February 2024

 “Friendship improves happiness and abates misery by the doubling of our joy and the diversity of our grief.”                                                  Cicero         

It is Election Time

In case, dear reader, you haven’t noticed, this is an election year.  A very important election on the North Coast is the race for the Second Congressional District.  The district goes from the Oregon Border all the way to Marin County.  The counties that it includes are Trinity, Del Norte, Humboldt, Mendocino, part of Sonoma County and all of Marin.  The current seat is held by a Democrat.  Two Republicans are also in the race.  The endorsed candidate for all of the counties in the district is Chris Coulombe. 

Chris is a Navy and Marine veteran.  He ran the Army’s Pacific Theater Air Assault School, facilitating the training of thousands of Marines, Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of United States and partner military forces, qualifying them in helicopter rappelling and assault operations.  In his final assignment, Chris represented the Army to dignitaries and senior security officials from almost every country in the Indo-Asia Pacific.  The goal of the Army was to focus on multilateral solutions to regional and global security challenges.

This experience has given Chris a comprehensive understanding of our military and the needs of a 21st century military.  This knowledge is critical for a member of Congress. 

Chris is also very knowledgeable of the water situation in California.  He has studied the current situation at Potter Valley and understands that large areas of Mendocino and Sonoma County may not have enough water to meet the needs of the population. 

“Those who stand for nothing fall for everything.”           Alexander Hamilton

P G & E Position on Water Plan

Pacific Gas and Electric has reversed its position on some of its surrender plan for the Potter Valley powerhouse.  This move threatens the water supply for more than 600,000 Russian River water users.  Initially PG&E stated it would accommodate requests from water managers and stakeholder partners in Sonoma and Mendocino counties that would allow continued water diversions from the Eel River into the Russian River.  However, PG&E has now decided to proceed with license surrender for the Potter Valley plant without those provisions.  Apparently, future diversions created unwanted liabilities and threaten to delay removal of Scott and Cape Horn dams under the plant decommissioning plan.

The utility’s announcement disrupted efforts to secure the diversions beyond the life of the power plant and ensure sufficient water for residents and others up and down the Russian River corridor.  Users on the Russian River corridor number in the hundreds of thousands.  What many people may not know is that Novato gets 75% of its water from Sonoma County and the Marin Municipal Water District gets 25% of its water from Sonoma County.

How this will all be resolved is going to depend on PG&E, the state of California and how all groups working to strike a balance that would protect fish and the Eel River’s recovery while providing enough water to support Russian River users can come to an agreement.

“The empty vessel makes the loudest sound.”             William Shakespeare

Trafficking of Children in Sonoma County

During 2023, Verity, which is Sonoma County’s only rape crisis and healing center has served 153 human trafficking survivors.  56 of those survivors were children. In 2023, 86 survivors told their stories to Verity for the first time.  Due to service interruptions during the pandemic and the inconsistencies of how cases are tracked, identifying a trend is difficult but there is one very clear trend.  “Human trafficking can happen to anyone at any time,” says Lisa Diaz-McQuaid, who is Verity’s lead human trafficking case worker. Verity’s human trafficking department was created in 2019.  Since 2019, Verity has served 430 survivors.   

Human trafficking refers to anyone who is exploited for the financial gain of another person.  Trafficking happens in all forms.  Families traffic their children or grandchildren and foster children are very susceptible, Boyfriends traffic their girlfriends. Social media is used to lure local teens into sending inappropriate pictures or videos in exchange for money.  Snapchat and Instagram have platforms that have allowed trafficking to flourish.  Snapchat is especially dangerous because the photos and videos disappear after they are opened.  Young people who come from traumatic backgrounds are very susceptible to “love bombing” which occurs months before the trafficking actually begins.  There is also a great deal of trafficking going on in homeless encampments.  Often, young people in the homeless encampments are not the age that they state.  They may say they are an adult but often they are   a 12 or 13 year old boy or girl.  As citizens, we need to be aware of what is going on around us and support efforts to stop trafficking.

 New Police Chief in Cotati.

Chris Simmons started as Cotati Police Chief on February 12th.  The new Chief grew up in Novato and earned a bachelor’s degree, two master’s degrees and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology.  Chief Simmons has worked in the Sheriff’s department of Contra Costa County. In Contra Costa the new chief served as detective, sergeant, lieutenant, captain and assistant sheriff.  Chief Simmons has stated that a priority for the department is commercial and residential theft. 

“The things that we love tell us what we are.”         Thomas Aquinas

Come Fly With Me!

In early May, Avelo Airlines will offer nonstop flights from Sonoma County to Kalispell, Montana; Boise, Idaho; Salem, Oregon; and Pasco, Washington.  Currently, Avelo has flights to Burbank and Las Vegas year round and seasonal flights to Palm Springs and Redmond Municipal Airport in central Oregon.  Alaska Airlines provides flights to Los Angeles, Orange County, Portland, San Diego and Seattle.  American Airlines has flights to Phoenix and Dallas (seasonal). 

“A lie doesn’t become truth, wrong doesn’t become good just because it’s accepted by a majority.”                       Booker T. Washington

California Insurance Woes

California has always done things a bit differently.  When it comes to insurance, the state definitely has done two things very differently which has contributed to the insurance mess in the state.  Unlike nearly every other state, California prohibits the use of advanced computer modeling to calculate current and future risks of catastrophic events like wildfires more accurately to determine insurance rates.  Instead, insurers in California are required to look at the prior 20 years to project future risks.  Alone among the 50 states, California does not allow insurers to include the cost of purchasing reinsurance when calculating rates.  The purchase of reinsurance is a standard practice for insurers to ensure they can cover claims during catastrophic disasters. 

