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Don’t let him rob us again

OpEd

By

By Joe Aaron

 

What started out as opposition to Darius Anderson’s proposal for a high-end hotel near the Plaza has turned into a local civil war. The two biggest issues appear to be commercial growth and the transit occupancy tax (TOT), a debate that’s caused our otherwise sophisticated and civilized residents to now be at each other’s throats. Everyone has a deeply held and intransigent position about both this hotel and Measure B.

Larry Barnett is the sponsor of the Measure B, and while no one thinks it was ever his intention, the law of unintended consequences has raised its ugly head. This has deeply divided the people throughout Sonoma Valley, extending far beyond city limits.

I attended a semi-formal debate on this initiative recently. A lot of those in attendance live outside the city limits and therefore can’t vote, even though many of them serve on our nonprofit boards and donate both time and money generously.

Measure B requires an annual occupancy rate of 80 percent for all lodging before a new hotel can be built with more than 25 rooms, or an existing hotel can build even one room beyond the 25-room limit. As long as one of the four seasons includes winter, 80 percent is not going to happen.

Measure B also requires that four of our five City Council members approve all new hotel projects, regardless of size. This little-talked-about supermajority voting provision will further stymie any economic development potential for tourism-based businesses, weakening Sonoma’s ability to stabilize and enhance our community service funding in the future.

Sonoma currently has 527 hotel rooms. Mr. Anderson’s current proposal would add 59 rooms, or about 10 percent to the existing numbers. This first-class hotel is projected to generate more than $3.5 million in TOT and $1.8 million in property tax revenues over the first five years, along with more than $40 million in additional spending at nearby businesses. The TOT revenues alone would increase by more than 20 percent in the first year.  TOT makes up 21 percent of the city’s total revenue. If we build this hotel, it will dramatically change our city for the better.

No alternative to the hotel will generate the same kind of income as a high-end hotel. Tourists at a high-end hotel are more likely to spend money here. Economists will tell you, every dollar spent at the hotel generates another four dollars in the community.

What no one has explained – if not a hotel, then what do they suggest? More tasting rooms, office space, retail? Talk about foot traffic. And the argument that a material increase in automobile traffic will occur is so far-fetched it is not worthy of a rebuttal.

Several years ago, premier restaurant developer Pat Kuleto wanted to build what would have been one of Sonoma’s signature restaurants where Bank of Marin is currently located. Back then, it was a Chevy’s restaurant. Thanks to Mr. Barnett, the restaurant never came to fruition.  Barnett voted “no,” saying the Plaza was three parking places short of what was needed. His decision was a financial blow to the city then, but it will pale in comparison to the public dollars denied Sonoma if Measure B succeeds. Don’t let him rob us again.

 

Joe Aaron is a Sonoma resident, a former FBI agent, a veteran of the securities industry and founder of  a Sonoma-based hedge fund.

  • Fred Peterson

    Excuse me, Mr. Aaron, but I’ve known Pat Kuleto for more than 40 years. He has never had to settle claims of criminal wrongdoing because of alleged illegal lobbying activities, he has never hired a U.S. Senator’s son to secure the approval of a gambling license for an Indian tribe, and cannot be compared to a man with the ethics of Darius Anderson. If you want to make the small hotel campaign a matter of personalities, find someone other than Darius Anderson to tout.

  • bob edwards

    “Economists will tell you, every dollar spent at the hotel generates another four dollars in the community.”

    That is pure agricultural slag. As a hedge fund founder should well know, and as every ordinary citizen has learned from the painful lessons of the Great Recession — economists will tell you anything you want to hear. Allan Greenspan and Larry Summers come to mind. Everyone knows there is not an ounce of truth or proof to back up the 4 to 1 claim that would withstand 5 minutes of questioning from a third grader.

    But for a former FBI agent to suggest or imply that Mr. Barnett or anyone else supporting Measure B is going to “rob us again” — of public dollars or anything else — is sad if not shameful. A former FBI agent should know that “Robbery is the felonious taking of personal property in the possession of another, from his person or immediate e.presence, and against his will, accomplished by means of force or fear.” (CA Penal Code 211) E.G., “Stick ‘em up.”

