By Hugh Black
In all the rhetoric about measure B, there isn’t any discussion about the impact of the proposition’s unexpected results that may occur. The major assumption seems to be that we are blessed, and that what has been going on in terms of tourism will continue on forever, or until the current group of leaders, planners, etc. are no longer in place or office. I do think we who live here are blessed.
But here is another tale of two places:
The first place is Boyes Hot Springs.
My understanding from history is that Boyes Hot Spring was a tourist mecca until the Golden Gate Bridge was opened; then the world changed. People quit staying over. One hotel of note is still there, but the others are gone and at least one is boarded up and not in use. In fact, after being vacant for 40 years, one was ordered torn down by the county. A club associated with the boom, and not used for decades, recently burned down. I am pretty sure the folks who built these places thought it would go on forever.
The second place is South Lake Tahoe.
Boomed and built for 35 years, there are now several closed, boarded up and fenced businesses and hotels. Rooms are now cheap and crowds small. The causes I have heard are: Gambling is legalized in a lot of other places, the economy is bad and Indian casinos were opened. I am pretty sure the folks who built these places thought it would go on forever.
What of Sonoma? We have already had one building, the creamery across from the Mission, vacant for years. Other store fronts are also vacant. Can we end up like Boyes Hot Springs and Lake Tahoe? Yes! We should keep that in the discussion and try our best to be sure it doesn’t happen here.
Both “yes” on B and “no” on B supporters will say their position supports the prevention of such a meltdown. I think “yes” on B is the best bet.
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Hugh Black is a resident of Sonoma.