Letters to the editor

Voting for Skylaer

EDITOR: I regularly attend Healdsburg City Council meetings and I have been listening and learning about the five city council candidates running for three open seats. Skylaer Palacios gives me the most hope for Healdsburg's ability to thrive in an uncertain future.

Skylaer grew up here, cheered for the HHS Bulldogs, played in the river, learned ukulele at the senior center, all while a top student. Her eighth-grade algebra teacher and Sonoma County’s chair of the Democratic Party, Pat Sabo, says: “If Skylaer was ever unclear in class she asked questions. She’s a critical thinker with a unique ability to bring calmness to situations — but she has the heart of a warrior!” After graduating from HHS at 16, Ms. Palacios earned a liberal studies/performing arts degree at SSU at the age of 20, with no college debt.

As a Black Latina, Skylaer has felt the pain of exclusion, yet overflows with deep love for the land and community that raised her; convinced that celebrating our differences brings harmony. Trained in nonviolent communication and trauma-informed care, she is sensitive to shaping social/business policy for a traumatized 2020 economy. Skylaer Palacios is ready to serve all of Healdsburg.

Having work experience in local hospitality, Skylaer speaks for many when saying an over-reliance on tourism encourages an economy where local workers, retired long-timers and the next generation can’t afford to live or raise families here. Common sense zoning changes can support economic diversity, encouraging higher paying jobs in green industries, the arts, healthcare and more resident-focused businesses.

Current Vice Mayor Shaun McCaffery encouraged Ms. Palacios to run for council, and he writes: “Her commitment to affordable housing, economic diversity, cultural awareness, and environmental stewardship are exactly what we need now. Skylaer has the energy and enthusiasm to lead us into the future.”

Recognizing the complexities of providing low- and middle- income housing, Skylaer’s first action is to reinstate the Community Housing Committee. She also intends to support a Latinx Commission and to translate meetings for the 35% of Healdsburg whose first language is Spanish.

Healdsburg is vulnerable to climate chaos. We choose representatives who perpetuate an exclusive view and ignore pleas from residents to focus on a more inclusive and livable community. Skylaer comes to this race with no financial special interest attachments.

She is our future. I am voting for Skylaer Palacios for city council.

Merrilyn Joyce


Housing is the #1 issue

EDITOR: Despite all of the great things about the city of Healdsburg, we have not been immune to the housing crisis that plagues Sonoma County. Housing costs have been rising much faster than the average family’s income and the housing shortage has only gotten worse thanks to the recent wildfires. As a result, we have to take bold, proactive measures to make real progress on this issue now, before the housing issues spiral further out of control.

This election cycle, the city of Healdsburg is blessed with a broad range of terrific candidates to fill three open seats, many of whom I consider friends, and all of whom have beneficial qualities to offer. But, when it comes to housing, candidate Ariel Kelley stands out.

Ariel has not only been vocal about this issue consistently over the last several years, but she has effectively used her influence as a County Planning Commissioner to promote affordable housing development through changes in development codes, zoning, and reductions in government fees. She believes that removing barriers to smart and sustainable growth will encourage housing development and give our community the amount of housing it needs. Most importantly, she knows how to pull the levers of government to get things done — specifically when it comes to the types of housing we most need. Let’s get Ariel elected to the council so she can get to work for our community.

Deborah Kravitz

Former member of the Healdsburg Community Housing Committee (2017-2019)


The future of Healdsburg

EDITOR: I have known Skylaer Palacios for six years.  She is intelligent, thoughtful and a consensus-builder.  She has proven that she can quickly get up to speed on city issues.  Having lived and attended school in Healdsburg, Skylaer has a unique perspective that will be valuable to the council given that many council goals focus on housing options, improving transportation and expanding community services.  She understands the effects of the tourism economy on her hometown and is ready to meaningfully strike a balance between the needs of residents and visitors.

Skylaer is the person we want on the council for those decisions that shape the future of Healdsburg.  Her values are in sync with social justice, environmental sustainability and making Healdsburg a better place for all residents.

Shaun McCaffery


Emergency services for north county

EDITOR: There have been several letters to the editor recently recommending a “No” vote on Measure BB, the sale of Healdsburg District Hospital to NorCal Health Connect, LLC because of restrictions that will be imposed by the Catholic health care system. As I understand it, those statements are completely true and restrictions on reproductive options as well as end of life choices will prevail. All of this I oppose.

Having noted this, I will still vote in favor as I believe that emergency services and most other health needs do not fall into those categories. The community is better served having an emergency room available in the North County than not.

And, we pay the parcel tax anyway with or without the hospital. Vote yes on BB.

Carolyn Moore


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