    Mr. Barnett, in casting his votes on City Council to uphold provisions of the General Plan, did no such thing. And Sonoma lost no money as a result of his vote; even an idiot knows that if Pat Kuleto really wanted to open a restaurant in Sonoma, he had the whole town full of locations to pick from — e.g., just about any place that now houses a tasting room. It’s not like he couldn’t afford the exorbitant Plaza rents.

    To suggest that a clearly and honestly stated ballot initiative — placed on the ballot by nearly 20% of the electorate & approved by the city Attorney and which will be democratically approved or rejected by voters — is “robbery” is an assertion that would shame a liar, and to even suggest in an OpEd that Measure B and its supporters are ‘robbers” is name-calling at its worst.

    Surely, given the Wall Street-caused financial collapse and Great Recession of 2007 (for which JP Morgan – just one example – just copped a $13 Billion settlement with criminal charges still in the wings} every “veteran of the securities industry” should be able to tell the difference between Measure B which will Preserve Sonoma, and real financial shenanigans — & stupidity — that nearly destroyed it, along with the rest of the country.

    Vote Yes on B.

  • David Eichar

    Mr Aaron says, “Measure B also requires that four of our five City Council members approve all new hotel projects, regardless of size.” Mr Aaron is either knowingly telling a lie, has not read the language of the hotel measure, or does not understand the wording. Measure B says, “If the Planning Commission’s decision on a proposed large hotel is appealed, the hotel could not be approved except by a 4/5 vote of the City Council.” It is right there in black and white “proposed LARGE hotel”. Hotels with 25 rooms or less would still only require 3 votes of the City Council if the decision of the Planning Commission is appealed.

  • Lisa Maldonado

    The North Bay Labor Council, AFL-CIO and the Sonoma County Living Wage
    Association OPPOSE Measure B because it is a poorly drafted ordinance
    with many unintended consequences not the least of which is killing good
    middle class jobs and increasing traffic. We don’t usually find our
    selves on the same side as the Board of Realtors and the Chamber of
    Commerce, but when a development project does EXACTLY what
    environmentalists and labor have asked (build green, build union,hire
    local, pay living wages, build within urban growth boundaries, and
    according to the general plan) we are hard pressed not to support it. And
    when you add that the hotel will bring in 3 million in taxes to support
    the city services such as parks and libraries it’s a win for all. That’s why Labor and the Living
    Wage Coalition are urging a NO on Measure B!

    • bob edwards

      Sadly, $10/hour is not a middle class job.

      • Lisa Maldonado

        Mr Edwards UNITEHERE 2850 the local union that is currently walking precincts for NO on B has been fighting for middle class jobs for a long time. I trust them to now a good employer when they see it. In any case the union construction jobs that will hire local workers pay well above 10 an hour, in addition they train the next generation of skilled tradesmen and women and give them a middle class career- not a junk job in retail.

        • David Eichar

          So, we will have out-of-town union members telling the residents of Sonoma what is best for them. Do they even live in the valley?

          • Lisa Maldonado

            Good try David. I may live out of town in the distant land of Santa Rosa but the North bay Labor Council, AFL-CIO has nearly 1 thousand union members and their families living in the City of Sonoma. They have a right to vote on their political priorities just as you do.

        • bob edwards

          “UNITEHERE 2850 the local union that is currently walking precincts for NO on B has been fighting for middle class jobs for a long time.”

          Intending no personal disrespect, but “Baloney.” While you scorn our local retail jobs as “junk jobs,” neither UNITEHERE 2850 nor any other union in the NBLC has done anything to organize Sonoma’s retail workers to improve their wages, benefits and working conditions.

          Further, it’s long been an open secret that the wages allegedly promised in the would-be hotel labor agreement you mention (but which the union refuses to make public) are on a par with many so-called retail “junk jobs.”

          Finally – and I apologize sincerely if I am mistaken – none of the hotel workers at any of Sonoma’s existing hotels have been organized by UNITEHERE 2850 or any other NBLC union. If unions have “been fighting for middle class jobs for a long time” it hasn’t been in Sonoma or Sonoma Valley.

          Rather than bus in out-of-town union workers to walk Sonoma’s precincts against Measure B (because local residents are unwilling to do that), they should be organizing employees in existing hotels & demanding the right to bargain collectively. While they’re at it, they might organize the thousands of wine industry workers in the Valley & help them out, too. A union seriously concerned with working people and middle class jobs would see that as a gold mine of opportunity.

