Preserving Sonoma Committee - Larry Barnett, Chair

Preserving Sonoma Committee News & Views about their Sonoma Hotel Limitation Measure limiting new hotels to 25 rooms or fewer until the city's annual occupancy rate exceeds 80%. Flag as Inappropriate

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Ralph Hutchinson October 24, 2013 at 07:11 am
Thanks Larry you're a class act. I guess with the opposition run by Darius Anderson a protege of PayRead More to Play politics, donations to Sonoma City Council (Brown), gifts and lavish parties for several Sonoma Valley, State and Federal politicians, diverting corporate donations to Politicians for lavish vacations to places like Communist Cuba in exchange for votes and favors, and Corruption settlements in New York for $500,000 with more pending today in New Mexico what would I expect? After all he is the sole person to blame for "Cows Not Casinos"
Ralph Hutchinson October 24, 2013 at 07:30 am
David Bolling Editor from Darius' own Index Tribune disclosed at a luncheon according to sourcesRead More that Darius is in fact interested in developing Sonoma Development Center (SDC). The Miwoks his old friends he got their casino completed in Rohnert Park have been active in Glen Ellen. Another hotel, wineries or Casinos?? Is he going to push out fragile developmentally challenged family members of our very neighbors? Kick them to the curb all in the name of his love for money? Many believe Darius met in secret with County Supervisor Gorin a few weeks ago to discuss development plans for SDC as published in the Press Democrat.
Protect Sonoma is a community group...honest!
Ralph Hutchinson August 7, 2013 at 08:51 am
Hooper and the people at Kenwood Investments acted like they were the initial seed but that itRead More really was a grassroots organization of the people. It seems now that the intent of the organization is more permanent and more dependent upon direct funding from Darius Anderson affiliates rather than public donations. To me thats different than portrayed.
Will Shonbrun August 7, 2013 at 11:57 am
It's plainly obvious that the principals at Kenwood Investments set up and funded a spurious group,Read More posing as grassroots but nothing more than a tool of the developers for the purpose of promoting a specific hotel project. Anyone paying attention to this issue is aware of these phony, underhanded dealings. As usual, developers, AKA investment opportunists, think they're much smarter than Sonoma residents who they regard as easily duped and manipulated. But these kinds of sneaky maneuvers have been tried before and didn't work, and it won't work now.
Ralph Hutchinson August 7, 2013 at 12:11 pm
Its a principles and character issue. Again, I don't care if its legal, its underhanded andRead More unethical and designed to be a smoke and mirrors game of deception. In the Political consulting world perhaps thats acceptable (although I disagree) but back in your hometown where you are (I would think) trying to fit in with your neighbors and the culture where you live...its unacceptable. Its NOT being a good neighbor. Its using the People and the local Government to personally benefit on the backs of others. Its disingenuine. In my world we call it fraudulent. We call it "Strawman" activity to set up a false front and run money through it. I don't like it, and I don't want that kind of activity occurring in Sonoma Valley, period.
sal nero July 26, 2013 at 06:34 am
The breadth and depth of this impressive group reminds one how many times in the past citizenRead More stewards have risen to stop foolish development plans.--------------- 1999- Rosewood Hillside Hotel 2003- Cows Not Casinos 2006- Measure C Leveroni Land Snatch Attempt for Hospital -------------------- Measure C was such an obvious landslide at election that the dummies running that campaign actually withdrew support for their own initiative a couple weeks before election day. Measure C drew 77% against at the polls and was an enormous waste of millions of dollars. If one examines the list of large hotel proponents and acolytes one sees the same tone deaf "community leader" faces. Color me NOT shocked.
Ralph Hutchinson July 28, 2013 at 02:17 pm
Congrats to the new committee members and a huge thanks to the other members and volunteers fightingRead More to keep Sonoma feel and character. in tact. Fasten your seatbelts cause I feel a bad moon rising as we approach this election.
Federal and state constitutions require that cities remain neutral in ballot measure election contests
Ralph Hutchinson July 19, 2013 at 01:33 pm
Don't hold your breath, my research indicates there aren't many records as Giovanatto doesn't haveRead More much as she didn't do an RFP, scope of work, or list of qualifications and she just called a few consultants via telephone.
The heavy hand of the City Council?
Chris Scott July 18, 2013 at 05:57 pm
Mr Barnett, assembled guests; "...20% of the registered voters signed our petition in justRead More seven weeks." You have to admit, 80% of registered voters have not signed your petition. Chris Scott
sal nero July 19, 2013 at 05:08 am
The numbers master continues to amaze. Check out this number. If the special election is held aroundRead More Thanksgiving and results in a 50% turnout as expected, Preserving Sonoma has already collected a rough winning percentage of votes.
