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Troubled by political opinions of Sonoma developer

Posted on April 17, 2019 by Sonoma Valley Sun

I recently learned about Ken and Stacy Mattson, who have bought many businesses and properties in Sonoma recently. I, and many others, find much of what we are learning quite troubling.

Everyone has a right to their own opinion and their own vote. But when you publicly, as Stacy Mattson has (in Facebook posts that are now hidden from public view), denounce marriage equality and express your disgust for it, you may find that is not well-received by the majority of Sonoma residents who are open-minded and supportive of equal rights for all.

And when your business partner and co-owner in some of the properties you’ve acquired (Cornerstone, Ramekins, and the General’s Daughter) is Tim LeFever – a man who politically and financially works toward eliminating rights for LGBTQ+ citizens and undermining women’s reproductive freedom – you’ll discover that many of us will think twice about where we choose to spend our money.

Yes, the Mattsons and LeFever have a right to these opinions and to take these actions; however, there are consequences. Sonomans are rather opinionated, and we speak with our voices and with our dollars. We won’t stand by silently for much of anything around here that we disagree with, and we fly the rainbow flag over City Hall to celebrate and support ALL our citizens.

—  Carol Allison, Sonoma



27 thoughts on “Troubled by political opinions of Sonoma developer

  1. I guess they’ll find out soon enough if they need to move out of Sonoma because their not welcomed here with their political and religious insane philosophy.

  2. Fully agree with Carol’s sentiments. As the mother of a gay daughter, I need to know that she & her partner are welcome everywhere & will feel safe walking hand-in-hand. It is my biggest fear that harm may come to them simply for existing & sharing the love they have for each other. I never thought I might one day be concerned about them feeling unwelcome anywhere in Sonoma. I intend to continue to share the reasons why the money spent at these businesses may be used to take away hard earned human rights.

    I would also like to shine a light on Mr. LeFever’s sentiments that school bullying is acceptable. His past attempts to make sure trans students in CA are made to feel unwelcome & ridiculed is beyond cruelty. I am grateful to the Sacramento voters that have twice rejected his hate-filled agenda as a Tea Party candidate to be their state representative. Sonomans & tourists alike need to vote with our dollars now & show the world that united we stand.

  3. How they manage and run a businesses has nothing to do with their personal beliefs.
    Freedom of religion is the first thing written in our bill of rights, if you believe something different from what the owners of these establishments believe, that’s your legal right. However, they aren’t discriminating who they hire and your behavior now labels you as someone who is by definition, a bigot. Congratulations. Way to show them for their closed mindedness.

    1. Dear 28 year old: a “bigot” is defined as:
      a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices
      especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (such as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance. The only bigot in this picture is Stacy Mattson. Not tolerating a bigot does not amount to bigotry. Ignoring bigotry and not calling it out is tantamount to condoning it. I firmly stand on the side of those who refuse to patronize an establishment owned by a person who treats members of the LGBTQ community with disrespect.

  4. Unless they’re running for office, the nature of their personal beliefs should have nothing to do with how they are treated by the people of Sonoma, either in their business capacities or as individuals. The question should only be whether their business practices and policies are actually discriminatory in violation of the law.

    We as a community have no business acting as thought police for our neighbors. We should be able to disagree and still treat each other with respect. This is the basic foundation of a pluralistic society. If we start treating people as second-class citizens because we disagree with their views, where does it stop? The Mattsons and LeFever will probably survive despite losing a few patron, but where does this trend stop? Who is the next target? Do we start punishing people for wrongthink in order to purge our community of the impure? That is exactly the opposite of what the equality movement has sought to achieve.

    It may currently be trendy to hate people holding different political opinions, but such trends shouldn’t dictate how we treat each other in a relatively small community. Moreover, if you’re advocating discrimination against people you don’t know because somebody said they believe in something you disagree with, you are no better than any other bigot. There is no moral superiority in bigotry, even if you think your beliefs are morally superior to those you target.

    1. Of course we have the absolute right to our ” Moral ” opinions about whether we frequent or shop at their businesses. If they are openly anti gay in a Sonoma , ( or anywhere for that matter ) that is opening accepting of diversity in race or sexual orientatation. We as shoppers don’t have to ” hate ” them in order not to shop at their stores. It is not about ” hating” but it is about saying I’m not going to support a business that is openly anti gay. Why would I ? That is a ridiculous proposition. Stacy openly and publically states things that are downright anti gay. I personally have never heard her husband write that stuff however. While I agree that she has the right to her opinion I equally agree that people have the absolute right to boycott their businesses and guess what ? People will indeed boycott their businesses. The majority of people in this fine community of Sonoma will do tolerate anti gay slurs in our town yet endorce them by shopping at their stores. One would be a hypocrite to shop at their stores or places of business if one is pro gay which I’m sure 98% of sonoma is….. It is that crazy old 2% haters of diversity that keep thinking they are in control… Stacy needs to get over it… that is for sure.

    2. Wow, that’s easy to disagree with. This is America – and just as the Mattsons have every right to say and believe what they want to believe, in turn I, and anyone else in this country, county, and town has the right to tell them where they can put their unwelcome views should we desire it. This country is built on discourse, debate, and progress. Thank goodness we all enjoy the right to choice in matters just like this. The Mattsons choose to be vocal about their views, and guess what – I’ll choose to do the very same. Nothing they say sounds like they subscribe to the ideals of “equality” your narrow-minded comments are espousing. And, there’s nothing “trendy” about speaking out against people who seek to deny other people’s civil rights.