    • Hugh Black

      3 million in TOT is $139 per day per room if hotel if full everyday… room rate will be $1,000. I won’t be staying there
      Hugh Black

      • Chris Scott

        Mr Black:

        The Press Democrat, August 22nd, 2012
        “…an average of $465 a night, putting it on a par with other upscale hotels in the area, including the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and The Lodge at Sonoma.”

        Index-Tribune, Mar 21, 2013 – 09:15 PM
        “(Redesigned Sonoma Hotel) Preliminary estimates provided by Anderson indicate the hotel, at 60 percent occupancy, would generate $3.5 million in TOT over five years, with $2.5 million in sales tax and $1.8 million in property tax over the same period. It would employ about 140 full and part-time staff.”

        Chris Scott

        • Hugh Black

          Interesting. I have yet to believe the numbers on sales tax.. this sounds like the fantasy movie “Build it and They Will Come” As to property tax, something is already collected. As to TOT, my thought is that a new hotel will take customers from other hotels… no way to measure that.. but it also will decrease the TOT figures. The reality of all this can only be measured in hindsight I find all the dollar figures suspect and inflated to sale one side or the other. This includes my figures.
          One other item that can’t be quantified is impact on the town and city services. These intangibles are usually a surprise.

          • Chris Scott

            Sales Taxes; The Sonoma Hotel will have food and beverage service including room and conference services. Sales and uses taxes apply to facilities and products sold on premises. Without digging but with confidence I believe restaurants are one of the if not the type of businesses generating the greatest sales tax revenue.

            We do know property taxes will rise significantly with reassessment when construction is completed.

            TOT is variable due to several factors but Sonoma’s annual occupancy rates remaining roughly constant as total rooms increase (i.e., 250-500 over 10 years) shows room demand increases roughly in parallel to supply.

            Each of these, sales tax, Property Tax, and TOT and annual occupancy rate increases are what we know by laws and or experience will take place and can/have been estimated. Your right for the actual amounts will only know after collected. I believe estimates of the impact on services (i.e., water, sewage, etc.) is a required part of the Planning Department’s evaluation of any development process. The county has specific ordinances on water and sewage capacity/use.

    • David Eichar

      Lisa, you have done what over 40 years of right wing ideologues, Fox News, and the Republican party has not been able to do; make me question my support of unions. I have been a union backer since I was a teenager. But the your arguments for opposing Measure B have convinced me that at least the NBLC is not concerned about the residents of Sonoma. You take the side of business over what is best for our town.

      • Lisa Maldonado

        David I question how deep your support actually is/was if it can so be so easily eroded. Reasonable people can disagree over issues but if someone has true principles and really cares about workers one fight over a job killing hotel limitation measure would not shake it. Just as my belief in environmental principles and urban growth boundaries is not shaken because some NIMBY’s care more about punishing a developer they don’t like than helping working people get good jobs on a good project.

        • David Eichar

          Lisa, in reflecting upon my feelings, I now see that it is
          not the unions that I am dissatisfied with, it is you. You have called people
          who disagree with you derogatory names; have used phrases that sound good on
          the surface, but don’t hold up to scrutiny; have not answered questions and
          concerns that other have about the labor agreement; and perpetuated wild
          speculative claims about what would happen if Measure B passes.

          I understand why the unions would support a hotel which has
          come to an agreement with labor, but Measure B is not just about one hotel
          project. Measure B would limit ANY new
          hotel built in Sonoma to 25 rooms or less.
          I don’t know this, but some are speculating that the only reason the
          developer wanted the union agreement was to gain backing of union workers;
          otherwise, why does the agreement not include the developers other lodging in
          Sonoma?

          You have used the following to describe people who have
          disagreed with you: “hater of unions and
          workers”, “self righteous”, “NIMBY”. You
          are representing the unions, and as such, anything you say reflects on the
          unions.

