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Letters to the Editor, Oct. 19

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Needle and the damage done

EDITOR: Regarding Scott Smith’s letter (“The Enemy Within,” Oct. 12) in which he references the biblical quote about it being “easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” At the time referred to in the aforementioned quote, Jerusalem was surrounded by walls. There was an entry on all four sides. One entry was so low, that a camel had to get down on its knees to walk through it. It was called “the Needle.” Notice the biblical quote said, “The Needle,” not a needle. In our minds we have had it wrong all this time. My father even had the quote, referring to that, “If you died you couldn’t take it with you, but if you could it would burn up anyway.” What do you think?

Charles Avery

Sonoma

Make your voice heard – vote!

EDITOR: I am an 81-year-old businessman, a Libertarian, a U.S. Army veteran and a supporter of local K-3 education, quality local healthcare and the performing arts.

I will be voting shortly…

for civility… and against violence.

for comprehensive immigration reform… and against politically charged posturing.

for the rule of law… and not emotionally based decision making.

for freedom of religion… and not the condemnation of Islam, Judaism or Christianity or atheism.

for less government interference and fewer regulations… and against high taxes and government control/bureaucracy.

for providing insurance to patients with preexisting conditions… and against government managed healthcare for all.

for school choice and individually based K-3 education focused on student literacy and math competency by Grade 3.

Please vote in this election… so the best representatives take your message seriously and we do not allow the big corporations, the billionaires, the big unions nor the lobbyists to make decisions impacting our daily lives!

Make sure your voice is heard… vote!

We have a booming economy, jobs aplenty and a thriving business climate that is raising the tide for each of us in Sonoma County! We should not take any of this for granted! We are blessed to live in this great country!

Gary D. Nelson

Sonoma

Put tasting room embargo in spittoon!

EDITOR: This letter is in response to Jason Walsh’s editorial of Sept. 25 (“Sonoma City Council Left With Sour Taste Over Tasting-Room Embargo”). City Council members are hopeful a permanent ordinance drafted by city staff will solve the often-stated dilemma of “too many winery tasting rooms on the Plaza.” Without such an ordinance, City Council members were willing to vote 4-0 to extend the moratorium on new tasting rooms on the Plaza another seven months. But no matter how long it takes, any ordinance is unlikely to provide City Council members much cover from making what is an essentially political decision.

Is it possible to codify how many tasting rooms are too many? Is there a mathematical formula that will satisfy the demands of a public that simply feels there are too many tasting rooms on the Plaza? Can such an emotion be translated into policy? Enacting a moratorium on new tasting rooms was a political act by City Council members, who were reacting to the emotional expressions of those they perceive as their constituents.

Editor Jason Walsh describes Mayor Madolyn Agrimonti fuming about the prospect of continuing the moratorium. “Here’s what people actually think out there: We can’t make a decision – we can’t,” said Agrimonti. “Everything’s a moratorium.” Agrimonti proposed speeding up the process by hiring a consultant to develop a tasting-room ordinance. “This will be something we won’t have to think about,” Agrimonti said about handing off the matter to a consultant. “It just needs to get moving.”

Unless there is a nascent Solomon on City staff, I think Mayor Agrimonti is being remarkably optimistic. Eventually, City Council members will have to face up to the challenge of taking a vote, and declaring themselves in favor of the major industry that supports our town, or not. Meanwhile, the wine industry keeps changing and Sonoma’s cherished position high atop the world of wine tourism is evolving. Market share is not a given, and economic success in the highly competitive world of destination tourism is subject to large trends perhaps unfelt by locals upset there are a lot of cars parked around the Plaza on a Saturday afternoon. The fires of a year ago have reduced overall visitation; some wineries have never recovered. Numbers are down at tasting rooms and wineries, and cyclical trends all point to a national retrenchment in the years ahead. As few as seven years ago, shuttered storefronts on the Plaza told a different story than today.

George Webber

Sonoma