yours truly will receive its first free performance. It is entitled: “General Vallejo, Count Haraszthy, and Joaquin Murietta in 1852.” In this fictional tale Gen. Vallejo and Buena Vista founder Count Haraszthy will hide the famous Mexican bandit Joaquin Murrieta from the Texas Ranger Harry Love. Many decidedly unpleasant aspects of the American takeover of Mexican California will be revealed, and the hero once again will not be an American.

George Webber

Sonoma

Young at art

EDITOR: Doesn’t matter how many signs... just wander over to the Plaza at any time and find adults and kids all over the art.

So it goes.

Katy Byrne

Sonoma

Cannabis decision ‘shameful and embarrassing’

EDITOR: As a member of the Sonoma Valley Cannabis Group, I found the City Council’s recent decision to deny patients access to a local dispensary shameful and embarrassing.

Our group’s 250 members have advocated for a dispensary/delivery service within Sonoma for nearly a year. We’ve always offered assistance and information to the council as it worked to create a comprehensive cannabis ordinance.

Despite face-to-face discussions and the reams of material SVCG provided, and despite the town hall meetings that showed overwhelming support for a dispensary, the majority of the council continued to rely on “war on drugs” perceptions and voted to severely limit the right to safe, local access to medical cannabis.

They paid lip service to medical cannabis, said they understood its health benefits. They patronized us with comments like, “When I’m sick, I’m sure I’ll go to you for advice.” We hosted an educational forum that included world-renowned cannabis physician Dr. Jeffrey Hergenrather, but no council member came to learn. The petition names and personal stories we offered them mattered not. Nor did the copious number of emails we sent. Those are real people, real lives that the majority of the council chose to ignore.

They are unable to make strong, reasonable arguments for their position and cannot make an informed decision, (which one expects from elected officials), yet they have the right to make insupportable judgements that affect so many. There is something seriously wrong with this picture.

A city is a living body, not a machine. It doesn’t need mechanics to keep an eye on operation, it needs sustenance to grow and progress. City governments owe it to their citizens to do everything they can to empower them.

In a free society, people do have the right to be wrong. However, elected officials can be held accountable for decisions that run counter to the majority. All political power is inherent in the people.

Government is founded on their authority and instituted for their benefit. The people always have the right to change their government in any way they see fit.

If it must come down to November, so be it. Safe access to a local dispensary will be a campaign issue. Any candidate for city council who supports that ideal, without equivocation, should be considered.

Gil Latimer

Sonoma