Editor: The current Healdsburg City Council race has six candidates; five of them excellent. They have different points of view but all of them with good values and the best interests of the city at heart. The sixth candidate, Tim Meinken deserves some scrutiny.
Healdsburg City Council members are entrusted with making financial decisions for the city’s $60 million dollar budget. Tim Meinken was sued in a civil action by his business partners (April 2009, case # SCV 244996) in Sonoma County Superior Court for breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract and other claims. This is public record. The case was settled out of court so the outcome is not available to the public. However, given the importance of the position and the public trust that goes with it, the voters of Healdsburg should know of this action and then it is up to them to determine the best choices for the three open council positions.
Tom Chambers, Healdsburg
Editor: Measure T is an attempt at an end run around Healdsburg voters’ approval of continued community water fluoridation in 2014 by an overwhelming 2-to-1 margin. It is fundamentally dishonest, because it claims to be concerned about the safety of water from other contaminants, while its clear purpose is simply to end fluoridation based on the same arguments that failed to persuade voters two years ago.
The only new scientific evidence opposing fluoridation cited in the text of Measure T is a 2015 paper by Malin and Till that is arguably refuted by www.openparachute.wordpress.com/2015/03/22/adhd-linked-to-elevation-not-fluoridation, and a reference to a 2014 paper by Mullenix, who is one of a tiny number (about five) of scientists who repeatedly publish anti-fluoridation papers that are not confirmed independently.
Measure T’s proponents attempt to stir up fears by referring to a grab bag of contaminants in the fluoridation materials, but they provide absolutely no evidence that such contamination has ever occurred. SafeWaterHealdsburg also claims they are a grassroots group of Healdsburg residents. But the list of donors to Yes on T, at www.ci.healdsburg.
ca.us/772/Healdsburg-for-Yes-on-T, shows a different story as of October 19: The treasurer of Yes on T is Dawna Gallagher-Stroeh, who was also a major proponent of the failed 2014 ballot measure and who does not live in Healdsburg. She also made significant individual donations. Two significant donations came from Clean Water Sonoma Marin Charitable Trust, a 501(c)4 (lobbying) nonprofit. It is not based in Healdsburg. A major donation came from the Fluoride Action Network, a national anti-fluoridation advocacy and lobbying group. There are just two other substantial individual donors, Brian Pardini and Merrilyn Joyce. They are residents of Healdsburg.
Please do your own research, as I have done, and don’t support this dishonest and unjustified ballot measure.
L Peter Deutsch, Healdsburg
Concerns about school bond
Editor: I am writing today to give another side to voting for Healdsburg’s Measure D. I believe that Measure D will create an additional financial burden on many who can least afford it. As a retired senior, living on a fixed income, I can ill afford another tax on my property. Looking at my recent property bill, I am currently paying for the Warms Springs Dam project, the Healdsburg Unified 1994/2002 bonds, the Healdsburg school facilities improvement bonds, the SRJC 2002 bond, the SRJC 2014 bond, the Marin-Sonoma Mosquito District and the North Sonoma County Hospital District. When will this end?
When other taxes are raised, we can lessen the impact by cutting back on whatever the service may be or the item taxed. In this case, there is no way for me to buffer the impact. Even though it may seem like a small amount to some, it is substantial for us and takes money that we would use for other reasons, such as medical expenses or medical emergencies as I recently suffered, or maybe just setting up an account for our grandchildren’s future.
Maybe our elected officials can come up with a more equitable way to raise the money, possibly something along the same idea of a toll road; you pay if you use the service and you don’t pay if you don’t use the service. That would be a much more fair way of financing the cost. How about private fundraisers to finance the project? Or another idea might be to look at the administrative costs of the school system and cut where necessary. I would be curious to hear what the salaries and benefit packages are of the administrators. In any event, passage of more of these kind of measures that raise our property taxes are difficult for us retired seniors on fixed incomes. I urge a no vote on Measure D.
William Pattullo, Healdsburg
Editor: Tim Meinken is the best choice for Healdsburg City Council. As the owner of a small business and resident of the downtown area, Tim has a valuable perspective on how to solve the growing parking problem. Tim’s proposal to utilize existing shovel ready city-owned properties to provide affordable housing for moderate and low-income residents is a way to get quick action on this critical problem.
While most of us see the need to take action on the affordable housing issue many feel that Measure R, which Tim opposes, is not the right answer. Regardless of the outcome on R, the city council needs to take action that is respectful of the views on both sides. Tim is the only candidate to declare that if R does not pass, he will push for increasing inclusionary zoning to 30 percent. If R passes, we need him on the council to help fight to keep Healdsburg’s growth rate at a manageable level. Please join me in voting for Tim Meinken for city council.
Steve Pogue, Healdsburg
Measure R makes sense
Editor: I urge that folks take some time, log on to the Healdsburg city website, and read the language of Measure R and a letter written by the city manager outlining problems imposed by the current GMO. Also outlined are the fixes written into Measure R. While it’s true that the city and council will have some sway in matters such as this, that’s their job and why we have citizen advocates in the form of councilpersons elected by the citizens of this great city. The work done by the city and its citizens committee have led to Measure R and I and my family support it. To us it just makes sense.
