Monday’s Letters to the Editor

Press Democrat readers comment on Lake Ralphine’s snapping turtle, and more.|

Chomper the turtle?

EDITOR: Loch Ness, Scotland, has Nessie; Morag inhabits Loch Morar, Scotland; Champ is said to swim in Lake Champlain, United States and Canada; and Tahoe Tessie (Nessie’s cousin?) supposedly lurks in Lake Tahoe. Now Santa Rosa has a lake monster (“A snapping turtle in Lake Ralphine,” Friday). All good scary lake beasties have names. What say you all to Chomper?


Rohnert Park

No new gas stations

EDITOR: I understand and can sympathize with Bill Krumbein’s unhappiness with the long-shuttered gas stations at the Montecito Avenue shopping center in Santa Rosa (“Repurposing eyesores,” Letters, May 12). Expired gas stations are not just eyesores. Sonoma County is pockmarked by former gas stations where soil and groundwater are contaminated by decades of leaks from underground fuel storage tanks. The cost of cleaning up the mess so the locations can safely be repurposed is probably what is delaying reuse of the sites.

It’s bad enough that we are dealing with many of these toxic sites and will be dealing with more as gas stations continue to close. To compound the problem, a new gas station is being proposed by 7-Eleven, very near the eyesores, on Middle Rincon Road. This site is 600 feet from an elementary school, across the street from an operating Chevron, and nine other gas stations are within a 5-mile radius. We don’t need it. It’s time to stop adding new eyesores complete with hidden toxic hazards in our communities.



Too much feel-good news

EDITOR: While reading the May 14 paper, it occurred to me The Press Democrat putting happy stories in front and moving hard news inside and back is a mild form of what Gov. Ron DeSantis did in Florida: he banned teaching things in school that might embarrass or shame (white) students. He wants Florida students to feel good.

There is a big difference between The Press Democrat catering to our desire for feel-good stories and Florida putting its head in the sand, but it is a matter of degree, not kind. We are living in an age of uncertainty, and we often feel overwhelmed by all the disheartening news. But America badly needs an educated, informed public so it can face these problems head on and not fall prey to populist demagogues. By allowing readers to easily escape into happy stories and ignore hard news, I don’t think The Press Democrat is helping.


Santa Rosa

Hazardous decision

EDITOR: I and many other residents and property owners along Old Cazadero Road in Guerneville were surprised and disappointed by the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors’ affirmative response to a request for rezoning and a permit to operate a resort within a designated very high fire hazard zone and within a state responsibility area, a plan that does not comply with standards for road width and dead-end roads.

The permit was approved with many exceptions to access and egress standards required by Cal Fire, California Environmental Quality Act standards and common sense. This project will subject residents, first responders and service providers to increased risks due in large part to the notable project increase in traffic.

Local residents have worked diligently toward wildfire resilience, especially along Old Cazadero Road. We hope an appeal process will lead to more appropriate decisions on this hazardous proposed resort use.



‘Plastic grass’ in parks

EDITOR: Sonoma County Regional Parks, the Sonoma County Agricultural and Open Space District and the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors do many things to promote a healthy and sustainable future and deserve praise for those positive efforts.

However, regional parks’ promotion of plastic grass in our parks, with support of the open space district and supervisors, is misguided and must be reversed as part of climate change mitigation efforts. On Feb. 24, regional parks requested bids for more plastic grass as part of a lease offer at Tom Schopflin Fields Regional Park. In it, they specified: “The field(s) should be identified and bid for synthetic turf. Nonsynthetic turf may be considered if there are no other proposals for synthetic.”

That they refer to growing green grass as “nonsynthetic turf” shows how far off course their actions have become from the words they espouse. On the parks department website, they purport to “address the threat of climate change.” Help protest their plans for synthetic parks by contacting your elected representatives. For a sustainable future, our actions must be true to our words.


Santa Rosa

Puzzling comics

EDITOR: It may be my aging brain and newspaper writing these days, but something has happened in my daily life. For decades I depended on the financial page and comics for reliable news reporting. Today I still look to the financial page, but something troubling has happened to the comics. They are annoyingly repetitious and/or I don’t understand them. It’s bad enough to get old, but to no longer have the pleasure of reading the “funnies” amounts to insufferable injustice.



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