Letters to the Editor

Zero Waste fan

EDITOR: I was delighted to see your opinion piece in Sonoma West Times & News. Like you, I fear that we will all drown in piles of plastic long before we melt with global warming.

I make as much effort as I can in my daily life to escape plastic, but until it becomes a state or federal issue, it seems a minor remedy.

 I daydream of laws that force all packing materials be made of paper or recyclable fiber. No more wipes loaded with plastic. Eliminate the word disposable from manufacturers vocabulary unless the product can be recycled.

There is so much to do. Keep up the good work!

Phebe Sorensen


Good job, Rollie 

EDITOR: The editorial “Love it or leave it” by Sonoma West Publisher Rollie Atkinson in your July 25 issue is one of the best editorials that I have ever read in my over 70 years. I have also been publishing articles on this matter, but they are not as good as what Rollie writes. It includes a recommendation that people watch the award-winning film “Judgment at Nuremburg,” about Adolf Hitler, whose book Trump has at his bedside.

A reader of my article informs me that there is a TV documentary series titled “The Dark Charisma of Adolph Hitler,” which also received rave reviews, and is available on Netflix. As the famous saying goes, “those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.” Today's weapons are so much more powerful than those of Hitler's time, and more countries have them.

Trump does have a “dark charisma,” which I do not respond well to, but millions of people apparently do. Everything that lives dies, even countries and eventually planets. If our “dark” president, whom some respond to his abusive charisma, presses the nuclear button, it would be all over.

I do not plan to leave my beloved country. However, if I were younger, I would leave, for I expect things to get worse. Rollie quotes from six U.S. presidents, as well as former British Prime Minister Winston Churchhill, Dr. Seuss and a former U.S. Supreme Court justice are important to read.

We now, once again, have concentration camps here in our beloved country, full of thousands of innocent children and families. Their “crime” is often only that they are people of color and some were not born here. “Be ye not like a child, you’ll not get into the kingdom of heaven,” according to the Christian Bible. It’s time to wake up to what is happening here in the United States.

I appreciate the following quotes in the article: “I’m very angry because our country is being run horribly” and “We have a political culture of intimidation. Our democracy is designed to speak truth to power. How many more children and people of color must be jailed, separated from their parents, and abused here in American before we wake up?”


Shepherd Bliss


A house fit for the first little piggy

EDITOR: With interest I read the feature article about cob (“Hob nob with cob,” July 25).  Cob consisting of soil and straw Is not generally considered a suitable material for permanent structures.

Readers of the Sonoma West Times & News might like to know that local soils have been very successfully used in structures both residential and commercial, using a material known as Pise’ in Europe and as “Rammed Earth” here in California. It consists of a small quantity of Portland cement added to carefully selected local soils and water.  It is reinforced with deformed steel bars as though it were reinforced concrete.  It has low, but useable compressive strength and shear strength.  It is often placed pneumatically (similar to gunite) against a form. Of  course, for serious use, it needs be designed by a professional and be tested  by a laboratory.

I do trust that your readers do not get the idea that any permanent building can be built with straw and mud, unless they are little pig number one. 

It is a good article nevertheless.  Bravo.    

Jim Passage



EDITOR: I got such a kick out of the “Hob Nob with Cob” title. That's so clever.  I went to the Hob Nob Cafe in Alameda to celebrate.

Miguel Sir Cobalot


Hi, Miguel: Thanks for your message. Coming up with titles is one of my favorite parts of the job. This one tickled me as well. Then I learned, much to my surprise, that it’s actually spelled “hobnob,” as one word. Live and learn. — Editor

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