Kids are a joy, they're frustrating, they're awesome, and they're aggravating. All that said, I believe that raising a child to the point where he or she can leave home and lead an independent life is the most important work that most of us, including me, will ever do. If you're a parent and you disagree, then God help your kids.
No. Not Steve Jobs. I meant employment, hopefully the steady kind. Petaluma's a vital, agricultural town so, from time to time, we are going to smell the perfume of compost, fertilizer, dirt, grain, animals, diesel engines and many other aromas that attend farm-based commerce. It all smells like life, to my nose.
Don’t you just love “Progressives?” Well, in Petaluma they actually do love Progressives, but I digress. Perhaps the most salient feature of a Progressive is his or her desire to tell everyone else how to live, without them actually having to do whatever they recommend. Occasionally, when they do walk the talk, they are shocked, SHOCKED I TELL YOU, to discover that their theoretical mandates for social (ecological, political, economic) behavior come with real-world consequences. Witness the complaints by some progressives living in Petaluma’s much touted mixed-use neighborhoods about the noise created by...the mixed-use. One problem that Progressives have with prescribing behavior for others is that most progressives (as self-anointed intellectuals, philosophers, artists. spiritualists, healers, poets and freelance Internet marketing consultants) have only a glancing awareness with what it’s like to live in the real world of feeding a large family on a small paycheck, keeping a business in the black, building a structure, running a farm, or working two jobs while going to school to get a degree in something more practical than Post-Modern Feminist Environmental Philosophy. Or, for that matter, running an ice cream company.
Stop the presses. Petaluma leaps into the forefront of eco-piety. Great idea if you're a single person picking up the evening's dinner, but if you're a working mom who goes to the store once a week to feed three kids you'd better bring a whole bunch of cloth bags. BTW -the bags will have to be washed, mended and replaced when worn out. Good thing those working mom's have so much extra time and money to tend to someting that used to be free.
I've observed a feature common to local citizens oversight groups: a significant portion of the membership is there not to add value, offer creative input, or support the stated purpose of the group. These participants join the group just so they can veto whatever irks them or their cronies. I suggest renaming the Planning Comission to the Planning Omission.
Traffic circles... How European! How progressive! Unfortunately, the tireless tinkerers of America's on-going experiment in practical democracy won't stop with merely tweaking the flow of traffic. They want to import socialized medicine. Oh, pardon me, ObamaCare. They also want to implement other miscreant European concepts like the cradle-to-grave Welfare state that has resulted in unemployment among European youth that is over 40% in some countries. This - coupled with coddling law-breakers - led directly the recent unrest in England, France, Greece, Spain, etc. Let see... Oh yes, our progressive graybeards want to castrate the military. Not that we need be concerned that Muslim-sponsored terrorism is on the rise, or that China - the country that makes the world's toys - now wants to make all of its weapons, too. It must be fun to be a progressive and spend the day staring at your navel.
Sonoma County's K-12 schools are struggling. Some are failing. The reasons include the declining birth rate, the changing demographics, the poor economy, or our dysfunctional state government. But I lay the fault squarely in the lap of the social visionaries - those high-minded folk who think that the rest of us are too stupid to run things and so they want to (oh so gently, mind you) take the tiller from our hands, so that the ship of state (county, city) is steered in the right direction. In the light of the struggling county schools, one outstanding example of social re-engineering run amok came to mind - S.M.A.R.T., which has already raised taxes and squandered tens of millions of dollars which could have been put to better use. Or, since the size and function of the still-proposed rail system seems to dwindle by the week - use, period. Oh heck, let's call it what it is - another Progressive Boondoggle. When the economy was booming, these sorts of hair-brained fantasies could slide through. I suppose a silver lining to the current economic storm clouds is that tight times make people re-think their economic priorities. I sure hope that people who don't have their heads in the clouds - or in the sand - will take another look at the "train to nowhere."
The Graton Rancheria and their wise guy (I'm sorry, professional gaming company) enablers promise that the 500,000 clams to support Tolay Regional Park comes to Sonoma County with "no strings attached." I don't know about you but I consider a casino just down the road not an attached "string," but more like a noose around our necks. Truth told, casinos overwhelmingly prey on (there I go again - cater to) the under-educated, the poor, and the elderly. Additionally, statistics show that casinos bring to the nearby communities a rise in crime and drunkenness. Even the staunchest personal-rights advocates among us can appreciate the impact that increased demands on already under-funded Public Safety services will have. A regional park is a nice thing for some, but trading it for a casino as bad deal for all.