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I’m always surprised when I encounter the outrage many Petaluman’s express to the concept of change or…Heaven forbid…growth. It’s as if Petaluma is already perfect the way it is, or in the minds of our local historical preservationists…perfect the way it was. Hmmm…a perfect town wouldn’t have crime, fires, health emergencies, floods, hungry people, folks without a roof over their heads to list just a few of the circumstances that plague Petaluma – and pretty much everywhere else – on a daily basis. These “imperfections” are, of course, a major reason why we pay taxes for our public services. Unfortunately, the providers of some of those services – particularly those civil servants who job it is to assist local entrepreneurs – feel that their role is more prevention of change (a.k.a. growth) than its facilitation. Now, consensus on what, how, or even if we need to add something to our perfect little community has been – up until now – impossible to achieve. This has left us with two warring camps: the evil developers (and those on their payroll) and the preservationists who now position themselves as advocates of “smart growth,” which usually means it’s okay to change something as long as it doesn’t look like anything has changed. Under these circumstances I wouldn’t be surprised that the afore-mentioned civil servants chose to err on the side of caution. However, the reality is that they seem to delight in throwing up obstacles in the path of anyone with the temerity to tamper with the perfection known as Petaluma.