We like to think we know a lie from the truth, or think there is a gray area where we just can’t make a judgment. Sometimes we tell little lies, to avoid hurting someone’s feelings or just to get out of something. These little lies are not what I am talking about. I am talking about big lies that have big impacts.
San Francisco has something called the “Housing Stimulus and Fee Reform Plan”. They say it will slash affordable housing requirements and therefore get affordable housing built. The plan reduces the amount of affordable housing required in apartment projects from 21.5% to 12% and condo projects from 23.5% to 12%.
It is simply a lie to state this will create more affordable housing.
Republicans have something called Project 2025, which calls for dismantling almost every clean energy program in the Federal Government and boosting the production of fossil fuels. The big lie they are feeding us is that there is no climate change. What we can see with our own eyes, and scientists have documented, is to be ignored. They anticipate winning in 2024 and implementing this planet-destroying plan.
Now I come to one of our local lies. We may be a small town, but we are eating up some pretty big lies. It seems there are forces that are able to lie and never be questioned in our community. One instance that stands out is the seemingly small matter of permitting a second cannabis dispensary in the city of Sonoma. We have a dispensary, SPARC, whose owner who lied in front of the City Council, stating that those of us advocating for a second dispensary were taking large sums of money from someone in San Francisco. His employees also got up and lied, stating they would stock any product a customer requested.
The first statement I would call a big lie, and the second one, maybe a medium-sized lie. They will buy any product you request, if you buy a case. But, the biggest lie about SPARC involves who they are and how much money they have. Closer inspection lays out the vast number of enterprises, lobbying, and political influence SPARC has. They work tirelessly to stop competitors everywhere from opening.
SPARC met with Sonoma City Council members before the April 19 meeting. They pleaded financial hardship. Moving forward on a second dispensary was placed on hold. If SPARC must be the only dispensary here, why are they pursuing one of two spots in Healdsburg? In fact the owner has so much money, he can post jet setting vacation photos on social media. It is ironic that someone stating they are suffering financially can support a lifestyle well beyond what many of us can afford.
The council stated that they can’t call people out for lying while making public comments, they can only listen. When someone is raving about conspiracy theories or seems mentally unbalanced this would make sense. Where it does not make sense is when lies affect many of us. It is time for the city of Sonoma to put out an RFP for a second dispensary.
Our little town and valley has a real issue with lies and truth when it comes to many commercial business dealings. In the end it does not bode well for us.