Letters to the Editor


Happy Log-Rolling

Add my name to the long list of readers who have never written a gushing letter of appreciation to a newspaper before. After 30 years in San Francisco, and new to Marin, I pick up random Marin/Sonoma newspapers to get up to speed with local events and nouns (people, places, things).

I assumed your paper was a Bay Guardian facsimile, but I have to tell you how very impressed I am with your newspaper and writers.

In the Jan. 20 issue alone, the Wal-Mart story, “Shake It” and “Mo’ Funny” plus “Down Lonesome” were brilliant! Thank you.

So glad to have found the North Bay Bohemian.

Another fan,

Page Larkin

50 Dates, SF Examiner.com

Arts of health

Thanks for writing the excellent epitaph for Johnny Downer (“Thanks and Praise,” Jan. 6). It is true, he was inspiring, special and will be very much missed. The question remains unasked, however: Why was such a beloved local luminary turned away from the Occidental Area Health Center when he tried to seek medical care? Johnny had been complaining of chest pains and numbness in his arm, but because he didn’t have proof of income, he was not admitted to see a doctor.

The truth is, it may not have helped even if he had gone to see someone there, but he should have at least gotten to tell someone what was going on. I have had several instances of gross mistreatment at both Guerneville and Occidental health centers, so much so that I wonder if they are not trying to kill people. Once I was given the wrong antibiotics in Guerneville, resulting in an ER visit. The second time I had a misdiagnosed ear problem that was continually treated as an infection, but had clear symptoms of a fungus.

Taxpayers subsidize these clinics, yet they charge low-income patients as well. My ear visits cost me twice as much as a visit to the specialist, who fixed me up in a hurry; after three months of hell, I was put right in three days. The clinics did not refer me to a specialist, but rather sent me out the door saying there was nothing wrong with me. For a DJ, this was about the worst affliction I could have, and it cost me a summers’ worth of joy.

What I see is that it could have been my life. This situation with our local health centers should be a major wake-up call, deserving of an exposé. Let’s not let Johnny’s untimely death go in vain. He was denied basic healthcare with easily recognizable symptoms of heart failure.

This is a terrible loss to the creative community, and chances are it could have been prevented. How are working creative people, who often don’t have regular incomes, supposed to get healthcare?

Cultural Creatrix


Rewash it or remake it, cont’d.

I make wine with James Matthisen at Springhouse Cellar in Hood River, Ore. About two years ago, James started using refillable bottles. Our tasting room is upstairs from the winery, so we are by definition a factory and can factory-seal a refillable bottle. On a good day, about half our sales come from local Hood River people coming by the winery to get their bottles refilled.

Two points here: First of all, reusing is infinitely more efficient than recycling, especially in a lot of places in Oregon and Washington that don’t offer glass recycling. Second, the wine has to be great. Otherwise the bottle is just a gimmick.

Carey Kienitz

Mosier, Ore.

Sonoma County Library
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