Letters to the Editor, Jan. 8

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Grinches and greed

EDITOR: Thank you for your Dec. 25 editorial, “Our Town, Sonoma.” I have lived in Boyes Hot Springs and El Verano for 45 years, but Sonoma IS my town and even though I have no official say about what happens to her, I care.

I was appalled to read about the developer who could not buy the Sonoma Alliance Church and now has a vendetta against those kind souls who shelter the homeless in winter. A clear case of Grinch greed.

All the development that is happening on every square inch of Sonoma is crazy and I wonder how much of it will truly be “affordable” and be homes for people who work here? A couple of units that are less than the inflated asking price should not be sufficient reason for the go ahead on a project. Do we have the water and infrastructure to support all these crammed-in homes? Meanwhile, traffic is already insane and roads are a mess. This effects everyone in the Valley! Wake up citizens of Sonoma! Let’s be sensible about our growth and find a balance.

All housing should be “affordable.” Yes, contractors and builders need work and I don’t mean to offend those professions – but couldn’t they renovate existing properties in the Valley for affordable housing? The old McNeilly building on Verano Avenue is an example. Isn’t there enough work in rebuilding all the homes destroyed by the firestorm? Redevelopment and repair as opposed to sucking up every available space seems much more sensible to me.

Cat Petru

Sonoma

Homelessness is not back-page news

EDITOR: I opened the Dec. 25 paper just this morning, having been busy with Christmas festivities, and was shocked to read the letter, “Homeless Story Sad News in Season of Light“ by a Kathleen Larsen.

I must say: The audacity to request that a story about the suffering of some of our Valley’s citizens at the holidays and into the cold and rainy winter season “be placed on a back page in a lower corner“ is outrageous!

Does this sad news “wreck your day,“ Ms. Larsen ?

Have you ever spent the night out of doors because you didn’t have a place to live?

Have you even been camping in colder temps?

I imagine not, or you would likely support the Index Tribune’s choice to highlight this story of personal attempts to close this church’s overnight winter shelter through the front-page exposure.

This attitude is how the large and growing homeless population stays invisible. The attitude that seeing or hearing about this “heartbreaking” event during your good time, or the Season of Light, is selfish at best and ignorant at worst.

The fact that the homeless population is rising in our county and state needs attention. Many, many folks are only one or two paychecks away from not being able to pay the rent. This is a reality and, as a self-employed person, I feel the pinch of the high costs of living in California on a regular basis.

I implore you, Ms. Larsen, to put yourself in the shoes of others. Why not put all your warm clothes on tonight after dark, and go outside to find your place to lie down and sleep from before 6 p.m. to well after 7 a.m. when the sun starts to poke over the hill? Did you find a place that is soft? Is it warm? Is it dry? Do you feel safe?

There are no others, Ms. Larson.

We are each “the other.”

Many of us blessed to have good health, a job, food and family in our lives.

Some of us, not so fortunate.

Homelessness has many reasons for it, and it is a growing problem, a fracturing of our very society. Many now fall through the cracks, for many reasons. Mental illness. Lack of affordable housing. Addiction. I do not have the answer, but we all need to feel the sting of the difficulties associated with homelessness and do our best to help, even if it’s just feeling that discomfort.

At best, we at least offer someone homeless a few bucks, or some food or warm clothing.

Or, support overnight shelters and the wonderful local people and places that are attempting to address and assist homeless with money or the volunteering of your time.

It’s the human thing to do.

Joanie Bourg

Sonoma

Tree falls in Kenwood; no one at county hears it

EDITOR: A third tree has now fallen on Kenilworth Avenue. The situation along Kenilworth Avenue in Kenwood is getting desperate. The residents’ frustration has grown as the county has failed to respond to the real and growing threat to public safety. What gives with this county and its leadership?

Gary Kozel

Kenwood

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