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Pacaso: You can’t unring a warning bell

Bottom line: Absent governance by Napa and Sonoma officials, “Tourism’s Faustian Deal” will continue to devour our small-town charm and the social fabric of rural communities; degrading the rural character and unique beauty that drew people here in the first place.

Then, the cycle will start again at the next new, “hot destination”; because once authentic character is lost, tourists move on.

File photo

RUE FURCH
November 9, 2021, 9:07AM
Sonoma County Gazzette

The latest assault on the social fabric of our rural neighborhoods has arrived. The Pacaso LLC business model sells a “fractional ownership” to eight parties, providing access to a rural mansion multiple times a year. There is no limit on the number of people occupying the timeshare and the model skirts the obligation to pay Transient Occupancy Tax. Pacaso’s “party pads” are now found in Santa Rosa, Dry Creek Valley and Napa County, with more timeshare sales underway.

Pacaso is just the latest destructive element in “Tourism’s Faustian Deal” – the term coined at a 2015 NapaVision2050 Conference, where tourism and economic experts presented compelling data about Napa’s tourist-based economy and its unintended consequences both to communities and public trust resources.

Organizations have formed across Sonoma County including in Sonoma Valley (StopPacasoNow) and Dry Creek Valley (S.C.A.T. – Sonoma County Against Timeshares). Preserve Rural Sonoma County presented data to Sonoma’s decision makers demonstrating that the “Arm’s Race” for winery use permits was resulting in destructive competition, and that the inevitable economic course correction would result in harm to our signature small, family wineries.

Despite subsequent disruption from fire, flood and drought, Napa and Sonoma officials ignored expert advice and gave in to the lure of “Tourism’s Faustian Deal” – seemingly ignoring tourism’s external costs. The 2020-21 pandemic brought the economic realities home to tourist-oriented businesses.

Meanwhile, cities continued permitting hotel rooms and large-scale restaurants, while County officials opened ag and forest lands to accessory dwelling units, with no restrictions limiting their use as vacation rentals. New residents are building massive water and energy-intensive structures for use a few weeks each year, or for the short-term rental market.

The 5 Stages of “Tourism’s Faustian Deal” are summarized below. Which stage is your community experiencing – is your neighborhood at a crossroads or has it passed the point of no return?

The 5 Stages of “Tourism’s Faustian Deal”

Stage 1: Tourism is supplemental and supportive to an existing economic base.

Stage 2: The local economy increases its reliance on tourist dollars and tourism is perceived by local governments and businesses as essential. Low paying jobs proliferate.

Stage 3: Dislocation of the local population begins: The influx of outsider investor wealth predominates, leading to a gradual tearing of the community’s social fabric.

Long-time residents move out and part-time owners buy in, yet rarely actually move in. Vacation rentals and now timeshares are owned by people who don’t vote in Sonoma County. Neighbors no longer know each other – or even have contact information for their absent neighbor.

The wealthy thrive, while local housing becomes increasingly unavailable for low-wage workers, with worker commute traffic adding to congestion. Tourism becomes increasing “unwelcome” by residents as traffic jams, parking hassles and road safety problems become daily occurrences.

Meanwhile, politically persuasive “tourism-value extraction entities” convince municipalities not to impose mitigation fees on the businesses benefiting from tourism – placing the costs directly on taxpayers.

Stage 4: By this stage, tourism’s deficit economy becomes evident in the wear and tear on our community resources and infrastructure, with public safety services requiring ever increasing funds for further expansion. Local governments must impose additional taxes on residents to pay for the maintenance of roads, expanded water and sewer systems, and to provide fire and police services.

Stage 5: Now, the Faustian deal is complete as local governments negotiate themselves into a corner of unfettered capitalism. Privatized benefits are yoked to socialized costs, with fiscal burdens extending decades into the future.

Faced with the vicious cycle of approving even more large-scale projects by out of state developers, government officials propose a false pretext that “we need Transient Occupancy Tax to pay the bills,” while taking little action to address the external costs associated with second homes, un-permitted vacation rentals or timeshares.