Will Shonbrun July 25, 2013 at 11:49 am
Reposting this because the format got screwed up in the first posting. So here again for yourRead More reading pleasure are my thoughts. Thanks to all, and I do mean all, for comments. The Patch has become a sounding board or electronic town hall for discussion and debate, and that's a good and needed thing. The Index-Tribune used to serve in this regard and still does in a limited way, but it's become more of a platform for the editor to influence or belittle as the mood strikes him. This is very much a throwback to earlier times when the paper's editor/owner used it to promote his own ends. My hunch is that the I-T is losing credibility and therefore the power to persuade. The current editor is not an unbiased party in the Hotel Limitation Initiative/Measure and it would be to his credit if he simply says so and makes his case. The Measure in question is NOT about one 59-room hotel off the Plaza. It's bigger and broader than that. It's about a potential proliferation of more and more large hotels because there are no regulations to prevent this from happening. That and the fact that annual hotel occupancy doesn't warrant more hotels being built, and existing hotels are being subsidized to improve this condition, is why the Initiative/Measure came into being in the first place. The editor of the I-T is a smart man, but it seems he either doesn't understand what Preserve Sonoma is trying to do, or he doesn't want to understand the issue for reasons of his own. I think the same applies to the three council members who have opposed the Initiative. Mr. Rouse, like a good corporate man, is opposed to just about any business regulation. Mr. Cook is a high-ranking board member of the Chamber of Commerce, which has publicly come out against the Initiative and for more large hotel development. It's anybody's guess where Mr. Brown is in all this. He's already stated he's against the initiative process in this case, and he's indicated that more large hotels will be a boon for the city's economy. He's never made it clear what the downside to unregulated hotel development would be. Therefore what his reasons are remain unknown except to him. The signs of expanded commercial development without regulatory controls are plain to see: excessive tasting rooms, more chain stores, more hotel developers waiting in the wings, noise pollution, increased traffic and further demands on water. The Hotel Limitation Initiative is just a pre-emptive attempt to put the breaks on, and keep hotel development to scale for a small town/city. This should not be hard to understand and neither are the reasons for its necessity.
In our Grassroots Campaign...our supporters are the roots!
sal nero July 10, 2013 at 01:33 pm
I'm sure glad somebody stepped up to say no to the candyman. Thank you Preserving Sonoma and all ofRead More the awesome volunteers !
Anna Gomez July 11, 2013 at 10:20 am
Kicking butt and taking names...Sonoma style!
Ralph Hutchinson July 11, 2013 at 11:19 am
Lets show Darius how Politics are done in Sonoma. I still think this may turn out to be a caseRead More study for him at George Washington and Berkeley. Clearly he hasn't figured out the angle as yet. That must really frustrate him? Perhaps its always worked before? Some times, in some places, for some things, money can't buy ya love...or a hotel either. Pay to play might work for the Ruling Aristocracy but not for the masses or real people.
sal nero July 8, 2013 at 04:20 pm
Thank you Preserving Sonoma. Larry, many thanks for personally suffering the slings and arrowsRead More launched by those with outrageous fortunes. (hat tip Willie Shakespeare)
Ralph Hutchinson July 9, 2013 at 04:44 pm
You make us proud Larry and all the other volunteers of Preserving. And to think Councilman RouseRead More "laughed" that it couldn't be done. Guess he will be scrambling now for a rush consultants feasibility report. It won't matter I know what the results will say anyway. Council will kick the can down the road to the people for a vote they won't do the right thing as they are all so conflicted with the current project.
A picture is worth a thousand words.
sal nero June 28, 2013 at 10:00 am
Let's not forget all same characters backing this oversized hotel were either officers or pumpers ofRead More Sonoma Valley Bank which was used by certain officers and connected insiders as their own personal ATM,or so it would strongly appear. More than a thousand Sonoma area citizens were ripped off and a class action suit is still on the docket and awaiting trial. It is shocking to many in town that some officers are now aligned with Anderson and his Hotel. Yes, small town cronyism is alive and well in Sonoma but the pitchforks and torches are coming out.
