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Sonoma City Council Hotel Bias Shows

Protect Sonoma campaign theme
Protect Sonoma campaign theme

Three of our City Council members were outspoken against Measure B to limit the size of hotels namely Ken Brown, David Cook and Tom Rouse.

BACKGROUND:
Ken Brown accepted campaign donations from Darius and Sarah Anderson the developer of the controversial hotel.  David Cook is standing President of the Chamber of Commerce long proponents of hotel development since 1999 Measure A Rosewood Hotel and this is the same group of cronies always representing the 1% Elitists.  Tom Rouse is not doing anything he wouldn't normally do his pro-Republican stance on economics and free markets is consistent and no exception is taken with his position.

Below is what our City Council did by going out on a limb to to INTERFERE WITH AN ELECTION and write commentary in a ballot as elected officials and not as individuals.  This is improper use of their office to influence residents on a political issue.

STANCE AGAINST MEASURE B

Voting No on Measure B is a vote to protect Sonoma's quality of life. That's why diverse local groups and individuals comprising environmental, agricultural, business, labor and public safety oppose Measure B. The measure seeks to correct a problem that doesn't exist. Over the past decade, no new hotels have been approved in the City of Sonoma that meet the definition of "large" as defined by the ballot measure because of a planning process that looks at every project on an individual basis. Voting No on Measure B doesn't mean you're approving any current or future hotel proposal. Those proposals are subject to the existing process, including a rigorous evaluation by the Sonoma Valley Citizens Advisory Committee, Design Review Commission, Planning Commission and City Council. At every step, the public's voice is heard. Measure B abandons a process that allows the public to comment on specific projects. Sonoma will continue facing higher costs for public services. With the rising costs of these services, it's imperative to increase transient occupancy tax (TOT) revenues, something only assessed to tourists. Measure B could limit future TOT revenue potential, the second-largest revenue generator to the City's General Fund. The 80% hotel occupancy requirement Measure B calls for has never been reached in City or County history. This arbitrary restriction would ban most new hotels in Sonoma and reduce TOT revenue growth.

Measure B is opposed by the Sonoma County Deputy Sheriffs Association, North Bay Labor Council, Sonoma Valley Chamber of Commerce, Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Alliance, Sonoma Valley Visitors Bureau, environmentalists and local residents who believe Sonoma's future economic stability is threatened by Measure B. Please join us and vote No on Measure B to protect your voice in the planning process and preserve Sonoma's economy and quality of life.

s/ Ken Brown
Mayor, City of Sonoma

s/ Tom Rouse
Mayor Pro Tem, City of Sonoma

s/ Karen Collins
Parks Commissioner

s/ Kathy Mazza
Former Sonoma Alcaldessa

s/ Gary Edwards
Planning Commissioner

The following is the rebuttal further arguing their positions:

REBUTTAL TO ARGUMENT IN FAVOR OF MEASURE B Measure B

Measure B offers no hard evidence that the hotel limitation measure will preserve Sonoma's small-town character. While the City's General Plan included planning experts, extensive public comment and thorough environmental review, Measure B was written by a small group of people without any consultation from the Planning Department, Visitors Bureau or Chamber of Commerce. Voters should consider whether this group realizes the unintended consequences their proposal would have on Sonoma, including weaker job growth in the tourist industry and limitations to one of the largest revenue sources to the City, which could reduce services provided to the public.

The proponents of Measure B want you to believe "Sonoma risks becoming overbuilt and overcommercialized." Not true. Here's the fact: no new "large" hotels as defined by the ballot measure have been approved in the City for the past 10 years. The impact report prepared for the City concluded that hotels create much less traffic than other commercial uses.These alternative uses could lead to more traffic and intensive developments that would change Sonoma's small-town character. An independently-conducted impact report concluded it is "highly unlikely" the 80 percent occupancy threshold will ever be reached, which effectively prohibits new hotels over 25 rooms, a limit unsubstantiated by proponents. This limit could incentivize the development of several 24 room hotels in areas next door to our homes, parks and schools rather than in commercial zones. Join us + protect Sonoma's small town character, economy and quality of life. Vote No on Measure B.

s/ Ken Brown
Mayor, City of Sonoma

s/ Tom Rouse
Mayor Pro Tem, City of Sonoma

s/ Robert Della Santina
Owner, Della Santina's Trattoria

s/ Denise Silver
Board Member, Sonoma Valley Visitors Bureau

s/ Jeff Martinez
Owner, Sonoma & Lambert 76 Stations

HL Hilton October 23, 2013 at 01:47 PM
If the Fair Political Practices Commission looking into this? Have they received the complaints as yet?
Ralph Hutchinson October 23, 2013 at 03:53 PM
I can't help but notice David Cook didn't sign these petitions? His position with the Chamber of Commerce was the most offensive and conflicted. Was the article about the Calistoga politico too scary after all?

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