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Letters to the Editor, Oct. 5

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Genie of truth is out of the bottle

EDITOR: Thank you Will Shonbrun for your very good letter (“Guys, Our Days Are Numbered...” Oct. 2). I, too, am choosing to believe that the tides are turning, that people everywhere (men and women) are waking up and finding the courage to face those deeply held ingrained beliefs, those lies that form the building blocks of injustice and inequality that we have been living in since time immemorial.

It takes tremendous courage to face the fact that our social values, our cultural norms and, by implication of course, our parents best, but (they could not help it) misguided, intentions have been internalized by us all and serve as the template that we now look through to make sense of ourselves and our lives.

At some juncture, if we are lucky, we may see it all of what it is: a terrible sham, a betrayal, a false house of cards that has kept us enslaved and unwilling and unable to face the deep truth about ourselves. However, when you are able to speak the truth of your experience, as I believe Dr. Christine Blasey Ford has done, then the genie is out of the bottle and will refuse to go back into hiding. That “genie” was named in Dr. Ford’s compelling testimony when she was asked what part of what happened to her continues to haunt her the most for all these years? Her heart-wrenching answer ought to be studied and listened to by everyone who wants to understand the nature of the toxicity that currently divides our country. She said, “It was seeing them laughing at me,.. having a good time.” Shame and humiliation are the driving forces behind sexual assault, physical abuse and trauma in all of its many guises. Judge Brett Kavanaugh shamed and humiliated Dr. Ford when he was 17 because he was acting out his own legacy of deep unconscious male shame which he still defends against by anger, aggression and denial. Brett Kavanaugh is an example of how we project our unconscious shame outward and target the other. You don’t need to believe my analysis, just re-watch the Congressional hearing with this in mind to see it being played out.

I see Judge Kavanaugh as a sad and very wounded individual who has built his life serving justice, fairness and protecting the rights of others, but has found little of it for himself.

Our systems of justice are going to be as healthy as the individuals who serve in them. We are in a time of tremendous change, transition and I believe deep healing, but it may have to get worse before it gets better. I hope not.

Peter H. Coster

Sonoma

Flyer beware

EDITOR: I am concerned about a flyer recently put out by Steve Rogers, a candidate for VOMWD Water Board. I am currently President of that Board and would like to set the record right. Steve, in his flyer states that the Board “voted a massive raise” in salaries “without independent review.” The last part of the statement is true. We did the review in house, but it wasn’t only the general manager, it was also myself and Vice President Henevelt, who performed the review, to save the district $10,000 in consultant fees. We found that our people were making about 8-10 percent less than similar water districts. The primary reason for the raise was due to losing 60 percent of our new hires over the previous 36 months. Staff would hire on, receive their training and accreditations and move on to better paying districts. I’m not sure where Steve came up with 22.8 percent increase; the total average of all the raises for those employed by the district was in the 9 percent range, including benefits and retirement. We have lost no personnel since. Our current group of employees is some of the best we ever had. Thanks to the proficiency of our crew, we no longer contract out our water main replacements, which saves the district tens of thousands of dollars a year.

He also states, correctly, about the change in rate structures that resulted in 92 percent of ratepayers paying more. I am one of those low water use ratepayers. What Steve failed to mention is that we were being sued by those high water users in a case similar to the one in San Juan Capistrano, where a recent court decision by the California Court of Appeal, District 4, Division 3 ruling that arbitrary tiered water rates violated California Constitution. As I have stated publicly before, we were handcuffed and had no choice but to change our rate structure, a choice that was made for us by our rate consultants and our lawyers, or else potentially lose the right to sell water. The case was dropped after the change. I can personally attest to the turmoil in making this unwanted decision. I would like to add that VOMWD rates are still among the lowest 20 percent in the state, and that we currently pay about half as much as our neighbors in the City of Sonoma. We are very proud of our accomplishments and I stand by the decisions made by the Board.

Jon L. Foreman

President, Valley of the Moon Water Board

500 and counting

EDITOR: As a bit of a Sonoma History buff, I always delight in reading Kathleen Hill’s columns.

I read in last month’s column is her 500th for the Index Tribune. Congratulations!

And how many years of chronicling our town news is that?

Kathleen is an excellent writer, and has a way of blending her own experiences, near and far, in with her reporting. Current example: When writing of Mark Lyon’s recent purchase of a San Francisco landmark, she quotes him as saying, “Well, I bought a building off Broadway where Phyllis Diller used to perform.” She writes, “I shrieked, “Not the Purple Onion?” (She guessed correctly.)

I loved this. Kathleen has the experience to have “been everywhere“ and then currently “be everywhere“ and put that all together in a delightful way.

I want to thank Kathleen, and her late husband Gerald, for their sharing and caring for our community through their succinct and delightful writings and interest in what’s old, and what’s new!

We are lucky to have her in our midst.

Joanie Bourg

Sonoma