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Letters to the Editor: March 7, 2012 

A Cooperative Future

Yes, it's time we're reading about the best-kept secret in the alternative business world ("By the People," Feb. 22). Cooperatives are the model we should be learning about. They are the future. We can all support this movement by patronizing our local Bay Area Cooperatives. In addition to the Arizmendi/Cheeseboard bakeries, there is Rainbow Grocery (SF), Jackson Hardware and Alvarado Street Bakery that sells organic breads to stores in the Bay Area and throughout the country. Praxis Peace Institute, the Sonoma nonprofit that I direct, will take a group for a study tour of the Mondragon Cooperatives in Spain, Sept. 9-15, 2012. Information is available on


A Crooked Little Clique

I must take issue with your article on the Arizmendi Bakery in San Rafael ("By the People," Feb. 22). My wife was a founding member. She found a meeting space for them before the opening, and shopped for their furniture and light fixtures. There were 13 founding members, but Arizmendi permitted a central clique to vote themselves into permanent status, at which point all the other founders were forced to either suck up or be voted out. It was then obvious that some founders were "more equal than others." This crooked little clique made life hell for my wife and the others before finally voting them out altogether.

Arizmendi had "oppression training" and "conflict resolution" procedures in place, but it was all just PC window dressing. The clique ran into trouble only when their ringleader had a breakdown and quit. Now all of the founding members are gone. Those were the people who had the best profit-sharing position. With them gone, Arizmendi shares little profit with the current owner-workers, who make a pittance while waiting for very meager profit-sharing. What an interesting coincidence that Arizmendi would permit such things to happen, and that the result is no founding members left with which to "share." It's all a big lie, an atrocity, and a shameful fraud. I feel terrible for those kids who still work there, but there can be nothing but contempt for Arizmendi itself.

San Rafael

Men Thinking Straight

An article on why men can't seem to think straight when talking to a woman? ("Hi There, Uh . . . Duh," Feb. 8.) It seems quite obvious to me: they aren't using the brain that's above their waist! Duh!


Save the Trees, No More Wine

I've seen articles about the biggest cutting of redwood forest for vineyard ever to take place in Sonoma County. Spain-based Artesa / Codorníu is a huge corporation and we're a tiny dot on their map.

I'm concerned about our society's take on nature. I was born and raised underneath these trees surrounding my home in Annapolis. I'm heartbroken that I have to fight to protect what Mother Nature gave me.

The California Deptartment of Forestry should represent the state's citizens by protecting our environment, especially our state tree. I'm devastated they're signing off on a deal with Artesa to deforest my childhood memories. What bothers me most is that grapes can grow elsewhere. Why cut down these unsurpassed trees to plant vineyards? The redwood only grows in this region of our country—that's why it's our state tree. It deserves to be protected.

We can't pick our state flower, but it's OK to cut the state tree? We need to morally contemplate this before we destroy our planet's beautiful assets. The wine industry is booming in a down economy. For a financially struggling society, the least we can do is protect our earth, because nature will always be free.


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