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Letters to the Editor, Nov. 9

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Land o’plenty

EDITOR: On a recent morning run in beautiful Sonoma I came across a family of deer – including a very young and small fawn -- trapped on Gehricke Road at Lovall.

They were trapped by fences surrounding vineyards and mansions; they were trapped by a multitude of cars and trucks and construction work, and a road closure, and signs about road closures, and utility vehicles, and people walking by with their dogs (who were not taking kindly to the deer).

I hung around for half an hour, watching from a distance as the deer skittered up and down Ghericke, clearly stressed, continually going up to the fences, trying to find an opening. Not really knowing if anyone could be of assistance, I called a local county animal welfare service to inquire. I expressed concern that the family of deer were at risk of being hit and killed or injured.

The person with whom I spoke told me there’s no way they’d dispatch for a matter such as the one I was describing. Fair enough. But when I continued to express concern, the response I got was an annoyed tone of, “We have plenty of deer.”

We have plenty of deer. The terrible wildfires of last year both displaced and killed numbers of animals, including deer. Concern for the deer, and other animals, was common chatter among many locals during the fires. Everyone cared about the deer, then. I don’t think I’m alone in saying that I still care about deer welfare.

Aside from the fact that I like animals, I also believe deer are an important part of Sonoma’s ecosystem. Their vitality allows other animals to survive here. Wildfires can handily deplete a deer population. So can urban development. Such culminations, coupled by a “we have plenty of deer” attitude, foreshadows an ecosystem that can become imperiled.

I think it’s more productive to consider what we are doing toward sustainable development, which requires thoughtfulness and curiosity and a commitment to the bigger picture of a landscape and its inhabitants. In addition to the threat of global warming disasters, there’s the reality that increased development in Sonoma increasingly encroaches on the land used by wildlife. And that means actively considering how development, in all its phases, has potential to entrap and endanger wildlife. Sonoma is home to bright, creative, thoughtful, people, with the talent and skills to bring progressive sustainability to our land and our community. It’s well worth pursuing smart solutions to ensure that animals of all kinds have safe ways to pass through and across and along the land, including bypasses. Wildlife corridors protect and connect wildlife habits. I know there are people locally working on this, and advocating for it. And I appreciate it a lot.

Because saying, “We have plenty of deer,” sounds like a rationalization for inaction. California’s state flag has a grizzly bear on it. Because we used to have plenty of grizzlies... along with wolves, and sea otters, and... the list goes on...

Holly Kulak

Sonoma

Memories of Nita

EDITOR: As a friend of Nita Rothschild, I was disturbed by the way she was represented during her murder trial (“Rothschild Gets 6-year Sentence for Killing Wife,” Nov. 2). Sadly, she is not here to defend herself or share her side of the story.

While we understand why her husband and murderer blamed the victim for his own benefit, those of us who knew Nita remember a lovely and calm woman who was soft spoken and kind.

Over the years I knew Nita, I have only memories of a woman who never raised her voice, complained in any way, or was ever tough on others. It is hard for her friends to believe the stories we heard at the trial, having no personal evidence of the alleged behaviors through many encounters, emails and activities.

We miss enjoying a glass of wine and appetizers with Nita at Tuesday night markets; we miss meeting up for morning coffee at Starbuck’s or lunch at Saddles; we miss Nita’s welcoming smile at holiday parties; and we miss joining Nita for walks on the beautiful trails around Sonoma.

Precious are our memories of Nita: a beautiful woman who is no longer able to enjoy the pleasures of life in Sonoma.

Julie Bickford

Sonoma

State’s shameful treatment of Eldridge

EDITOR: I have become more and more outraged in the way the State of California’s Department of Surplus Property -- in the privatizing and dismantling of the Sonoma Developmental Center -- has treated the County of Sonoma in regard to dumping many of its clients, as well the 1,000-acre SDC in Sonoma Valley at Eldridge. Plus, the 200 acres of building footprint and the remaining 800 acres of stunning natural beauty that should be kept as a forever wild nature corridor. The state it appears has only been giving lip service to the good intentions of its citizens to retain and attempt to repurpose this important old institution. It occurred to me the county would not let a private developer just walk away from the property without cleaning up the brown field they have created. The state is doing just that. It seems very likely at this late date the county will claim lack of funding and this unique piece of property will go to the highest bidder. What a heartbreak that will be.

Recently, as I was driving in SDC up past the cemetery and to what remains of Camp Via, I saw moldering buildings overgrown with brush and black berries and who knows what toxic material lies underneath. I felt that the state should be required to clean up the mess it created by failing to maintain the buildings that were in the stewardship of the state for over 110 years. What a crime to neglect this beautiful property in such an appalling fashion. I personally am not a litigious person, but I believe, in this case, it may be warranted to sue the state to clean up the mess they are leaving behind to the community. This letter is not intended for state Sen. Mike McGuire or our other dedicated legislators, but for the state agencies that failed our most vulnerable population and the beautiful land that remains.

Marilyn Goode

Sonoma