Decades of case studies reveal that a municipality will never catch up – the infrastructure erodes, costs to residents’ skyrocket while the quality of the community experience declines. Vacation destinations that were once-thriving communities are left with sub-standard public services and their social capital in tatters.

Bottom line: Absent governance by Napa and Sonoma officials, “Tourism’s Faustian Deal” will continue to devour our small-town charm and the social fabric of rural communities; degrading the rural character and unique beauty that drew people here in the first place.

Then, the cycle will start again at the next new, “hot destination”; because once authentic character is lost, tourists move on.

Your Sonoma County Board of Supervisors – F#cking up Sonoma for 50+ years

Remember when they wanted to put a nuclear power plant on Bodega Head?
Or, more recently, when they decided that Sonoma County should be the new pot growing and producing mecca, even though Marin and Napa counties had banned it?

How Bodega Head almost ended up with a nuclear power plant

Nuclear plant site at Bodega Head (Tom Austin photo)

Nuclear plant site at Bodega Head (Tom Austin photo)

Nextdoor

TOM AUSTIN
November 8, 2021, 8:36AM

Bodega Bay, and nearby Bodega, have deeper histories than most Sonoma County towns. Being a pristine, protected natural harbor will do that for you. Bodega Bay was nearly the landing spot for Sir Francis Drake, although recent finds have pretty conclusively held that Drake’s Bay in nearby Pt. Reyes is properly named. Bodega Bay was named after Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra, an explorer for the Spanish Navy –except where HE landed was nearby Tomales Bay. And of course both seaside hamlets are famous for being the locale for the classic Hitchcock thriller “The Birds.”

However, the most significant happening in Bodega Bay is of much more modern vintage. In 1958, four full years before Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” ignited the modern environmental movement, PG&E was planning the world’s first commercially viable nuclear power plant. In an absolutely characteristic example of Big Power’s public instincts, they had chosen scenic Bodega Head as the location for this Atomic Age wonder. “What could go wrong?” they chirped. “Nuclear power is clean, safe and limitless!”

Of course, it wasn’t just scenic wonder at stake here. Bodega Head, as most people know, is within spitting distance of the San Andreas Fault (running along the shoreward side of the bay), and even closer to two smaller faults straddling Bodega Head itself.

The full story of the fight over the Bodega Head nuclear plant would be book-length, so please pardon my brevity here. The cast of characters are timeless: on the “pro” side: PG&E itself, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, and nuclear advocates across political spectra (at the time, nuclear was considered by many environmentalists to be less damaging than, for example, hydroelectric power from dams). On the “con” side was the whole spectrum: The Sierra Club (or at least factions within it) was concerned about the loss of a wild and scenic place: the local ranchers and fishermen were concerned about the dangers to their livelihood; the nascent New Left that started gaining steam in the early ‘60s were concerned about the antidemocratic nature of the pro-business, pro-development organizations pushing for the plant.

The fight was long, protracted and dirty. From 1958 to 1962, as opposition was just coalescing, PG&E continued planning and started building, getting a series of approvals and permits from apparently compliant state and local governments. The building for the main reactor, located on the harbor side of the Head, included a 70-foot-deep circular pit. As construction continued, the opponents were educating far and wide about the dangers of nuclear power, the earthquake danger, the thermal effects on local fisheries and more. In 1962, “Silent Spring” was published, and the environmental movement grew ever faster: musicians were performing at benefits and writing anti-nuclear songs. However, it was the earthquake danger that eventually served as the deal-breaker: UC Berkeley Conservation Editor David Pesonen, one of the leaders of the opposition, hired Geologist Pierre Saint-Amand to consult on the suitability of the proposed plant site. Saint-Amand found a “spectacular” earthquake fault slicing directly through the deep pit. His testimony that “a worse foundation condition… would be difficult to envision.” His argument was the tipping point, as political supporters started peeling away from PG&E, who at length threw in the towel and suspended construction in October 1963.

What remains at the site today is a quiet spot favored by songbirds. Rainwater filled the pit and turned it into a pond. The rest, you know: when you spot whales at the Head, or walk the trails nearby. If you venture a little bit north, you find the Kortum trail, named after local environmentalist Bill Kortum (1927-2014), one of many citizen leaders of the fight. The reverberations are still being felt today.

https://www.sonomacountygazette.com/sonoma-county-news/how-bodega-head-almost-ended-up-with-a-nuclear-power-plant/?ref=recent

Please help us stop the Redistricting Train Wreck!