          You have used the phrase “hire local”, but “hire local” has
          been reported to be within 50 miles of the city of Sonoma. To most, “hire local” means that workers live
          in the city of Sonoma, or in close proximity such as the Springs, not in
          Vallejo or San Francisco. How many union
          workers would commute over 50 miles to work in a hotel in Sonoma? This does not seem to me to be a concession
          by the developer. When you have used the
          phrase multiple times in various posts, it brings skepticism as to your definition
          of “living wage”, “good paying jobs”, and “transient oriented”. This skepticism is one of the reasons you
          have been asked multiple times by multiple people to release a copy of the
          agreement with the developer.

          You are saying the hotel will provide “middle class”
          jobs. According to Wikipedia and economist
          and former Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich, the Middle class earn more than
          $25,000 a year. It has been reported
          that for at least the 1st two years, the wages for union employees
          would be less than this. You have not
          answered the questions and concerns about the details of the wages promised to
          the workers, nor released the agreement so that those questions can be answered.

          You have used the phrases “increases traffic” and “more junk
          jobs” to describe what would happen if Measure B passes. Yet, these are wild speculations as to what
          would happen. For example, “increases
          traffic” supposes that strip malls would be built instead of hotels. First of all, why would this be the case
          instead of a 25 room hotel being built instead of a larger hotel? A hotel over 25 rooms would increase traffic
          more than a hotel with 25 rooms or fewer.
          Also, if you look at the overall traffic in the city of Sonoma, a hotel
          would bring in more people and cars to Sonoma, while a strip mall would only
          redistribute the traffic within Sonoma.
          I don’t think many people travel from Santa Rosa, Napa, or Novato just
          to shop in the stores in Sonoma. Right
          now, the residents on the east side of Broadway, have to travel across to the
          west side of Broadway to do most of their shopping, so more retail on the east
          side of town, would actually reduce traffic crossing the Plaza. (By the way, I am not advocating for strip
          malls. I am just pointing out the flaws
          in the “increases traffic” argument.)

          You have also written the unfounded allegation, “some
          NIMBY’s care more about punishing a developer…”
          Measure B is not about punishing a developer. Measure B is not about any one person or one
          hotel project. Measure B is about the
          quality of life in Sonoma.

          “I must warn you that this lack of truth and accuracy will
          do nothing to win people over to your cause.”
          By the way, this is a direct quote from you in one of your posts. Going forward, I hope you will provide more
          truth and accuracy, as well as civility and openness, in your posts; because
          you DO represent the unions and anything you post reflects upon the unions,
          positively and negatively. I will continue
          to support unions, as union workers gains are everyone’s gains. And I hope that the hotel is built with 25
          rooms and that the agreement with the developer still stands.

          • Lisa Maldonado

            Thank you for admitting that it is your personal feelings and animosity that have colored your arguments and accusations. In a in discussing an issue where feelings are heated and strong arguments made, it’s not unusual for people to take things personally. Mr Eichar, I am a lawyer and have been trained to argue zealously and marshal the facts in support of my argument. As someone raised working class who has watched as our country slips further into a land of obscenely rich and unbearably poor I am also passionate the necessity for bringing workers and their families into the middle class. My father came from Mexico with a third grade education and spent his youth in the fields of Watsonville and Bakersfied picking crops. When he became a Laborer and then a Teamster I saw the transformation in our family from poor to working class. My mother became a teacher and joined CTA and our family got Kaiser healthcare for the first time. they were able to buy a home, pay taxes and send their kids to college because of UNION JOBS. I want other hardworking people to have the opportunities and its my JOB to make that happen. THE NBLC does not fight for every building developement. We have opposed Lowe’s , Target and we led the fight against Preservation Ranch, surfacing the issue in support of Rue Furch for 5th District Supervisor. But when we find a project like the Sonoma Downtown Hotel, which is GREEN as well as BUILT UNION and staffed union, then WE WILL SUPPORT them.

          • Bob Dobbs

            “…I am a lawyer and have been trained to argue zealously and marshal the facts in support of my argument.”

            Lisa, I’m a lawyer too, but even I had to laugh at that one.

          • Lisa Maldonado

            Bob it’s always good to meet another lawyer who wants to uplift the profession and destroy cynicism. I’m glad you got a laugh out of it, but it’s true for me and I am sorry you have so low an opinion of lawyers. I expect you don’t work much with progressive lawyers….perhaps that is a laughworthy statement about the lawyers you associate with. What area of law do you practice in ?

          • Bob Dobbs

            David, that’s a great summation of the objectionable comments posted by Maldonado.