  5. Our last time at Sonoma’s Best…was officially our ‘last time’ at Sonoma’s Best. Inclusion and Equality is where the World needs to be headed and we won’t get there tolerating exclusion driven by those like this in our community. Maybe the Mattson’s should author a new book…”How to ruin your businesses in 3 steps or less”. We’ve removed all our praise for Sonoma’s Best and General’s Daughter from all our social media. We will no longer participate in Pizza & Pinots given it’s location. Time will tell how they fare, but if they survive this, it will be without another cent from us.

  6. Just “unsubscribed” from Sonoma’s Best mailing list. The tastings were fun, loved the staff but there are so many other businesses we can support. (Glad the newspaper has not been purchased by right-wing conservatives.)

  7. People and their views can change, and the information that has been shared is years old. So much has changed over the last five years alone. Jumping to conclusions based on outdated info isn’t the best idea, and Sonoman’s have always been quick to judge without having all the facts. Not condoning what’s been brought to our attention, but I like to give the benefit of the doubt. Easier for some than others I suppose.

    1. I would like to hear from the Mattsons and Mr. LeFever what their beliefs are right now, today. Perhaps the Sun can reach out to them and ask. It would be good to know if they still feel the same as when the Facebook posts were made and when the campaign concerning what is taught in schools happened. People can change, and I think we should know if they have or not.

      1. The Sun has made three different specific requests to the Mattson company (voice mail). No response, and frankly not expecting one.

  8. Holding people responsible for their public utterances,especially when they are, in effect, anti-social seems an honest enough public discussion for a community of readers (and customers) to hear of and become informed about. I know nothing of the business owners mentioned nor how they have stirred up these community responses. Getting comfortable and used to the presence and displays of homosexuality has not been easy for me. I’m grateful to love men but so far have never had a passion for or interest in
    sexual relations with them. Its easy for me to have empathy for individuals who are not fully comfortable with these evolving public norms. Public shaming and combat about such things seems to miss the challenge we all have to prosper, the sometimes enormously difficult task, a creative and positive humanity. For people not on that train I worry for their souls, not their businesses.

    1. Hey Ned. I think these people are a whole lot more than ” not comfortable with these evolving social norms”. They are outright hostile and outspoken about their hatred of the gay reality . This is not about ” public shaming” by the way – it about saying we will not frequent the businesses they own if they want to express bigoted opinions. I think many have said they have the right to their opinions but because they put it out in a public forum then we as members of the ” public ” have a right to respond the way we do. Right on to all those who support a boycott of bigots !!

  9. This is the first time I have heard this. Others have been positive about the Mattson’s ideas and plans, including housing at the Boyes market site. So I am sad to hear this. I to do not support businesses if I know the owner holds beliefs that discriminate against or think less of people because of race, sex or sexual orientation. I am wondering about marriages at Cornerstone, General’s Daughter, and Ramekins. They will need to be inclusive. As a wedding florist, I have worked on gay weddings at these venues in the past. They do need to think about this, if word of their beliefs gets out. Maybe it is time for them to examine their views, as the businesses they bought, can not afford to get a bad reputation when and if this gets out to a wider audience than Sonomans.

  10. All the hateful comments directed at this couple are disturbing. How sad that you ask for open-mindedness, yet bully those that don’t share your same views. Has any one asked what good they have done? Does anyone actually know these people? Or are you just assuming they are scum because of political/religious beliefs. Seriously people- it’s like you are coming out with pitchforks. It doesn’t show any love or open mindedness to lynch these people you don’t even know. It’s sad.

  11. Does anyone actually know these people? I feel like after reading the comments I am ashamed of this town and the hatred for someone that has different political/religious views. Stop bullying them and being intolerant of their views. Put your pitchforks away and maybe let’s get to know them and have real conversations about our concerns. Let’s see what they are about and what good they have done. They have been painted in such a horrible light. This lynch mob mentality is ridiculous. She can post whatever she wants just like I can post whatever I want on my Facebook. Who has the time to collect mud on someone on Facebook anyways? Seriously- it makes me sad how so many have been so unloving about this.

  12. I enjoyed reading responses from my neighbors of Sonoma. Grateful that we can and do discuss our opinions. These are tricky times. Social norms are changing! That’s mostly good. There are often backlashes against these changes. The Mattsons are only one family of probably many old-school thinkers who live in our valley and probably listen to too much propaganda and Rush Limbaugh. 2012-2015 was a while ago. Hopefully reality is sinking in and change of opinion is happening. I do believe we should avoid making war and instead educate. This reminds me of what happened to one of our best restaurants when animal rights activists got wind that the owners also had a fois gras sales business. They were boycotted and went belly-up, even though most of the other high end restaurants around the Plaza also served fois gras.
    We should try talking to people directly before making conclusions and declaring war on them.

  13. I will not support people’s businesses who I believe practice discrimination or bigotry. They are entitled to their beliefs and we are entitled to not support their businesses. Pretty simple. And I frequent a couple of these places. But no more. If I have to sacrifice going to places I enjoy to stand behind my beliefs the choice is obvious.

  14. So, now we cannot have beliefs which differ? I thought the First Amendment applied to all. I enjoy visiting my condo in Sonoma and returning to Michigan where we have a two party system. Sonoma can be very provincial at times.

  15. Thank you Sun for responding to me here. I think that by the Mattsons not responding to you, it makes it clear to me that they have not changed. What many writers miss is that no one is saying they can not have these opinions. What people are saying is, given that you have these opinions, we choose not to do business with you. The First Amendment is being applied to all, all can state their opinions. No one is silencing anyone from speaking.

  16. It never ceases to amaze me how provincial and intolerant of other people who do not share their beliefs, Sonoma is.

  17. People can express opinions which are different than yours. It is guaranteed by the First Amendment.

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