Preserving Sonoma reports new donors

Preserving Sonoma, the group sponsoring the Hotel Limitation Measure in Sonoma, filed three donor forms this week, in accordance with Fair Political Practices Commission regulations.

The first was a loan from Larry Barnett, who has been the primary proponent and spokesperson for the measure, loaning the campaign an additional $5,000. This brings Barnett’s loans up to $25,000. The second was from Sonoma Attorney Len Tillem, who donated $1,000 to the campaign.

Warren Watkins of Healdsburg also donated $1,000 to the Preserving Sonoma campaign, creating speculation that recent interest by hoteliers in developing new hotels in that city might be sparking interest in limiting hotels there. Watkins, a retired math teacher, is a leader of Citizens for Sustainable Solutions, a Healdsburg group that filed suit against the $310 million Saggio Hills project on the northern edge of Healdsburg. That project, since approved by both the City Council and a superior court judge, has been stalled, reportedly over financing issues.

The next required filing period for both Preserving Sonoma and Protect Sonoma, the group opposing the initiative, is Oct. 10, according to City Clerk Gay Johann. But if a campaign receives a donation of $1,000 or more, it must file a notice of receipt within 24 hours.

During the previous filing period, Protect Sonoma, the group opposing the hotel limitation initiative, reported expenses of $26,371 and non-monetary contributions of $25,481. Protect Sonoma is sponsored by Chateau Sonoma Hotel Group LLC, an offshoot of Kenwood Investments, which is owned by Darius Anderson. Anderson is the managing partner of Sonoma Media Investments, which owns the Index-Tribune.

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