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Letters to the Editor

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Those addressing the housing issue should first define “affordable”

Dear Editor:

Roslyn Ryan’s Sept. 2 editorial about “affordable housing” addresses a currently very popular topic, and I must first declare my general agreement with her about the nature of the problem, that many decent people simply cannot afford to pay “market” prices for housing in Goochland, whether purchased or rented.

Having said that, I have given a fair amount of thought to the issue of “affordable housing,” and I have some serious reservations about recent “invocations” of the problem.  I spent most of my adult life working with local zoning and subdivision (land use) issues as well as being the unpaid legal advisor for seven years to a three-county Virgnia affiliate for Habitat for Humanity several years ago.

First, I have never seen “affordable housing” defined.  A lot of people express agreement with and support for it, but no one seems able to define just exactly what that phrase means, and I think such a definition is necessary.

Second, my definition is that it purports to provide housing below the prevailing “market” cost for housing.  If that is so, then somebody will be expected to “eat” the differential.  In my work with Habitat for Humanity, we had to confront the fact that we were trying to provide home ownership for deserving folks well below the prevailing “market” cost for same!  So, I developed a means of protecting the “market” value of the housing for the benefit of the Habitat affiliate, while allowing the low-income clients to avoid having to bear that burden.  My solution was complicated, but I think it worked.

If providing below-market rental space, then either the taxpayers will have to  “eat” the differential with subsidies paid to landlords, or a developer will be required to provide dwelling units below “market” rates as a condition of getting a development permit.  How is that going to work?  Who will decide who gets which benefits and how much?  Those questions must be fully and honestly answered.  I see no way around it.

I also believe that the real issue is that personal incomes for most have not kept up with the rising costs of almost everything, and that means that a substantial nationwide minimum wage increase should be enacted.  Now.  If universally applied with no exceptions, the “rising tide should lift all boats.”  There can be no competitive disadvantage for any employer having to pay such higher wages if all employers must pay those higher wages.

I think “affordable housing” is a good idea, generally, but all the details need to be addressed.

Very truly yours,

H. Watkins Ellerson

Hadensville

Leabough will bring decades of experience, service to school board

Dear Editor:

A very special candidate is running for our School Board for District 2. In fact, she is doing the job right now! Billie Jo Leabough stepped in upon the passing of William Quarles last Spring. With over 25 years of experience as a teacher, counselor and program director, she is a champion for students and an effective voice for all the dedicated educators and students in our excellent schools.

She has a holistic grasp of the opportunities and challenges facing our schools and is deeply committed to serving as a leader to address these issues, including the learning loss due to COVID, teacher recruitment and retention, college, career and technical education preparedness, and safe, affordable childcare for working families.

Did you know that she and her children are all proud graduates of Goochland County Public Schools? In April, Billie Jo Leabough was appointed by the School Board to represent District 2. She is doing an outstanding job during a uniquely difficult time. Please support her in November as she continues to inspire, serve and advance the education of our students as our School Board Representative!

Sincerely,

Allison Peterson

Goochland

Vaccine experience exceeded resident’s expectations by far

Dear Editor:

The year 2020, starting in March, was a very difficult time period for most Americans. As a 71-year-old woman, the inability and unwillingness of our Government to provide guidance and assistance to it’s citizens during a global pandemic was horrifying and disheartening to say the least. One year later, under new leadership there is finally hope. not long ago I went to the Goochland Cultural Arts Center on Dogtown Road to get my first out of two COVID vaccines. As I pulled into the parking lot I was full of uncertainty and not sure what to do. That feeling did not last long at all. As I pulled in I was directed to follow instructions for where to park and told to wait in my vehicle until my scheduled appointment. Sure enough when my appointment time came up, I was directed to enter the building. I didn’t even have to open the door as it was opened for me to prevent contact on my part. As I entered I was checked off the appointment list and given a questionnaire to fill out. I was told where to go to fill out the paperwork and escorted there by a volunteer who told me to raise my hand if I had questions.

I was then told when to go review my questionnaire and receive my shot. After expressing some concern over my shellfish allergy I was assigned a pink sticker so that I would be under observation for 30 minutes instead of the green 15 minute sticker.

While I sat at each stage waiting for my next step I looked around and marveled at how the health district volunteers, local volunteers, EMT’s and fire and rescue staff quickly sterilized each clipboard, each pen used, each seat as it was vacated in preparation for the next person. All this done with the precision of water ballet dancers. The mood was happy hopeful and unified. I realized with a rush of emotion that all these people, working together in spite of any political differences they may have, were there as Americans first, fighting for us. I have had my hope restored and my faith that this country can overcome anything when we all work together for a common cause.

Lorna Mitchell

Goochland

One year later, county’s new animal shelter is tremendous success

Dear Editor,

I would just like to say congratulations, one year later on the county’s new Animal Protection/Adoption Center. We are thankful for the people behind the scenes  that make things happen! The daily workers who clean  the cages, the volunteers who greet, who walk the dogs, who play with the cats//puppies, the officers who assist the county with stray animals, the supporters who donate necessary supplies (litter, food, blankets, etc.), the supporters who make monetary donations(payable to Goochland Animal protection), the vets who take care of the health of the animals, the trainer  who works with dogs to make them more adoptable, other adoption agencies who jump in when assistance is needed, the supervisor who keep things organized and running smoothly, and, most important, our adopters who give the animals forever homes!

Special thanks to Julie Lawrence, supervisor, who has loved and protected the animals awaiting adoption, putting adorable pictures on the Facebook page and just being a great supervisor who cares and works alongside all the above people who make things happen!   Special thanks to each of you!

Penny Pearsall

Manakin-Sabot

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