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Reasons to postpone

EDITOR: Why did Sunday’s Chanate complex article (“Stakes high for project”) include Supervisor Shirlee Zane’s “very sad” quote and fail to mention the reasons that her “so many bright, educated people” are opposed to her deal as negotiated?

— The last public hearing, on a significantly different vision, was in October 2015. The supervisors then spent 16 months in closed sessions designing a 190-page project description and terms of sale that they posted 14 days before today’s vote.

— Bill Gallaher’s potential gain is enormous. The refurbished 495-unit Enclave property in Petaluma recently sold for $144.5 million. The Gallagher project might be valued at $300 million-plus in the international market for well-located and politically safe income property.

— Taxpayers countywide will pay more and lose public services. Supervisor David Rabbitt told us that Petaluma loses money on its median-priced $550,000 houses; a $1.1 million house is a break-even for city finances. If the county, schools and other public agencies receive too little in permit fees and property taxes, they will be forced to reduce public services. Development that is subsidized by the taxpayers at the expense of road maintenance, eroded school budgets, reduced public health care and lost sales tax revenue is a bad deal.

A 90-day suspension of today’s vote to commit to the sale of this property isn’t too much to ask.

TOM BROWN

Santa Rosa

Redirecting bed taxes

EDITOR: I was very pleased to learn that some of the new bed tax money was going to be spent on roads and other things, rather than on more advertising of Sonoma County as a “destination” (“County may redirect bed tax,” Wednesday). Our county is already very well known as a destination throughout the country and even across the globe. We have become famous for our wines and artisan beers and, now, being adjacent to the Emerald Triangle, will attract even more visitors to our beautiful county.

I hope that even more of that tax money will be redirected from the Tourism Bureau to our roads, and I imagine that most everyone who lives in Sonoma County will agree with me.

MIKE TUHTAN

Sebastopol

Ignoring traffic

EDITOR: After reading Sunday’s article about the former Community Hospital site on Chanate Road, I’m thinking here we go again. This is about what has been described as in-fill — developing vacant land throughout cities without taking into account the already chronically overburdened road system, which has not kept up with growth over the 27 years we have lived here.

I was looking for any mention of upgrading Chanate Road to accommodate the heavier traffic load. But there was none. Better sooner than later, the city of Santa Rosa will have to face the fact that we have a serious traffic congestion problem that needs to be dealt with.

ROB MILLER

Santa Rosa

Make a better deal

EDITOR: This concerns the mostly detailed article on the sale of the Chanate property for much needed rental-housing. I say mostly because Staff Writer J.D. Morris made only a single mention of a huge concern by many in our community, “a group of medical professionals is deeply worried about losing the health care facilities on a site that was the epicenter of such services in the county for decades.”

The 175-member group, Health Care Professionals for Equality and Community Empowerment, is advocating for the Board of Supervisors to slow down the decision-making process. The group has valid concerns: the low sale price, the speed at which the sale is being pushed through with limited public input, the eviction of a battered women’s shelter, the bird rescue center and the wellness center and that two county buildings, the morgue and the public health lab, will be leased back from the developer.

The supervisors need to be engaging the community, health care professionals and neighbors in deciding what to do with the largest and most valuable parcel of land that the people of Sonoma County now own. Let’s plan for the future and negotiate a better deal on behalf of taxpayers and our county’s public health needs.

ANILA ROBERTS

Cotati

Historical data

EDITOR: On Friday, I read a letter to the editor suggesting that because a meteorologist can’t predict with certainty tomorrow’s weather, climate change is therefore a hoax (“Absolute certainty?”). While it is impossible to predict with certainty when any given atom of uranium-235 will decay, it is known with absolute certainty that half of them will have decayed in 4½ billion years. This is known as “half-life.”

Equating the uncertainty of tomorrow’s weather with climate change is like saying, when I look in the mirror and see the same face I saw yesterday, it means I will never age. Historical data are useful in predicting the future of my image in the mirror. Historical data are also useful in predicting the future of Earth’s habitability.

RANDY JONES

Santa Rosa

A reasonable request

EDITOR: It saddens me that Supervisor Shirlee Zane thinks that the “bright, educated” people requesting a buffer zone as part of the Chanate development don’t want to share their neighborhood. In fact, it makes me angry, and I feel somewhat insulted. How dare she?

Most of us actually voted for her. Maybe we’re not so bright. I don’t mind sharing my neighborhood, and neither do my neighbors. We have a reasonable request — that multi-unit housing not be built up against our backyards. Would it be such a horrible thing to honor that request? The buffer zone could be part of a trail system through the development.

On a slightly different note, what will happen to the cemetery across from the old hospital? Does anyone know?

SHELLEY FITCH

Santa Rosa

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