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A smelly neighbor

EDITOR: As an off-and-on resident and a continuous property owner in Sonoma County since the mid-1940s, I’m following the county’s commercial marijuana situation with a great deal of interest. If grow permits are issued within smelling distances of residences, I expect any number of property owners to take steps necessary to have their property taxes reduced to reflect the reduced value of their homes caused by the nuisances and uncertain dangers from nearby marijuana grows. This problem is already being reflected in real estate disclosure forms.

Marijuana grows near homes make no more sense than hog ranches do, no matter what the zoning allows. The commercial avarice of a few should not degrade the quality of life of the many in their own homes. I know because we had to close our windows to the cooling evening breezes filled with the stench of marijuana.

THOMAS GUTHRIE

Lakeport

Blaming victims

EDITOR: Go ahead, blame the aged and infirmed for causing harm to themselves while trying to flee a disastrous situation (“Senior home disputes charges,” Tuesday). These people were living in an assisted living facility because they cannot care for themselves. For a law firm to blame these people and family members who helped them is ridiculous. Shame on you.

GLORIA ANDERSON

Santa Rosa

District elections

EDITOR: Both the Santa Rosa City Council and Santa Rosa City Schools are in the process of transitioning from at-large elections to district-based elections. As reported in The Press Democrat, the school board recently approved election maps for the new districts. Thank you for your ongoing coverage of these important changes.

The city of Santa Rosa is midway in the process of developing district maps for the November general election. Now is the time for all Santa Rosa residents to give input on the maps for the City Council districts.

I urge Santa Rosa residents to attend one, or more, of the public hearings on proposed district maps. They’re scheduled for 5 p.m. Tuesday as well as on March 27, April 3 and April 10 at the City Council chamber. You also can send written comments to City Council members.

Please get involved to ensure that the district boundaries are well designed and that everyone’s vote counts.

DEBBIE McKAY

Santa Rosa

The rosy outlook

EDITOR: Thank you for the glowing economic report for Sonoma County presented by Robert Eyler at the yearly Economic Outlook Conference (“Experts: Economy won’t suffer lasting damage,” March 3). I was unable to attend this year’s meeting because I was occupied trying to find funding to replace the home Nancy and I lost in Larkfield Estates on Oct. 9. Had I not been so occupied, I would have attended so that I could give witness to how happy we were to donate our home and possessions in order to stimulate the local economy, even if the stimulation goes to outside workers instead of local.

We are trying so hard to make the past few months “more of a memory than an on-the-spot issue,” but the darned exigencies of trying to build a home from a hole in the ground just keep getting in the way.

We look forward to seeing the glowing rebirth of Sonoma County from the ashes — just like the phoenix — even if we have to watch from Nevada.

CHRIS KUHN

Santa Rosa

Taking names

EDITOR: I’m taking names — in a good way. In the wake of yet another attack on children in classrooms, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Walmart pulled assault style weapons off their shelves. REI and Mountain Equipment Co-op suspended some orders from Vista Outdoors because Vista makes these weapons. And they, along with L.L.Bean, raised their gun purchase age to 21. So, yes, I’m taking their names.

Every company that takes a courageous step toward balancing policies with common-sense gun regulation and puts the interests of civil society, protecting our children, in the forefront of their retail policies will go on my Good Conscience List.

Between family and extended family, I have numerous occasions to purchase gift cards. So from now on, I’m using my purchase power. Every gift card purchase will come from my Good Conscience List. And each time I will present the store manager with a letter for the company management thanking them for their decisions.

Maybe I can’t do much. But strong moves by businesses deserve recognition and reward. When government won’t lead, maybe “We the People” will. And if I can do this little bit, I’ll bet you can, too.

SUZI MALAY

Santa Rosa

Not so secret

EDITOR: The account of Rebecca Rosenberg’s book, “The Secret Life of Mrs. London,” notably lacks critical journalism (“Charmian’s secrets,” March 4). The writer didn’t question Rosenberg’ assertion that “a lot of people have no idea about Jack London, and younger people may not have any idea who he was at all.” The writer did not require Rosenberg to clarify her disagreement with the accepted source of the Wolf House burning.

In 1975, I deciphered Charmian London’s coded diary to reveal her widowhood contacts with Harry Houdini and shared this information freely. Kenneth Silverman, whom Rosenberg credits, acknowledged such in his biography of the performer. In view of my decades of speeches and publications, Charmian’s “secret life” was hardly so. More interesting is her transgressive sexuality in the larger context of women’s identity. Houdini was one of many dabbles of her choice, for she controlled these encounters.

Last year, Women’s Studies devoted an entire issue to Charmian. The articles therein revealed that she was more than the wife of a famous man pursued by another famous man. This will be evident in Jack London State Historic Park’s redesigned Happy Walls exhibit, which will feature her significance in California’s and women’s history.

CLARICE STASZ

Petaluma

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