Re: Richard Blum -- what on earth makes you think that removing "distressed homes" that are "depressing home prices" means more housing availability and jobs for Sonoma County residents? It is exactly predatory investment schemes all the way back to the late 1990s that put us in the nightmare mess. Sorry, you're wrong.
Re: RBlum's response to the PByrne article "Homewrecker". It's of course easy to pick on one partner in the CAH investments firm. Blum is the husband of Feinstein, our Senate Congressional Rep., so the focus may be warranted. I am actually more curious as to why any investment firm would be able to know about foreclosed housing before the public.
Doesn't this keep the housing market falsely inflated and therefore unaffordable? If these foreclosed houses were on the market, wouldn't that mean that people would be able to buy housing that was actually affordable?
Instead, the racket seems more to be that banks, realtors, and title companies are all benefitting from a real estate market that is out of reach for every day, regular hard-working people. On top of that pile of b.s., rents are so out of scale for the types of jobs available (in Sonoma County where 'service-sector' jobs, i.e. mostly minimum-wage jobs, are the fastest-growing sector). How many minimum wage jobs does one need to have and how many hours in the day must one work in order to afford rent? There aren'r enough hours in the week, nor in the day to pay upwards of $2,200+ dollars/month for a 2-br. 1-bath living space.
Here is the correct link http://www.eachmindmatters.org
No Water? No more mega-wineries!
Thanks for running Shepherd Bliss’ recent Open Mic column about the growing backlash against winery overdevelopment.
Despite the fact that the Guy Fieri winery project was recently denied by the Sonoma County Planning Commission, this was - one of only two winery projects to be rebuffed in the past several decades.
With California facing one of the most severe droughts on record, it’s hard to fathom how proposals for winery/resort/event center projects continue to be considered by our county.
Napa Valley supervisors have had an ongoing discussion about limiting new wineries because they are running out of space and water.
Are we going to pick up the slack for Napa County by permitting more and more industrial scale wineries and event centers to overtake our agricultural/green space land? Should Sonoma County residents conserve water so that a Napa winemaker can develop our ag land into a winery his own county can’t accommodate?
It’s time to consider a moratorium on major winery/event center developments. Let’s take a lesson from Napa County and learn from their mistakes before it’s too late.
Dear Editor: Walmart has announced it will raise its minimum wage to $9 an hour in April and $10 next year, in a move that will impact about half a million low-wage workers. The increase falls far short of the $15-an-hour living wage demanded by workers who have launched historic strikes against Walmart and reported retaliation from the company for joining the protests. A 2012 analysis found the six heirs to the Walmart fortune have as much wealth as the bottom 40 percent of the United States combined.
Walmart is one of only a few major retailers that have refused to sign on to the new safety standards after the Dhaka tragedy. The Tazreen Fashion factory fire killed 112 workers and left hundreds injured. The Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh killed 1,127 and left more than 600 or 700 injured for lifetime. And in that shareholder meeting, they haven't even expressed any condolence for those families.
Ted Rudow III,
Obama and Walmart
Dear Editor: Walmart is one of only a few major retailers that have refused to sign on to new safety standards that came out after a garment factory collapsed last year in Dhaka, Bangladesh, killing 1,129 people.
Despite a spotty record on labor issues, President Barack Obama's visit Friday to the Walmart in Mountain View was the first ever by a sitting president to a Walmart store -- the world's largest retailer. It raised the ire of some labor advocates who have long criticized the retailer for low wages and importing goods from China rather than buying from U.S. manufacturers. They protested alongside environmentalists demanding a halt to the Keystone XL pipeline on a street outside the Fairmont Hotel on Thursday. Yet the same cost-saving motivations that have led Walmart have cut corners on labor.
Ted Rudow III,
Elaine Xie, one point of correction on your letter: Shannon Wheeler is a man. Tom Gogola
Dear Editor: America is hooked on war, and although some Americans might not realize that, you can be sure the rest of the world does, as it looks at Afghanistan, Iraq and other places around the world where the U.S. has fought wars, threatened to fight wars, sent armed forces or launched missiles in their stead. They're so ignorant of the rest of the world, the last thing they need to be doing is meddling in Afghanistan and Iraq. As the old saying goes, "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."
