Letters to the Argus-Courier Editor March 31, 2022
Adding context to ad
EDITOR: I was highly alarmed by the ad in the March 10th A-C by Petalumans for Responsible Planning that described the possible housing development that’s coming before the Planning Commission on March 22nd.
The list of defects in the project are numerous, and the environmental and wildlife impact is disturbing. The entire development seems like one big environmental AND traffic disaster all rolled into one.
This development does not serve or improve the nearby west side neighborhoods, nor the overall Petaluma community as a whole. At the very least it should receive much deeper scrutiny than it previously has by the city.
Setting the record straight
EDITOR: Receiving the Argus is always a highlight of my Thursday. But for the last few weeks my pleasant perusal of your paper has been interrupted by feeling angry and frustrated when I come across the full page ads from Petalumans for Responsible Planning.
Their adds are disingenuous and written to mislead the public about the proposed project at Windsor & D Street. They write that the land needs to be left alone “giving all of its living creatures the dignity and right of living undisturbed.” There is no viable route for this. It is not public land. It is private land zoned for residential development that was purchased by a developer nearly two decades ago.
PRP say details of the “deal” (which the ads curiously place in scare quotes) are not available to the public, this is not true. The details are available online at extendputnampark.org.
The ads suggest the new homes could burn down, but studies say it would improve fire safety for the town. The ads say the project would destroy habitat, but in reality there would be significant habitat enhancement for the red-legged frogs and along Kelly Creek if the City approves the project and the land came under County Parks stewardship.
I am extremely concerned that if this compromise — to build a limited number of homes away from the most sensitive land on the property and to expand Helen Putnam park — is not approved then Petalumans will be stuck with a much worse deal. There is nothing preventing that.
Doing our part
EDITOR: Petaluma United Methodist Church has had an unused well on property since 1940 according to records. With today’s historic drought, the church members wanted to do their part and raised funds to insert a pump for irrigation instead of using city water.
Chair, Trustees, PUMC
A vote for Blake Hooper
EDITOR: Candidate for Sonoma County Supervisor, Blake Hooper, held a Town Hall Meeting Wednesday night (3/23). I knew nothing about him, but a friend sent me a Zoom link and on a lark I logged in.
Blake Hooper is articulate, energetic, and exceptionally well-informed. In one short hour he expertly addressed issues including homelessness, housing costs, transportation, climate, and water. What was particularly compelling was his desire to collaborate with all communities in our County. He sees these problems as not being exclusive to one area or the other--we are clearly in this together.
Hooper’s solutions-based willingness to solve problems collectively rather than separately is refreshing. His enthusiasm was genuine. He’s a “big picture” kind of problem solver who is just what we need in a County Supervisor. He will have my vote in June.
Cheers for downtown move
EDITOR: I was thrilled to learn that Amy’s Kitchen may move its headquarters into the old Carithers building at the corner of Kentucky and Western. So many of our most beautiful commercial buildings are either vacant or underutilized. They include the Mutual Relief building across the street from the proposed Amy’s site and the two beautiful old bank buildings on each corner of Petaluma Boulevard. I think the City Council needs to work with the Planning Department to see what can be done to make these historic landmarks viable commercial property again. There seems to be a disconnect in City government in this regard. On the one hand, the Council wants to move away from complete reliance on cars, but on the other hand the Planning Department turned down the proposed renovation of the long fenced off Fourth and “C” site because they think it now needs more parking than it ever had before! Long term chain link fences are a form of urban blight and the City needs to work with property owners to get them removed.
What to know about Ramadan
EDITOR: Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar when Muslims abstain from food and drink from sunrise to sunset and the celebration that marks its end is called Eid UL-FITR (celebration of the Fast breaking) requires a little understanding by the school administrators, teachers and fellow students as well. As the population of USA becomes more religiously diverse, public-school calendars should be adapted to accommodate a variety of holidays observed by groups such as Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims, as they have adapted to Jews. The First Amendment to the US Constitution protects the freedom of religious expression for the group living in the US, including worship, places to worship, and ability to practice their religion. For example, Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving etc., are accommodated as a declared holiday in the Calendar.
The beginning of each month of the Islamic calendar is based upon the sighting of the moon’s crescent. So, in Petaluma it will begin either on April 2 or April 3.
School officials and teachers can support the fasting students by providing alternate locations during lunchtime, so that the fasting students are away from the cafeteria. Fasting students may decline to participate in the parties which include food and beverages. Teachers may notice the fasting students a little subdued in their behavior. And they should be aware of possible bullying, mocking or ridicule of fasting students.