Monday’s Letters to the Editor


County camping limits

EDITOR: Sonoma County will have to provide every unhoused person with Google Maps to ensure that they don’t run afoul of regulations banning public camping in certain areas (“County sets new limits on homeless camps,” Oct. 14). Camping isn’t allowed in public buildings; county parks; high fire severity zones; within 100 feet of a day care facility, playground or school; any public highway; and near waterways. How close to waterways will camping be permitted? Perhaps 150 feet from the high water mark? We will have to wait for the county to prepare maps before we know for sure.

Wouldn’t it be easier to tell unhoused people where they can legally camp, rather where they cannot? The time for safe, secure, sanitary and sanctioned camp sites for the unhoused is long overdue. Let’s stop making the problem worse by chasing unsanctioned campers from one corner of the county to another. Uncertainty and harassment are the last things this vulnerable population needs.


Santa Rosa

‘Instant slums’

EDITOR: Like a lot of people, I was interested in the fate of Bennett Valley Golf Course. Will it be bulldozed and replaced with low-cost housing? Thankfully, the issue will be settled by the City Council and the Board of Supervisors. In a few months, the monstrosities that the city and county have already approved will be finished, and the public will see what the people in charge have dumped on the citizens of Santa Rosa.

Instant slum is a good description. Prefabbed ugly stacks of boxes, with little parking for hundreds of new tenants. No waiting for these dwellings to become eyesores, they are ugly from the start. Driving down Santa Rosa Avenue, Kawana Springs Road or Fourth Street, you’ll suddenly come across the Great Pyramid of Giza. It’s all about packing them in. The next question is, how are all of the hundreds of low-income tenants affording $2,000-plus for rent every month?


Santa Rosa

Managing rentals

EDITOR: Your endorsement for District 4 of the Santa Rosa City Council neglected to explain the candidates’ positions on one significant issue concerning the residents of our city (“Stapp, Sanders, Okrepkie in SR,” Oct. 14). The intrusion of short-term rentals in residential neighborhoods has significantly and negatively impacted many homeowners.

Victoria Fleming, as a current member of the council, took the lead in passing an emergency ordinance to begin the process of managing this issue. Fleming has demonstrated that she understands the damaging effects of short-term rentals to neighborhood peace and tranquility as well as to property values and availability of affordable housing for single-family ownership.

Victoria Fleming is a proven, effective leader and should be reelected to the City Council.


Santa Rosa

Central park for Petaluma

EDITOR: You don’t have to live in Petaluma for long to understand that the east side doesn’t get much respect and even less government attention. Even the Rainer Avenue crosstown connector, long touted as a traffic mitigation measure, isn’t really about the east side. It would make a small dent in rush-hour traffic, most of which would benefit west side residents.

Instead, Friends of the Petaluma River and candidates like Janice Cader Thompson are supporting an alternative to Rainer and the massive development that come with it. Build a central park for Petaluma. This greenway would include trails, habitat restoration, greenhouse gas reduction and flood protection. The new road cut under Highway 101 would become a grand entrance to the park benefiting all eastside residents. A one-lane road running east to west would be the main promenade, with trails going all the way to Corona Road and linking to the SMART and Lynch Creek trails. It would also be accessible to emergency vehicles.

For decades, Petaluma was known as an environmental leader. Building a road and hundreds of units within the most sensitive parts of the Petaluma River corridor is no way to sustain this reputation.



Filling swimming pools

EDITOR: OK, after all the urgent pleas to save water during a historic drought, threats of fines for overwatering, homeowners carting water outside to water plants, how do you justify filling a new swimming pool at Sonoma Valley High School? Just wondering.



Putting cyclists at risk

EDITOR: While riding with my wife along Asti Road between Geyserville and Cloverdale, we encountered a paving crew laying beautiful smooth new asphalt. Wonderful, we thought, until we saw they were only paving up to the white line (fog line) and not an inch further over. The area outside the white line is where many cyclists ride to keep out of the roadway and away from cars. This area used to be paved. Failing to repave leaves old cracked and broken pavement that forces cyclists into traffic with cars.

A local city manager told me he had noticed this and couldn’t explain it. Probably a cost-saving decision not well thought out. While the county will promote cycling, this is another recent example of needlessly putting cyclists at risk.


Santa Rosa

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