by Marilyn Goode
Measure B is not bad for Sonoma; what is bad for Sonoma is the misleading and confusing propaganda about "costing tax payers and increasing traffic” seen on some brown “No on B” signs around town. What is bad for Sonoma is the pro-development stance of a powerful Chamber of Commerce, both in Sonoma and nationwide. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the single-biggest lobbying organization in Washington D.C., and perhaps in our own town of Sonoma as well.
We now have the president of the chamber, Mr. Cook, sitting on the City Council. I tend to find myself always taking the opposite position from the chamber. Over the years, the chamber supported the mega-expansion of the Sonoma Raceway that clogs the entrance to our Valley with traffic and noise on summer weekends.
The chamber sided with the Sonoma Valley Hospital board when they tried to discard our existing in-town hospital so they could build a brand new hospital out on prime agriculture land in our Urban Growth Boundary. The hospital would have been unsustainable had they succeeded because of the recession that started in 2008.
Now nationally, the chamber has spent millions to derail the Affordable Care Act, and here in Sonoma they are throwing their support to “No on Measure B.”
The chamber held a debate recently that was moderated by Dick Fogg, a former supporter of the building of SVH out in our green belts. Steve Page, who is president and general manager of the Sonoma Raceway, participated on the “no” on B panel so you can imagine that it was business as usual with our pro-growth local chamber.
It is no surprise that our local Chamber of Commerce is throwing its weight behind “No on Measure B,” supporting more large luxury hotels in Sonoma.
The chamber does not seem to grasp the idea of a sense of place, or to care why some of us want a chance to not have Sonoma become Monterey or Solvang. I mention only two towns of the many in California that have been destroyed due to unchecked development.
Preserving Sonoma is a grassroots organization composed of citizens who care about how our town grows, while the chamber continually supports developers and unchecked growth.
Make no mistake, our “Yes on B” measure is a quality of life issue and is not motivated by the idea that all growth is good. In fact, as we face climate change and see how we have destroyed so much of our world, what better place to cry "enough" and start in our own home town? Gandhi said, “live simply so others can simply live.” Please vote “yes” on Measure B.
Marilyn Goode is a Sonoma Valley resident and a member of the Preserving Sonoma Committee that sponsored Measure B.