  • Chris Scott

    Mr Edwards wrote:
    “Economists will tell you, every dollar spent at the hotel generates another four dollars in the community.”

    That is pure agricultural slag. As a hedge fund founder should well know, and as every ordinary citizen has learned from the painful lessons of the Great Recession — economists will tell you anything you want to hear. Allan Greenspan and Larry Summers come to mind. Everyone knows there is not an ounce of truth or proof to back up the 4 to 1 claim that would withstand 5 minutes of questioning from a third grader”

    Mr Edwards; au contraire, mon ami

    It’s called the Multiplier Effect. Money flow in the economy is not linear, moving in and then out of the economy. Money circulates in the economy in a continuous flow. The best analogy is a stone tossed into a clam pond; concentric rings radiate outward analogous to the way money moves through the economy.

    Begin with a symbolic dollar. A “dollar” is easy to work with for purposes of illustration. When someone spends a dollar at a hardware store, the business uses that dollar in a number of ways. To pay employee wages, buy more goods to sell, purchase services like electricity, hire a CPA and buy products for the business’ use like cleaning supplies. Next to the last part of our dollar is used to pay business taxes. And the very last of the dollar the hardware store retains as its profits.

    The hardware store employee spends their wages for groceries, a haircut and to buy other goods and services. The cycle repeats itself over and over again like the ripples on the surface of the pond. This process of our symbolic dollar being spent again and again is what’s called the Multiplier Effect of money circulating in our economy.

    Economists have developed complex mathematical models to simulate the circulation of money and goods in the overall economy. The economist’s models incorporate a number of secondary factors because not all of our symbolic dollar is returned into the economy in succeeding transactions. A business’ profits and an individual’s savings subtract from the money flowing into the next cycle. The ripples on the surface of the pond are again useful here. As the ripples radiate outward they grow larger but reduced in magnitude or intensity until each fades into the calm water.

    While economist’s economic model follows the many ripples in a diminishing returns calculations. The study or science of these models is one aspect of what’s call econometrics. Models can have 7, 8 or tens of cycles. For simple or more general purposes of discussion a multiplier of 3-5 is typically used depending on how conservative or aggressive (respectively) the discussion; obviously 4 being the middle ground.

    A dollar from one source or another, i.e., tourist, citizen, business, etc., are indistinguishable for one another. None, for general purposes of discussion, has any more or less impact or economic multiplier weight or effect than another. The significance of these transactions is that millions and millions of these dollar exchanges or cycles happen every fraction of a millisecond and is the dynamic and the fuel that drives our economy forward.

    I hope this helps give a general understanding of how money circulates in our economy. The process of how money circulates in the economy is pretty much the same whether examining the macro or micro economic activity anywhere in any economy.

    If you want more information try either Google or YouTube, “multiplier effect”

    Chris Scott

  • Chris Scott

    Mr Edwards wrote:

    “Economists will tell you, every dollar spent at the hotel generates another four dollars in the community.”

    That is pure agricultural slag. As a hedge fund founder should well know, and as every ordinary citizen has learned from the painful lessons of the Great Recession — economists will tell you anything you want to hear. Allan Greenspan and Larry Summers come to mind. Everyone knows there is not an ounce of truth or proof to back up the 4 to 1 claim that would withstand 5 minutes of questioning from a third grader”

    Mr Edwards; au contraire, mon ami

    It’s called the Multiplier Effect. Money flow in the economy is not linear, moving in and then out of the economy. Money circulates in the economy in a continuous flow. The best analogy is a stone tossed into a clam pond; concentric rings radiate outward analogous to the way money moves through the economy.

    Begin with a symbolic dollar. A “dollar” is easy to work with for purposes of illustration. When someone spends a dollar at a hardware store, the business uses that dollar in a number of ways. To pay employee wages, buy more goods to sell and purchase goods and services for the business itself. The dollar also pays business taxes provides the stores profits.

    The hardware store employee spends their wages for groceries, dry cleaning, etc. Those businesses use the dollars they receive in the same way to pay wages, purchase products for sale, etc. The repeating cycle of the dollar spent once then again (twice), etc. is what’s called the Multiplier Effect of how money circulates in our economy.

