WatchSonoma Watch

Opponents consider ballot measure to stop Cotati roundabouts


Opponents of a plan to remake Cotati’s downtown into a narrower street that includes roundabouts have told city officials they will pursue a ballot initiative unless they change course.

The initiative would bar the city from building roundabouts anywhere within its limits. Its backers want the city to adhere to a concept it previously outlined, a four-lane street controlled by traffic lights.

Some in Cotati said a fight over a ballot measure would be bad for the city.

“I think it’s going to divide the town in half, like it did when people were fighting against having Lucky come in,” said Cheryl Nixon, owner of Friar Tucks, a popular tavern. She was referring to a 1997 initiative that produced hard feelings that lasted for years.

But its supporters said it’s the only way to sway city leaders who favor the plan, which passed easily through the design review process and the Planning Commission.

The City Council takes it up Wednesday.

“They can either represent and do what the citizens and the small business and property owners want, or they can put it on the ballot,” said Patricia Minnis, a jewelry store owner who this week filed a letter with the city alerting it of the intention to pursue a referendum unless it changes course.

She said she acted on behalf of merchants who are against the plan, which would narrow Old Redwood Highway to two lanes and install two roundabouts between Gravenstein Highway and La Plaza Street.

“If the actual citizens get to decide, there’s no fairer way to do it,” said Neville Hormuz, owner of Loud & Clear, a music store on the half-mile stretch of street.

The redesign project has been controversial since it was unveiled in October as part of an effort to revitalize Cotati’s main street.

It won wide support from people who said it would preserve Cotati’s small-town appeal.

But Oliver’s Market officials said it would restrict traffic. They said they would not move downtown, as they had planned, if the two-lane plan went forward. A chorus of other business people said it could put their livelihoods at risk.

Oliver’s Market officials, who launched the successful 1997 referendum against the Lucky Supermarkets proposal, said they aren’t connected to the plan for an initiative.

“We’re not playing a role, and we’re not taking a stand either way,” said the company’s general manager, Tom Scott.

Initiative supporters would need 588 signatures — 15 percent of the city’s registered voters — to qualify it for a special election. It needs the support of 10 percent of voters, or 392 signatures, to qualify for a municipal election, one of which is scheduled for November. The measure could cost as much as $24,000 to put to voters, the price estimated for previously proposed special elections.

Vice Mayor Susan Harvey said the measure would be divisive and that there has been ample chance for residents and others to shape the plan. “There’s plenty of opportunity for people to provide their input and that process works,” she said, “There have been public input meetings.”

It’s unclear whether a city could be prevented by voter initiative from building roundabouts.

“There are court cases that can go different ways,” said Fredric Woocher, an election law expert whose Los Angeles firm, Strumwasser & Woocher, works on referendums.

He said legislative decisions, such as general plan amendments, for example, are subject to referendum. Other decisions, those considered to be administrative or executive, are not. “They’re not always easy questions to figure out,” Woocher said.

40 Responses to “Opponents consider ballot measure to stop Cotati roundabouts”

  1. Ricardo Sorentino says:

    RE: Lucky2BOliver’s – (I serious doubt you have anything to do with Oliver’s market or speak one way or the other for them; why the name charade? Who and what are you hiding from?)

    “It looks like there is a little flaw with your story. I always like it when people ignore the facts just to be able make their case.”

    And just what facts am I ignoring? While you are good at filling up space in your replies to people, they never have much, if any, bearing on what was originally posted, and you seemly just repost information that was already brought up. I don’t need a further explanation on what Matteri Circle looks like or how successful it is. And I don’t need a history lesson of the Matteri Circle neighborhood: I watched them build it. Pointing out how few homes are actually in that development and the problems in the morning with people trying to pull out only proves my point about too many vehicles in too small a space. In regards to your remark ‘This should clear up your apparent confusion regarding roundabouts’ I would think that the term ’roundabouts’ is pretty self explanatory, at least for most of us, so no confusion on my part and have used them in Petaluma and Santa Rosa.

