I have lived in a rural area, suburbia and a big city. I lived in Pleasant Hill, remembering the drive to my grandfather’s farm in Walnut Creek to help harvest the walnuts. The travel took us through walnut orchards and pastures. Now, all filled with homes and shopping malls.
I lived in the Sacramento Delta, going to school in Oakley and Brentwood. Then, Brentwood was much like Sonoma, a small town surrounded by farms and orchards. Oakley even smaller. Both now part of suburban sprawl, indistinguishable from Antioch and Pittsburg.
Later, I lived in the East Bay suburbs, with mostly fast food restaurants or mediocre full service restaurants. Then 10 years in San Francisco, a great city, great restaurants; but you don’t get to know your neighbors, more crime and the stress inducing fast pace of life.
My wife and I moved to Sonoma, for a slower pace of life. We have met many fabulous people, and enjoy great hiking, great restaurants, the wonderful Plaza with Tuesday nights Farmers Market.
We want to preserve that small town feeling, while maintaining Sonoma as a visitor destination. If Sonoma allows new large hotels, we start to lose that feeling. Soon, pressure for more strip malls, big box stores, chain restaurants and chain stores, will result in loss of our independent stores and restaurants. I don’t want to see Sonoma turn into Santa Rosa, with the faster pace of life, and the increased crime, causing visitors to lose interest in Sonoma. Nor do I want to see Sonoma turn into the Napa Valley, which is all about catering to tourism, to the detriment of locals.
We have a good balance in Sonoma. To preserve it, I support the Hotel Limitation Initiative, and urge all living in Sonoma to do the same.