Letters to the Index-Tribune editor, Sept. 24

A message from Maité

EDITOR: My love for this community is profound. Over the last 25 years I have worked to create opportunities for our families to thrive. The potential of this community to come together and be leaders in education, health, business and resiliency is tremendous. We all want what’s best for the people of this valley. The conditions that exist here for our collective success is what has motivated and inspired me all these years.

Your tremendous outpouring of love and support after the announcement of my departure from Sonoma Valley Unified School District has filled my heart. Thank you for all your kind words.

I carry you all with me every day. I think about and act on work we can do together to help this community grow to be healthy and vibrant. My motivation comes from you and the relationships we’ve built and our shared vision for a better future. We have done it time and time again through the most difficult of situations. Mia Birdsong stated that communities that survive disasters have deep connections and strong relationships.

We have the connections that have allowed us to survive but I know we want to do more than survive. We want to thrive and connect with one another. I see it in everyone’s face as we search to find ways to engage with our friends, our families and our neighbors.

And that is still our charge. To continue down our shared path, to collaborate for the success of our children, the health of our families and unity throughout our Valley.

I will always continue to work for the health and well being of all of us in the Valley and in partnership with all of you. Thank you for a wonderful 25 years. I look forward to the next chapter.

With much love and appreciation.

Maité Iturri

Boyes Hot Springs

‘Parcel of dust and dog poop’

EDITOR: I read with great frustration the summary of the last meeting in regards to the application for the parcel at Jack's Filling Station (“Gas station-restaurant package shot down,” Sept. 17). The attitude expressed by the commission towards the proposal was more contentious than supportive — lacking professionalism and a view of the big picture.

I read through the application on the city website, and all the issues raised about nonconforming in a mixed-use lot are given discussion and suggestions. The law seems to be vaguely written and frequently interpreted, so it is not a case of ignoring the law. And the housing issue, though it continues, at least an additional rental could have been available, but now it remains a parcel of dust and dog poop. Perhaps a request to revise it back to two apartments as it was in the approved application of two years ago would have shown a willingness to work with the applicants.

Sadly, they will now likely take their ideas out of Sonoma, so we can lose that one rental and the restaurant revenue. Maybe, according to the commission's fantasy view, the owners will someday sell off the parcel, and maybe a low-income housing developer will build as many units as they can squeeze in, thus satisfying the commission. Maybe they'll approve that. Or maybe it will sit unused another 10 years like the lot across Broadway, benefiting no one. But at least the commission can say they didn't approve a plan that didn't give enough to the City. The Unplanning Commission who commits no wrongs.

Lee Barron


Broadway was a bad call

EDITOR: In October 2015, a woman was hit in the crosswalk on East Napa Street. The City Council and Traffic Committee: no action.

In October 2016, a 72-year-old man was hurt in a hit-and-run accident on Broadway and Andrieux. The City Council and Traffic Committee: no action.

Now, April of 2021: a woman walking in the crosswalk at the same location of Broadway and Andrieux with a dog also got hit and the dog died.

The Sonoma City Council now wants to do something, but is ignoring the previous Sonoma City Council’s vote to leave Broadway the way it is, because the majority of Sonoma Valley residents want it left that way.

Instead, the present Council voted 3-1 to change Broadway by putting in a bike lane next to the curb, then a buffer. The public would then be parking in what is now the slow lane. There will be one lane going north and one going south from the Plaza to MacArthus Street. This will require drivers to use neighborhood streets to get around.

What is needed is a traffic signal at Broadway and Andrieux. The Sonoma City Council members do not know much about traffic, they are going against what people want. So remember, when they come up for reelection, vote them out.

Jim Karabochos


Planning Commission should show some respect

EDITOR: Regarding, Christian Kallen’s recap of the Sept. 9 Sonoma Planning Commission’s discussion of the proposed Jack’s Filling Station Project (“Gas station-restaurant package shot down,” Sept. 17), while Mr. Kallen did a through recap of the points raised during the meeting, he did not mention the tenor of the discussion. I disagree with the commission’s denial of this project, but that’s not my point here. Watching the meeting, I was struck by the dismissive and even aggressive tone two of the commissioners took with the applicant. I’ve seen that in previous Planning Commission meetings where it seems we’re witnessing a public dressing down of the applicant rather than an objective review of the project at hand. That’s a worrisome trend. Bullying behavior has no place in any of the City’s commission or council meetings. I’d like to see applicants treated with respect and given a thorough hearing. That did not happen with the Jack’s Filling Station Project.

I also want to note that, if you stand in front of Jack’s on the Broadway side, and turn 180 degrees you’ll be facing the rapidly falling apart eyesore that is the former Sonoma Truck and Auto Center. Two of the speakers against the Jack’s project at the Sept. 9 meeting were part of the group responsible for stopping the project that would have been built there. A project with housing – including affordable housing – and a market. They blocked that project calling themselves “The Friends of the Broadway Corridor.” The irony of that is not lost on many of us. With “friends” like that…

Sue Simon


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