    Yes, I live in Rohnert Park, no big mystery there and yes, since East Cotati Ave is a main thoroughfare, I do ‘take advantage of their streets to travel from your (my) home’. It doesn’t take a road engineer to figure out that you have to do the same thing, unless you never venture out more than three blocks from your home. Or maybe you use a helicopter, which would explain your enthusiasm for the roundabouts: you won’t actually have to drive them.

    Go enjoy a coffee, and start typing away: seems that there are others that don’t share your perspective.


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  2. Keep It Local says:

    Yeah for Cotati. Takes vision to go against the flow of American sprawl. Don’t worry businesses. I am much more likely to shop and browse and spend money with the Mainstreet Village design.

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  3. Jay Behr says:

    Let’s hear it for the Cotati City Council! 5-0 for the Village Main Street plan. Cheers!

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  4. Lucky2BOliver's says:


    I know the area of Matteri Circle well, as I attended the meeting at which this development was approved a number of years ago. It consists of 22 single family dwellings, and 3 multi-family dwellings in a compact infill development on a narrow circular residential street (if I remember correctly, the developer wanted an even higher density, but was denied). You can confirm this configuration, and the one way in/one way out entrance/exit, commonly referred to as a driveway, by looking at Google Earth:


    After looking at Google Earth, compare Matteri Circle to:


    This graphic clearly shows what a roundabout looks like- in Cotati’s case, four ways in/four ways out, with continual traffic movement, as opposed to a stop sign at the end of a driveway. This should clear up your apparent confusion regarding roundabouts. I’m surprised that you didn’t learn this at last night’s Cotati City Council meeting (given your level of interest, I presume that you were there, weren’t you?).

    Actually, based on your statement, “I drive through Cotati on almost a daily basis,” it appears likely that you do not live there, but just take advantage of their streets to travel from your home (R.P./S.R./Petaluma/Sebastopol/???) to your work, school, etc.

    It looks like there is a little flaw with your story.

    I always like it when people ignore the facts just to be able make their case.

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  5. Ricardo Sorentino says:

    Doesn’t Cotati already have a roundabout of sorts, one way in, one way out? It’s at Matteri Circle, not too far from Oliver’s.

    And while I’m sure that all the people that are pro-roundabout for Cotati will give me ‘thumbs-down’, I wouldn’t be too surprised if that’s what the homeowners/renters in that neighborhood give when trying to leave there in the morning. I’ve driven by in the morning and seen them 5 and 6 cars deep, trying to exit from the neighborhood, on to East Cotati Ave. Or maybe it’s just my imagination: could be some sort of morning social event.

    Ingress and egress engineering at it’s finest.

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  6. Social Dis-Ease says:

    To WSC obundsman:
    I don’t consider asking a public official to uphold their oath, or to uphold the Constitution, to be sociopathic.

    Aside from name calling, were you able to contest any FACTS?

    Pretty heavy stuff, we’re talking about: our lives, our dreams, our business’, our abundance, our freedoms, our property rights.
    OUR money.

    Personally, I’m a softy.

    I just don’t like being oppressed.

    I’m funny that way.

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  7. Small Street Journal says:

    Unconfirmed reports have emerged that, with the opening of their new store in Windsor, Oliver’s Markets is considering a name change to more accurately reflect the regional nature of their ever-expanding chain of stores.

    Sources tell us that one of the leading contenders that has emerged is “Pack and Stack”, although negotiations are still ongoing over potential copyright infringement issues with one of America’s major “allies” in the war on terror.

    Another unknown factor is the level of acceptability of the “Pack and Stack” name to Trader Joe’s, in the event that the chain is sold after the completion of the new Cotati and Windsor locations.

    We will continue to update you with additional details as they become available.

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  8. Kay Tokerud says:

    Oliver’s should bail on the Cotati project and other businesses shouldn’t locate in Cotati either. Why? Because ABAG and the MTC, unelected boards with tremendous power and money have decided that no new housing should be built in that town. How do I know this? I attended the One Bay Area planning meeting in which the Priority Development areas were shown on a map. Almost all new housing development in the north bay will either be in small areas of Santa Rosa or just north of Sonoma in the Springs Redevelopment area.

