Letters to the editor
Published: Monday, January 28, 2013 at 1:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 24, 2013 at 1:07 p.m.
ASKING TOO MUCH?
EDITOR: Is the difficulty of the new Petaluma sewer plant to process heavy industrial sludge really a design flaw, or is somebody asking too much?
An Argus-Courier front page article (Janelle Wetzstein, “Sewer plant flaws surface” Jan. 17), implies that the three-year-old plant is poorly planned or defective because it is “unable to process certain types of sludgy waste generated by dairies and breweries,” forcing some businesses to find other means of disposing of their waste.
About 10 years ago, I noticed a thick, brown, mud-like flow completely filling the stream just west of Stony Point Road between Pepper and Mecham Roads. On looking more closely, I saw that a dairy upstream had emptied or washed a very large amount of manure into the stream, and it completely filled every possible space. No fish or any other water-living creature could possibly have survived a sludge so thick I could almost walk across it.
It's hard to imagine that any plant designed for municipal sewer treatment would be asked to receive and process large quantities of such thick material, or that a difficulty in handling it would be considered a “flaw”. High-density industrial waste is not normal sewage. And any claim that the designers failed, or succumbed to political pressure, or that the plant is not “business friendly” is simply unrealistic.
Steve Ayala, Petaluma
EDITOR: It is ironic that the myopic “vision” of Petaluma's elected leaders in past years is now having consequences that may affect the city's future in ways never considered. Consider the possible “unintended consequences.”
The lack of action years ago to push for timely dredging of the river, and encourage industry that would use it commercially, has us now at risk of losing navigability, as the one company using the river has signaled its existence as imperiled. Petaluma ignored the issue, and is now being ignored as the commercial traffic no longer makes dredging a priority. If the company goes, so does the river and any need for the Corps of Engineers to dredge. (Probably won't upset them.)
If the dredging goes, then the Turning Basin, boat harbor, yacht club and a host of other entities go too, along with significant tourist dollars. Flooding of areas of town would follow as the river reverted to its original state of shallow tidal slough, but with lost businesses, I guess we would really not need the housing.
Our small city seems to be destined for some serious reduction in size, or possibly evolution to some sort of “bedroom” community, all with reduction of revenues and abilities to fund operations as we know them. We (you and me) have allowed our “leaders” to be so focused on petty infighting and irrelevant issues that Petaluma has drifted far from the basics and lost that delicate balance of elements that made this city a vibrant and viable place to spend a lifetime. It is time that we demand a return to basics, to once again create a city that has its own business base and a diverse population that lives, works and shops here, providing the city with revenues to invest in our town for the long haul.
Petaluma once had everything it needed to provide citizens a good life, and can again, but that will only happen with leaders of vision beyond the end of their term, and citizens willing to stand and demand rational action.
John McNeill, Petaluma
EDITOR: The Board of the Petaluma Museum Association is pleased to announce major new developments at the Petaluma Historical Library & Museum. Basing its actions on a Museum Assessment Program Report commissioned from the American Association of Museums, the board is implementing the following improvements.
In 2009, the Board commissioned a Museum Assessment Program Report (MAP) which detailed challenges and recommendations for the museum to broaden and strengthen its commitment to the Petaluma community. The current board is working through the recommendations in the MAP report and bolstering the museum's ability to thrive:
- The Board has formed a Strategic Planning Committee which is using the MAP report as a template for updating the museum's planning processes. Board training, which occurred in September, was the first step in this process. The bylaws were also revised to facilitate a more nimble organization.
- An interim budget has been approved for the current fiscal year (ending June 30, 2013). Currently, the net income of the museum is higher than budgeted, with a modest profit achieved for the six months ended Dec. 31, 2012. The Board has also codified its financial policies.
- Over the last few years, the museum has lost both Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) funds and funding for two staff positions previously provided by the City of Petaluma. The board has revised its membership categories, with slight increases in annual dues. The museum has added an exciting new benefit for its members at the supporter level, which provides North American Reciprocal Museum (NARM) membership. NARM membership provides entrance to over 600 museums in the United States and Canada, including most of the major museums in the Bay Area. The board is also currently working on a capital campaign launch in 2013.
The Petaluma Museum Association is now positioned to continue to provide the community with a blend of Petaluma-centric and broad-based exhibits.
Joe Noriel, on behalf of the Petaluma Museum Association
FAMILY SAYS THANKS
EDITOR: Gratitude is defined as thankfulness and appreciation.
On behalf of the Carney Family, we would like to thank the community of Petaluma for the success of the Don Carney Fundraiser last week at Lagunitas. The outpouring of support was overwhelming and the monies raised will help the Carney family with the needed house renovation and Don's rehabilitation.
The support of the Petaluma business community was amazing. A special thank you to Lagunitas Brewing Company. They are an exceptional community partner and we are very fortunate to have them in our town! (Plus they make some darned good beer!) Thank you to Lombardi's Catering for the wonderful food (with help from John Hooker's Pasta, A1 Produce and Mike Hudson Distributing) and the Lickidy Spilt Band .
We wish we could list everyone who helped and contributed, as this event did take a village to be as successful as it was!
Sue Lassen, Petaluma
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