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Letters to the Editor, July 7 - 10


A scandal in Bohemia!

EDITOR: Here’s a little hullabaloo which has no inclination of our hospital, farmers market, affordable housing nor planned hotel. Why are payments for parking tickets sent to Santa Ana, California and not right here to our City Hall? Hmm. The game’s afoot, dear Watson.

Mark O’Donnell

Sonoma

Shocked and saddened at Hanna

EDITOR: The recent arrest of clinical director Kevin Thorpe has shocked and saddened all of us associated with Hanna Boys Center (“New Charges Added in Hanna Case,” June 30). Having dedicated ourselves to helping young men recover from difficult childhoods, it’s devastating to think that further harm may have been brought by the alleged actions of one of our staff.

At the same time, we have been tremendously grateful for the overwhelming outpouring of support we have received during this difficult period – emotional testimony from alumni, community members and friends who recognize the importance of our mission and have seen first-hand how Hanna has successfully turned around the lives of troubled boys.

Hanna continues to cooperate fully with the ongoing police investigation. In the meantime, we have rededicated ourselves to ensuring the safety of our boys. In addition to the criminal and personal background checks required by state law, all staff will undergo extensive training on spotting and preventing predatory behavior, as well as gaining a better understanding of professional boundaries.

As we continue our important and essential work, be assured that we are more committed than ever to maintaining a safe environment for all our residents.

Thank you for your calls and letters of support.

Brian Farragher

Executive Director Hanna Boys Center

There’s plenty of figs in the sea

EDITOR: Lorna Sheridan’s article about the felling of the monumental Adele fig tree (“Adele Fig Tree Felled,” June 20) prompted me to write her about a similarly grand fig tree in the front yard of the property where I live (on Riverside Drive just off Verano).

Lorna answered that she thought there might be a larger story here, but of course that’s up to you.

Actually the point of the letter was to offer the people of Sonoma some consolation. Sonoma is home to a number of fig trees that, judging by their size and crop production, must be a century old. I don’t know the history of my tree, but I can tell you that it is monumental indeed, and the property has been in the same family for generations. The tree’s large trunk, some 6 feet in circumference, branches off in three directions, creating a fig-producing canopy not just in front of the house, but over the roof (a friend comes by once a year with a special ladder to reach the plentiful figs up there), then cascading into the back garden.

I suspect there are quite a few other fig trees of formidable size and age in our town that I haven’t counted yet. These trees are beautiful and special to Sonoma, and really how lucky can you get, to have a tree that gives you fruit that you’d see in local grocery stores for $5 a pint?

Joe Troise

Sonoma

Medical matrons

EDITOR: Here is our best bet at a new and improved health plan for all Americans.

Let the women design it. They know about care, inherently. No men allowed. All they know about is arguing, “one-uping” each other, politics and looking good on TV. Caveat: whatever gets implemented, all Americans have to live with, including all members of Congress. (Note: insurance companies are not necessarily necessary to the solution).

Here is an idea for improvement in international (and all other) relations. Ban the use of the word, “they.” Replace it with “we.” Over time, that simple change will help us all to realize that at the end of the day, we are all inseparably human.

Ed Shoop

Sonoma

Sonomans thrown under wine bus!

EDITOR: Sonoma residents are being thrown under the bus (“No Simple Fix for Tasting-Room Glug,” June 20)! What is the City Council doing? Stop wine tasting store fronts on the Plaza or within four blocks in any direction from the Plaza. Residents are losing basic commercial/retail store fronts at an alarming rate and the City Council should be held accountable! Emergency legislation now!

Jim Ledwith

Sonoma

A parade of suggestions

EDITOR: Thank you to the Sonoma Volunteer Firefighters Association for its efforts in putting on our town parade/fireworks!

I have some suggestions for improving the parade experience for all:

Increase the parade length! Perhaps from the high school up to the veterans building, or visa-versa. Highway 12 traffic could be temporarily routed across Leveroni and up Fifth Street West. This could temporarily end the ever-increasing selfish nature of those who commandeer more space than is needed with tents that cover two sometimes four times the amount of space required for chairs typically situated underneath “their space.” (“Their space”? Really? It’s not their space! The space belongs to all of us!)

If Caltrans will not cooperate with a longer route, ban or tow all Plaza parking after 2 a.m. until 7 a.m. on parade day (or the earliest merchant opening time). If you don’t already know, the posted barricade rules aren’t effective solutions to this growing problem! People park cars on the Plaza overnight and then erect space-hogging tents in their stead the next morning.

Ban all shade structures. (The parade duration isn’t long enough to worry about serious sun burn. Attendees could wear a hat!) Ban all business/corporate conglomerations of chairs. I’ve witnessed many organizations seeking to attract/favor patrons (e.g. real estate firms, banks, etc.) by “pre-reserving” large areas of frequently unused chairs.

Publicize the rules well in advance; confiscate property and levy property bail fines on violators.

I have some suggestions for improving the fireworks experience for all:

Ask the Town Band to play patriotic selections for 30 minutes beforehand.

Ban sale of glow sticks or other trinkets. The chemical inside the glow sticks when broken or cut leaks out and, according to brief research, may be harmful to wildlife.

Publicize rules about litter and make poster-children out of knuckleheads who leave bottles/cans/wrappers behind by citing/fining them $3,000.

Phil Driver

Sonoma