Ralph Hutchinson June 28, 2013 at 10:54 am
Let's analyze a few poster-boys leading this Vistors Bureau declaration: Dan Parks, owner of Inn atRead More Sonoma and Sonoma Creek Inn - so he was worried his recent addition of rooms would be impacted and despite the fact it was determined he wouldn't he now sided with big hotels Bill Blum, general manager of MacArthur Place Inn & Spa - here is the Sonoma Valley Bank connection with Suzanne Brangham owner of MacArthur Place, partner with Darius on Jazz Fest events and sold Darius Ramekins to allow his inroad into Sonoma Valley life. Denise Silver, from Sonoma Raceway - this is affiliated with Steve Page also a former Director of Sonoma Valley Bank and partner in the Jazz Fest fiascos that lost money year after year. Dave Dolquist, general manager of The Lodge at Sonoma - we've talked about the financial difficulty The Lodge has had since its inception. James Hahn, owner of the Sunflower Caffe - I'm not sure what the Sunflower Caffe is doing in the middle of this fray but the locals love this shop. Seeing this may give rise to a BOYCOTT against the Sunflower for biting the hand that feeds it.
David Eichar June 29, 2013 at 08:52 am
I would like to comment on the dire predictions of the Chamber and the SVVB concerning the RosewoodRead More development and the Urban Growth boundary. The city of Sonoma made it through the Great Recession without going bankrupt. Yes, we all had to tighten our belts, but the city made it without the extra revenue. So, if the city can make it through the Great Recession, I submit that only another Great Depression of the 1930s would doom Sonoma. The Chamber of Commerce and SVVB are losing credibility.
The four sides of city hall all look the same, a symbol of fairness to all sides of the community.
Ralph Hutchinson June 25, 2013 at 02:40 pm
Darius Anderson and his interests settled a corruption charge in New York for $500,000. He hasRead More similar charges pending in New Mexico currently. His crony Governor Brown dropped charged in California (imagine that) but others related in his investigation were indicted recently for CalPERS corruption. Darius has a reputation of greasing palms like all the State Assemblyman he takes to Cuba and the fact he's been going for 20-25 years yeat only got a permit from the State Dept a few years ago suggests he went illegally in my opinion prior to that. Darius also plays both sides of the deck in deals like recent Golden State Warriors where he not only represented Oakland interests, but also San Francisco development interests essentially bargaining for both sides of a deal? How in the world can anybody take money from both sides and sleep at night acting like he had the best interest of both sides in mind? Doesn't seem like bargaining in good faith to me in my opinion. He also bargaines in Southern California for LA and Orange County with inherent conflicts of interest we've researched.
Ralph Hutchinson June 25, 2013 at 02:50 pm
COWS NOT CASINOS---And of course the same Darius Anderson that brought us Cows Not Casinos when heRead More and Boxers son bought up adjacent land at Lakeville Rd at Rt 37 then tried to ramrod a casino into Sonoma. Didn't he learn anything? He thinks we are really that stupid?
sal nero June 26, 2013 at 10:03 am
Larry has kept a respectful tone while suffering the slings and arrows of outrageous "dirtyRead More tricks politics." Good man. You are setting a good example unlike those who do their best impression of Joseph Goebbels in their zeal for profit. And now the Press Democrat is running an article about how a Casino helped a community that needed tax revenue. The big picture is not pretty. But carry on "Preserving Sonoma." You would think that a $1 Billion Sacramento redevelopment/basketball arena deal would enough, right? The hotel proposal is an insight to what appears to be an insatiable desire to develop and make money. ----------- In the wings? Sonoma Developmental Center/Casino?
sal nero June 17, 2013 at 05:34 pm
This was a great job by Mr. Barnett. He was well prepared, had the facts and data on his side andRead More unlike Ms. Adams he was respectful and restrained. There is simply no substitute for the facts. That name calling by the woman was shameful. Thanks for keeping it on the high road Mr. Barnett. The moderator was OK too.
sal nero June 17, 2013 at 05:57 pm
Dana Adams "You want to embalm Sonoma and put it in the ground." That's some sweetRead More discourse based on not one iota of fact. Is that what they've been teaching at the major news networks she's been working for?
Ralph Hutchinson June 18, 2013 at 10:15 am
I still can't believe for as much money as Darius Anderson has he can't put together any better aRead More package, website, presentation based on substance, etc. Goes to show David really can slay Goliath afterall its not just a story. Cheers to the Preserving people for speaking professionally, truthfully, providing meaningful and supportive data, and imagine that....facts. Stay the course and don't back down. Soon the petition signatures will be ready to present and things should get even more interesting with Push Polls, Muelrath political consulting spinning the Protect campain, etc. I'm looking for some off the charts plays in this game before its over. My guess is the extent of the Protect Sonoma backing is already posted on their website at about 75-100 chamber of commerce, real estate, and winery cronies which won't be enough votes to win an election. I still predict a 70%-75% win margin for Preserving Sonoma.
