Saturday’s Letters to the Editor
EDITOR: The spat between Apple and the FBI is a distraction and a sideshow. While they quibble about whether Apple is going to teach the FBI how to do basic software engineering, the federal government is inviting thousands of immigrants from all manner of jihad hotspots to come live here.
Not to worry, say our feckless politicians, the FBI will spend billions to “validate” them.
So, the FBI doesn’t have the chops to hack an iPhone but would have us believe that they can read minds of completely alien people who want to come in? How did that work out with Mohammed Atta (the 9/11 chief box-cutter slasher), the Tsarnaevs (Boston Marathon bombers), Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik (San Bernardino shooters)?
Federal agencies got it deadly wrong in all these cases, and it was entirely predictable.
That’s the law
EDITOR: California law requires that businesses marketing redeemable containers that do not have a recycling facility within a half mile “convenience zone” from their place of doing business, must redeem recyclables at their place of business if they meet or exceed $2 million in annual sales. That is the law.
Now, where do we go from here?
EDITOR: Last week the Petaluma Planning Commission voted 6-1 to approve the renovation of the Silk Mill. I was the lone dissenting vote. The big issue was the windows selected to replace the original wood, double-hung windows. The original windows had been so poorly protected since the building was shuttered that they were beyond repair. Restoring them was not an option. So, new windows had to be selected. The architectural team chose to go with a fiberglass window with the same style and dimension as the original. Shouldn’t that be good enough? My answer was no.
The Silk Mill is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, one of only about six buildings, such as the Carnegie Library, so listed in Petaluma. Our community elected to do this because this building is a fine example of our architectural heritage. It has cultural significance for the fine products it produced, and it was built from locally made McNear brick. The architect chose to prioritize the new window’s energy efficiency, low maintenance and exterior appearance over historical appropriateness of a solid wood, double-hung window.
Sure, no one will be able to tell that they aren’t wood windows as they look up from Lakeville Avenue, but what of the guests staying in the hotel?
Without replacing the windows in kind, we are degrading its historical significance. It becomes a simulated historical building, not the real McCoy.
I applaud the Silk Mill being renovated, and I think the proposed hotel is an excellent idea. But to remove the most important elements of the building and replace them with plastic facsimiles is a poor choice.
There is no point in nominating and listing a building on the National Register if we are not willing to maintain it to the standard that qualified it in the first place.
Planning Commissioner Petaluma