John Lloyd, Healdsburg
Editor: Aside from election propaganda, thank you Healdsburg. It was such an honor to be among wonderful friends and museum supporters. We are humbled in receiving this year’s “Pioneer Award.”
A special note of appreciation to the evening’s chefs and restaurants: Baci Cafe & Wine Bar – Shari and Lizbeth – super salad, thank you; Valette – we have known Dustin since he was a little boy and used to come in to the bakery with his father and always got a cookie – wonderful smoked duroc porchetta; The Parish – we are proud of our daughter and son-in-law, Karla and Rob – the crawfish monica pasta was outstanding; Costeaux French bakery – yummy desserts and proud of our son Will and his wife Brandy, who carry on a family legacy.
We are very blessed to have all four of our children nearby and to live in a wonderful and supportive town.
Nancy and Karl Seppi, Healdsburg
Editor: It’s no secret. I am supporting Joe Naujokas for City Council. I got on board with Joe early and have been enthusiastically helping his campaign ever since.
Sharing that excitement with others has been remarkably easy. People meet Joe and at once they get a feel for his earnestness, his keen mind and his deep commitment to making our town’s success a benefit to all residents, not just a few. “Healdsburg for Everyone” is his slogan.
People are grateful for the chance to vote for an outsider to local politics. With two kids moving through our public schools, Joe is well known as a team player –always there to help. But his reputation is for independence. Voters are hungry for an intelligent, informed voice on the council that is not closely linked with tourism, wine, real estate and development –as are most of his opponents.
Joe’s website (joeforhealdsburg.com) is a trove of compelling ideas on everything from bolstering downtown businesses that serve locals, to housing, to parking, to community services and much more. I challenge you to compare his ideas to those on his opponent’s websites. You will find surprisingly scant offerings with the others, in comparison to Joe’s. And he keeps evolving, welcoming input and insight from all corners and by making himself available (at a different local café daily!) to any and all.
He’s garnered diverse endorsements from the Sonoma County Democrats, Shaun McCaffery, Judy Velasquez, Brigette Mansell, Kathy Birdsong, Patrick Llerena Cruz, Bruce Abramson, Eric Zeidrich, Richard Burg and many other community leaders – and from many ordinary town citizens who he see him as one of their own.
So, if you are tired of candidates issuing vague platitudes aimed at pleasing everyone and are looking for someone who’s motivations are honest and upfront –then it’s time for you to find out what all the excitement is about. It’s about a guy named Joe. A great new leader for Healdsburg.
Chris Herrod, Healdsburg
Editor: Vote for Joe Naujokas for Healdsburg City Council. Along with all the traditional attributes that one would hope for in a civic leader: intelligence, integrity, compassion, energy and love for community, Joe presents Healdsburg with the opportunity to bring a leader to our council who has a real zeal for innovation and problem solving.
Joe genuinely likes to solve problems. He shines when presented with difficult questions. Anyone who has ever sat with Joe over dinner or coffee and talked about any issue of substance has seen it in his eyes. They twinkle. Joe will say “ What if ...” or “How abou t...” and his eyes will light up and a novel idea or solution will be presented forthwith. He is a natural innovator, a believer that problems and difficulties can be overcome if we can remember to enjoy using our brains creatively.
With the onset of middle age, many of us lose our ability to see problems with a fresh perspective. We become jaded and fall into habitual patterns. Joe is one of the least jaded people I know. That joy in finding new solutions combined with a deep intelligence and a strong work ethic make for an ideal council member. When Joe takes a seat at the city council table, he will bring with him his ability to find problems interesting and a delight in creative resolutions. He will bring with him that twinkle. Vote for Joe. His ideas shine.
Greta Mesics, Healdsburg
Editor: As a long-time public school advocate, I am proud to support Cindy Beth’s candidacy for Healdsburg Unified School District Trustee. Cindy exhibits the best of our Healdsburg schools – in her role as an alumni, parent and engaged community member.
Cindy embodies the stated goals of the HUSD - Rigor, Relevance and Community. A third generation HUSD Hound, Cindy attended SRJC and Fresno State University, and returned to Healdsburg establishing a successful business career, giving back to the community through her time, donations and mentoring.
A mother of two, Cindy has been a highly engaged parent, and has a deep appreciation for the complexities of public school operations. She has served in leadership roles in the Alexander Valley School Parents Club, Healdsburg Junior High PTO, and most recently served on the HHS Governance Council and HUSD Measure E Bond Oversight Committee.
One of the characteristics that I appreciate most about Cindy is her ability to study complex issues from all sides, ensuring that she has the facts needed to make an informed decision. This can be particularly difficult when addressing school matters which can become heated, making her measured deliberations a true asset when establishing school administrative, education and financial decisions.
The job of a Healdsburg school board trustee is a daunting one. A trustee must be conversant in education theory, public school finance, labor law and management, and maybe most importantly - reflect and balance the needs of our rich and diverse school community. Cindy brings to the position all of these skills, as well as an unbeatable case of Hound pride. Please join me in voting for Cindy Beth for HUSD Board of Trustees.
