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Big hotels take money from B&B

By Donna Lewis, Sonoma

Editor, Index-Tribune:

I have operated a B&B in town for 30 years and I am against plans for enlarging the feel of town by adding more rooms and large hotels. I’m also astonished that the new Tourism Improvement District (TID) works only with the visitors bureau, which markets mainly to the Bay Area only. Why not send information to areas of the United States and world that have terrible weather? They love to come here if they know about us. None of what it now does supports my small business. I get my business mainly from my own marketing, word of mouth and with my website.This year the visitors bureau raised my cost of belonging from $484 to $532 a year.

Since July 2012, my B&B has contributed $15,100.06 in TOT to the city treasury. Because of the TID, I’ve also had to charge my guests an additional $2,422.79, which went straight to help big hotels have conferences, and which fill their rooms and takes business from my little B&B. We have received nothing in return. Is that fair?

If that $2,422.79 went into the city treasure, at least I might get more city services, but it doesn’t. Instead, I’m paying to put myself out of business. Now they want more big hotels they won’t be able to fill. Sixty-five percent occupancy says we don’t need any more space.

The City Council is killing our small town by letting developers change it to something like all big cities that nobody wants, and small businesses like mine are being asked to pay for the funeral. But they won’t do it without a combat. I’m asking everyone who cares about Sonoma to please vote for the Hotel Limitation Measure and save all of us in Sonoma.