Union Democrat staff

Calaveras planner will be missed

To the Editor,

We believe Calaveras county has lost the best Planning Director (Rebecca Willis) it has had in the last 40 years. We are trying to figure out how we went from one headline, "Optimism running high in Planning Department" to another, "Respected Calaveras planning director resigns." We have a question-who/ what pushed this competent person from her position?

From a news article - "In recent years, the department has come under fire for the extensive list of pending projects that had piled up for more than a decade, reaching more than 200 backlogged applications at one point. As a result, some residents and developers viewed the department as a roadblock to growth in the county." This article went on to report that "backlog" is now at 72.

From an article discussing the two projects that were denied in her two-year tenure, "But they are emblematic of the problems facing a county where past land use decisions have often set up property owners to have expectations they could develop land despite inadequate roads and rules protecting agricultural land." The Planning Director was upholding both state and county planning laws.

We saw the General Plan process on track to producing the most effective General Plan Calaveras County has had to date. Now we have lost the sixth head of the Planning Department in seven years.

We have a question - who/what pushed this competent person from her position? Why?

Joyce Techel

Valley Springs

Anglicans can't fight Episcopalians

To the Editor:

Re: "Episcopalians will celebrate return of the Red Church"

First of all, I want to wish Fr. Anderson and his congregation God's blessing as they worship as Saint James Episcopal Church continuing the use of the Red Church as a place of worship for 150 plus years.

In December 2007, the Diocese of San Joaquin met in convention and voted to leave the Episcopal Church. This was the first of five dioceses to do so. That vote of both lay and clergy delegates was over 90 percent in favor of leaving. However, the diocese allowed any church that wished to remain with the Episcopal Church to do so. As it turned out, only 7 out of 47 churches chose to remain as part of the Episcopal Church. These 7 churches, with the financial backing of the national Episcopal Church leadership formed a new Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin and then sued to take control of the Anglican churches that were left.

That law suit, is expected to go to trial in January of next year. St James, Sonora, and several other churches that were independently incorporated have been sued. The leadership of St James Anglican Church felt it was impossible to defend itself against the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin which is being bankrolled by the national Episcopal Church. As was mentioned in your article, many of the former parishioners of St. James Anglican Church now worship at St. Michael's and All Angels Anglican Church also in Sonora.

Robert P. Townley

Former Bishop's Warden

St. James Anglican Church