Congratulations to our City Hall Staff for producing "SHINE," Issue 8, Summer 2019, St. Helena's informational newsletter. Good job! On Page 1, I was pleased to see that the City's financial situation is stable. Also on Page 1, there is a picture depicting "Re-Imagining Civic St. Helena."

We live in difficult times: blatant corruption in high places, pollution of our air, food and water; of harmful radiation, poisonous pesticides in our soil produced by major corporations all for the sake of power and profits, and prices going up everywhere making it harder to balance the budget. We need the exposure of beauty in a safe environment to feast the eyes and nourish the soul. A hotel on the Adams Street property creating more traffic and pollution, using our resources of police and fire protection and depleting our water supply, just doesn't do it for us.

I would like to propose that it be a City Center on the Adams Street property. Imagine it: A beautifully appointed plaza with artistically tiled surface and an old world style fountain with the sound of water soothingly murmuring, easing jangled nerves; lovely ornamental trees, shrubs and flowers everywhere. Around the plaza perimeter a few small shops for: coffee, handcrafts, music, and games for the children. Nothing to compete with Main Street. All this surrounded by a panoramic view of the tree-covered hills against a brilliant sunny sky or a lovely soft moonlit evening. Something for tourists and residents alike.

Dancing on the square, small musical combos, poetry readings, art shows, and acting performances, including the shops could also be a source of income to aid in filling the city coffers.

As for shops on Main Street closing and traffic problems, why don't we hear from the Chamber of Commerce regarding these problems? I Isn't it part of their job to help promote commerce? Where are their ideas? Empty storefronts are an epidemic across the country, including in Manhattan, New York and Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, due to Amazon and other company's products sold online and delivered to the door. The city contributes approximately $200,000 per year to the Chamber. Where is their contribution to the city?

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A much-needed commodity in our city is more low-income housing for workers serving the community. How about using part of the Adams Street property for this necessity, instead of building a hotel? Pat Dell has been championing low income housing for years. Hang in there, Pat. Hopefully, the City Council will eventually see the wisdom for this necessary resource.

Ten years ago, a previous city staff spent thousands of dollars on three designs for the Adams Street property. None included a hotel.

It is disappointing when candidates we backed and led us to believe they would support the public, now want to build a hotel on the Adams Street property, against the wishes of most residents. We are hopeful that our elected officials will be prudent and take democratic action to honor their obligations and do what most residents require and desire. We simply do not need a hotel on the Adams Street property.

Ester Akersloot

St. Helena

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