    That’s one reason they are shrinking down the road into Cotati. Any smart business owner will flee an area of no growth and traffic choking projects. The One Bay Area plan is a grand social engineering program in which they are trying to dictate where all the new housing units (smartgrowth only) will be built. Smartgrowth is United Nations Agenda 21 pure and simple. They plan to pack you and stack you in city centers of their choice ‘going forward’, as the globalists say. Any property owners of undeveloped property that is not located in a priority development area will probably be denied building any housing units for the next 25 years if One Bay Area is adopted. They say city councils have a choice but if they allow development in other areas, then they won’t be receiving transportation grants for those areas. Will our cities take the money and strip property rights from their constituents? I think so, don’t you?

    Traffic circles, bike lanes,and road diets are all designed to limit and restrict private vehicle use. That’s the Agenda 21/ICLEI plan for how future people shall live. They’re building the hardscape of the future now, even if people don’t want it and won’t use it. How many bicycles are in those lanes now? Hardly any. They will have to make you quit using your car. Isn’t it convenient for them to say that by restricting our freedom of travel and freedom of where we live is all to save the planet from imminent destruction.

    In fact, everything they are doing to cut us down economically and socially can be justified by their simple assertion that the planet is warming up. They have packaged our downward spiral as a good thing so they can be blameless when they take from us the things we value most, like perhaps our freedom? If people don’t wake up and smell the UN
    Agenda 21 plan to cut us down to size, then it will continue to happen as we stand by and watch.

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  9. Jay Behr says:

    Eima Mohr-Rhone, I love you!
    You are too cool for this school, I’ll tell you that. Thank you for the comic relief.

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  10. V.D. says:

    If you look at the schedule for Wednesday night’s Cotati City Council meeting, you will notice that the discussion of the roundabouts is Item 21 on the agenda. That’s right- look on the agenda at 21. Agenda, 21- I knew it! They’ve been conspiring about this for weeks! This is iczactlei what I have been trying to warn all of you citizens about!

    Cotati- stop this madness now, before you all go crazy!

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  11. Greg Karraker says:

    Eima —

    You are indeed a Mohr-Ohne, albeit one of the funnier ones on your family tree.

    I think you should put your large talent to work on goroundabouts.com I’m sure the pro-traffic-choking arguments will be a hoot.

    Judy —

    I’m glad I could give you a chuckle on this chilly day. Just for the record, I’m a big fan of divisiveness, especially when it involves trying to stop the fools who want to play Sim City with our streets and our money.

    I’ll be here all week… try the veal.

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  12. A European Perspective On Roundabouts says:

    I grew up in Europe, and I want to make you aware of some of the unpublished dangers of roundabouts.

    Roundabout advocates will try to make you believe that they are easy to maneuver through and that all you have to do is “drive counterclockwise”. Nice try- everyone realizes that most clocks today, especially those in cars, are digital. With no dashboard point of reference, who can possibly remember which direction clocks go? Thus, only older, feeble drivers who grew up in the analog age or drivers of older cars will be able to safely use roundabouts.

    Between the end of the Black Plague and the invention of roundabouts, all of Europe relied heavily on four-way intersections for population control. At one point in history, four-way intersections were even considered a surreptitious method of birth control by the Vatican. Their critical role in maintaining the delicate balance between birth and mortality rates was ultimately eclipsed by the unfortunate lack of fatal injuries produced by roundabouts. This is the reason why the rapid overpopulation of many European countries can be directly attributed to roundabouts.