Redistricting Train Wreck  
The redistricting proposal now before the Board of Supervisors to rearrange the boundaries of the 5th District will have extremely negative consequences on the heart and soul of the West County.  The proposal is to move about 50,000 people from District 5 to District 3 and to replace this number of people with the entire City of Rohnert Park, which would then be the controlling population of the 5th District. UNDERSTAND THAT THIS WOULD MEAN, AT THE LEAST, THE NEXT 5TH DISTRICT SUPERVISOR WOULD UNDOUBTEDLY CHOSEN BY THE RESIDENTS OF ROHNERT PARK AND URBAN VLAUES WOULD BEGIN TO RULE WEST COUNTY.
 
You may ask yourself “ WHAT DOES ROHNERT PARK HAVE IN COMMON WITH WEST SONOMA COUNTY?’ Well, the Rohnert Park City Council provided the answer a few days ago when it learned of this proposal.  Rohnert Park was so surprised and shocked and the idea the City Council issued a Nixel emergency alert warning residents of Rohnert Park of this pending disaster stating “Do you identify Rohnert Park with Bodega Bay, Timber Cove, or Fort Ross?The alert linked to a letter from the Mayor of Rohnert Park to the Board of Supes which stated in part “Rohnert Park has no relationship with the coastal, river or forest communities of District 5.’
 
We have fought hard to prevent the coast from being split between two districts, now we must fight just as hard to prevent the coast from being controlled by a political minority living in Rohnert Park, which boldly and accurately that it has little to do with the coast or rural west county!
 
For many decades the neighborhoods of Roseland, Bellevue, Wright and Moorland have been included in the 5th District.  Southwest Santa Rosa is a treasured part of the 5th District.  If this area is to be moved to another Supervisorial District, then the replacement population must reflect the ‘community of interest’ concerns and values respectful of and supportive of rural character. Otherwise, our treasured small towns and villages, the river and the coast will get lost in the shuffle and become the local government equivalent of the “Fly over states”.
 
The rural character of towns all over unincorporated West County must be protected. Let the Supervisors know we do not want to be a party to a
‘forced marriage’ with Rohnert Park that also opposes the relationship.
 
Please email the Board of Supervisors
susan.gorin@sonoma-county.org
david.rabbitt@sonoma-county.org
chris.coursey@sonoma-county.org
james.gore@sonoma-county.org
lynda.hopkins@sonoma-county.org  
 
 And, cc: the Advisory Redistricting Commission
redistricting2021@sonoma-county.org 
with this simple message:

Subject: Redistricting 

KEEP THE CURRENT DISTRICT MAP AS IT EXISTS!
 DO NOT PUT THE CITY OF ROHNERT PARK IN DISTRICT 5! 
LEAVE THE DISTRICTS AS THEY CURRENTLY EXIST AND
DON’T FIX WHAT AIN’T BROKE!
 
Thank you! Help us spread the word! Please share this with your mailing list or community!
 
  Facebook Website Email   We are a 100% volunteer organization. Please consider making a donation to help us advance our mission. Donations can be made by sending your tax deductible checks made out to Sonoma County Tomorrow (our fiscal sponsor), c/o PRSC, P. O. Box 983, Sebastopol, Ca. 95473. Or donating online via Paypal 

Visit our website or like us on Facebook

Cannabis Lobby Revisions to Ordinance Released for Review

Sonoma County Board of Supervisors releases proposal to remove restrictions on marijuana. Epic wholesale capitulation to cannabis lobby and out of area speculators. Complete abandonment of protections for rural neighborhoods. Has a government body ever so blatantly reversed it’s own proscriptions set in place to protect the interests of it’s own electorate?Watch this video:http://www.sosneighborhoods.com/video-bos-words-speak-of…/

Then read the ordinance changes. Then ask yourself: What happened?http://www.sosneighborhoods.com/sonoma-county-release…/

Rohnert Park leaders to concerned citizens – The time to complain was 10 years ago when we snuck this project in under the radar.

