Letters to the editor from Jan. 17
Published: Monday, January 21, 2013 at 2:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 2:28 p.m.
EDITOR: As a retired U.S. Army veteran who served two tours in Vietnam and came back to a community that truly cared about our military veterans, I am appalled that someone would go to Walnut Park and remove the plaque that contained the names of our “brothers” for the possible purpose of monetary value, when those brothers gave their lives to ensure the freedom of all citizens.
If anyone in the salvage business accepts that plaque for meltdown and does not proceed to turn it over to the proper authorities, then they too are equally guilty of a horrific crime. To my military brothers and sisters: We will always be together. No one can take that away from us and there is much support for us in the community led by the ever present Joe Noriel, president of The Petaluma Historic Museum, who has done so much in keeping the memory of our veterans alive.
He has already started a county-wide awareness that we wi1l come out of this in a positive manner even if it means erecting a new memorial in the very near future. I truly hope the public will get involved and that anyone having information in regards to the disappearance will notify the proper authorities.
Richard W. Sharke, Vice President of Vietnam Veteran Chapter #563
Nesting trees downed
EDITOR: Sunday night, under the cover of Sunday night darkness, Ghilotti Construction, Caltrans and a tree crew chainsawed the grove of the heron and egret rookery. There were logging crews and log moving heavy equipment operating under banks of floodlights.
It is disturbing that Caltrans’ contractor for the Petaluma Boulevard South interchange would take the added safety risk of dropping these large trees at night. Were they afraid of having the community’s presence to witness this destruction?
Four remaining tall trees were cut Tuesday.
The loss of this established egret and heron rookery, in clear view for thousands of Shollenberger Park visitors, school children and bird-watchers from around the country, represents a failure of not only Caltrans, but also of key local representatives and the Sonoma County Transportation Authority to recognize, understand and protect this valuable local treasure.
As of now, there is still no plan for replacing the grove for potential future rookery sites and no commitment from Caltrans to even contribute any funds towards that goal.
We will continue to battle the plans for an asphalt plant at this location in the Court of Appeals. However, we are very disappointed that this remarkable natural attraction has been lost to poor planning and errant decision making. What Dutra could not have done for their project, Caltrans has done with impunity under the cover of darkness.
David Keller, Petaluma River Council
Petaluma take note
EDITOR: Petaluma, take note and be proud: PEP Housing has won a coveted national award. Novogradac Journal of Tax Credits held an award ceremony in Florida on Jan. 10 and Mary Stompe, PEP Housing Executive Director, accepted the recognition award for Toussin Senior Apartments as a Development of Distinction that “Best Demonstrates Financial Innovation”. The award showcases PEP as a leader in innovative development in affordable housing. PEP is a nonprofit that has long served the Petaluma community with 12 senior apartment communities, large and small. The award uses Toussin Senior Apartments in Kentfield as a consummate example of the use of tax credits to create jobs, develop affordable housing, and provide new opportunities and economic vitality for communities in need.
It takes real diligence and unyielding dedication, often pulling multiple rabbits out of a hat, to do what must be done to build affordable housing in this economy. Mary Stompe and her team pulled together 19 layers of financing for this project, and that is just one example of how every project has presented unique challenges to overcome. PEP is currently building its 15th and 16th communities, and stay tuned for more. With PEP Housing celebrating 35 years of service to the Petaluma community, it is gratifying to see PEP Housing recognized for the reasons stated by Michael J. Novogradac, managing partner of Novogradac & Company LLP: “It is inspiring to hear stories of tireless perseverance and ingenuity in the name of serving residents in need and enriching communities as a whole.”
Petaluma citizens can be proud of PEP as a valued local nonprofit, enriching our own community as well as beyond. PEP deserves the accolades: The Developments of Distinction Awards recognize excellence, ingenuity and perseverance in the development projects using the low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) program financing.
Rebecca Spencer, Pep Housing, Richard Rodkin, Board president, Pep Housing
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