    As a child, I listened to my grandfather tell the tragic story of how roundabouts painfully slowed the retreat of our fleeing army during World War II, offering dramatic proof that they are a threat to national security. Fortunately, the roundabouts also restricted the invading German tanks to about 40 KPH (25 MPH), allowing our brave resistance fighters to destroy them with Molotov cocktails. Thoroughly confused Panzer drivers were overheard uttering, “Was vermischt Mittel?” (“What does ‘merge’ mean?”). Roundabouts proved to be such an effective anti-tank weapon that, after our liberation by the Americans, our government built a continuous line of them along our border with Germany. We have now lived in peace for over sixty years- proof of the power of roundabouts to deter aggression.

    If you think that gas prices are high in the United States now, just wait until the roundabouts arrive. In Europe, the demand for gasoline dropped dramatically after the demise of the four-way intersection due to the lack of idling and accelerating. The oil companies were then understandably left with no choice but to raise the price of gasoline to $9.00/gallon in order to recuperate all of their lost profits. As you look back through history, it is easy to see the direct correlation between increases in the price of gas and the proliferation of roundabouts.

    Due to the soaring price of gasoline, all Europeans were forced to buy small, fuel-efficient cars, many of which were particulate/ozone-spewing diesels. As we were all now driving the same cars, when the rare crash did occur, everyone received similar minor injuries. Because injuries were now fairly comparable, uniform physician training was implemented, and before we knew it, we were all receiving the same identical medical treatment. As you can plainly see, both Universal Health Care and global warming are direct consequences of roundabouts.

    Another little-known fact about roundabouts is their generation of inescapable whirlpool forces, drawing innocent vehicles into their center, where a tragic end awaits. Despite the repeated warnings of the man in the black coat, watch as this unsuspecting truck, tires screeching, is helplessly sucked trailer first into the vortex at the center of the roundabout:


    Conversely, roundabouts have been documented to generate debilitating G-forces due to the centrifugal forces experienced within them. This phenomenon is widespread and well-known throughout Europe. It has consistently been linked to: tumors, leukemia, birth defects, miscarriages, chronic fatigue, head aches, cataracts, heart problems, stress, nausea, chest pain, memory loss, and confusion as to your true identity. A tragic example of the confusion experienced by those who undergo repeated exposure to roundabouts are the firemen who now refer to themselves variously as “pompiers”, “bomberos”, or most heartbreaking of all, “feuerwehrmanner”.

    In a related matter, it has been conclusively established that roundabouts pose an unacceptable level of delay to speeding emergency vehicles, as a result of the arduous turning maneuvers required to get through them. The obvious superior efficiency of four way intersections over roundabouts in this regard is clearly demonstrated here:


    Finally, roundabouts are often associated with so-called “road diets”. A recent study conducted by Twolane University highlights some of the dangers of these diets, most notably speeding disorders and wait loss. Disturbing diet-induced clogging of streets and sidewalks caused by bicyclists and pedestrians shedding their disposable income was also noted. Unexpectedly, they observed a curious decrease in the incidence of angstorexia. The Twolane researchers are currently continuing to investigate thus far unsubstantiated reports of blockages and constrictions due to road diets. To date, the results of their study have shown that everything that goes in one end appears to come out the other end unimpeded.

    To learn more about these and other shocking facts regarding the dangers of roundabouts and road diets, go to: http://www.noroundabouts.com/

    Please drive safely,
    Eima Mohr-Rhone

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  13. Judy says:

    Ok, I’ve managed to stop laughing long enough to respond to the absolutely hysterical post accusing Nixon and Harvey of having no problem with “divisiveness” when they supported the (very successful I might add) recall of George Barich. Oh my god, thanks for the laugh but come on, I’m thinking you must be smart enough to know how funny that was. Ok yes, the recall was divisive and that’s because George Barich is “divisiveness” personified. The recall was just a great example of you reap what you sow. Sometimes you just have to fight fire with fire and it came right back at ya, didn’t it? Divisiveness really did beget divisiveness there. It’s kind of simple guys, if you don’t want “divisive” stop being so darn…well divisive. Otherwise, bring it, and don’t complain when it comes back to bite you in the butt.

    And I can’t wait for your response. Just too funny.

