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Readers write

Thank you for the piece on the road improvements around Truckee. I am particularly thrilled that the Grey’s Crossing folks will get a nice bike path and that East West will partner with the Town of Truckee to resurface part of the road, which will no doubt be a benefit to the Grey’s Crossing folks.Now what I would really like to see is a footpath for the rest of us smucks who live on the other side of the tracks, i.e. Sierra Meadows, Ponderosa Ranchos, etc. so we could safely walk to town or to the post office or Albertsons or Safeway. Some of us would gladly give up our cars (always a push to get us out of our cars) and do more healthy walking if we could do so safely. So what’s it gonna take?Lynne R. LarsonTruckee

In a letter (Taking input? Sierra Sun Aug. 18) the letter writer asserts that in my capacity as Truckee Donner PUD board chairman I ignore public input. This is simply untrue. The record shows that I have actively sought to increase public input through various means: including the recently adopted PUD Public Outreach policy (thanks CATT); my personal policy, as chair, to always ask for public input on each and every board action item (without the three minute limit); and, my willingness to meet/talk with any member of the public at any time or place. I actively listen to the PUD public and I consider all of the information I receive from all sources when I make a board decision. However, when it comes to the actual board vote on a PUD matter such as the water rate increase, I make my decision based on what I feel is the best course of action for the entire PUD the 12,000-plus customers who are the owners of the district including short-term and long-term impacts. My decisions do not favor special interest groups or individuals with a personal/political agenda unless they meet my decision criteria described above. After a number of staff presentations, two full public hearings and days of public input, I was more than prepared to make an informed, balanced decision on the water rate increase. Regarding the Truckee Planning Commission meeting on the General Plan, I asked the commissioners to reconsider, on behalf of the Pine Forest HOA, their contemplated land use change from rural residential to industrial on land immediately adjacent to Pine Forest. I cant imagine anyone, including the letter writer, not making the same effort in the same situation. It now appears that the land use will become industrial. My comments were heard the Planning Commission made their decision on behalf of the entire community of Truckee no sour grapes on my part.Ron HemigTruckee

Given a choice, I think most local voters would rather keep religion out of politics and vice-versa. Our District 4 Congressman, John Doolittle, is a co-sponsor of a bill which would change existing law and allow a much closer relationship between the two. Under current law, churches are granted an exemption from taxes as long as they refrain from promoting and endorsing specific political candidates from the pulpit. HR235, the so-called Houses of Worship Freedom of Speech Restoration Act, would reverse this restriction and allow churches to actively promote political candidates during sermons, while still maintaining their tax exemption. This brings to mind the widely reported 2004 incident involving the Rev. Chandler of North Carolina. Chandler instructed his congregation to vote for George W. Bush for President in the 2004 election. Members who planned to vote for Mr. Bushs opponent were told to either repent or be expelled from the church. The sponsors of HR235 are framing it as a freedom of speech issue, while the actual intent is to more easily manipulate the votes of what they view as the religious market of voters. Other co-sponsors of HR235, which was first introduced in 2003, include former Congressmen Tom DeLay and Randy Duke Cunningham, the ethically-challenged pair of indicted lawmakers.Congressman Doolittle apparently sees no danger in allowing churches to actively endorse and promote specific political candidates, while maintaining their tax exempt status. If you think Mr. Doolittle is out of touch with the mainstream on this issue (as well as many other issues), please consider voting him out of office this November and casting your vote instead for his opponent, Lt. Col. (Retired) Charles Brown, a war veteran and former Republican.Peter Butler South Lake Tahoe


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