It's incredible that the governments of the world are on track to invest nearly a trillion dollars a year in killing people. You can't tell me that much is spent on weapons for "defense" and "self-protection." War is profit to many U.S. weapons makers and manufacturers, who make enormous amounts of money selling arms and material not only to the U.S. government but also to many others around the world.
They call them terrorists because the world hates. It seems to me that people who kill others without proof of their guilt, or even without being sure who they're killing, are terrorists themselves.
Ted Rudow III,
Here's my letter to the editor:
I made this for you guys. I hope you like it.
Andrew A. Peterson
Traumatized Gaza children
The United Nations estimates at least 373,000 Palestinian children require direct and specialised psychosocial support. And based on the total number of adults killed, there may be up to 1,500 children orphaned. Gazan children's right to education has also been severely compromised, with at least 25 schools reportedly damaged so severely that they can no longer be used. The future of Palestinian children in Gaza is extraordinarily bleak.
"The entire population has experienced a deep form of trauma, and there isn't a single family in Gaza who hasn't experienced personally death, injury, the loss of their home. The psychological toll that has on a people, it just cannot be overestimated, and especially on children. I've met children who have experienced extraordinary wounds, who have watched as family members were dismembered before their eyes, obliterated." -- Pernille Ironside, chief of UNICEF's Gaza field office.
The Palestinians are broken by the violence they have been up against for so many years.
Ted Rudow III, MA
Palo Alto, CA, USA
Sonoma County Community and Local Law Enforcement Task Force (continued)
The Task force is charged with:
1. Reviewing options for a model for an independent citizen review body.
2. Reviewing and recommending options for community policing to be considered with the Fiscal Year 2014-2015 budget process.
3. Reviewing and recommending whether the Office of Coroner should be separately elected from the Office of Sheriff.
4. Bringing to the Board of Supervisors any additional feedback from the community on these issues that merits County attention by the end of 2014 and discuss staff generated efforts on these issues. These duties are described more completely in the Community and Local Law Enforcement Charter, approved by the Board of Supervisors December 10, 2013.
Re: Policing the Police
There's no need for another petition.
The Sonoma Community and Local Law Enforcement Task Force was created following the tragic shooting death of Andy Lopez by a Sonoma County deputy sheriff to address four important issues necessary for community healing through the convening of 21 representative members of the community and ultimately making recommendations to the Board of Supervisors. The Task Force has been created for a one-year period that will conclude December 31, 2014.
Hideous. Sadistic. Vicious. Murderous. That is how Noam Chomsky describes Israel’s 29-day offensive in Gaza that killed nearly 1,900 people and left almost 10,000 people injured. Chomsky has written extensively about the Israel/Palestine conflict for decades. It’s another one of the periodic Israeli exercises in what they delicately call "mowing the lawn". That means shooting fish in the pond, to make sure that the animals stay quiet in the cage that you’ve constructed for them, after which you go to a period of what’s called "ceasefire".
"In the Occupied Territories, what Israel is doing is much worse than apartheid," Chomsky says. "To call it apartheid is a gift to Israel, at least if by 'apartheid' you mean South African-style apartheid. What’s happening in the Occupied Territories is much worse. There’s a crucial difference. The South African Nationalists needed the black population. That was their workforce. … The Israeli relationship to the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories is totally different. They just don’t want them. They want them out, or at least in prison."
"An eye for an eye" has always been the motto of those who live under the Mosaic Law--injury for injury, injustice for injustice, death for death. There was love and mercy and forgiveness even under the Mosaic Law, but those who practice it today have focused on justice and judgment rather than mercy and forgiveness, and their justice has become injustice and their judgment has become the slaughter of the innocent and the butchery of the helpless.
Ted Rudow III, MA
Palo Alto, CA
What if situation in Gaza were reversed?
