Your article on Chanate (“The Fate of Chanate,” July 25) was remarkable for its exposure of the pure cronyism taking place in Sonoma County government. You would think that elected supervisors would have more sense than to have closed-door meetings and make a deal that is a giveaway of public property and a betrayal of the public trust. Shame on them all. Astoundingly, a recipient of this giveaway was appointed by Supervisor Shirlee Zane to the planning commission and the main developer contributed big bucks to Zane’s election effort. This in itself doesn’t prove anything, but it makes you wonder.
It’s ironic that had Noreen Evans won the 5th District supervisors race, she might have been able to head off this very bad deal. As it is, she worked from the outside to represent the public interest and won the court case that stopped the deal. Thanks to the folks that led the effort and wisely hired Evans to represent them. It isn’t over, but this is a good start to getting it right.
Thank you, Peter Byrne. Here’s another issue with all of this that doesn’t seem to get the attention it deserves. And one could argue that it is germane to the legal issues being adjudicated. It is astounding, jaw-dropping, appalling, pick your adjective, that Shirlee Zane appointed an employee/manager of Gallaher to the Sonoma County Planning Commission. And this after Gallaher contributed tens of thousands of dollars to her campaigns. It sure seems as though this presents a clear conflict of interest and should have had a bearing on voiding the sale. I’m curious as to why this wasn’t a point of contention.
Thank you, Peter Byrne, for two well-written and researched articles on the Chanate development. Your work shows the type of professional reporting that seems to be going by the wayside today. Hats off to you for reporting facts without prejudice.
Burned by PG&E
I am a retiree and stockholder in PG&E, and it is time to hold PG&E accountable again (“Taking Stock,” July 3). In 2001, Gov. Wilson held PG&E’s feet to the fire. The utility emerged from bankruptcy in April 2004 after paying $10.2 billion to its hundreds of creditors. Since that time, PG&E did not disappear and service to Californians continued. It makes no sense to relieve PG&E of inverse condemnation, as PG&E has not learned its lesson. As with San Bruno, PG&E failed to protect its customers yet sought liability protections in the absence of accepting responsibility. PG&E’s leadership cares more for its return on investment than adhering to the mundane operational duties they are paid to do. Passing the costs on to customers would allow PG&E to keep stockholders from sustaining a loss for their interests and holdings.
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