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Letters to the Editor, April 20 - 23

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Extra! Read all about it!

EDITOR: I enjoy your editorials. I especially appreciated “Holidays in the Scrum” (April 6). Newspeople today are suffering terrible conditions made worse by Trump’s intolerance of ideas that conflict with his own and his hate for anyone who threatens his power. Many of us cheer on those of you who are willing to provide fair and balanced reporting.

Wishing a quick resolution to this distrust of the media.

Jacqueline Steuer
Sonoma

Many bites at the Cherry

EDITOR: I was sorry to read in the I-T that someone stole the sign at the Cherry Tree (“Glass Full/Glass Empty,” April 5). A photograph (above) of the unprepossessing but comfortingly familiar roadside building taken by my niece Monica evokes many happy memories. For many years the structure has been shuttered but has never been empty because it’s filled with echoes of the happy chatter of instantly refreshed travelers on postwar motor trips and Valley families picking up cold cider on their way to their favorite picnic grounds.

My parents stopped there on every visit to Sonoma from our home on the peninsula beginning in the first summer after we moved to California from Iowa in 1953. My sisters and I loved to watch them enjoy the cherry cider with equal rapture. Dad was an Eisenhower Republican, Mother a Roosevelt Democrat, but the Cherry Tree was blessed common ground.

When my wife Tina and I were going together in the Sixties, I’d often pick her up in Hayward and drive to the Valley of the Moon to visit the Mission, Vallejo’s home, the Plaza and the region’s romantic charm. Our first stop: The Cherry Tree. As our family grew, each of our five children helped us discover this local treasure anew.

I’m sure my family is not alone in wishing the owners success in recovering the sign. Maybe Monica’s photo will help people recognize it if they run across it on sale. Leaving it up for so many years was a kindness to all who cherish memories like ours.

David Hinkley
Sonoma

The ‘only way’?

EDITOR: I’d like to clarify a few points made by Ken Wornick in his Valley Forum op-ed (“Museum Name Change Is the Only Way,” April 13).

The proxy form which accompanied the notice of the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art’s annual General Meeting did not contain a chance to vote on the motion to change the name. It offered a chance to assign a board member as a proxy voter, or any other SVMA member in good standing, as your representative. There was no ballot, nor was there any indication of how the representative would vote on any of the several issues on the agenda. To call for a vote without information, discussion or an opportunity to choose “no,” is not a vote. The board had proxies not ballots. It is an unfortunate manipulation of both the letter and the spirit of the by-laws which were adopted as the foundation of the organization. I would not describe that as “an abundance of respect.”

I am also somewhat skeptical of the methodology of the museum consultant who couldn’t find anyone in the community with knowledge of the museum. She left the founders, organizers and early supporters out of her research. She also left out the families of all the fourth graders in the school district who have participated in the Art Rewards the Student program. She also somehow missed the teachers and students who regularly take field trips to the museum. She also somehow missed the many artists and collectors in the community who have participated in exhibitions at the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art.

But, just for the sake of argument, let’s say the “expert” is right and no one knows the museum exists. How does a name change help? If no one knows my name, changing it from Jim to Bob won’t make me famous.

The petition which is circulating now may in fact represent a more relevant sampling of the community knowledge of the museum. There used to be over 1,000 members of the SVMA. Now there are only 600-plus. That leaves at least 350 former members who may feel they still have a right to an opinion, even if they are disenfranchised from voting. In fact, every citizen has a stake in the identity of their community. (See a partial list at www.SVMA.gallery and add your name.)

Everyone makes mistakes. Attempting to disown the Valley is certainly a mistake. We don’t know how big a mistake it is yet because the Treasurer’s report, which was supposed to be distributed at the March 15 meeting, has not yet been produced as promised. We don’t know how far down the rabbit hole we’ve gone. But we don’t need to go any further. Which way should we go?

Jim Callahan
Sonoma