Kudos and congratulations for your excellent piece on the state of medical marijuana in Sonoma County ("Smoked Out," May 2). Everyone we've talked to has been enthusiastically supportive. You really got it right in showing the large number of medical-marijuana cases currently in the court system. Sarah, Mary Pat and I are grateful that you researched this complex and difficult topic, and presented it well.
Medical-cannabis patients are glad that our message is finally getting out. Sick patients are being arrested and prosecuted, sometimes losing time off work or losing their jobs. Having to face one- to three-year court appearances with attorney fees leads to more stress on already sick patients. And they have lost their medicine.
We are looking forward to working with the sheriff and district attorney to solve these issues. Thank you so much from all of us.
Sonoma Alliance for Medical Marijuana
A wonderful article about amazing people and a fantastic program ("Reaching for the Stars," April 25). Thank you for taking the time to write about something so positive and worthy of public awareness. I think if we could all heed the lessons of Pin Pin and embrace differences, in all their flavors and colors, we would all be in a better, richer, more exciting place.
Thank you, Shepherd Bliss, for giving voice to my own extremely negative feelings toward robber baron Sandy Weill, who never should have had his $12 million in greenwashing money accepted by Sonoma State University or anybody in this county ("A Stained Degree," May 2). And if the powers that be were not above such temptation, they first should have exposed the fetid corpse and stench of the murder he perpetrated on Wall Street and our nation. Beyond all this, had Weill repaid (which of course he did not) every penny that he and his minions stole from investors, mortgage holders and, indeed, America, he never should have then been "honored" by Sonoma State with such a dishonorable doctorate.
As to Sonoma State University, "Shame, shame, shame!"
Read the fine print, people, because despite what you've heard or read, a charter at Lagunitas School is not a win-win for the district. After looking over the two scenarios proposed by the Lagunitas Waldorf-inspired program's charter, both budgets are completely unsound at best. Implementation of either would be a detriment to our basic aid district, leaving our other three programs, open classroom, Montessori and middle school, left to suffer.
First of all, creating a new school within the district would double our administrative costs (meals, school nurse, custodial, secretarial, bookkeeping, etc.). We simply do not have the money to double up on the resources the charter petition demands. Second of all, if the charter goes through, Lagunitas would be required to pay 100 percent for all out-of-district students coming from other basic aid schools. Because a charter cannot turn away out-of-district students and because the sustainability of the charter relies so heavily on out-of-district enrollment, you're talking about an average $2,000 loss to the district's overall budget for each basic aid transfer. Take in 20 out-of-district basic-aid students, and that's $40,000! And that's just part of the story! The long and short of it is if the charter goes through, it would put the Lagunitas School District into a $101,000 deficit by the end of the first year and, even worse, $175,000 by year three when you consider all the cash involved and what the charter is asking from the district.
There is no way Lagunitas can handle such a mind-blowing loss of money and have our other three programs flourish, nor can I understand how, after simply looking over the financials, it got this far to begin with. This is not a charter school situation. A charter comes about when a community as a whole wants it, when the quality of the community public school is lacking or substandard. Lagunitas is anything but. I highly encourage as many people who can make it to come to the May 10 meeting at 5:30pm at Lagunitas School to get the facts.
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