The pattern of these horrendous Rohnert Park developments is well established. Get them passed with minimal public notification then when people find out about it, years later, tell them “but you should have objected 10 years ago when this project was in review”.

Why do other towns not have this problem of residents finding out after the fact that huge swaths of the town are going under dozer to create even more high density cookie cutter ghettos of tomorrow?

Why are other towns not mandated by law to build, build, build.

This type of development should be in the downtown area, not way out east. Residents of Penngrove, this traffic will be on you.

Councilwoman Pam Stafford said:

“I’m sorry people feel that way, but, as they heard tonight, this project has been in place for 15 years. We’re just changing the plan slightly, and, personally, I’m happy to see the commercial isn’t going to be as big as it was planned,” Stafford said last week. “We have to build housing in our communities. We are mandated by law to build. So I have no issues.”

Added City Manager Darrin Jenkins: “The time to kind of decide whether and what this property would be used for was 10 years ago. If those changes aren’t approved, then they have permission to build a much, much larger project, with much greater traffic impacts.”

Rohnert Park revises decade-old SOMO Village development plan (pressdemocrat.com)

URGENT ALERT: Help Defend Community Separators! Act by July 6

Urgent Eco Alert for Sonoma County
We are sharing this urgent message from one of our environmental allies and hope you will take action as this could be a dangerous precedent setting project for our County.
  URGENT ALERT: Help Defend Community Separators!

A DEVELOPER IS PROPOSING A LUXURY RESORT AND EVENT CENTER IN A VOTER-PROTECTED GREENBELT!  

The “Solstice” is a proposed new luxury resort and major event center in a Community Separator between Santa Rosa and Windsor at 3890 Old Redwood Highway. 
 


This is, essentially, a 24-room hotel and major event center (100 events per year, 10,000 people). Approval of the project would set a dangerous precedent for allowing intense hospitality development, including third-party rentals for weddings, on Resources and Rural Development (RRD) land. Such an expansive interpretation of RRD zoning would be especially egregious in a Community Separator and should be rejected. Please tell the County that you object to this intense, inappropriate development. 
 
DEADLINE July 6 for Public Comment; Public Hearing July 9. 
 
DETAILS are in SCCA’s comment letter, linked here .
 
Additional comments: The project violates MEASURE K. In 2016, voters passed the measure by 81%, voting to protect community separator greenbelts, the rural lands between our towns and cities, from more sprawl and intensified development. Now unelected county planners are ready to compromise our open space legacy for the benefit of one luxury developer.   Project approval would induce more hospitality centers outside urban areas. Thousands of rural RRD parcels are at risk.    NOT NOW! We face the COVID crisis, a dangerous wildfire season, economic uncertainly and political unrest when most voters are not able to participate in the public process. Just one Zoom meeting! Don’t move forward now on a totally non-essential luxury resort and event center in the protected greenbelt.    The project is the middle of the Tubb’s burn zone and will put more people and property at wildfire risk.  TAKE ACTION!  Thursday, July 9 Make your voice heard at the Public Hearing, Board of Zoning Adjustments, 1 pm via Zoom. Agenda will be posted here DRAFT A LETTER!  Dear Sonoma County Supervisors, BZA Commissioners and Permit Sonoma,
Please vote to deny or delay any action on the proposed luxury resort and event center at “Sonoma Solstice” in a community separator protected with 81 percent of the vote. 
 
Sincerely Yours,
 
Name, Title, Organization

  SEND BY July 6, 2020 TO: Board of Zoning Adjustments

Todd Tamura, Chair – District 2 – Todd.Tamura@gmail.com
Richard Fogg, District 1 – sonomafogg@aol.com
John Lowry, District 5 – JohnLowryCA@gmail.com
Cameron Mauritson – District 4 (the project is in District 4)- cameron@mauritsonfarms.com
Paula Cook – District 3 – pcook@ch-sc.org
Permit Sonoma Deputy Director Scott Orr scott.orr@sonoma-county.org
Planner Tricia Stevens  tstevens@migcom.com
Permit Sonoma permitsonoma@sonomacounty.org
CC Supervisor James Gore James Gore District4@sonoma-county.org
CC:  Matt Callaway matt@conservationaction.org 

  Our community benefits when we act together as citizens with a common goal to protect this amazing county. Forward To A Friend Through education and grassroots organizing, Conservation Action engages with the public on environmental issues and policies that affect Sonoma County, influencing the way our area will be shaped for years to come.