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  14. Greg Karraker says:


    Fortunately, neither you nor I were there at the time, but brown-shirt political intimidation involved fists, clubs, knives, guns, and ultimately, gas chambers.

    I see none of these here, even on the more unhinged posts. What I do see is anger at the way progressives are driving this county, this state, and this country into the ground.

    As a person who has expressed that anger often, here and at numerous city council meetings, I thank the PD for not “editing” or “cleaning up” my speech. If any progressive finds my thoughts to be objectionable, they are free to not read them, or to offer a counter-argument. And in the unlikely event that one of your thoughts happens to be more correct than mine, I won’t go whining to the moderator asking for fairness.

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  15. WSC Ombudsman says:

    Case in point with previous post from the aptly named “Social Disease”:

    “Attention Ted Appel: clean up WSC”

    Ted, in case you’re wondering why the site you are in charge of moderating has been overrun and dominated by a dozen really nasty Tea Party/ anti-UN fanatics, look to some of the recent comments by some of the more unhinged posters. More than once, inflammatory statements calling local public officials “traitors” has made it past your edit screen.
    I have seen these same characters stand in front of public meetings and point to each council member or planning commissioner and menacingly denounce them as “traitors to the American way of life”. This is way past just expressing a strong point of view…these are brown-shirt political intimidation tactics, designed to drive opposing political views into silence.
    Ted, you are failing your readers, and amplifying this dangerous new trend in our local political environment by continuing to air these open threats by a few deranged individuals who seek to chill public discourse.
    If you want to save this site from the continual downward spiral that it has been in for quite some time, and bring back more mainstream conservative, centrist, liberal, and progressive commentators into the mix, you need to stop serving as a megaphone for these political sociopaths. The threats should end up on the cutting floor. Then we might regain a larger audience for the site.
    0 0

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  16. Social Dis-Ease says:

    To Jay:
    you’re right, the choice is clear.

    Either kick ICLEI out of our communities.
    Be continually amazed at the anti-intuitive, evil, over priced attempts ICLEI provides to orchestrate our demise.

    FACT: It is the Agenda’s goal to crash our economy (documented).
    FACT: ICLEI is the local implementation arm of Agenda 21.
    FACT: Cotati is an ICLEI member.
    FACT: Cotati is literally accountable to ICLEI, including measureable, chronological, incentivized ($) goals.
    FACT: ICLEI is the motivating ‘force’ behind this uncalled for sabotage.
    FACT: This allegiance is in treason with the simple Oath the City officials take.
    (the intention and spirit of the Oath was to prevent THIS).
    FACT: Agenda 21/Sustainable Development is a global blueprint of oppression and collectivism under the false guise of environmentalism persuant to control through a One World Government run by very few. A comprehensive plan of action to be implemented globally by the U.N. and locally by ICLEI. (see:http://www.freedomadvocates.org/video/watch/145_short_intro_to_agenda_21/).

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  17. Lucky2BOliver's says:


    First of all, thanks for the kind words- they’re appreciated!

    Secondly, I apologize for using misleading language to avoid divulging the fact that Old Redwood Highway is currently four lanes in Cotati (under consideration for reduction to only two lanes) and currently only two lanes in Windsor(with no plans to widen it to four lanes).

    I can see where these facts would be easily obscured by statements such as:

    “If you turn Old Redwood Highway into a two lane road…”, “…the new grocery store was located on a two lane section of Old Redwood Highway…”, “Secondly, you are correct that the existing section of Old Redwood Highway in Windsor is two lanes, while the existing section of Old Redwood Highway in Cotati is four lanes. There was no attempt made to obscure these facts in my story.”, “Thus, they were opposed to the reduction of Old Redwood Highway in Cotati from four lanes to two lanes. The fact that Old Redwood Highway in Windsor is only two lanes and will remain that configuration appears to be a non-issue for them. Why isn’t the failure of Windsor to widen Old Redwood Highway to four lanes a “deal breaker” for them?”

    Thanks to you, my attempts at subterfuge and obfuscation were exposed.