    One hundred percent of the dollars in each cycle does not pass through to the next, for example, businesses retain profits and individual are assumed some portion. This is call diminishing returns as each next amount is less than the previous.

    An economist’s mathematical models examine the flow of money within a given set of conditions to determine the multiplier that can then be applied to similar real scenarios or used as a oversimplification to paint a broad brush picture. For simple for general purposes of discussion a multiplier of 3-5 is typically used depending on how conservative or aggressive (respectively) the discussion; obviously 4 being the middle ground. Any dollar spent is considered economic activity. That activity stimulates additional spending therefore additional economic activity.

    A dollar from one source or another, i.e., tourist, citizen, business, etc., are indistinguishable for one another. None, for general purposes of discussion, has any more or less impact or economic multiplier weight or effect than another. The significance of the multiplier effect is the cumulative effect of dollars being spent. Millions and millions of these individual dollar exchanges or cycles happen every fraction of a millisecond and it is the dynamic and the fuel that drives our economy forward.

    The process of how money circulates in the economy is pretty much the same whether examining the macro or micro economic activity anywhere in any economy.

    Effects of Measure B:
    If money does not enter the economy then there economic activity will be depressed. Measure B will BAN Hotels or the expansion of existing hotels in Sonoma. This will stop the growth in Tourist Occupancy Tax (TOT) revenue, as well as sales tax revenue which combined represent approx. 45% of the city’s budget. This means in the future Sonoma will be deprived of vital income needed to pay for road repairs, traffic and pedestrian mitigation, community service, improvements to schools – which have recently have fallen short of state standards.

    Measure B BAN Hotels in Sonoma.

    VOTE NO on Measure B.

    Thank you for your support. Chris Scott

  • Scotty Bot

    I have lived here for all of my life, and honestly, tourism has done nothing but raise the cost of living for us locals, increase the amount of drunk drivers, and basically ruin what use to be a quiet little town. I say we have more than enough hotels locally and adding more will not help our already tourism addicted economy. How about we evict more old Sonoma locals and turn their homes into quaint B&B’s?? That sounds just SWELL…

    • Mike Stephens

      Sounds good to me! The so called locals you are referring to probably do their shopping in Santa Rosa and don’t help to contribute making Sonoma a nice place to live for all. No one is forcing the “locals” to sell their real estate and if they are so concerned then she should sell to those that won’t change their property. The yes on Measure B crowd have a flawed argument and is extremely self serving. I hope justice prevails and Measure B fails miserably.

      • Guest

        I think you are confusing “locals” with local business hired low cost outside employment. And yes they do shop in Santa Rosa because they also live in Santa Rosa, shop in Santa Rosa, and work in Sonoma because they can’t afford to live in Sonoma, and there are more people than there are jobs in Santa Rosa.

      • Scotty Bot

        I think you are confusing “locals” with local-business-hired employees who work at low hourly pay from outside of Sonoma.

        And yes they do shop in Santa Rosa not contributing to the local economy because they also live in Santa Rosa, and work in Sonoma because they can’t afford to live in Sonoma, also because there are more humans there than there are jobs in Santa Rosa, so old locals who need fair local wages to pay things like rent or their mortgage, can’t actually afford work locally because their cost of living is greater than what local businesses pay people commuting from out of town.

  • Teri Shore

    So a hedge fund CEO and securities vet is talking about “robbing us.” Which “us” is he talking about? Seems to me that the “robbing” is clearly in the other direction. In any case, I guess the 1 percent don’t feel they have enough money. To those against Measure B, Sonoma is just another “undervalued” piece of property to monetize.

    Of course, Measure B to keep the town’s hotel’s small and the big hotels away is not about money at all. It is about preserving and protecting Sonoma’s small-town character for the long-term, which is priceless!

    • Mike Stephens

      It is priceless! Measure B is a severely flawed measure. Perhaps the 99% would rather see affordable house or another 7 Eleven.. Perhaps a Starbucks Mega Store? Enough of the 1% comments. Without the 1% investing in towns like Sonoma our economy would suffer and water and property tax rates will eventually go up. Do you really think the 1% want to see Sonoma ruined? For all those that think this small hotel would not add to the charm of the town obviously haven’t looked at the plans or you lack taste. Look around and see the tasteless buildings that have been constructed in the last 20 years. It is not historic Sonoma and it is all supported by huge companies. The person behind this hotel lives in Sonoma and people willing to pay $500 a night or more for a hotel are going to want Sonoma to remain charming and not full of Peets Coffee, Starbucks, CVS, Staples, Safeway, Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream.

