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Letters to the Editor, Aug. 4 - 7

Thanks to the ‘I-T’!

EDITOR: The Sonoma Index Tribune has been such a tremendous community partner over so many years that it’s easy to forget just how many times our local paper has made a significant difference in people’s lives. Here is a heartwarming reminder of the power of our community-centric local paper. Our Sonoma-Tokaj Sister City Committee is bringing in two Hungarian harvest interns this fall, and given the difficulty in finding local housing, the Sonoma-Index Tribune published a request from our committee seeking help in finding a place for our two wine students to stay. Within a day we had many choices – and eventually selected an ideal situation – a cottage on five acres with a pool and vineyards, and a nice local family who will include our interns in their family life. Thank you Index Tribune for being the true community partner that you are! And for those people interested in learning more about the activities of our Sonoma-Tokaj Sister City Committee, there will be a free Five-Year-Celebration at Buena Vista Winery on Thursday, Sept. 14 at 6 p.m.!

George Webber

Sonoma-Tokaj Sister City Committee

Not everyone’s a critic!

EDITOR: I don’t know Kirk Michael but it is fun to watch him hone his craft as a film critic. He has a sharp sense of perception, a seasoned confidence, and the courage to swim against the current. All that and a way with words. The I-T is lucky to have him.

Darryl Ponicsán

Sonoma

Time to bench the stadium

EDITOR: The recent Press Democrat and Wall Street Journal articles about football injuries coupled with the facts about the rapidly declining popularity of high school football among the students in our school district would make one wonder why the Sonoma Valley Unified School District Board is even discussing building a football stadium with seating for 2,500 at the high school. Is it a memorial to the past?

Couldn’t the close to $10 million of your tax dollars earmarked for the stadium be better spent on bringing our schools into the 21st century? Facilities at the elementary schools, that serve the early learners in the all-important K through 3rd grades, are going begging. Library improvements, replacement of aging portable classrooms, and many technology upgrades are taking a back seat to this stadium.

Alain Piallat

Sonoma

Hotel foes should accept Measure B results

EDITOR: I’d like to second Sue Simon’s letter of Aug. 1 (“Drama In Time,” Aug. 1). I’ve only been following the Hotel Sonoma Project since the Measure B election. At that time, it was widely rumored that this measure was an attempt to block the construction of the hotel. The proponents of the measure made several arguments that, upon review, didn’t hold water. This group even claimed to be speaking for the protection of the small hotel and B&B owners, until an association of B&B owners publicly stated that they were not being represented, nor were even consulted by this group. The Measure B election demonstrated that slightly more than 25 percent of the residents were against blocking the hotel, less than 25 percent were in favor of blocking, and the remainder didn’t care enough to vote.

I’ve heard statements such as “despite the EIR, common sense” dictates that the hotel will cause traffic problems; setting aside common sense in favor of observation, I can say that I have never encountered traffic problems around any of the hotels here in town, nor around the Fairmount, which I believe has in excess of 200 rooms.

I’ve heard arguments that the hotel’s aesthetics will not be pleasing, yet the rusting Chateau Sonoma building needs protection for its historical significance. The impact of the increase in water and sewer usage is insignificant, even by the opponents own statistics.

I could go on citing examples of conflicting arguments by this group, but I think I’ve made my point. The latest argument is the housing component, so I was pleased to see Ms. Simon’s letter state examples of this group’s efforts for housing, or rather the lack of their efforts, except where it relates to the hotel project. I truly believed the opponents of the hotel project would have gracefully accepted the fact that they are in the minority, as evidenced by the Measure B election but, alas, it was not to be.

I implore this group to acknowledge that they have been heard, their words considered, and accept the fact that the majority of residents do not object to the new hotel and some, probably many, are welcoming it. Yet despite the developer’s numerous modifications to the project to address the opponents’ concerns, they continue their objections which, in my opinion, are bordering on simple obstructionism. I grow weary of the constant barrage of objections and appeals that are taxing the resources of our city and elected officials. Due diligence has been performed, the developers have responded. Let’s move on.

Jeff Montague

Sonoma