I have already cast my ballot for Measure B and see the signs dotting the town often “yes” in one yard, and “no” in a neighbor’s yard.
I’ve read, I think, most of the op-ed columns, letters to the editor and fliers left under the doormat. It struck me that much of the debate included somewhat sketchy data, and this past Friday and Saturday I was able to conduct a double sample of the protesters stationed at the Plaza. (As an aside, I wish they would have united and demonstrated against the vile and repugnant “Impeach President Obama” display in front of Chase Bank. Portraying our president as an image of Hitler is beyond the pale, and I have not seen or heard a peep about this.)
Back to my survey: I concluded the “yes” advocates by and large were older and, my hunch is, mostly retired. The “no” advocates on the other hand, were well-dressed and looked like they had just come from work. Perhaps that’s why the difference in opinion.
As an almost-10-year resident of Sonoma, and part of the hospitality industry, I would encourage the naysayers to try to get a job in a tasting room, restaurant or transportation company and see how far a seasonal $10/hour position goes. I know numerous people who love Sonoma, and hold two or three jobs to make ends meet.
Of course, now many are scrimping by until next year’s season.
I recall a great op-ed many months ago by a lady citing opportunities for young people in Sonoma. Adding two or three boutique hotels, and not some monster chain, would be of enormous benefit to us all. People get to move up the economic ladder, and we all get to enjoy good restaurants and other amenities – not forgetting we get to meet some really nice people from all over the world, and most of them from May to October.
So November to April for the overly worried locals should be enough time to withstand another year of tourism.
PS: I did vote no.