Editor, Index-Tribune:

A recurring theme of those who oppose Measure B is, “Let the existing process work.”

The existing planning process – so the argument goes – allows developers to present their projects and hash out differences with irate city residents on a case-by-case basis, all under the supposedly unbiased eye of city planners and City Council who, under the existing General Plan, approve or reject all controversial developments.

Those against Measure B trust this existing process to regulate large hotel development. They’re against Measure B because it asks voters to change the General Plan to limit new hotels to 25 rooms or less, unless and until existing hotel occupancy rates reach 80 percent.

Opponents claim Measure B disrespects the existing process and city officials who, after all, were selected by the voters. In short, they suggest residents can be trusted to choose their officials but aren’t bright enough to decide what sort of town they want to live in. Fathers Know Best.

As to big hotel projects, Measure B opponents say the existing process is more qualified than ordinary residents to decide what’s best, as demonstrated by its competence over the years.

Undoubtedly, those who think the existing process has protected city residents from the tsunami of tasting rooms and traffic, loss of open space, noise from entertainment venues, commercial re-use of historic sites, off-book vacation rentals, invasive formula stores and howling dust-storms from swarms of leaf-blowers, probably believe it will protect us from powerful multi-millionaire hotel developers/investors who regard Sonoma as just another wine-country ATM to be tapped for more cash.

Preventing unnecessary big hotels from destroying the essence of Sonoma is far too important to leave to the existing process. If you agree, vote “yes” on B.

Bob Edwards