I have always held the belief that people should be educated and informed on topics as much as possible in order to make a decision that works for them. It is especially true in these challenging times when there is so much information out there that we have to sift through.
Case in point here in Sonoma with the most recent purchase of the beloved and historic Sonoma Cheese Factory building. This landmark and a centerpiece on the Square now belongs to Ken and Stacy Mattson and what they call their Sonoma Hospitality Brand.
Since making the move to Sonoma about two years ago the Mattsons have purchased over $100 million dollars worth of Sonoma property and businesses. Clearly they are very private people who do not participate in many local events, which is fine as that is their choice. They donate anonymously as I have been told (by the Mattsons themselves) which also is fine.
What I along with many others in our community have a difficult time with is their religious beliefs against LGBTQ people as well as their stance on women’s rights and more.
When it was discovered a little over a year ago that Stacy Mattson had anti-gay statements and anti-Obama posts on her Facebook page she immediately took her page private. Again, her choice, although my feeling is, why not own it? If you strongly believe your words, why take them away?
I’ll tell you why: because they believe in god and business first, over people. They may hate who I am as a gay person and not want me to have equality, but they will take my money as certain as the sun rises! In turn some of that money will go to their church, which will then take that money to fight against my equal rights and yours.
This is why I feel it is imperative that the public be informed and educated when it comes to knowing where their hard-earned money is going. You as the consumer can then choose to support that business or not.
There are some who say you are hurting the employees not the business. I do realize that many people do not have a choice when it comes to their job. I feel for them. I know many who do work for this company and are not happy about it, but they also understand my choice not to support the business.
Fortunately for the Mattsons we live in a tourist-based town. Most of their business will end up coming from tourists. In the end, though, the Mattsons stand alone in a town that believes in community first.
— Gary Saperstein, Sonoma