I enjoyed reading Tom Gogola's article "Making Bank" (June 20, 2019)
In my former life as a legislative staff person in Sacramento, I was the consultant for the Senate Select Committee on Investment Priorities and Objectives, chaired by Senator John Dunlap, who represented parts of Sonoma County, including Santa Rosa, as well as Napa, Solano, Yolo and part of Sacramento County. I wrote a bill that would have created a California State Bank after the committee held hearings throughout the state. The lobbyists for the California Bankers Association (CBA) told me "the CBA does not want to see a pre-print bill hit the legislators' desks." Suffice it to say the CBA killed the bill and Sen. Dunlop was defeated in re-election in 1978.
The 15 largest banks in the county hold a combined $13.7 trillion in assets, almost doubling since U.S. taxpayers bailed them out in 2009, after the banks nearly destroyed out national economy with their reckless financial behavior. These are the same banks that finance fossil-fuel caused climate change, and along with PG&E's negligence, are responsible for many of us who lost our homes, businesses and lives in the 2017 wildfires.
It is about time the citizens of this state created our own public banks as well as a state-owned utility.
I've been shocked by the amount of spraying I see around my home and around the Joe Rodata Trail. On the way I pass by several vineyards and I'll see a person in a hazmat suit and heavy respirator, spraying something from a tractor as they go up and down the rows. I did some research and most vineyards are sprayed several times a month with a cocktail of herbicides, pesticides, fertilizers and fungicides.
Interestingly, "Sustainable Sonoma" signs are proudly staked next to these lands. Occasionally, a "preserved forever" sign. As someone with a background in ecology I find these signs very misleading and actually a bit insulting.
Grasses, weeds, insects, fungi are eradicated in these fields year round along with anything related to those in the food chain: birds, frogs, dragonflies, etc. These are essentially ecological dead zones, save for the vines themselves. They have not been "preserved" for anyone and these practices are not "sustainable." Child cancer rates in our county are high and rising and there is a link is to this spraying. A lot of these sprays are carcinogenic or have unknown long-term effects. They are designed to kill many forms of life on contact so the equation makes sense that we will be affected.
I've spoken to locals, neighbors, farmers, SRJC professors and viticulturists. This is a major concern with little education to the public and not much info from local publications, even you Bohemian! Why is that?
We are all passively breathing it in, drinking it, swimming in a toxic soup. Questioning our ignorance about the effects on humans and ecosystems is lost somewhere between sips of Zinfandel. I see the vineyards multiply and the spraying near our home, our schools, and recreational parks and trails. It is a toxic fog over this county starting in March that wafts across boundary lines and blows into the lungs of our residents (including children) through the summer and fall. We need to make a change and we must do it all together.
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