Gaza is controlled completely, like the West Bank, because it is totally surrounded by Israel. Israel could not be imposing the kind of chokehold it has on Gaza if it were not surrounding; if its military were not surrounding Gaza, and not just on the territory, but also on the air, on the sea. No one there can make a move without coming into contact with the Israeli IDF; you know, outside this imprisoned area where Gazans live.
What if the situation were reversed, and the Jewish population were locked into, were told, "Here, you have less than 2 percent of Palestine, so now behave. No more resistance. And let us deal with the rest"? Is there any Jew who would have said this is a reasonable proposition, that we cease our resistance, we cease our effort to establish a Jewish state, at least on one-half of Palestine, which is authorised by the U.N.?
"Hamas is no more a 'terror organisation' ... than the Zionist movement was during its struggle for a Jewish homeland. In the late 1930s and 1940s, parties within the Zionist movement resorted to terrorist activities for strategic reasons." “The fact is that Israel had, pre-state -- in its pre-state stage, several terrorist groups that did exactly what Hamas does today." Henry Siegman
Ted Rudow III, MA
Palo Alto, CA, USA
Gaza is controlled completely, like the West Bank, because it is totally surrounded by Israel. Israel could not be imposing the kind of chokehold it has on Gaza if it were not surrounding, if its military were not surrounding Gaza, and not just on the territory, but also on the air, on the sea. No one there can make a move without coming into contact with the Israeli IDF, you know, outside this imprisoned area where Gazans live.
What if the situation were reversed, and the Jewish population were locked into, were told, "Here, you have less than 2 percent of Palestine, so now behave. No more resistance. And let us deal with the rest"? Is there any Jew who would have said this is a reasonable proposition, that we cease our resistance, we cease our effort to establish a Jewish state, at least on one-half of Palestine, which is authorized by the U.N.?
"Hamas is no more a 'terror organisation' ... than the Zionist movement was during its struggle for a Jewish homeland. In the late 1930s and 1940s, parties within the Zionist movement resorted to terrorist activities for strategic reasons." The fact is that Israel had, pre-state—in its pre-state stage, several terrorist groups that did exactly what Hamas does today."
ISA.1:17 Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.
Ted Rudow III, MA
Every Nation Has a Right and Duty to Protect Its Citizens
So May Taylor thinks citizens of the world's only Jewish State should passively wait for the Palestinian Arabs to kill them via rocket attacks and kidnappings? I don't.
On June 12, three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped by Hamas members. The Israeli government began an intensive search. That same day, Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups renewed rocket attacks, followed by attempted infiltration through tunnels.
Hamas has been committing a double war crime – intentionally targeting civilian centers in Israel and intentionally placing its weapons in civilian neighborhoods in Gaza.
On June 15, Israel struck terrorist targets in Gaza. On June 30, in the West Bank town of Hebron – where the first Hebrews, Abraham and Sarah, are buried – the murdered bodies of Eyal Yifrah, Gilad Shaar and Naftali Fraenkel were found.
Norman Solomon (Bohemian “Rhapsodies & Rants 7/23-29,14) criticizes the Israeli Government for searching for the perpetrators and destroying rocket launchers. Mae Taylor piles on the criticism. In a “morally skewed universe,” Solomon calls terrorists “party activists” and implies that Israel has the approval of The New York Times and the U.S. Government to “Kill more.”
Actually, the Palestinian unity government still receives U.S. funding. The “moderate” Palestinian Authority -- Hamas’s partner in a unity government -- celebrated the kidnappings in its official publication (http://www.palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=157&doc_id=11706).
"Moderate" Fatah promises "to turn Tel Aviv into a ball of fire" (http://palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=157&doc_id=12198)
Hamas TV broadcast a sermon, "it is Muslim destiny to exterminate the Jews" (http://palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=157&doc_id=12218)
Ms. Taylor complains about schools in Gaza being hit by Israel. The third UN school in Gaza was found to be storing rockets (http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Peace/2014/07/29/THIRD-Rocket-Arsenal-Found-At-UN-School-In-Gaza)
Jewish “settlements” in Gaza go back to at least 145 B.C.E. There has been an almost continual Jewish presence until 2005, when Israel gave up all of Gaza. Since then, Arab terrorists have launched more than 10,000 rockets (including the Iranian Fajr-5) and nearly 5000 mortars into Israel from Gaza, killing 65 Israelis, wounding almost 5000 and traumatizing thousands.