Also, comprehensive reform of the state’s cumbersome rate-review process is long overdue.  Therefore, rate reviews are delayed up to a year or more, causing rates to be inadequate to cover consumer claims once they are approved. 

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners reports that insurers in California paid out $1.13 in claims for every $1.00 they received in premiums between 2012 and 2022.  Because of these facts, many insurers are leaving the California market and leaving residents without insurance or paying very high rates.

Rest in Peace, Edie Ceccarelli

In past issues of The Sentinel we have noted the birthday of Edie Ceccarelli of Willits who was a centenarian.  Edie was born in 1908 and died on February 22, 2024.  She lived in Willits. The town celebrated her birthday on February 5 when it was noted that she was only the second person alive to reach age 116. Friends remember her most classic piece of advice for extraordinary longevity: “Have a couple of fingers of red wine with your dinner and mind your own business.” Great advice. It should be followed by more people. 

“Happiness is like a butterfly.  The more you chase it, the more it will evade you, but if you notice the other things around you, it will gently come and sit on your shoulder.”

Henry David Thoreau

Do we have a right to self-defense?

California had a law which banned citizens possessing or carrying billy clubs and other forms of less lethal weaponry.  Judge Roger Benitez (U.S. District Court for Southern District of CA) questioned the law in the case of Fouts v. Bonta.  The Judge struck down the ban and questioned the legality of the statute. The Judge wrote: “Americans have an individual right to keep and bear arms, whether firearms or less lethal arms.”  He further argued that The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution ‘guarantees the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation.’

 Would it be possible for California legislators to deal with the real problems in California?

Kelly-Moore Paints Closing

After laying off 700 workers and halting production as its Hurst, Texas manufacturing plant, Kelly-Moore shut down operations nationwide.  The company was unable to attract investors to keep the 77 year old company afloat.  Apparently massive legal and financial burdens have been weighing on the company for many years. 

The company immediately closed its retail stores and production facilities including the 330,000 square foot plant in Hurst.  Miami-based investment firm Flacks Group bought Kelly-Moore in 2022.  The company has been fighting lawsuits for years over using asbestos in its cement and texture products.  The practice, which was banned in 1981, has cost the company over $600 million to settle claims.  The company estimates that there will be another $170 Million in future asbestos liabilities. 

Liquified Natural Gas

The climate lobby is thrilled that President Biden’s freeze for new liquefied natural gas (LNG) export products has been announced.  The Sierra Club executive director stated that “The Biden administration is listening to the calls to break America’s reliance on dirty fossil fuels. Its undeniable that LNG exports projects are simply not in the public interest and we are confident that if this review is done right, that would end the rubber-stamping of these projects.” The Energy Department is required by law to approve permits to export LNG to countries with which the United States doesn’t have free-trade agreements if they are in the “public interest.” Now, the administration plans to redefine “Public interest” to include the potential impact on the climate. 

The White House claims that the pause will only affect a handful of projects currently seeking Energy Department permits but this is not accurate.  The pause will also freeze about a half a dozen projects seeking Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approvals and could halt another dozen or so that have been permitted by previous Presidents. So projects in the works could be ended even if they have billions of dollars in committed capital and contractual agreements with customers. President Biden’s decision creates uncertainty about permit approvals and extensions.  This discourages foreign governments from signing long-term contracts.  They will instead sign contracts with other countries that will not quit a contract.  World politics will have a major role in where countries will get their stable LNG supply.

In the United States a single LNG export project will produce about $600 Billion in revenue over its lifespan and create thousands of jobs, including in steel manufacturing and fracking – no government subsidies required. 

Venture Global’s Gulf Coast CP2 could supply approximately about 5% of the world’s LNG by 2026.  This would have a greater impact on the United States economy than any green energy project.  It would also reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by 140 Million tons a year.  This is about as much as all the container ships in the world produce.  However, Venture Global still needs an Energy Department permit.

“Those who want to reap the benefits of this great nation must bear the fatigue of supporting it.”                        Thomas Paine

Another Reagan Era Figure Leaves Us

Thomas C. Reed of Sonoma County had an illustrious career in the military and in the Reagan administration.  He was a longtime advisor to President Ronald Reagan, Secretary of the Air Force and senior National Security Council official.  He was also a real estate developer and author.  Reed graduated from Cornell University with a degree in engineering and later earned a graduate degree from the University of Southern California.  When Reed went to work at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory he designed two thermonuclear devices which were fired over the Pacific in 1962.  Later, Reed started and ran a successful high-tech company making superconductors. 

When Reed developed an interest in politics he became the Northern California chair of Ronald Reagan’s first gubernatorial race in 1966.  When Reagan became governor, Reed served as chief of personnel in the first administration and in 1970 he served as Reagan’s statewide co-chair and re-election campaign director. During the 1980’s Reed worked with Reagan’s National Security Council as Special Assistant to the President.  His primary contribution was in charting the President’s road map for prevailing in and ending the Cold War.

Reed had many interests including land development and the founding of River Oaks Vineyards in Alexander Valley and eventually the creation of Clos du Bois Wines.  A stalwart member of the Reagan administration has left us.  A belated thank you for your service.


Socialism:           You have two cows.  Give one cow to your neighbor.

Communism:     You have two cows.  Give both cows to the government and                                    they may give you some milk.

Fascism:              You have two cows.  You give all of the milk to the                                                    government  and the  government sells it.

Nazism:               You have two cows.  The government shoots you and takes                                     both cows.

Anarchism:         You have two cows.  Keep both cows, shoot the government                                    agent and steal another cow.

Capitalism:          You have two cows.  Sell one, buy a bull. 

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PAID FOR BY THE SONOMA COUNTY REPUBLICAN PARTY Email: Phone: (707) 542-7066. Copyright 2024 Sonoma County Republican Party. All rights reserved.