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Posted on October 28, 2020 by Sonoma Valley Sun

Despite the absence of an election for City Council, since Amy Harrington and Jack Ding earned seats due to a lack of other candidates, there are a number of important measures on this year’s ballot. Voters are being asked to approve four different measures: renewal of the urban growth boundary, a half-cent sales tax extension, a special tax on cannabis sales, and a decision about how cannabis retailing happens in Sonoma. We’ve taken a look at all of them, and offer the following recommendations.

Renewal of Sonoma’s Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) – Yes on W

For 20 years Sonoma’s UGB has prevented sprawl, but it will expire this year unless voters renew it. A super majority of the City Council, the entire Planning Commission, and Planning Department staff all support the renewal. It is important to note that the UGB offers the strongest affordable housing mandate in Sonoma history on any land added to the UGB (up to 20 acres). Vote Yes on W.

More info on W

Renewal of Sonoma’s half-cent sales tax – No on V

We’re leery of approving this sales tax renewal until the city gets its financial house in order. This half-cent sales tax was first placed on the ballot and approved by voters in 2012 as temporary and was set to expire after five years. By the time 2016 arrived, voters were asked to extend the tax measure, and again told it would expire in another five years. This year another extension is being requested, but this time with no expiration. It’s long past time that the city operated in a more financially responsible manner; voters should force fiscal restraint upon it. Vote No on V.

More on V

Cannabis Retailing – Yes on Y

The city spent tens of thousands of dollars this year on a process to approve one cannabis retailer, and countless staff hours in preparing and administering its application and approval. Yet in 2018, a citizens’ initiative to allow cannabis retailing secured enough signatures to appear on that year’s ballot. So what happened? By requiring a “report” on the initiative, the city ensured the initiative missed the ballot deadline and it did not appear on the ballot until this year. Cannabis retailing is highly regulated by the State of California, yet the city decided to embark upon its own complex regulatory scheme. The City is behind the curve on tax revenue from cannabis, and lost years of income due to its prudish attitude. When it comes to cannabis policy, it’s time for the city to move into the 21st century and implement the same regulatory apparatus used for every other type of retailer. We allow more than one wine retailer; why not allow more than one cannabis shop? Vote Yes on Y.

More on Y

Special Sales Tax on Cannabis – Yes on X

All sorts of fees and taxes are applied to alcohol sales, and a special tax on cannabis will help fill the city’s budget deficits. If Measure Y passes, we might end up with two or three cannabis retailers, and the income to the city could be very substantial. High tax-producing retailers are becoming scarcer as Internet companies like Amazon and Carvana increasingly capture consumer spending. As traditional retail sales decline at “brick and mortar” businesses, it’s financially prudent that the City of Sonoma get its fair share of what’s sold locally. Vote Yes on X.

More on X

— Sun Editorial Board



12 thoughts on “The Sun recommends

  1. Sonoma ended up as the “protected” manor house in a plantation economy. The servants are segregated in the Springs, under-represented, under-provisioned, while wealthy Sonoma is overwhelmingly white and has hoarded goods and opportunities. The greenbelt is the wall, the redline, same xenophobic dynamic as Trump’s wall.
    The hypocrisy of a so call “progressive’s news paper” A reason why I STOPED contributing.

    1. FYI, Here is Fred Allebach’s latest piece on the UGB — he’s against Measure W. This posted this morning.

  2. It’s a shame you don’t contribute your viewpoint anymore —
    how about an argument against Measure W? We will print that, as we’ve done with Fred Allebach’s many pieces against the UGB. And by the way, The Sun never refers to itself as a “progressive newspaper” — in fact, what does that actually mean? And since we are entitled to share the opinions of our editorial board, I see no ‘hypocrisy’ here.

  3. Again, I do not consider the Sun to be a progressive paper. Apparently you do. So, what does it mean for a newspaper to be progressive? And what does that have to do with Measure M, which you have yet to make a rational argument for?

  4. It is a shame that while endorsing measure Y you did not mention that the city of Sonoma can change the ordinance they have in place at any time by a majority vote and choose to allow more dispensaries or other cannabis businesses. If measure Y does not work out for the city for any reason, it must again go to the ballot, as it can not be changed, amended or repealed without another ballot measure. Of course I do agree that the past make up of the city council dragged it’s feet and did not address cannabis in a timely manner. There are 2 present and 1 former city council members whose fault this is. Hopefully going forward the city council will be more “progressive” and deal with things that should not be put off, so that the need to address them by ballot measures happens less. As for letting the state oversee what goes on and just relying on that. Let’s see how that goes over if Y passes. We may end up with nothing. If things do not go smoothly with how they run under Y and the voters have issues with cannabis operations, those of us who rely on cannabis for our health, may just end up back where we started from, getting delivery and driving long distances.

  5. Measure M or W? Lol. Get it right. Thanks for clarifying you not PROGRESIVE that was bad on my part to assume you were. Anyway, if you can explain what does it means to be an “independent voice, I might consider sharing what I understand as progressive’s. Its a revolutionary idea I must tell you

    1. Again, what do your nonsensical word games have to do with Measure M, which you have yet to make a rational argument for? The issue deserves better. Stop facebooking and make your point.

  6. About an argument, well if people like you were truly interested in hearing others I would ask you read Fred’s multiple Written articles on the matter. But obviously your White board is not interested to hear those of us who disagree and say Vote No on W-ithe.

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