Editor: The following letter was presented to Sonoma’s City Council
I have lived in Sonoma for over 30 years. And for 15 years before I moved here I came up on holidays and weekends to visit relatives. I love the small town community feel and, with all of the incredible wineries, restaurants, shops and entertainment it has to offer, it is the best of both worlds.
I would like to see our community thrive for many years to come. But, in order to do that, in order to keep it this way, I believe we need to be more proactive.
Because Sonoma is primarily an agricultural and hospitality oriented town, we need our work force in order to keep the businesses open. Many people in our work force are now faced with possible deportation.
What are we going to do if we have no field workers to harvest the grapes? What are we going to do if we have no people to cook, wait tables, change beds, wash dishes or cater our parties? What are we going to do with the American born children that discover they have been abandoned, because while they were in school their parents got arrested and are going to be deported?
In October of 2013 Governor Brown declared California a sanctuary state. Just recently Oakland and San Francisco became sanctuary cities. If becoming a sanctuary city is both moral and practical, why don’t we do it?
We need to stay the inclusive and diverse city that we have always been. We need to respect all of our community members – regardless of immigration status, county of origin, race, religion, political affiliation, economic status, age, gender-identity or sexual orientation. We need to become a sanctuary city.
It is quite possible that be being pro-active in this, we could become an inspiration for other leaders of other cities. And just maybe our influence might stretch far beyond our city, our county, our state – into a nationwide plan of action.
We need to plan for our future. We still have a housing crisis on our hands. I respectfully request that this housing crisis be put on your agenda so that we can open a discussion about it. The Spiritual Action group has a resolution that has some good ideas that need to be seriously considered.
We need to provide more low rent housing for our work force. We need our work force. They are a very large part of what makes Sonoma the city that it is.