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Vertice View

Following the informal community meeting with Vertice Hospitality (SingleThread) at the film center (Feb. 7), concerning the group’s proposed uses for the former Raven Film Center and 150 North St., I wanted to express a few thoughts.

In writing this I wear “two hats.” The first hat is as a property owner on the corner of North and East streets. Our family and our neighbors are most directly affected by a new and larger building at 150 North St., as well as any expanded use of the location for other than existing office space. Currently, buildings along East Street that interface with the residential neighborhood are one or two stories and most have substantial setbacks from the sidewalk. These restrictions have been longstanding. Consequently, we all hope the building to be proposed by Vertice will reflect the historical nature of this residential neighborhood in its scale and design and use. Most homes were built during the 19th century for middle class residents, and all current residents have a vested interest in preserving that focus.

There are also broader issues facing Healdsburg and her residents. Both old and new members of the community are affected by these issues. That is my other hat, as a member of the broader community for 30 years.

Change can be vital to the survival of a small town like ours, and conversations about change in Healdsburg are not new. But perhaps those conversations are more pressing these days because what I hear too often from residents is despair and fear. They fear exclusion in their own town. They fear the inability to access affordable leisure activities. They fear the loss of middle-income families, which have been the backbone of our community. And they despair that nothing can be done to stop it.

Surely plans can be developed by Vertice and others that excite the residents rather than create despair. Their ideas could support a broad spectrum of different lifestyles and backgrounds—and foster wonderful and important diversity. The last development project I can recall that succeeded in building a vibrant community space was the Shed, built by the Lipton family back in 2013. I am hoping the new Foley building and the new AV cinema complex will do so as well. As for the dreams of Vertice officers, with all their creative talent, I have faith they can propose an idea that garners community support and excitement from all stakeholders.

What a blessing that would be.

The Carney Family
East Street, Healdsburg


I’ve been thinking about the article about Rusty Hicks (“Assembly Candidate Faces Revolt Among Party Delegates,” Jan. 25) and all the special interest money coming in from outside our district to support his carpet-bagger candidacy.

We’ve heard this tale too many times. Before you know it, we’ll be getting stacks of postcards attacking our excellent and effective city council member, Ariel Kelley.

The leader of the state’s Democratic Party should be identifying and supporting up-and-coming leaders, not using special interest money to buy the seat, which is supposed to represent Healdsburg’s interests. We have to turn out as a community, vote for our best interests and stop this ridiculous power grab.

John Thomas

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  1. Thank you for your excellent article. As a resident of Healdsburg since 1985, I, like many of my friends, who are also long time residents are both saddened and angry about the direction our Community is headed. When I heard the Raven Theater was being resurrected, I was so happy as I was a loyal patron for the many years that they operated. Now, where is that vision headed? There has to be be some kind of balance between growth and expansion and yet maintaining the charm of our wonderful town. We all know, money talks and lot of what is happening is that money is coming from people, and developers who do not even live here. We all need to make our voices heard!

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