    I will make a concerted effort to choose my words more carefully in the future.

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  18. Jay Behr says:

    The choice is clear. The Village Main Street option with roundabouts will deliver the same traffic throughput as the conventional Expressway design, but with the added value of accessibility to pedestrian and bicycle traffic.This is the design wave of the future.

    We will have increasing emphasis on multi-modal transit, including bus and train lines, as well as incentivization for foot and bike traffic. It’s really amazing how the opposition to these common-sense design advances tries to cook it up into some kind of scary internationalist plot to end the American Way of Life.

    That just goes to show you the degradation of contemporary right-wing discourse. We should not pay those folks any attention. They have not earned it.

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  19. Ricardo Sorentino says:

    RE: Lucky2BOliver’s – “Rather than ignoring the facts, I think that it may merely be a case of you missing my point.”

    Great that you took the time to further your agenda, but YOU in fact have missed my point, which I’m sure was intentional, just so you could post a rebuttal and go on and on about nothing regarding my actual post.

    While I don’t agree with the roundabouts for Cotati, no where in my post do I take a position. My comment was nothing more than you are ignoring the fact that Old Redwood is already a two-lane road in Windsor, and it’s a four-lane in Cotati. I don’t care how big/wide the proposed roundabout will be; there is no way you can have the same traffic flow with only two lanes rather than four.

    I’t doesn’t matter to me that Oliver’s is willing to accept one set of road conditions in Windsor, and another for Cotati. I drive through Cotati on almost a daily basis, but never through Windsor. Personally, what the city of Windsor does has no bearing on me, and likely many people from Rohnert Park and Cotati.

    Next time, please post your ‘PR’ work in a rebuttal in opposition to your concerns, not the facts that are proven by Google Earth.

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  20. Steveguy says:


    Nice presentation, but you have omitted the fact that Old Redwood Highway in Windsor is a 2 lane road there versus a 4 lane road.

    Want a compromise Euro-style ? Let’s have 2-3 lanes from each direction like they do. May the mayhem ensue. ( Especially the Prius drivers, ironically)

    Though I am unfamiliar with the plan, I am familiar with roundabouts. Bend Oregon has some nice ones that service businesses that use trucking, and I have driven thru the West side towing a horse trailer.

    I can imagine one could work well at Fulton Road and Airport Blvd ( just to the East of the freeway. But they plan to remove the Northbound 101 Fulton Road exit, bummer.

    But would I want a roundabout at a place like Lakewood and Brooks Rd in Windsor ? I don’t think so.

    Ohh, and Lucky2B, nice firetruck crash collection. Thanks

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  21. Lucky2BOliver's says:


    Why would you waste your time watching:


    when you could be watching:


    Similarly, why would you spend time watching:


    when you could be watching:














    It appears as if the biggest disadvantage of roundabouts to emergency responders is their inability to generate spectacular 90 degree “T-Bone” crash You Tube videos. As is clearly demonstrated, four way signalized intersections, such as those advocated by the sponsors of the anti-roundabout referendum in Cotati, are vastly superior in this regard. I am so glad that the sponsors of the proposed ballot measure have the best interests of our emergency responders at heart by prohibiting the obviously boring roundabouts. Let’s keep those awesome videos coming!

    On a serious note, I fully realize that being an emergency responder is a vital and dangerous profession. I hope that every run is a safe run, and that “Everyone Goes Home”.

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  22. Honus Wager says:

    I believe the hand of corruption is caressing the City Council.

    Has anyone seen even one “YES Roundabout” sign anywhere in town?

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  23. Joyce Garcia says:

    With all due respect, in regards to public input – yes there are open public participation forums such as council meetings where the council has already made up its mind on how they are going to vote. There is public “participation” during the workshops that are put on by the Planning Commission that only a small hand full of citizens attend, and only those who are already participate in the business of the City know about. There is no extra effort to get the information out to the residents besides the usual…placing the information of meetings in the flyer of your PG&E bill. How many of you look forward to reading that flyer? This is business as usual and it is ultimately how they are able to pull off their agendas, guilt free so to speak.