      • Teri Shore

        You may have forgotten that the City of Sonoma passed an oridance this year that prevents chain stores from opening a store within the Plaza area; unless the City Council makes an exception, like with Peet’s. Which at least we can afford to frequent!

        • Mike Stephens

          Bad decisions are made regardless. A hotel versus an apartment building or some other tacky development. I take the Hotel all day long. Put some thought into this instead of reacting. I am certainly not in the 1% group, but unless they were planning on building a prison, tacky apartments, more chain stores then I would be very concerned. This person lives, invests, donates to Sonoma. I don’t understand if people are jealous or just like to bring those down that try to do good.

      • David Eichar

        How about a 25 room hotel instead of a 59 room hotel? Or how about something the residents of Sonoma could use, such as a community theatre (the one at the Community Center is bad, even after the upgrade), or an art center.

        And for the corner of MacArthur and Broadway, a community swimming pool or a small park.

        The person behind the hotel does not live in Sonoma, he live outside of Kenwood and Kenwood Investments is based in San Francisco.

        And please be specific about the flaws in Measure B.

        • Mike Stephens

          You crack me up buddy. Do you really think Sonoma can afford building a new community center, pool etc. This will a) either be funded by extra TOT tax to improve Sonoma. This means VOTE NO on MEASURE B!! or have someone from the 1% donate! Mr. Anderson does live in Sonoma, not Kenwood! The flaws in Measure B don’t allow expansion of exisiting small hotels and limits any future development. I am not for rampant development, but allowing projects that fit with the architecture of historic sonoma, add style and interest and aren’t too big should be allowed. This project is not too big and it will bring in money to town to fund a potential art center, pool etc. A pool certainly doesn’t need to be on Broadway and Macarthur. There are other spots with less pricey real estate to do this. If the city of Sonoma puts yet another tacky business or building on this property they are doing an injustice to all!

        • Chris Scott

          Great ideas and popular too. But without significant incremental increases in city revenue that can only come from development there will not be city money to pay for them. It’s like breathing.

          Specific Measure B Flaws? Too many and not enough time or space to list. Read past posted comments.

          VOTE NO on Measure B.

  • Jay Tierney

    I think measure B is a flawed proposal, but I also think those leading the charge against it are completely full of s***. It’s so insulting it almost makes me want to vote for the measure.

    • Mike Stephens

      How are they full of s***? Even if you think this, voting Yes on B will have far more negative impacts and consequence for Sonoma. Please get more informed and vote accordingly, but what is really at stake here is 1 59 room hotel. I would not deny this, but hopefully everyone will be more involved with the design and implementation of any future development. It certainly seems this developer has had to make significant changes and spent time allowing comments and discussion. This certainly doesn’t happen in other parts of the country.

  • Mike Stephens

    The so called locals Scotty Bot is referring to probably do their shopping in Santa Rosa and don’t help to contribute making Sonoma a nice place to live for all. No one is forcing the “locals” to sell their real estate and if they are so concerned then she should sell to those that won’t change their property. The yes on Measure B crowd have a flawed argument and is extremely self serving. I hope justice prevails and Measure B fails miserably. The long list of supporters for No on Measure B are generous members of this community that give both their time and resources to help make Sonoma a better community.

  • Michael Anthony Donegan

    Another Hotel? Maybe another Hotel Vehicle racing through our Streets, Ignoring the Kids in our Cross Walks or the Speed Limits that protect our Local Residents. Building another Hotel downtown for what reason? What makes anyone think that this is for the good of the Community? The vote is only for those who live in the City Limits but what about those of us, just outside the City of Sonoma Limits who have to deal with the Drunks and Speeders? I can’t count the amount of times I have called the police because the Lodge or Mission Inn’s Drivers have blown through the Stop Signs on our Streets? The Clean up of Festivities that as Local Residents we can’t afford. Before this Hotel is ever considered maybe the City of Sonoma should take a real look at it’s Community and how the Development Laws are not being followed for all of Sonoma’s Residents.