Posted on June 18, 2013 By Mina

Board of Supervisors Meeting

Board of Supervisors

loriMy name is Lori Gatmaitan. I am new to understanding how local government agencies work and indeed how the press works since I was assumed to be a protestor yesterday while viewing the destruction of the trees at the orchard adjacent to Apple Blossom School in Sebastopol. Yesterday I went to look at the apple trees laying on their sides and to try and figure out another way to protect my daughter and all the children, and was interviewed about my concerns. In Matt’s defense, I did not distinguish myself from others present. So, in the interest of learning from yesterday, I am a concerned parent of a wonderful 10 year old who goes to Apple Blossom school.

It is my understanding that out of all the local and state agencies, you all as a group hold the power to help protect our children during this time of conversion of the apple orchard to vineyard. My concern is the conversion process itself and that it be handled safely. The conversion falls through the cracks of the laws we currently have legislated and all the permits were done accordingly. So again, I come to you all because you have the power to protect our children. We are your constituents and need your protection in this matter.

I am specifically asking this board to temporarily halt the work being done at 622 Watertrough Rd in Sebastopol. I do not dispute the landowner’s right to do what he wants on his property. What is important here is that the conversion has the great potential to harm his neighbors, the children, teachers, and staff at 5 schools in close proximity. Three schools literally share a common 2,080 ft border with the orchard.

There has been 50+ years of pesticide use on this land and I ask the board to require Paul Hobbs Winery to pay for an independent, EPA approved group to conduct a comprehensive soil test. These results need to be made public to the community, school board, AG commissioner, and to this board of supervisors. Then a plan to safe guard everyone concerned can be created and implemented properly before the conversion resumes.

Thank you for listening to my concerns and protecting our children.