The price of living in paradise is continuous vigilant defense.

Sonoma Coast in the cross hairs.

The forces who would sacrifice our heritage for commercial gain are insidious. Please write to the BOS regarding the concerns below.

Timely, excellent letter to the PD today!
Coastal Plan Hearings

EDITOR: Thanks for covering the creation of the local coastal plan update, which was created behind closed doors at the county (“Hearings set to revise Sonoma coastal plan,” Thursday).

At the recent public meeting, Permit Sonoma’s planner acknowledged that numerous coastal and nonprofit stakeholders were never consulted about the plan. Thus, the department missed the opportunity for expert input from other knowledgeable sources.

Most worrisome, the new draft frequently uses loophole phraseology — “principally permitted use” — that allows ultimate discretion of the planners about what permits might be issued and what level of review is required. This language embeds a permanent opening for the planning department to do whatever it wants or is pressured to do by development interests. This is unacceptable.

All of us should be alarmed that the current concept of a principally permitted use, as specified on Permit Sonoma’s website, says that zoning designations won’t be appealable to the California Coastal Commission once approved at the county level. So the public will have no appeal to higher authorities.

This flawed document needs to go back to the drawing board with the goal of protection rather than development.

Public input is needed now. The county is hosting public workshops, and your voice is needed to protect our coast.
Please see Localcoastalplan.org for upcoming dates and places.

Reuben Weinzveg Treasurer, Preserve Rural Sonoma County

Warning: County is accelerating Coastal Plan Update

Please read the following and take actions to slow down the Sonoma County Local Coastal Plan Update.

“Know the coast as the geographic soul of California. You can’t take our relationship with the [California] coast for granted because it took a lot of sweat, blood and tears to preserve it so we have what we have today. These things didn’t just happen. The coast is what it is because of a lot of people worked really hard and sacrificed to protect it. And if we want it to be there for our children, we have to keep fighting to protect it. In that way, the coast is never saved, it’s always being saved.” Peter Douglas, past Executive Director, California Coastal Commission.

It’s a long document that will have effects for years to come. So far we have found that the endangered species areas have been drastically cut, and threatened and potentially endangered species have been removed. This will allow for development and commercialization of the coast.

Please take action. The public needs time to review.

Local Coastal Plan Update 

It has been over 4 years since the release of the ‘Preliminary Draft Local Coastal Plan (2015)”. Due to the massive public response raised in public comment and during LCP workshops Permit Sonoma (PRMD) pulled the Preliminary Draft LCP. On September 26, 2019 PRMD posted the current 2019 Local Coastal Plan (LCP) Update. It is substantially revised and merits rounds of public workshops similar to last go around (there were 7 in 2015) and opportunity for the public to review this massive and critical land use document to provide meaningful comment. The timeline proposed for public comment prior to the revised draft being heard before the Planning Commission has not been clearly defined. The suggested timeline is not sufficient. It is important that adequate time be provided to ensure “meaningful public participation” which is mandated in the Coastal Act.

The LCP is a large document and a critical one for the Sonoma Coast as it is THE document that controls all future development for 55 miles of the Sonoma Coastal Zone and ensures equitable public access to the coast and protection of critical coastal resources (including environmentally sensitive habitat areas). It is the controlling document for the Coast going forward and we will have to live with/by this document for the foreseeable future.

We deserve to be allotted the time and the public participation process commensurate with the document’s critical importance to the future of the Coast.

Please get involved — protection of the California and Sonoma Coast is our legacy. It was the citizens of Sonoma County who fought for these protections and ensured passage of the Coastal Act. Let’s make sure that the legacy of coastal preservation continues.