Tons of humanitarian goods are transferred from Israel to Gaza, despite these ongoing attacks. Israel’s responses are proceeded by leaflets, phone calls and other means to warn civilians to evacuate targeted buildings. A recent analysis found 82% of reported Gaza “civilian” fatalities were male; 45% age 18-28. (http://www.israellycool.com/2014/07/20/analysis-of-gazans-killed-so-far-in-operation-protective-edge/) Civilians? Hmm?
Jews have lived in the land of Israel continually in an independent state or under the rule of others since the return from Egypt. “Zionism” is the 2000 year old Jewish aspiration of a re-established independent Jewish state in their ancient homeland.
There was no sizable Arab presence in the land until the Muslim invasions, about 1800 years after the return of the Jews.
Despite these stronger Jewish claims to the land, Jews have been willing to “share” the territory with the Arabs. But the Arab and Muslim response has been disproportionate in words and violence.
In 2012, Hamas representative Fathi Hamad said, "For the Palestinian people death became an industry…. We desire death as you desire life."
By protecting it’s citizens – the first responsibility of any government – Israel chooses life.
What is so controversial about that?
The Solomon Screed
Norman, it's even worse than you thought. Rep. Huffman, who defeated you soundly in the Democratic primary, was actually a co-sponsor of the resolution supporting Israel, and, head held high, appeared recently at a rally in support of Israel's actions at Temple Emanuel in San Francisco.
Why do liberals like Rep. Huffman, and even the Progressive Caucus, who joined in the Congressional "seal of approval", and the sainted New York Times, never a great friend of the Zionist state or its leaders, see things so differently from you?
Could it be that they realize that the regrettable death of civilians in Gaza is the fault of the terrorist group Hamas, which the Gazans mistakenly elected to lead them, and whose recipe for victory is to "desire death more than you value life", as a member was once quoted as saying. Apparently they believe that firing missiles from apartment complexes and storing weapons in mosques and schools is the best way of helping their charges achieve immortality. It is not the Israelis, or the U.S., that places little value on human life, but Hamas, which for years has timed its rocket attacks on Sderot to coincide with the beginning and end of the school day, hoping to kill Israeli children on their way to and from school. The U.S. supplies Israel with weapons to defend themselves against this murderous group, and, to all accounts they are doing it with as much respect for the lives of civilians at the target sites as they can. Using building supplies that Israel allowed through its blockade for humanitarian purposes, Hamas has built a huge network of deep tunnels underneath Gaza for storing weapons and hiding Hamas leaders from Israeli bombs. No civilians are allowed in these tunnels. Hamas wants the Gaza population to remain in place as collateral damage for Israeli attacks, to be waved in front of the sensationalistic international press and for the convenience of propagandists like you.
You had your moment in the spotlight. Now have the grace to retire into obscurity, neither with a bang nor a whimper.
Lake Berryessa is not a National Monument!
Proponents of the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Conservation Area, knowing that Congressman Thompson’s highly unpopular bill will never pass Congress, have begun an anti-democratic strategy to bypass Congress and have the President declare Lake Berryessa a National Monument under the Antiquities Act - simply by a stroke of his pen!
Lake Berryessa does not meet the basic standards of an NCA. And it especially doesn’t meet any criteria to become a National Monument.
The main problem affecting Lake Berryessa in all this chaos is that it was included in the original silly Berryessa Snow Mountain NCA in the first place. Lake Berryessa is like the tail of a dog that can't seem to wag the rest of the dog's body. The lake is not even connected on the map to the rest of the proposed NCA/National Monument which stretches far into Northern California. Just look at the map yourself!
At a minimum, Lake Berryessa should be removed from the boundaries of any proposed National Monument or NCA and the NCA should be renamed the Mendocino Snow Mountain NCA.
