The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit has been - in the oft-reviled opinion of yours truly - a boondoggle from day one. Designed, on it's best day, to carry approximately 5000 folks (during that best day) from Larkspur to Cloverdale and return, it has now been scaled back to run from San Rafael to Santa Rosa. The actual number of folks wishing to travel between those destinations whose travel needs lack urgency and are therefore able to wait for the train's intermittent service, has yet to be determined.
Lord knows I'm not. Though I have a list of basic survival items stashed some place, and there's plenty of advice online, I'm frankly daunted at the thought of tying up scare dollars in 3-4 days food, water, and survival supplies for three adults. And it's not like you can buy all the stuff once, file it away and forget it. Did you know that water goes bad? Well, not exactly bad, but they do recommend that stored water supplies be replaced periodically. Likewise, food and medicines. So, I'm in denial, just like a lot of folks. I will admit that I have a hand-crank radio and some basic first aid stuff. Oh, and I love flashlights, so we have a bunch.
The Regency Center (Target) is still being delayed after years of stalling, foot-dragging, and outright obfuscation on the part of the City abetted by a tiny (but vocal) cohort of NIMBY activists who cloak their selfishness in civic pride. Now the Deer Creek project (Lowes) is entering into that same ever-mutating cycle of abuse, e.g., the review and (dis)approval process. Why any business person would want to engage with a community that so-reviles commerce is beyond me. Maybe the City mothers and fathers could hire the Disney folks to run the City as an amusement park called NIMBYLAND. Think of the rides: The Road to Nowhere, Legal Limbo, The Incredible Expanding Fee...
City Manager John Brown is yelling from the rooftops that the City has about a year before fiscal Armageddon. Is anyone listening? Last year, Mayor Glass-Half-Full promised that, "Revenues will come," without actually saying from where. Since then, when he's not intimidating City staff, his "revenue-generating-efforts seem to have focused on stalling the Deercreek shopping center, now that that the Regency Center is has been delayed yet another year, if not longer.
You know, folks who are born in a town and lived there all their lives, or others who move to place because they appreciate it's qualities have a right to feel strongly about the future of their town and express these feelings strongly. No problem there. Of course, that group I just mentioned includes pretty much everyone in Petaluma, not just the "no-growth-ers" Oh, excuse me, the politically correct term for "build-nothing-that-we-don't-like-or-we'll-sue" is Smart Growth. The problem with the Smart/No Growth gang, is that they've forgotten their biology. In EVERY living organism, growth and change MUST happen. When an entity ceases to grow and adapt it starts to die. I don't want my town to die and I don't want to live in a town that's radically changed from the town I love. However, I'm willing to listen with an open mind, accept new ideas that can benefit others (not just me), abide by the rules I voted to approve, and not to sue when things don't go my way. That's what make me - and a lot of others in town - different from the so-called Progressive / Smart Growth gang.
Having lived in New York and Los Angeles, and spent time in places with famously congested traffic such as Tokyo, Paris, Bangkok and Manila, I find it difficult to get too exercised about the dangers to pedestrians in our fair burg. Still, nobody likes having his shoes polished by the tires on a Lexus with a preoccupied driver talking on her cell phone.
Fred Wiseman sputtered aloft from Petaluma on February 18th, 1911 only to land with a busted magneto after just 4 miles. The next day he flew a second leg landing just a mile short of his goal of the Santa Rosa fairgrounds. Since he carried authorized US Mail, his became the first official air mail flight. A full-size replica of Wiseman's plane resides in the US Postal Museum in DC. Our own delightful historical museum has a scaled down replica on display as well. There'll be a program about the historic flight at the Petaluma Airport on Saturday beginning at 11am. Weather permitting, there will be some sort of reenactment.
It's a deadlock, alright. Miss P. calls for a compromise, but the business-averse Progressives are so convinced that they're in the right, they've become deaf (excuse, hearing challenged) to any disagreement. And why shouldn't they believe this? Liberal pundits have been writing since the mid-60's that any point of view other than theirs is ignorant, illegal or insane. Whatever else they may believe, the the "so-called" pro-development bloc understands that new construction can be taxed, as can completed buildings, sales, employment and other forms of commerce...and that commerce (not just taxes) are the life blood of communities.
Word is that Governor Jerry wants to eliminate Municipal Redevelopment Agencies as part of his efforts to clean up California's fiscal disaster. I believe this is akin to shutting off the water while trying to put out a fire. Can this be anything but further evidence that most career politicians don't understand business, finance, or economics. I guess they have to learn the hard way. Though it seems that when politicians are learning, the lessons are hardest on us, and not them. Eventually, when The Great Recession is receding in our rear view mirror, I hope that we'll all be a little wiser, and just just a little older.
To hear the so-called progressive faction tell it, their opposition on the board are a homogeneous group of shills for developers. Well, I know all three and I see a lot of difference between them, their experience with, and their goals for Petaluma. If there's any predictability among board members it's with the gang of three and their perpetual, unrepentant anti-business agenda. Oh yes, I can hear the voices. "The council approved Regency. See! They're not anti-business." Yah, yah...after (what) seven years of log rolling, stalling, repeated reports, and a fraudulent lawsuit. That's some record. So given their intransigence, I'm guessing the only candidate they'll consider for the seventh seat is a dyed-in-the wool NIMBY.