Ralph Hutchinson June 12, 2013 at 11:24 am
Good work to all the Preserving Sonoma team for gathering the signatures. And to think CouncilmanRead More Rouse didn't think they could be gathered? Wonder if the City Manager is engaging that consultant yet that she was looking into? I haven't heard boo from Protect Sonoma whether they got their PAC registered, certainly hasn't been any work done on the website.
bob edwards June 13, 2013 at 07:14 am
Seems it would be simpler for 'Protect Sonoma' to simply rely on the existing Chamber of CommerceRead More PAC as a funding mechanism for its attack on the right of residents to vote on the Initiative, rather than go through the hoops of setting up its own. Despite a sharp division of opinion among individual Chamber members on the need for an Initiative, the Chamber's governing board (whose President, Dave Cook, sits on City Council) and its too-long-serving executive director are in shrill opposition to the citizens' Initiative. "Deutschmark Uber Alles," sums up the Chamber's attitude toward anything that might remotely restrain its ability to use Sonoma as its ATM machine.
City of Sonoma TOT form
Anna Gomez June 4, 2013 at 06:47 am
I looked Darius Anderson straight in the eyes and asked "How many rooms will this hotelRead More have?" at the unveiling meeting at Ramekins. He would not tell me. I stood up at the meeting and asked "how can you throw around these million dollar figures of income to the city if you don't "know" how many rooms the hotel will have?" and they still wouldn't answer. They have always know it was too big and unwanted or they would have been shouting it from the roof tops. Darius Anderson is a liar....he lied straight to my face.
sal nero June 4, 2013 at 07:22 am
My question to Blum about the STID's flip-flop goes unanswered. I find astounding that theseRead More competitors are willing to "let the big dog eat" on the Plaza while they wait for the scraps. I coined it "hotel Stockholm Syndrome." What were they promised? Year round business? How? A casino nearby? Perhaps a wine country "Knotts Berrry Farm" @ SDC? The STID members claim of saving an opportunity to expand in the future rings hollow in that most of these hotels maxed out their rooms when they were built initially. I base my suspicions on an established track record of the developer and consequential and reasonable state of mistrust he has earned in Sonoma.
sal nero June 5, 2013 at 10:49 am
Sometimes a "rant" is only described as a "rant" when one party chooses toRead More vilify the person asking a valid question rather than undermine their own credibility by honestly answering inconvenient questions. A true rant happened on last Friday's radio debate. Calling someone an "embalmer" for wanting to "kill" the town? That would be a definite rant. Its also difficult to imagine that an organization's or Political Action Committee's public spokespeople (in the above case "Protecting Sonoma" funded by Darius Anderson) don't reflect the tenor and mood of their leadership. OK. I'm done... uh......ranting.
Ralph Hutchinson May 28, 2013 at 09:55 am
70-75% supporting the Ban on Large Hotels without sufficient occupancy is certainly a reasonable andRead More realistic number. The People will see to it the cronyism is stopped yet again, hopefully for good in Sonoma. Good work Larry and the works at Preserving Sonoma. We applaud your efforts.
sal nero May 28, 2013 at 03:51 pm
DON"T STOP. JUST LIKE MEASURE C, even when they yell uncle keep going and getting signatures.Read More Let the petition be the election ! Awesome Job PRESERVING SONOMA !
David Eichar May 24, 2013 at 09:03 pm
Why a living wage and health benefits for employees of the new hotel and not Ramekins employees? DoRead More all employees of the Sonoma Index Tribune and the Santa Rosa Press Democrat get the living wage and health benefits, including the delivery person? I do have a further questions: 1) Would Kenwood Investments have made this agreement, if there where no Hotel Limitation Initiative? 2) Does this agreement stay binding if Kenwood Investments sells the hotel? 3) How long does Kenwood Investments plan to own and operate the hotel, before selling it? (After all, it is call Kenwood Investments and not Kenwood Hotel Management.) 4) Why not provide a living wage and health benefits to all of your businesses, not just the new hotel. Kenwood Investments also has agreed to hire workers who live locally, with "locally" defined as being within 50 miles. That's right FIFTY miles. It doesn't seem much of a concession to hire workers who live within 50 miles of Sonoma. San Francisco is within 50 miles, so is Oakland and Fairfield. Why not within 10 miles of Sonoma? Or at least say 90% within 10 miles? The 50 mile limit means that it is possible that none of the hotel's employees live in Sonoma. Heck, all of the workers could live in San Francisco, Alameda County, Contra Costa County and Solano County, and still live within 50 miles of Sonoma.
