Letters to the Editor

Highlighting talented girls

EDITOR: I would like to thank Katherine Minkiewicz for the article she wrote titled “Camp Empowers Students in STEM.” It highlighted our academically talented girls who won an American Association of University Women (AAUW) scholarship to Tech Trek Camp Curie, a weeklong residential science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) camp at Stanford University. Programs like this pave the way for today’s talented girls to have successful STEM careers and become our future leaders. I would also like to acknowledge four more girls who won scholarships to Tech Trek, but were not mentioned in this article. They include Audrey Moberly of Windsor Middle School, Maya Carmona of Cali Calmacec Language Academy, Jennifer Osborne of Geyserville New Tech Academy, and Tylie Hatcher of Washington Middle School (Cloverdale). Congratulations to all nine Tech Trekkers and best wishes for a successful eighth grade. 

Karla Rosen



Affordable housing still a concern

EDITOR: I went to the city council meeting on Monday, Aug. 5 at 6 p.m. I was the only one that spoke up about the affordable housing problem in Healdsburg city limits and Sonoma County. I was born and grew up in Healdsburg all of my life.

When you are on Social Security as your only income — my amount is $1,016 monthly — hotels or motels just built are too expensive a day for somebody on a limited income. The new hotel downtown built next to the antique store and the one on Dry Creek Road. The only one that is reasonable is the one on Grove Street.

The tourists run Healdsburg. The wineries and wine tasting rooms own Healdsburg. And the city council, you people don’t care about the local people. Because you won’t do anything about the housing problem.

Healdsburg will have the same homeless or housing problem as Santa Rosa in a year or less. Unless it gets done this year on the housing problem. You must not hurt the rich tourist feelings after all the tourists run the town of Healdsburg and the wineries tell Healdsburg what they can do in town.

And no coffee cafes. And most of the restaurants are too expensive in town. There is no store affordable for low income.

This town needs a community center for the people of Healdsburg to go to.

The small businesses aren’t making it too expensive, the rent on the building is too expensive.

The apartments or houses already built are too expensive.

I am living in a travel trailer with no water and power and no hookups. I can’t afford the rent on a space for the trailer. The spares or lots of land not built on should be for all affordable housing, period. Because the city or state or county doesn’t check on rent, there should be rent control. That old building next to the Mill Street Lumber torn down for housing. That old empty mill next to the railroad tracks should be all for affordable housing.

I will never be able to afford a home in town. Too expensive. I would like to move up to Oregon, a lot cheaper on housing. Just as soon as I can and out of California — too expensive to live and no more hotels, affordable housing.

 Mike “Davey Crockett” Peterson


Communities need to get SMART

EDITOR: I appreciated the extensive coverage of SMART’s financial woes in last week’s paper. However, I have read another short-sighted screed bemoaning the financial shortfalls of the SMART system, without the benefit of your lengthy analysis. 

I have several points in rebuttal:

1. Rail is efficient. See Europe, etc., with well-developed systems of long standing. We destroyed our rail system, in favor of the automobile and the huge freeway system. Now we see the downsides of that folly that lined the pockets of the oil industry, and grossly impacted the environment. Now it costs today’s inflated money to rejuvenate rails, especially urban systems.

2. Costs are rising for everybody building anything these days, (witness housing) and the sales tax costs to the public are minimal compared to the potential benefits. Extending the tax early doesn’t mean doubling up, it just assures continuity in funding to allow SMART to make decisions and move forward into the future.

3. Ridership will increase as the trains extend their reach. Both Larkspur and Cloverdale eagerly await services to them. Current ridership indicates that there is a market, and people are willing to abandon cars for the ease, comfort and speed of the beautiful trains. SMART cannot grow big enough without the support of its communities, all of which profit by the reduced freeway traffic, cleaner air and improved infrastructures.

4. As ridership increases, other infrastructure will fill in the gaps, such as connecting buses, bike trails, parking facilities and then hotels, shops and retail will follow at the hubs. That urban renewal will increase tax revenue for many other businesses besides the train. We are looking at revitalization of areas in serious need of it.

We need to work through the growing pains, keeping the long term goals in mind. We had extensive rail once, and we can do it again. Our children will thank us.

Mary Johnson


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