The Oak Leaf

Wrecked at 51 — five decades of damage, or five decades of metal?

Why my 50s are my metal years

February 11, 2020

I’m 51. This is my Metal Decade and I have the scars to prove it. They might not all be visible, but I assure you it took everything I’ve ever had for me to make it this far in life. I’ve been through a lot. There was the time, not so long ag...

The Joe Rodota Trail homeless encampment is unofficial home to over 200 people.

Opinion: Let’s help the homeless

January 28, 2020

I went down to the homeless encampment on the Joe Rodota Trail yesterday and handed out a case of candy bars. It was a good excuse to get out of the house and do something worthwhile for a change. I talked in-depth to one couple and got to see firsthand...

A county bus sits idle waiting to ferry homeless residents, who acquiesce to the county’s requests, to their new outdoor camp at Los Guilicos.

Opinion: Los Guilicos is a lie

January 28, 2020

The City of Santa Rosa and the County of Sonoma are failing their homeless residents, again. Despite the “hunger for change” and a community that is “on board and invested in solutions,” as described by Sonoma County Supervisor Lynda Hopkin...

Firefighters, police officers and Healdsburg city staff gather Friday, Nov. 8 at the Healdsburg Plaza on the night of

Evacuating Healdsburg: My experience fleeing home during the Kincade Fire

December 12, 2019

I had tears streaming down my face and my hands were shaking — I feared what would come next. Healdsburg was under mandatory evacuation. I wondered if it would burst into flames and if I would return to a pile of ash instead of my hometown. The Kinc...

The challenge is to go 24 hours without digital devices and internet access to test capacity for a disconnected life.

The digital detox diary: My 24-hour device-free diet

December 12, 2019

The rules: my digital diet will last 24 hours, during which time I will forgo cell phone, laptop, internet, debit/credit card and electronic key-fob usage. I will, however, use analog technology as usual, including clocks, my truck and a pay phone — ...

Carceral state: The prison industrial complex wasn’t the solution for my mom

Carceral state: The prison industrial complex wasn’t the solution for my mom

December 12, 2019

The first time my mom was incarcerated — for vandalizing public property — I counted the approximately 730 days until she’d get out. Every weekend I got used to the dehumanizing routine. I checked my pockets for contraband, made sure my clothe...

A forgotten stuffed animal sits alone at a gas station during floods that crippled Guernville in February of 2019.

Climate Changed: Time to change our habits

September 29, 2019

It’s in the back of our brains, omnipresent as we walk from building to building, the unusually torrid October breeze slapping against our skin. Climate change is real. It’s happening all around us and Sonoma County is one of the first places to g...

The world is out there waiting.

Better to burn out than to fade away: A right and proper response to the climate crisis

September 20, 2019

Note: This story contains vulgarity  Nothing we do in this college, in this society, with the approval of old and evil people will save the world. But they were never going to save the world. They were the ones sick enough to wreck it in the first p...

Learn while you can, party when convenient

Learn while you can, party when convenient

September 20, 2019

I did not want to jump, yet I wanted more than ever to feel the crisp Oregon water swallow me whole. The rocks were uneven, my feet’s grip on the perforated cliff shaky and apprehensive. My heart raced and clawed its way up to my throat. I don’t ...

Analogue cigarette machines (nondigital) are still present in Portugal.

Top 10 cigarettes I smoked in Europe

September 4, 2019

              WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS CHEMICALS KNOWN TO THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA TO CAUSE CANCER OR BIRTH DEFECTS OR OTHER REPRODUCTIVE HARM. SANTA ROSA JUNIOR COLLEGE IS A SMOKE-FREE CA...

Lessons I learned from my autistic brother

Lessons I learned from my autistic brother

May 14, 2019

My brother Julian and I have completely different minds. He is fascinated by the world of 1980s VHS tapes and has shelves upon shelves of colorful cardboard boxes, while I am more of a Netflix person. He has a mysterious fear of dogs, but I welcome an...

Secession is the only credible course of action for a state as cool as California.

In favor of secession

March 7, 2019

I may not surf, smoke pot, be transgender or ride a skateboard, but by Goddess I’m as Californian as you can get. I spent my privileged and misguided youth hiking the open, Oak-studded coastal foothills bordering Silicon Valley, in the shadows of Koko the...

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Opinion