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Letters to the Editor, Aug. 3 - 6

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Setting the record straight

EDITOR: The article on cannabis in the July 27th issue of the I-T mischaracterized my position on the marijuana initiative. When I spoke at the city council meeting on July 23rd, I urged the council to either let the measure go to the ballot in November or order a study but not adopt it without a vote from the citizens of Sonoma. I spoke to people who did not realize what they authorized when they signed the petition. Some thought it was for medical marijuana dispensaries, and that included a person who was gathering signatures. So, I believe that this measure required a wider discussion and the vote of Sonoma citizens.

The measure’s stated purpose was the “establishment and operation of commercial cannabis businesses, including commercial manufacturing, distribution, cultivation, transportation, testing, retail sales, and delivery of cannabis in commercial zoning districts in the City.” It also included the possibility of events, which seemed vague and disturbing.

Lastly, for those who think such wide parameters for allowing the recreational sales and manufacturing of marijuana in Sonoma would be good for our community, I suggest that they visit Denver and/or talk to friends who live there. Many Denver residents feel that their city has been taken over by cannabis, and they are not happy with the results. We have to consider how an open marijuana market would impact our residents as well as the type of tourism it would bring to our small town. Since it’s difficult to put the genie back the bottle or the smoke back in the toke, I believe that ultimately the residents will have to vote on this issue. In the meantime, I think the decision by the council majority to order a study on its impact is appropriate.

Georgia Kelly, Director

Praxis Peace Institute

Sonoma editor has a ‘yellow’ streak…

EDITOR: The Time magazine image of a crying almost 2-year old Honduran girl was a deliberate attempt to provoke outrage of separating parents and children at the border. The Washington Post (no apologist for President Trump) responded that the child was not separated from her mother, who was asked to put the child down as the mother was routinely patted down. I can’t tell you how often I’ve been patted down at airport screening. The agent asked if the child was OK and the mother said she was tired and thirsty. It was 11 p.m. at night.

The Washington Post set the record straight on Time’s misleading magazine cover. In your editorial of June 22 (“Across the Great Divide,” June 22), you wrote: “babies ripped from their mama’s bosoms.” If you know anything about journalism you would recognize your charge as yellow journalism. The situation is problematic enough without small-town editors roiling the ignorant public. Do the right thing and retract your accusation.

June England

Sonoma

Editor’s Note: Thanks for reading and writing in, June. We appreciate your feedback. Allow me to reply to your concern of “yellow journalism.” If such descriptions of the situation as “babies ripped from their mama’s bosoms” were part of a news story reporting on an incident, you might be correct in your charge that that kind of writing for dramatic effect is what is casually called “yellow journalism,” or sensationalism. But I was writing an editorial – an opinion piece – which by its very nature is intended to persuade, impassion and, at times, provoke. That said, from the reports that emerged during the disastrous zero-tolerance border policy that separated between 2,000 and 3,000 children from their parents, I’d be shocked if there weren’t any still-nursing infants taken away in the coldhearted chaos and confusion. As to the Time cover – I don’t have a problem with it and agree with the magazine’s editors who stood by it. It was clearly a photo illustration meant to visually depict the content of that week’s news coverage. Unless one thought President Trump had been personally at the border overseeing the separations and hovering over crying babies, it was an effective use of visual storytelling. As former Time editor Nancy Gibbs described the cover, “I think that the power of it is in the juxtaposition of the two figures, of the child who quickly came to represent all of the children that we’re talking about, and the president who was making the decisions about their fate.”

June, thanks for allowing me to respond and I’ll agree with you on one thing: We definitely don’t want “small-town editors roiling the ignorant public” any more than is necessary! – JW

How about ‘military Mondays’?

EDITOR: As a military daughter, sister and granddaughter, I was extremely disappointed while shopping at a local market to find that their little-publicized military discount is only offered on Tuesdays, the same day as Senior Discount day. Our military members choose daily to sacrifice themselves for the good of our country, an action that should not be likened to simply being a senior citizen. I have had the privilege of living in different parts of the U.S. due to my father’s service, and this kind of attitude would be frowned upon in most others. I try my best to support small town businesses, but I am deterred when they do not support our American heroes. The military fights for your freedom every second of every day, not just once a week.

God bless America.

Nancy Pecha

Sonoma