Letters to the Editor

Priorities for the city’s future

EDITOR: Curious what happened to the SDAT report? The American Institute of Architects’ Sustainable Development Assessment Team (SDAT) visited Healdsburg last year and provided recommendations on how to ensure that our town remains as great a place to live in 2040 as it is today. When the SDAT team visited Healdsburg and invited citizens to share their opinions about the development of the city, more than 700 people attended the public discussions that informed the SDAT report issued in November.

Since then, committed citizens volunteered hundreds of hours to extract the most relevant and significant recommendations from the report, identify strategic goals and propose actionable items. This work was conducted by five working groups under the informal umbrella of “Healdsburg 2040.” This effort continues and is open to every interested citizen. Our overarching objective is to nurture Healdsburg's vitality and quality of life.

Now it’s time for the city to take the next step, namely to integrate this grassroots work, turning the SDAT report into clear goals and specific action items in Healdsburg’s five year strategic plan (2020-25).

The time horizon for the SDAT report was 2040. Given the climate crisis, limited land resources and the dependency of our economy on tourism and wine, we must envision our city 20 years out. That is why we think that the city has to plan for a climate resilient future while building a vibrant and more diverse economy. We have to reimagine Healdsburg as a place where cars will play a smaller role and where pedestrians and bicyclists of all ages and abilities can enjoy safe, dedicated infrastructure. We want to connect neighborhoods, schools, parks and open spaces with bike and pedestrian friendly routes. The five year plan must address these challenges for the city to thrive.

In order to create more affordable housing, the zoning and land use codes need an urgent update: increased housing density and height limits where appropriate will help alleviate the housing crisis. Healdsburg should seek to become a leading arts destination in the region. This must include a deeper appreciation of the contributions of the Latino community, our diverse culture and rich history.

These are examples of the goals the Healdsburg 2040 working groups prioritized working with the SDAT Final Report. We believe they are essential to a forward-looking strategic plan. Civic engagement is the key to insuring they have a place and commitment in the five year plan.

We are excited to present our work and invite you to join the discussion at the Speaker Series hosted by the city of Healdsburg on June 24 at 6:30 pm at the Community Center.

Walter Niederberger

Healdsburg 2040

Trying to help save the planet

EDITOR: My first reason to end climate change is that animals are starving. Did you know that climate change started in the 1700s when we built more stuff and burnt more stuff? Burning things releases greenhouse gases into the air, causing what we call global warming. That causes the Earth to heat up. Therefore animals like deer starve from droughts that don’t allow plants to grow. Not only are deer dying but many more animals too!

My second reason is that fish are dying. With global warming, the water is getting warmer and coral is dying. Since fish live in coral, their home are being destroyed by climate change. Do you like to eat fish?

Something else that is affecting our planet is plastic. Plastic causes several animals to starve and die. This is because after animals eat plastic they think they are full, when they are not. Plastic also releases toxins into their bodies. Say a small fish ate a piece of plastic and another fish ate that fish and then you ate that fish. You would technically be eating plastic, which poisons you.

Here are some solutions to this problem. We can buy local foods. For example, every summer my family goes to a farmers market to buy food from local farmers. Also, we can eat less meat and more fruits and vegetables. We can lower the use of our cars and walk more. A good idea, too, is to check your car for leaking oil. Buying things that were made in your own country is a great way to help as well. Make sure you don’t litter either. Thank you for reading my letter and I hope we can all make a difference.

Wesley Strassburger, age 9,


Pet volunteers made the parade

EDITOR: On behalf of all our shelter animals, the board and leadership of the Humane Society of Sonoma County would like to convey heartfelt thanks to our Healdsburg Shelter volunteers and staff who worked so hard to make our participation in this year's Twilight Parade such a joyful experience! Big purrs and sloppy face licks to valiant volunteers Caroline Marker, Chris Chang Weeks, Colleen Walsh, Dale Miller, Dan Mason (Kitty!), Daniel Wachs, David Gurley, Dianna Winter, Edie Partridge, Jennifer Lynch, Jennifer Tremont, Ken Hite (Fido!), Martha Hetzner, Monse Torres, Nancy Roberts, Ryan Moya, Tami Lemley, Terri Ottoboni and Valerie Walston. A chorus of barks and meows for Janet Eastburn, who created our amazing Cat-a-Van, and an all-paw salute to Animal Care Coordinator Ciarra Pegg, our steady Cat-a-Van driver. We love you.

Priscilla Locke,

Santa Rosa


Hotel builds make you think

EDITOR: Now that the North Village project is a done deal I'm thinking about the community debate over the issues of growth and tourism that has taken place over the last few years. In early 2017 the city surveyed the population on these issues and more than 80% of the respondents said that Healdsburg had enough, or too many, hotels. Shortly after, Measure R was resoundingly defeated. Two years later we are looking at one new major hotel up and running and three more in the pipeline which will nearly double the number of hotel rooms in Healdsburg.

Not much more to say is there?

Hank Skewis


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