Larry Barnett May 25, 2013 at 04:46 am
Until the actual agreement is available for inspection, the applicability and enforceability of theRead More "agreement" is impossible to ascertain. At this point, all that is known is contained in a Press Release, and as we all know, a Press Release is not a binding document. It is highly unlikely that any agreement can bind the hands of a successor to the ownership of any business. The 30-hour minimum means part-time housekeepers will not be covered. Matters such as how many rooms must be cleaned within how many hours, and many other matters, are usually covered in such labor agreements, as well a many other details. The 50 mile radius means calling the application of this "agreement" local is meaningless. I think it is obvious that the pressure of the Initiative fueled and was the impetus for this decision otherwise it would have been announced when the project was first presented to the community, and other Kenwood Investment related businesses would have already applied a living wage standard as a matter of course.
sal nero May 25, 2013 at 12:46 pm
As I said elsewhere, this "living wage" offer from the hotel development dirty tricks teamRead More is nothing more than a cynical red herring. The culture the chief partner Mr. Anderson comes from is a "say anything, do anything, pay what you must to get to the final goal" culture whether its access to billions in hardworking people's pension funds or ramming casinos down our throats or tearing down a historic building to construct an inappropriately sized monument to himself on our historic Plaza at the expense of everyone else. He has sued his Kenwood neighbor, been sued and fined By New York's AG and now is a defendant in a case before New Mexico's Supreme Court. I don't believe a single word from the Hotel Index-Tribune group.
Want to volunteer to gather signatures? Contact us at www.preservingsonoma.com
Larry Barnett May 20, 2013 at 02:26 pm
The City council cannot be forced into enacting the Measure without a vote, they simply have thatRead More option. Given the complexion of the Council at the present, it is highly unlikely an election can be avoided. One can always hope, but we are planning otherwise.
sal nero May 20, 2013 at 03:31 pm
M- One might assume that normal thinking developers would conform to the tenants of the proposedRead More intiative if a majority of Sonoma Voters signed the initiative petition. However, we are dealing with a type of arrogance that has been heretofor unknown other than a 2003 Casino proposal. I fully expect the Hotel Index-Tribune to sue after passage of this initiative. They will claim it is already in conformance with city code. We now need to start thinking about City Council replacements and city code updating.
sal nero May 21, 2013 at 11:46 am
Bolling caught between a rock and hard place by Mr. Shonbrun.Read More http://sonomavalley.patch.com/groups/opinion/p/publisher-and-editor-bolling-coyly-plays-hide--seek-answering-conflict-charge
Larry Barnett, Chair Preserving Sonoma Committee
sal nero May 16, 2013 at 04:03 pm
Larry, Thank you for this crystal recitation of the facts. I know you have strived to keep aboveRead More the mud and it is appreciated. The STID and City Council's policy, agreed to only last year, has failed. In a few short months these people along with their newly formed Political Action Committee have dedicated themselves to stifling the voters of Sonoma. This boondoggle, which was a loser from the start, is yet another example of how the same list of names once again has taken this town down the garden path. But there they go again. This time partnered with the CASINO KING and his merry cast of turncoats. The King lay in wait for 10 long years (after 2003's Casino Debacle) but now he's back and feistier than ever. As I've said before, content of character counts. If this town wants to side with those who's public records demonstrate a unique blend of guile, litigiousness and a willingness to do everything and anything to get their way I heard there is a new Political Action Committee and they're pouring vintage champagne over there.
Ralph Hutchinson May 17, 2013 at 10:56 am
Does City Manager Carol Giovanotto even live in Sonoma? Will she be impacted by traffic, etc.?Read More Historical news archives in the Cloverdale news show her lauding comments about Cloverdale freeway bypass bringing peace and quiet to her hometown. also, what investment company does she run working with fire truck? Are there also conflicts of interest there? Have we checked these things out?
Larry Barnett May 17, 2013 at 06:27 pm
Need to clarify some math in this posting... Is the TID a good use of money? Let's do the math; theRead More 2% TID assessment on all overnight room charges will generate approximately $450,000/year. This money could have been simply added to the TOT collected by the city for use in the General Fund that the City Manager is so concerned about. The 2% increase is an increase of 20% in the room related TOT/TID charge guests pay (it was 10% and with the TID is now 12%); accordingly, the annual occupancy rate would have to rise (at present room rates) above 78% just to generate as much new TOT income as the city could have enjoyed by simply keeping the 2% TID money. 78%-plus is essentially the occupancy rate the large hotels say is virtually impossible. In other words, the amount of TID money being spent on promotion to raise the TOT is greater than the TOT money it will generate. It's what we call a lose/lose proposition, except for the large hotels who get to spend less of their own money promoting their hotels.
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