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Letters to the Editor, Oct. 30

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Anonymous mailer? We’re better than this

EDITOR: I read with interest your article about the anonymous postcard sent by some “reasonable, reflective and concerned citizens” suggesting which City Council candidates we should vote for and which ones we should NOT vote for (“Anonymous Campaign Mailer Sparks Backlash,” Oct. 12). I wondered why they didn’t identify themselves and why it was postmarked from Phoenix, Arizona.

Since I’ve been following local elections, they’ve all been on the up and up – open, honest and vigorous debates of the issues facing our Valley. I was saddened to see this tactic: It takes us to a low we’ve not seen before. Who are these people anyway?

We’re better than this.

Karen Collins

Sonoma

Let’s have an honest talk about housing

EDITOR: With every City Council candidate talking about housing, I’ve been expecting to see the Index-Tribune interview someone who has tried to get housing built in Sonoma. Perhaps the ringer on my phone is broken. Housing is solvable but it takes an honest conversation about which candidates have the skills to help:

Madolyn Agrimonti never impressed me as being prepared or present in any meeting I’ve been in with her. She’s not at the top of her game.

James Cribb is the only candidate with planning experience. His demonstrated apolitical leadership on the Planning Commission, and success running a local business, demonstrates a proven track record of managing challenging situations that require decisive action. Logan Harvey met with us during our effort to develop the First Street East project. I believe he will support housing projects regardless of the political pressure. I also believe he will support going up, as in three-plus story buildings, which will allow for needed denser housing.

Much needed housing has died on the vine, due to the City Council’s political weathervane approach. Rachel Hundley was impossible to work with as we tried to get direction on housing projects. She simply refused to articulate what she wanted for Sonoma.

I’ve observed Chris Petlock as the CFO of a charitable youth board, to be a highly diligent and a detailed finance professional, who easily builds consensus. The City Council would benefit immensely from having someone who understands housing finance and can bridge opposing views.

Ed Routhier

Sonoma

Water incumbents got well of experience

EDITOR: The Valley of the Moon Water District faces an important choice with the upcoming election for two district board members. The incumbents, Jon Foreman and Mark Heneveld have earned the right to be reelected for correctly and effectively implementing long-established law, even if it was unpopular in some quarters. Their challengers want to return to a system that does not treat all water users equally, a system that the courts have deemed illegal.

A bit of background is important. Proposition 218 was passed by the voters in 1998 and required that California water districts provide water to their customers at actual cost, plus some small allowance for overhead. In 2006, the California Supreme Court ruled that the provisions of Proposition 218 apply to local water charges (refuse and sewer too). This meant that districts, such as the Valley of the Moon Water District, cannot overcharge one group of water ratepayers in order to offset the cost for another group of water users. In early 2018 the VOMWD Board unanimously voted, including board members Foreman and Heneveld, to comply with and enact the requirements of Proposition 218 and the Supreme Court decision. This resulted in a small upward cost adjustment for subsidized rate payers and reduced the bills of others.

The incumbent’s challengers want to return to a billing structure the courts have already determined to be illegal — treating rate payers differently, i.e., treating them unequally and unfairly. Those challenging the incumbents want the district to hire a new legal team to support their position of returning to the unfair and illegal rate structure. If the challengers are successful it will certainly result in much wasted money on attorneys and a successful court challenge by overcharged VOMWD rate payers. The outcome will surely result in the water district losing and then being required to not only pay its own legal fees but those of the over charged as well. This money should be more responsibly spent maintaining our ageing water system.

The incumbents have earned your vote by correctly implementing long standing California law which requires equal treatment of all water users. And they not only appropriately implemented California law, but they avoided costly and wasteful litigation to defend practices that have been clearly established as illegal.

Please vote for responsible government, vote for Jon Foreman and Mark Heneveld.

Stephen Berezin, Kevin Carruth

Sonoma

Character, competence, commitment

EDITOR: Sonoma Valley Hospital is confronting evolving community needs, advances in medical technology, and cost pressures that force difficult decisions about services at our hospital.

These decisions are complicated by themselves, but made more controversial by divergent public opinion about service priorities. Fortunately, incumbent Joshua Rymer and candidate Michael Mainardi each offer the three most essential attributes for board members: Character, competence and commitment.

I have known both for more than 10 years, and consider each a friend. I have collaborated with them on community projects and served on other nonprofit boards, and thus am informed by personal experience on their attributes.

Each is exemplary for their reliability, truthfulness, objectivity and open-mindedness as they search for solutions to problems and opportunities to capture.

Competence speaks to the underlying capabilities derived from intellect, education, breadth of experience and analytical skills necessary to discern the available options and to fairly weigh the consequences of each option. High marks here for both as the backgrounds they bring to bear are super strong, yet coupled with a grounded understanding of our Valley’s culture and needs.

Yet competence coupled with character is for naught without a passionate commitment to act in the best interest of our hospital and its constituents. This dedication to results, simply expressed as the energy to make things happen, is what Rymer and Mainardi blend with their other attributes.

Look no further, we will not find better stewards for our hospital board. Character, competence and commitment is an unbeatable force that we need now.

Jon Parker

Sonoma