    There was no actual public input when you consider the majority of individuals who attended the workshops were either on the commission, city staff or those who had some kind of stake in the proposed plan.

    If the input of citizens actually make a difference, then why did they vote “yea” in lockstep? The majority of people who did speak talked about compromise…where is the compromise? Where is the discussion?

    If the input of the citizens actually make a difference, then why was the motion to approve the item already written out?

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  24. Late for That Latte says:

    Those pinheads who want a roundabout because they work in Europe need to move to Europe to truly enjoy the benefits of driving in horrible traffic, terrible drivers and really bad traffic manners.

    Roundabouts have not solved the problems there and they will not solve little Cotati’s traffic problem on the Redwood Highway.

    Keep the Redwood Highway a four lane road and keep the Eurofiles off our streets and on their bikes where they are happyiest reading their hiking travel books.

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  25. Lucky2BOliver's says:

    @ Ricardo Sorentino

    Rather than ignoring the facts, I think that it may merely be a case of you missing my point.

    Oliver’s initially said that the two proposed roundabouts in Cotati were “deal breakers” for them. Tom Scott, from an October 19, 2011 Press Democrat article: “We’ve told them that if they go with the roundabout situation, we’re going to walk away from our project,”.

    As these things do not happen overnight, Oliver’s was very likely simultaneously in negotiations with the Town of Windsor and the developers of Bell Village to locate their new store on a section of Old Redwood Highway that has two proposed roundabouts on it, one right in front of their store, as a part of the plans for the project that will house their new store. There is actually an additional third proposed roundabout in very close proximity to their new store, at the intersection of Old Redwood Highway and Windsor River Road. Additionally, there is back-in reverse diagonal parking along Old Redwood Highway in front of their store.




    So, the first question is, why are the roundabouts that are so unacceptable in Cotati so readily accepted without issue in Windsor, 17 miles away on essentially the same road?

    Secondly, you are correct that the existing section of Old Redwood Highway in Windsor is two lanes, while the existing section of Old Redwood Highway in Cotati is four lanes. There was no attempt made to obscure these facts in my story.

    Oliver’s then took the position that a two lane configuration in Cotati will restrict the flow of traffic to the point where it will destroy the viability of their business, and that four lanes are required to provide enough traffic volume in front of their location. Thus, they were opposed to the reduction of Old Redwood Highway in Cotati from four lanes to two lanes. The fact that Old Redwood Highway in Windsor is only two lanes and will remain that configuration appears to be a non-issue for them. Why isn’t the failure of Windsor to widen Old Redwood Highway to four lanes a “deal breaker” for them?

    Curiously, and to their credit, Oliver’s did eventually propose a two lane configuration with two roundabouts for Cotati that was acceptable to them.

    So, the second question is, why is/was a two lane street configuration so unacceptable in Cotati when it is seemingly just fine in Windsor, 17 miles away? I have seen no indications that Windsor is planning on widening Old Redwood Highway in front of the new Oliver’s store.

    The point here is that it appears, absent any evidence to the contrary, that Oliver’s was simultaneously engaged in confrontation over changes to Old Redwood Highway in Cotati, changes that ironically would mimic the proposed configuration of Old Redwood Highway at their new store site in Windsor, while discretely pursuing and readily accepting those very same things nearby.

    If nothing else, this whole matter has seemed extremely hypocritical and disingenuous on the part of Oliver’s.

    If I had to guess, I think that they don’t care about the two lane road/roundabouts in Windsor because there are so many people who either currently live or will live so close by that they can walk or bicycle to their new store. There will be almost 400 residences right next door, with the entire Village Green mixed-use complex right across the street. In fact, maybe they secretly want the two lanes with roundabouts configuration so that all of these customers can safely cross Old Redwood Highway to shop at their store.

    This may turn out to be a shining example of the wisdom of mixed-use, high density projects….