Get Involved – Please Take the Following 6 Initial Steps: 

1.      Take the PRMD LCP Survey https://lcpupdate.metroquest.com/ to request that workshops and written comment period is provided for. Get on the mailing list for LCP updates such as schedule of workshops or hearings by going to https://sonomacounty.ca.gov/PRMD/Long-Range-Plans/Local-Coastal-Program/Proposed/ and in the right column there is a “Follow Us” link where you can submit your email address

2.      Email   PRMD-LCP-Update@sonoma-county.org   cc Lynda Hopkins: Lynda.Hopkins@sonoma-county.org    and   Coastal Commission Stephanie Rexing: stephanie.rexing@coastal.ca.gov   Begin by stating why protection of the Sonoma Coast matters to you and then request that there be meaningful public participation in the LCP update process as required by the Coastal Act by ensuring that:

§  Adequate time is provided to the public to review the Updated Local Coastal Plan prior to public workshops are scheduled (minimum of 4 weeks from date of release – September 26th, 2019)

§  That the County schedule a minimum of 5 public workshops – 3 on Coast in Bodega Bay, Timber Cove, & Sea Ranch and 2 inland

§  That the County make printed copies of the Updated LCP available to check out from all coastal post offices and Sonoma County Libraries as well as reasonably priced printed copies for purchase from PRMD.

§  That the County form an Advisory Committee to the Coastal MAC made up of a variety of citizens from thoroughout the County who have expertise in land use, ocean policy, conservation, affordable housing, fire safety, and water quality. (For the original draft of our Local Coastal Plan there were at least 5 Technical Advisory Committees formed each made up of 8-12 citizens with expertise in the above listed areas. No such committees have been formed for this current updated LCP)

3.      Begin by reading the “Introduction to the LCP” (26 pages). You can either download the entire document as a PDF by linking to the “Public Review Draft Local Coastal Plan – All Sections & Appendices” or open and download it section by section here:

https://sonomacounty.ca.gov/PRMD/Long-Range-Plans/Local-Coastal-Program/Public-Review-Draft/#separateSections

Reading the introduction will help you understand the history and background plus explain the purpose and content of each section or “element”. The introduction also has a chart which shows where existing LCP chapters and policies have been moved to in this new draft.

4.      Next-Read the Introduction to each Element by opening that link. These are usually just 1-2 paragraphs and explain the purpose of that element.

5.      Check out the “Policy Comparison Tables” at the bottom of the Update page https://sonomacounty.ca.gov/PRMD/Long-Range-Plans/Local-Coastal-Program/Public-Review-Draft/ which identify the policies that have been either “Removed, Replaced, or Revised” for each section.

6.      Decide which element you have the most background or experience with and start reading and comparing…take notes and share your concerns.

We can do this!

RP Council to Discuss new Northeast Development at meeting on Tuesday 9/10/19

Say hello to 14340 new road trips per day feeding Petaluma Hill Road and other arteries.

Rohnert Park City Council to act on proposed changes to allow more units and less buffer to Snyder Lane and to G Section and move forward with development of their signature sardine can development model over a beautiful oak meadow along a scenic corridor.

4 packs, Small lot homes, Zero lot lines, Apartments, Townhouses…
Rohnert Park’s tagline should be “Building the ghettos of tomorrow, today”.

If you have had enough with the traffic and congestion and are fed up with corrupt officials trying to bring the South Bay to the North Bay – show up and get your opposition on the record. Make sure to include water, traffic, scenic corridors, CEQA, Tiger Salamanders, Aquifer…

Why is it always about packing in more units, reducing parks, reducing buffers and reducing separation between homes in Rohnert Park?

Here is the agenda:
https://legistarweb-production.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/attachment/pdf/423677/7A_NESP.pdf

Staff recommends that the City Council specifically discuss and provide recommendations regarding the following project components:
• A request for increased maximum density within the Specific Plan Area from 1,085 units to 1,434 units.
• A reduced buffer width along Snyder Lane from 200 foot wide buffer to 32 foot wide buffer.
• A reduction of the buffer between G Section and the project from 100 foot wide buffer to the minimum width necessary to achieve a visual corridor.
• Modify the park and open space configurations in the general plan which provides for an 8 acre park and linear trails to a proposed 5.8 acre park with three smaller parks (for a total of 10.8 acres of active parks) and linear trails.