Pamela Swan, Healdsburg
Yes on T
Editor: I am writing in response to Shawn Widick’s two recent misleading letters regarding Measure T. I’ve been a nutrition educator for 27 years; my expertise is on how what you ingest relates to your health. Healdsburg residents are trying to take charge of their own health. They are asking, “Why are the local dentists promoting a contaminant from China, a chemical even the EPA classifies as a toxic waste and neurotoxin?”
My husband, Dietrich Stroeh, a professional water engineer of 56 years, disputes Shawn Widick’s misleading assertions about fluoride’s rigorous testing (Oct. 13): “None of the water agencies in the state of California test for fluoride safety. Agencies only test for the amount of fluoride added, not for safety. The manufacturer selling a product for ingestion has the obligation to provide those tests that it is safe to ingest. The residents of Healdsburg have the right to know.”
Oct. 20, Shawn misled Tribune readers again. The fact is, Sonoma County Democratic Party voted to take a neutral position on Measure T. When I participated in the 18-month process by the County Public Health Department’s exploration of how to fluoridate the rest of Sonoma County, the two most compelling reasons to not do it was the Health Department’s inability to provide the verifiable proof of the claim of 25 percent reduction of tooth decay and, more important, that there are no safety studies on ingested fluoride.
In 2015 the health department’s own survey revealed “No difference in tooth decay rates of Healdsburg children from the rest of unfluoridated Sonoma County.” In May 2015 the majority of the Board of Supervisors decided not to fluoridate the rest of Sonoma County by postponing their vote “indefinitely.” Water fluoridation is not safe and not effective. Doctors once recommended smoking, now we know better. If something is not safe we should stop doing it. Vote yes on Measure T.
Dawna Gallagher, Rohnert Park
Unique set of skills
Editor: Ever since the forum for school board trustee candidates, an unsettling thought has been swirling through my mind. All of the talk was about the secondary grades. I am the only candidate who speaks for the Kindergarten – grade two population. While others may volunteer, or have experience in other schools, I am recently retired and still have my credential to teach the curriculum that is being use in our primary schools right now. When we talk about the generous and deeply appreciated gifts by groups that fund technology for grades 6-12, I represent families who want their littler ones to have equal access to technology also.
Early education is where it all begins, and those students are the ones I’ve taught, and who will go on to higher achievements. I do not believe that HUSD wants to be known for copy-catting ideas from other schools. We are a creative district highly capable of creating and implementing successful curriculum, such as the Accelerated English program which is so outstanding.
I am fortunate to have been in on the extensive training from the very beginning and I want to see how students progress through the instruction. The elementary is where we also introduce curriculum for getting along with one another. Students learn skills to prevent bullying, and that is important to me. An advantage for me, as a teacher of young students, has been my ability to speak with my families in English and/or Spanish. It’s important that families understand early on what is expected of them and their children. I am hoping that, when you mark your ballot, you consider my unique set of skills and cast a vote for me.
Judith Sanderson, Healdsburg
We can’t get fooled again
Editor: This nightmare must end. It’s been obvious for months that Donald Trump would be a disaster for America. How he could be above single digits is beyond belief. Yes, Clinton is ahead of Trump now, but after endless vile statements and outrageous past deeds Trump seems to rally back. For Progressives to assume that Clinton will “win anyway” is a dangerous thing to do. We’ve been here before.
In 2000, even with butterfly ballots and voter suppression, George Bush came out with only 537 more votes than Al Gore in Florida. Ralph Nader’s 97,000 votes were the overwhelming cause of Bush’s victory. To toss your support to Bush by voting for Nader was tragic. Many blame the Supreme Court, but they would never have gotten within 100 miles of Florida if even 2 percent of Nader voters had gone for Gore. Karl Rove, the Koch Brothers and their gigantic network of operatives were salivating at getting so much assistance from Nader voters. They pulled out all the stops to suppress the vote, with endless dirty tricks. They wanted Bush to win. Progressives wanted Bush to lose. They shouldn’t have helped Karl Rove. Lots of Progressives didn’t like Gore; fair enough, but saying “There’s no difference between the two” was simply wrong. We can argue endlessly about what tragedies of 2001 to the present would have been avoided by a Gore victory, but one thing is certain. Al Gore would never have betrayed the troops and invaded Iraq, with thousands dead and $1 trillion squandered.
I’m a Bernie Sanders man. I voted, donated and was grateful to see him in Cloverdale, but my guy didn’t win. It wasn’t the DNC or the super delegates; Hillary simply got 3.7 million more votes than Bernie. We don’t have to hate Hillary. Bernie supporters have already had a huge influence on making the Democratic Party more progressive. I’m doing what Bernie advises and voting for Hillary. Sitting on my hands will be a vote for Trump. Some say “They couldn’t sleep at night” if they voted for Hillary, but on November 9 when you awake from your sleep of the righteous, can you look yourself in the mirror if you have in any way helped elect Donald Trump? The consequences of the Bush administration were tragic. The consequences of a Trump presidency are too terrible to consider.
Michael Miller, Healdsburg