Measure B fails

Sarah Anderson beams while her husband, Darius Anderson, talks with a supporter after the results of Measure B were flashed on the screen. Robbi Pengelly/Index-Tribune

Sarah Anderson beams while her husband, Darius Anderson, talks with a supporter after the results of Measure B were flashed on the screen. Robbi Pengelly/Index-Tribune

By David Bolling and Bill Hoban/Index-Tribune

A cheer erupted at the “No on Measure B” party about 10:40 p.m. as long-awaited results were posted Tuesday. Measure B, the Hotel Limitation Initiative, was defeated by 92 votes.

The final tally from the Sonoma County Registrar of Voters was 1,761 “Yes” to 1,853 “No” votes.

The “No on B” people were anxiously awaiting the results, while the “Yes on B” party broke up before 10 p.m. when it was announced that the votes leaving Sonoma had been delayed.

Larry Barnett, the force behind the initiative, left the party in Murphy’s Snug room at about 9:50 p.m., and most of the dozen or so supporters who were still there headed for the door shortly thereafter.

Barnett, who has been through more than a few elections, was looking at the early results of the mail-in ballots that gave the “No” side a 115-vote lead. Barnett said he anticipated about 4,000 votes would be cast and said that the “yes” side would have to pick up six-out-of-10 votes to have a chance.

Only 736 voters went to the polls on Tuesday, while 2,887 mail-in ballots were cast for a total of 3,623 votes – or 56 percent of the registered voters in the city of Sonoma.

At Della Santina Enoteca, about 50 supporters of “No on B” waited until the results were posted at about 10:40 p.m..

Darius Anderson, who has proposed building a 59-room hotel in the 100 block of West Spain Street, spoke to his supporters after the vote flashed on the TV screen.

“The one thing that needs to come out of this vote today,” he said, amid cheers from supporters opposed to the Hotel Limitation Measure, “is a united  Sonoma.”

Anderson called for a collaborative effort, uniting supporters and opponents of Measure B, to explore and review a new version of his West Napa Street hotel project that would meet the approval of the city’s regulatory commissions and the public at large.

Hotel architect Michael Ross indicated that a redesign of the original project would be presented to the public and the planning commission that would reflect public concerns about the scope and the scale of the original proposal.

The Hotel Limitation Measure proposed to limit all new hotel projects, as well as existing hotels, to a maximum of 25 rooms until the annual occupancy rate of all rental rooms in Sonoma reached 80 percent.

Supporters of the measure warned of an impending influx of “large” hotel projects, including proposals for hostelries at the former Sonoma Truck and Auto site on Broadway, and the Anderson project, proposed for the parking lot and building of the Sonoma Index-Tribune on West Napa Street.

Opponents of Measure B countered that Sonoma has few building sites for future hotels, that 59-room projects did not constitute “large” hotels, and that the proposed project on West Napa Street would contribute significantly to the city’s tax revenues, making up for the loss of former redevelopment funds.

Wednesday morning Barnett said,  “I’m disappointed, of course. But the voters have spoken and that was the whole point. Our campaign changed the conversation in Sonoma about growth
and tourism, and though Measure B did not win, we’re proud of having run an honest campaign that respected the intelligence and wisdom of the voters in Sonoma.”



  • shel10

    The insanity of the measure is defeated by the sanity of the voters.

  • Robert Demler

    Good news for the future progress of Sonoma.

  • Karen Adams

    Excellent news for Sonoma!

    • lifeislife789

      I agree.

  • M. LeValley

    Isn’t it amazing what having money can do? So glad we moved out of Sonoma before this happened.

    • Qdebra7

      Yes! Amazing to see that even in small towns elections can be purchased by big money campaigns that mislead the voters!!!

      • Chris Scott

        Could it be the initiative itself was the problem and why it was defeated?

        • Qdebra7

          Considering that the group that opposed it spent 10 times the money promoting mis-leading ads – even naming themselves “Protect Sonoma” since the organizing group was called “Preserve Sonoma” – just efforts to confuse the masses and mislead people into voting their direction without a full understanding of the implications.

          • Chris Scott

            Sometimes the defeat of a ballot initiative is for the reasons you state. Sometimes supporters of defeated ballot initiatives feel they are the victims of voters. Sometimes an initiative itself, as drafted, is responsible for its defeat. Sometimes those behind an initiative have to accept responsibility for defeat. I believe 80% of Measure B’s defeat lies somewhere in this list..

            Always the beverage much more difficult to drink than defeat is responsibility for defeat.

    • Chris Scott

      Glad you haven’t forgotten to write.

      • M. LeValley

        Since you’ve chosen to reply to each person who’s disgusted that the initiative passed, it’s obvious who’s pocket you are in!

        • Chris Scott

          I sorry you feel that way. I hope you get the chance to return or at least visit Sonoma now and then. You obviously care a lot about the town as I think we all do.

  • Teri Shore

    It is disappointing but not surprising given that a big town professional lobbyist came to town, bought up all the media, not to mention several tourist venues and lined a number of pockets before proposing the hotel. We were outgunned by a pro with a long-term strategy to make the town of Sonoma his personal playground and profit center. The Yes on B was an all volunteer grassroots effort, but we had great hopes to win since often times we do win over the big bucks–and will again.

    • Chris Scott

      Could it be be the initiative itself was the problem and why it was defeated?

  • Mike Stephens

    Congratulations Sonoma! You did the right thing by voting No on Measure B! Now for some quality and thougtful projects with great architecture to add to the historic buildings in town. This is a positive changing point for Sonoma!

  • Tomas Boyko

    Adieu to what’s barely left of what made Sonoma the special place it was. The size of a postage stamp, with limited hwy and road access, we already suffer from gridlock and over development of questionable size, quality and design. Darius Anderson and our back peddling mayor make a lovely couple.

  • Phineas Worthington

    One of the great tragedies for everyone is that the approval process has become so time consuming, burdensome, and expensive that only a man as wealthy as Mr. Anderson can navigate it with any semblance of ease.