Rohnert Park already has 4 major development projects in the pipeline with 5000 units in the works. Time for a moratorium and let’s see how those play out before we add any more.

Tell RP to give their development agency, that you pay for to help developers get these massive build-outs approved, a sabbatical.

Since the fires the traffic in Sonoma County has become unbearable and the quality of life that we came here for is going to be gone forever if we don’t put the brakes on this mindless development juggernaut.

When: Tuesday September 10 6:30 PM

We doen need no stinkink mega gas stations in rural sonoma

Following posting is from No More Gasoline group fighting the introduction of large, mega gas stations / chains / marts in rural Sonoma County.

I have lived all over the United States and I have seen the patterns of suburban sprawl. It starts with a single chain store or gas station and when they get established they multiply like rats. Then come the cookie cutter strip malls, mini marts CVS, Walgreens, Target, McDonalds, Taco Bell… Then Costco. You have to fight to keep them out. If you let your guard down, they get in and once you have an infestation, you can’t get rid of it.

Don’t let your guard down, protect and preserve what you have and what is good and unique and special about the place you live – rural Sonoma County – for your children and theirs. Don’t leave it to the boards and councils and Supervisors, that’s like letting the foxes run the hen house. Those forces are mostly corrupt and paid for by interests that don’t share your values – Editor

Please follow No More Gasoline them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NoMoreGasoline/

Below are some important dates in September to get on your calendar, a note on what we need at this time, and a few updates on where things are at with the proposal for a gas station, mini-mart, carwash, and RV storage yard at 5300 Sebastopol Road…

Here’s what we need…

Letters-to-the-Editor – Press Democrat

Send in a letter to the Press Democrat! Email: letters@pressdemocrat.com See attached “LTE Help” sheet for details. Let’s get a buzz going!

For your email/letter, please customize and individualize it as much as possible. Include only the talking points that resonate most for you, or better yet, come up with your own points! But remember to keep it below 200 words!

Letters from organizations: We now have over 10 letters in the case file from Sonoma County-based organizations. If you are a member of a Sonoma County-based organization, see if they can send a letter if they haven’t already.

Letters/emails from individuals to the County decision-makers. Keep them coming, they re being noticed! If you have not yet written a personal letter, please do. Use the attached handout if you need a few talking points. It also has the info on where to send your email/letter. The main staff person is Daniel Hoffman dhoffman@migcom.com If you send to him, he is required to include it in the file where it is seen by all the decision-makers.

Posting Fliers: We need people who would like to have some fun going around town (Sebastopol? Santa Rosa? Somewhere in between?) posting fliers at places where you can post fliers (community centers, markets, cafés, etc.). The flier/flyer (whatever) is attached! Go for it! ☺

Petitions: We currently have about 400 petition signatures. The more the better so if you can help gather signatures and need blank petitions, a blank is attached to this message.

Facebook Page: Please “like” it, share it, add to it! https://www.facebook.com/NoMoreGasoline/

Calendar:

September 8, 1pm to 7pm, Sonoma Mountain Village- Daily Acts Climate Action Concert. We will be sharing an info table with the No Gas Here! folks from Petaluma. We will be gathering petition signatures. If you would like to help at the table, please let me know. 

September 20, Noon to 2pm, Courthouse Square, Santa Rosa – Solidarity with the Youth Climate Strike. We will have an info/petition table. Let me know if you can help.

October 10, 6:30pm – This is a proposed date for a first meeting of our group. Any reason why this is not a good day?

As a reminder, the next step for the proposal is a decision by the County’s Board of Zoning Adjustments (BZA) to approve or deny a use permit. BZA meetings are generally on 2nd and 4th Thursdays at 1pm. However, the meeting will also include a California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) hearing for which there is a 30 day public review process, and as we have not yet received the requisite 30 days’ notice, we’re assuming the meeting will not come up during September. 

For more info see the Board of Zoning Adjustments website: https://sonomacounty.ca.gov/Board-of-Zoning-Adjustments/

OK, that is all for today! Chime in if you have any relevant news, updates, or ideas! Email: no-gas@googlegroups.com

Cheers,
-Woody (and Jenny)