An old Sonoma power struggle has bubbled to the surface under the guise of a hillside development project on Schocken Hill. Bill Lynch referred to the old Rosewood hillside imbroglio in a recent opinion piece, in comparison to the new hillside project(s).
The difference in people’s different versions of events and how they see the context boils down to a now long-term power struggle over the town planning process and how decision makers are chosen and influenced. This power struggle was wound into the former FSE hotel process, and blew up the old planning commission, and the old selection process.
What’s it all about? In a nutshell, it’s about money, no limits, and free market ideology versus the people and some sense of moderation, limits and sustainability. These two trajectories represent two wholly different strains of facts, and it seems, never the twain shall meet. It’s kind of like Washington DC, deadlock, death grip, no room for compromise. So many insults and bullying tactics have gone down, there may be no possibility of return to civility.
However, people of good will can always wipe the slate clean if they want to.
A number of my opinion pieces on this general issue of recent Planning Commission politics, and the hillside development can be found here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here. I made a public comment on the hillside projects that should be part of the record for the 8/10/17 Planning Commission meeting, but it was not in the online packet, or I could not find it.
The Protect Sonoma version of current hillside events can be seen on their website.
The hillside developer, Bill Jasper’s version of events in Sonoma, on the hillside, and in general etc. can be found here.
As regards the Planning Commission, and allegations of politicization, a Sun editorial about the subject can be found here. A reply to the editorial by Joe Aaron gives the Jasper-esque version of things.
To me, in her one Planning Commission meeting, Carol Jansen seemed to be a pretty smart cookie, and not a crony hauling water for the rich and powerful. The new Planning Commission has some of the old air of respectability; with Chair Felder at the helm, I think we are back on track. The slate is in the process of being cleaned by the new members, and an old bitter chapter of Sonoma power struggle seems to be being put behind us.
One thing is for sure, all will be watching for any hint of political influence in future decisions. Sonoma, CA: Pueblo chiquito, infierno grande. Small town character is no trifling matter!