Letters to the Editor, April 15, 2009
April 15, 2009
I’ve been in the hospitality business since the late ’70s and currently running a successful property-management company. We always keep our reservation funds separate from our operating funds to avoid the pitfalls that a couple of our colleagues are experiencing. Although I do not know the intricate details of their operations, I have known Barbara Zimonja since the early ’80s and she is extremely professional and ethical. I do not know how the company got into trouble but I feel certain that Barbara is doing absolutely every in her power to make it right. Premier Resorts has some incredible employees who have worked very hard to bring a high level of service to this community. For the sake of the employees, owners in their management program and vendors, I wish her and her staff, with all sincerity, luck in their endeavors to correct these issues.
We must make room for diverse views
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I have written on the subject of tolerance before in The Park Record. There is a flap going on in the news today (Sunday), punctuated by an editorial in today’s New York Times that I feel demands the subject be addressed again.
The editorial was written by Richard V. Allen, a former Reagan administration figure and a Notre Dame alumnus. The subject is the plan to confer an honorary doctorate degree on President Obama when he addresses commencement this year. Mr. Allen writes: "… my Alma Mater, while welcoming him in its midst, ought not confer an honorary degree on Mr. Obama." At issue, of course, is the administration’s tendency towards a pro-choice position, at odds with the Catholic church. It seems Mr. Allen’s position has widespread support in the ND community.
What troubles me is that Mr. Allen seems to view discordant opinion with a lack of merit, as if one who has a pro-choice view is somehow not worthy of recognition. Of course the university and its supporters have a 100% right to their opinion. But if we take the extreme position that different viewpoints somehow disqualify one for recognition and reward, the flames of discrimination and intolerance are fed. Would Mr. Allen then suggest that unless all university students swear allegiance to the pro-life position they are not worthy of graduation?
Diversity of thought and opinion is at its core the basis of a great civilization. History is replete with cultures whose dogmatic approach to its chosen mores snuffs out diversity and ultimately ensures that culture does not achieve its potential. Greatness in a society and community comes from the ability and willingness to accept and invite diversity of thought. It is the only way we grow and expand. I for one will always call out discrimination and intolerance when I see it. And I hope to always remember that it is in our own deeds and thoughts that we can work to encourage acceptance and tolerance, and that will make us
Code amendment has one major flaw
(This is a copy of a letter addressed to Mayor Dana Williams and the City Council.)
On Thursday night you voted to approve a Land Management Code amendment that included eliminating the ability for a three-story house on an uphill lot to have a basement. This is a huge flaw in the amendment.
Eliminating the possibility of a basement on an uphill lot does nothing to change the goals of improving mass, sizing, or watershed, the stated goals of your amendment. It is completely invisible from street level, cross canyon, or any other viewpoint. While not affecting mass, sizing or watershed, it undoubtedly improves the efficiency of the entire structure, and is a benefit to the landowner. Extra basement square footage for utility, family room, storage, etc., will directly translate into less on street parking; as more street-level square footage is freed up for garage space.
Councilman Joe Kernan agreed that a basement had no impact and therefore should not be eliminated. So did Planning Commissioner Richard Peek, as did Planning Commissioner Evan Russack.
The City Council should be commended for its work, having disallowed four or more stories above grade and requiring an additional 10-foot setback for the third floor. No doubt, the citizenry that have asked for new homes in Old Town to have a lesser visual impact are pleased. Those same friends and neighbors would also no doubt agree that eliminating the possibility of a basement on an uphill lot does nothing to change the goals of improving mass, sizing, or watershed, while negatively affecting homeowners and the community at large.
I am asking that you amend the recently adopted amendment to the Land Manage Code to allow basements under three-story homes on uphill lots in the Old Town Historic District.