Letters to the Editor, Sept. 21

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Word ‘monkey’ has been racist for

long time

EDITOR: The headline of Charles Avery’s letter from the Sept. 4 issue asks, “Since when is ‘monkey’ racist?”

Well, probably since World War II, if not some 35 years earlier – when “ monkeys” appeared in the song, “The Monkey Have No Tails in Zambaoanga.” Back in 1907, the word “monkeys” may not have had racial or ethnic connotations. But it certainly acquired some later on.

However, it appears that the targets of this playful derision were Filipinos, not African Americans.

JW Morgan


We must save skilled-nursing facility!

EDITOR: The “task force,” charged by the Sonoma Valley Hospital to evaluate the closure of the Skilled Nursing Facility, has scheduled a meeting for Thursday, Sept. 27 at 5 p.m. at the Community Meeting Room. Please attend. Closing the skilled nursing facility (SNF) will leave a huge void in the level of care for patients requiring those services. It is doubtful that there are other excellent full-service options available in the town of Sonoma let alone in the Valley.

SNF operates currently with 24 beds and is quite often at full capacity. The skilled nursing facility is not just a place which provides a bed and a meal while you recover. SNF has all of the support services so vital to prepare a patient to become mobile and physically capable of doing what it takes to resume daily living functions and return to their homes. All of these vital services are under one roof and that fact alone makes this facility so unique, valuable and very much needed by our community.

The financial situation needs more examination before important services are dismantled. It is imperative that the right decision be made regarding the SNF. Over 25 percent of our population in Sonoma are seniors. The needs of seniors are growing disproportionately to the general public’s needs whether it be housing, transportation or adequate medical care.

I urge you to mark your calendars and voice your concerns. We must find a

way to preserve the nursing facility at Sonoma Valley Hospital.

Laurie Sebesta


Fate of Crescent School a hard lesson indeed

EDITOR: Last spring, students and staff at Crescent Montessori School met with food writer Kathleen Hill to learn about “fake news” and journalism. Unfortunately, the I-T article published last month about Crescent (“Crescent Closes Grade School; Reverts to Preschool Only,” Aug. 21) would make an excellent lesson about how omissions and elisions can obscure the truth, despite the accuracy of the article’s facts.

When the school year ended in June, the school’s board of directors, including Karin Niehoff, stated in no uncertain terms that the school would be open for preschool through eighth grade in 2018-2019.

Ms. Niehoff called parents and teachers on July 11 to tell them the school was closing, a decision apparently triggered by a frustrated effort to reduce facilities costs. Neither she nor the board ever told school families that staying open was contingent on reducing those costs.

In July, there were 28 students enrolled, down from around 45 at the beginning of 2018. So to say that “most put in applications for other schools” soon after January, as the article stated, is untrue. More than half of the admittedly small student body had re-enrolled, or been replaced by new incoming families – who were recruited throughout the spring and early summer.

After Ms. Niehoff’s announcement, to my knowledge the board of directors never issued an official response, voted to close the school or any of its programs, or took any formal action to keep the school open for the largest possible contingent of students; nor did they formally decide to hold the Aug. 18 sale of school materials.

I believe the board erred on the side of being deferential to Ms. Niehoff. Had they persuaded her to retire and leave the school’s fate to the board, with a concerted effort they could have saved more of its programs.

As a former school parent who remained committed until the last, I’ve spent the past month struggling with whether to write. But this chain of events makes a potent argument for transparency, conflict-of-interest protocols, and professional financial management within nonprofit organizations.

Also, with the future of the “reborn” preschool in flux, it’s surely helpful to know the school’s recent past. As they say, those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.

Finally, I return to the memory of those Crescent students learning about journalism. If we can’t forthrightly tell the truth, how can we expect the children whose education we prize so highly to do so?

Catherine Thorpe


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