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To the Editor:

Stephen Sorkin, in his recent letter, alleges without evidence that the views of the North Sonoma Valley Municipal Advisory Council regarding site intensity of proposed Sonoma Developmental Center (SDC) development are ascribable to discriminatory racism, and goes on to reference past SDC staff and resident population numbers as justification for future use projections. Such numbers are willfully misleading, as the 3,500 patients had no cars and never left the grounds of the facility, while the 1,300 staff represented three distributed shifts of individuals, many living locally, who provided the 24-hour care required for residents and maintenance.

Peak activity at the SDC also occurred many years before the advent of the plethora of wineries, hotels, tasting rooms, event centers, and the progressive residential development along the Highway 12 and Arnold Drive corridors, and before the existential threats of global warming, urban wildfires, and groundwater depletion, among others. The exit routes remain two-lane roads and no solutions to the infrastructure crises are forthcoming.

It is not surprising that a real estate developer would enthusiastically support expansive real estate development, but the methods used to characterize those who disagree with him are shameful and indicate the poverty of his logic.

Victor I. Reus, MD Glen Ellen

To the Editor:

I could not agree more with Tom Kendrick and the Oakmont Board regarding the Sonoma Developmental Center (SDC) proposal. Critical issues have not been mitigated and mitigation does not seem to be in any plan. Better to clear unusable (or non-historic or all) buildings and structures and maintain open space until, minimally, water, safety, and traffic issues are addressed.

As a new resident of Glen Ellen, I am curious why no plan is focused on a combination of richly landscaped singlestory clusters of local-value shops (e.g., not tasting rooms), perhaps with modest residential second-floor units on some for building profile interest, plus a cottage development on the east side of Arnold Drive, combined with a lot of highly usable and creative gathering spaces … library, outdoor game and eating tables, shuffleboard, par course, places for artists and musicians to work and perform outdoors, walking paths, lots of open space — and a dedicated activity center for people with disabilities to honor the property’s origins.

Such an approach is lighter in water, traffic, and safety impacts as well as emissions from driving long distances to shop.

Those are things I would use and enjoy, but currently must drive a lot of miles to do.

We do not seem to have gotten outside the box of homes and hotels that would benefit only a few at tremendous expense to local residents.

Donna Brethauer Glen Ellen

To the Editor,

As a Sonoma County native, I was wondering if anyone else remembers the “Golden Bear” statue that used to grace Highway 12 where Adobe Canyon Road intersects. The bear faced east and was part of a sign for the Golden Bear Lodge, located farther down Adobe Canyon Road.

The installation of the gigantic bear in front of St. Anne’s Crossing reminded me of the much smaller golden bear that served as a milestone along the highway for so many years.

I can’t help but wonder what became of that bear, which today would be so dwarfed by its successor.

Sandi Augustine Oakmont Editor’s note:

Thank you Sandi, we hope to include an article about the Golden Bear Lodge in a future issue of th e

Kenwood Press.