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Letters To the Editor

To the Editor,

Kudos to Tracy Salcedo for both of her articles this past issue (May 1) about cycling in Glen Ellen. She writes what many of us have been thinking for years. It’s a combination of bliss and white-knuckle breathlessness when cycling around here. Cycling in the parks and local hills is quiet and beautiful. But getting there can be a bit scary. No one wants to fear for their life while riding on Arnold Drive or Highway 12, so I’m excited about some of the recent safe-cycling proposals.

I’ve heard of three cycling-related proposals. The valley route from Santa Rosa to Sonoma, the bike route linking north and south Glen Ellen neighborhoods, and the Sonoma Developmental Center (SDC) multi-modal goals. Hopefully their proponents can all work together because the goals seem consistent with one another.

I’m not certain of the progress on the valley route but understand there are some right-of-way issues holding up implementation. Most of the Glen Ellen trails already exist and it seems little needs to be done to get from the bridge to Madrone. The existing route from downtown to the southern edge of the SDC, while avoiding Arnold Drive, is bucolic. Extending that south would need right-of-way access, but with some creativity and agreement from property owners, it could extend along the old railroad bed past Madrone all the way to Verano Ave. and possibly beyond. Finally, the SDC redevelopment proposals all included cycling as part of their multi-modal transit goals, even though limited to within its borders.

A safe route from Santa Rosa to Sonoma will someday be a wonderful resource. I would point out that much of it now exists, but is sometimes incomplete, as the breakdown lanes on Highway 12 and Arnold Drive that come and go. That is unsafe for bikes. One moment you feel safe with space and then without warning, you’re being squeezed off the road by an impatient driver because the breakdown lane cruelly disappears. Applying a consistent few feet of bike lane is all that’s required. You don’t have to look very hard to know where things get tight. (Ask me and I’ll show you!)

Solving that problem will go a long way towards making cycling safe in and out of Glen Ellen and the Valley of the Moon. Getting access rights along the old railroad route would be a more scenic, quieter option, but likely more difficult than just widening a few sections of Arnold Drive and Highway 12. Both options would be ideal!

With the three compatible proposals out there, it shouldn’t be that difficult to make cycling safer. Coordinate, coordinate, coordinate, and make Tracy Salcedo and the rest of us feel safe!

Mike Gill Glen Ellen To the Editor,

Nothing makes more sense to me than proportionately refunding the excess taxes to those of us who actually paid the taxes. As a retired couple (and a native Californian), we have paid our share through the years. We do not wish to donate excess funds to the State of California. There is legislation in place (the Gann Act, 1979) to rein in our politicians from spending money they have no right to spend.

Please, consider giving back what is not yours to give and perform the duty that our democracy voted upon. Can we trust you to do the right thing?

Linda Lamb Santa Rosa To the Editor,

Why is the sheriff ’s election important, and why should we care? In my view it’s the most important office next to choosing your county supervisor, primarily because the sheriff, the top cop in the county, has a lot of power. This individual’s office has the power to detain you, arrest you, hold you in custody, and maintain your imprisonment in the county jail. How much more power should one person hold over another — greater than taking away all of one’s essential freedoms? That’s a cargo shipload of power.

Since the George Floyd killing and even before, the cry for police responsibility after fatal events, excessive aggression, racial and ethnic discrimination, and militant and bullying tactics, has been loud and clear. Examples abide nationwide, but Sonoma County has its own dark history of fatal “events,” county jail deaths, and human rights violations, and an atmosphere of permissive physical brutality in its ranks. It took the cold-blooded killing of a 12-year-old boy carrying a toy gun by a sheriff’s deputy to convince the Board of Supervisors that a citizen’s review board was in dire need.

But it is now plainly clear that this police oversight entity, IOLERO (Independent Office of Law Enforcement Review and Outreach) needs a good deal more power if it is to viably function. Keep in mind that the Board of Supervisors has no jurisdiction over the sheriff and can’t fire him, because it’s an elected office.

This next Sheriff ’s election should be about police reform. After watching numerous candidates’ debates and listening to their replies to a diverse range of questions and viewing their websites, I concluded that the best candidate for affecting real change is Carl Tennenbaum. He fully and unequivocally embraces and pledges to implement the reform measures — as delineated in overwhelmingly voter-approved Measure P — for citizen oversight, in hand with police accountability for its actions.

No doubt other changes are needed: training, policy, circumspect and measured use of force, and an ethical and respectful relationship with the public, among them. As I see it, paramount in a top cop is the overriding motivation to improve the lives of people, earn public trust, cease over- aggression and unwarranted physical force, and an aim to use diplomacy and reason as a first resort. I believe we have that in Carl Tennenbaum (https://www.carltforsheriff. com/priorities).

Will Shonbrun Boyes Springs