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Letters to the Editor, April 11 - 13

‘Not an easy art’

EDITOR: Thanks Jason for your writing about writing (“War on Media Crosses Into Sonoma Territory,” April 4)).

I appreciated your quotes by E.B White, one of my mother’s favorite authors. “Writers do not merely reflect and interpret life, they inform and shape life.” I have been preparing an article about journalism for a year and haven’t had the courage to print it. I don’t know why exactly. It takes courage I suppose.

I grew up in a family bookstore business and our deep devotion to literature and reading was constant. These days, with the Trump attacks on media and the be-heading of journalists in the world, contrasting with fascinating interviews on NPR and good writing that still goes on – just breaks my heart.

It all makes being a writer feel sometimes like a pressure cooker, to get it right, to double check every fact and to forget the meaning of it. It’s not easy to write about and capture the real push inside that longs to be written down.

I think you did a good job of saying what goes on out there now – an age of “online, streaming live... copy voiced by pontificators, comedians, blowhards and street preachers.”

And thanks for the reminder, that “it’s still journalism, it’s still writing.” In other words: we work hard, most of us, to say something. It’s not an easy art.

These attacks on reporters and writers have gone on through history – often when power wants to overtake the people.

I believe we deserve to be valued for the pursuit itself.

Katy Byrne


Commission out to lunch over Fremont Diner

EDITOR: I have to say I’ve been going to this Union 76 station for diesel for 10 years and have had my trucks serviced by then Jeff and now Rigo for the same time. Christian Kallen’s article (“Fremont Diner Owners Eyeing Sonoma Gas Station,” March 14) boasts of how awesome having an affordable place to eat in town would be, but the reality is the Fremont diner is not affordable and the increased overhead of this new building and build out definitely won’t lower any prices. This last Saturday, I went by the Fremont diner and there were 37 cars in the lot and was told an hour-and-a-half wait to have lunch. Where does the city Planning Commission and City Council and all these people think these 30-plus cars are gonna park? Not to mention this venture will displace two local businesses that already reside on this property. This is a bad deal. Your article mentions the revamp of abandoned stations – which this is not – and like Dutch Bros. makes for a solid example with the intersection tied up on both sides. Sorry but this isn’t good for Sonoma nor for anyone trying to eat an affordable lunch. And definitely not for the neighbors who will have nowhere to park. They should look at the used car lot; at least it has parking. I’d put money on the only reason the Planning Commission liked the idea is for the apartments. It could have been attached to a brothel and a marijuana dispensary and still got a “good idea” with the apartment addition. If the City had let the auto garage expand to an extra bay or two a few years ago then none of this would be a factor.

Good luck, Fremont Diner.

And good luck to those residents close by.

J.J. Lucero


The best laid plans...

EDITOR: I ran for Sonoma City Council in 2014 and halfway through the run (which was one of the best experiences of my life) I realized that because of my background and education I would better serve my community by being on the Planning Commission. Needless to say, I was somewhat perplexed and disappointed by last Monday’s vote (“Council at Impasse Over Planning Commission Appointment,” April 7, in which the Council took no action on the nomination of Lynda Corrado to the Planning Commission).

However, I prefer to drive keeping my eyes on the road ahead rather than keeping them in the rear-view mirror. Having said that, I am taken back to my run for City Council and it was abundantly clear to me at that time that a master plan for Sonoma needs to be in place.

The General Plan needs to be, in my opinion, the holy bible for Sonoma and the Planning Commission. In a strong supporting role are the zoning ordinances which need to be reviewed and updated. Most importantly – updated to dispel any degree of uncertainty in interpreting the General Plan.

Compatibility is the new buzz word and part of the mitigation process. What if there was a master plan that indicated that the Altamira project on Clay and Broadway should be moved to the First Street East location and the proposed hotel on First Street East should move to Clay and Broadway?

Would hotel traffic be concentrated off the Plaza? Could weekend roundtrip cable car service be provided for guests to be shuttled up to the Plaza with frequency and ease? Would it be ideal for workers with lower incomes to be located near where they work so they could walk? Could that ease traffic now at critical mass in an already congested Plaza neighborhood? Would any children of Altamira have greater ease to access Depot Park or the ball fields? Would the seniors be closer to the senior hub of the Vintage House?

Would both developers benefit or lose? More importantly, would there be long-term benefit for Sonoma or would we lose from a plan such as this? A plan could and should and would address these types of issues, and ultimately save developers a lot of time and trouble trying to get a project approved.

Woulda, coulda, shoulda.

Lynda Corrado



undocumenteds is


EDITOR: Will Shonbrun’s sensitive but ill-founded letter on Tuesday (“Where Is the Business Community?” April 4) called on the business community to break the law by hiring illegal immigrants not having proper authorization to work in the United States.

Here are some facts of business for Mr. Shonburn and his followers:

This country is founded on the rule of law. Ignoring the law is disregard for our Constitution and the principles on which this country was founded. If you don’t like the law, change it!

Employing illegal workers means an employer cannot account to the IRS for the wages paid and accounted to a social security number, as that would be an admission of criminal intent, resulting in fines or imprisonment. This is too much risk for employers and jeopardizes the jobs of the other legal employees.

The employer cannot provide health insurance or other benefits as they cannot verify the eligibility to work in the U.S. to the insurance carrier. This results in the worker and his family relying on Medi-Cal for healthcare and that is an uncompensated burden on the taxpayer.

Paying illegals a lower than minimum wage lowers the area pay scales, which is contrary to Shonburn’s efforts to raise the minimum wage to a “living wage.” The greater the supply of workers, the lower the wage and the higher the welfare burden to the taxpayer. Simple supply and demand!

Shonburn may not be aware that since Nov. 6, 1986, employers are required by federal law to submit a Form I-9 to Homeland Security. This form requires the employer to verify the eligibility to work in the U.S. of any applicant. The employer signs under penalty of perjury the he has verified eligibility.

The bottom line is the return on investment hiring illegals is far outweighed by the legal risks. It’s just not good business and it’s un-American. I hope this explains why the business community cannot support employing immigrants who are here illegally. It also supports why, we as a community, should not support sanctuary cities, counties or states. It’s not cost effective!

Bob Piazza