The Antiquities Act states that National Monuments should contain “historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest” and be “the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be protected.” Lake Berryessa meets neither criteria and clearly falls into the “Rural Developed Setting” under the government’s own Water and Land Recreation Opportunity Spectrum Users' Handbook (WALROS) quoted below. This designation should immediately exclude it from National Monument or NCA consideration. And Lake Berryessa and the surrounding areas are already highly protected.
"A rural developed area is beyond a metropolitan area and the suburban ring of development. Rural developed areas may serve as "bedroom" communities for urban areas and may contain working farms, ranches, and towns. In this setting, primary road networks are common. Although development will be prevalent and common, the setting has a pastoral sense because of an interspersing of forests, water resources, hills, valleys, canyons, wetlands, open spaces, and agricultural lands. Naturally appearing shoreline edges are common, although various water controls or other structures are also common. Recreation management is prevalent and common but not as extensive as in an urban setting.”
Lake Berryessa is a man-made lake with no special historical or environmental significance, created by a minor dam and surrounded by bedroom communities and private land. It has historically been a major public recreation destination. Although I have been a long-standing critic of the Bureau of Reclamation in the past, its recent actions show that Reclamation is doing an excellent job in managing the future development process for the revitalization of the lake. Reclamation’s last Public Forum presentation in Winters of the status and results of the ongoing planning process for the lake’s redevelopment were extremely thorough and professional. It included drafts of detailed Market Assessment and Financial Analysis, Conceptual Site Plans, and Infrastructure Design Report. These are all available for review at their web site: http://www.usbr.gov/mp/ccao/berryessa/updates/index.html
How would a National Monument designation affect residents, property owners, and ranchers in the boundaries? How would the designation affect the NBRID, the Berryessa Highlands, and the potential Community Services District being planned for that region?
A National Monument is traditionally managed by the National Park Service, but the Bureau of Land Management has often been designated as the manager in the legislation. A National Monument designation would force out the Bureau of Reclamation - as would Thompson’s other bill in Congress. His management transfer bill, HR4166, does not enjoy popular support among the people affected and has never had any significant public input. What would be the cost of the transition and who would pay for it? How long would it delay the present process? What specifically can the BLM do better an faster than the BOR?
What happens to current Reclamation employees, some long-term, who care as much about the lake as do local residents? Their lives would be seriously affected, their jobs could be eliminated, their families could be uprooted for no good reason.
A National Monument designation could severely restrict public access to and future development at the lake - as could an NCA designation. The usual radical exclusionist suspects have already been floating the idea that some of the resorts should not be reopened at all, reopened with limited amenities, or reopened for day use only.
Big Man: I wish to take this opportunity to thank you for your outstanding letter which you took time out of your life to bravely author and submit for publication. We are certainly on the same page when it comes to the disgusting shenanigans of this "man," whom I have appropriately dubbed Sonoma County's perennial political embarrassment. That the board of supervisors - chaired by David Rabbitt - did not follow through with a formal vote of censure is a real slap in the face to those of us who take pride in our county, our community and the quality of our governmental leadership. We were led to believe that at the NEXT regularly scheduled Tuesday meeting of the board of supervisors following the meeting where Supervisor Carrillo was excoriated publicly for his shameful acts and overall conduct unbecoming, that an item would be placed on the agenda calling for both his censure and resignation; and, yet, that never came to pass.
At the start of the heavily attended meeting where speaker after speaker took to the mic to voice their absolute displeasure for Supervisor Carrillo's nefarious conduct and shameful acts, Chairman Rabbitt made it clear that that board has no legal power to remove Supervisor Carrillo from his position of Fifth District Supervisor, but that certainly does NOT mean that the formal - albeit symbolic - vote could not have been held, for I believe that it would have carried great weight with the public - and would have done MUCH to help restore at least a crumb of the incredible amount respect that has been lost for the governing body known as the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors.
It's a damn shame that those in power are so incredibly disconnected with the constituents who put them in power that they just don't see it that way.
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