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  26. Social Dis-Ease says:

    based on the City Cronies thumbs down, I guess they don’t want the local business’ to thrive.

    As long as they look loyal to ICLEI…
    THAT’S what’s really important.

    At least THEIR paycheck will be ‘sustainable’.

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  27. Social Dis-Ease says:

    I’ve posted on this story ’till I have carpal tunnel.

    This stuff drives me nuts, it’s like chalk on a board.

    Paying taxes through the nose so these ‘public servants’ can take directive from a globalist NGO to socially engineer the sabotage of us and OUR communities (secretly).

    Cotati City Hall would be well served around now to save face, and drop it.

    All of Sonoma County should ralley around these citizen’s efforts.

    Because we are all in this together, we all live in a particularly ICLEI infested county.

    The Smart thing.
    The highest utility bills thing.
    The defund road maintanance thing.
    The oppressive land use/zoning thing.
    The ‘Redevelopment’ thing.
    The death by regulation thing.

    It’s ALL the same thing.

    Practicly everything we post about, scratch our head about, complain about.

    It’s roots are all in Agenda 21/ICLEI.

    Let’s draw a line somewhere.

    How about here. Now.

    Cotati is such a clear perfect example.

    The Smart train is another, so central to their whole ‘model’.

    My Christmas wish would be that the citizens reach a kind of tipping point.
    That these issues and the blatant disregard for US becomes SO obvious that an unprecedented number of citizens get involved that never would before.

    That our efforts become an example for other communities going through the same crap.

    You go Cotati.

    I’ll be rootin’ for ‘ya like trailer trash at a tractor pull!

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  28. Money Grubber says:

    Cotati Pedistrian:

    You may have doubts about using a voter initiative to influence traffic patterns, but you are wrong.

    A voter initiative was successfully used on the East San Francisco Bay in Walnut Creek about 10 years or 15 years ago.

    THAT city council refused to act. They refused to act on the horrific traffic because they were gleefully raking in larger and larger amounts of property tax money from all the new residents.

    The down side was that people were sitting through traffic signals two, three, and four times before they could get through to the next block.

    Again, the City Council did NOTHING to alleviate the trouble due to greed for themselves and their government bank accounts.

    So, the voters voted to limit growth until traffic was reduced enough so that drivers did not have to wait ten minutes or more to get through red lights.

    Now, that was regulating traffic in a backdoor manner, but it was directed AT TRAFFIC patterns.

    And, the voters rule. Not the government. Not the bureaucrats. Not the government wanna-be volunteers and appointees. Not the cops.

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  29. Money Grubber says:


    On the contrary, Roundabouts have NOT failed.

    They’ve been used successfully for decades in Europe and also in the USA.

    Want to drive through an area with current roundabouts to see how effective they are ?

    Park Merced Apartments, a large area complex in San Francisco just on the West side of 19th Ave, has them.

    Drivers do NOT need to stop and then go like at a stop sign. Stopping and going wastes time, increase exhaust gases as you must accelerate, and wastes gas money.

    But then, since you don’t have to stop and may continue driving, that MIGHT be the reason some business owners are objecting to them ???????

    Another benefit is that roundabouts are far more QUIETER than stop signed intersections. Again, no brakes squealing for stops, no engine accelerations.

    Another benefit is that the roundabouts acts as speedbumps of sorts in that drunk drivers tend to hit them and stop rather than roll right on through an intersection like they do with stop signs. Thus, roundabouts are SAFER.
    A side benefit is also that cops can’t get you for running a stop sign or running a stop light.

    Sandy, you need to speak facts rather than post your guesswork.

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  30. Greg Karraker says:

    In July, 2007, after spending many years and over a million dollars on the Downtown Specific Plan, the city proudly announced a 4-lane plan that would “Reconfigure Old Redwood Highway into a vibrant, mixed-use, multi-modal, and beautiful urban street.” It prominently featured a 25 mph design speed.

    That is what citizens put “thousands of hours of public input” into. Now, four years later, the city suddenly discovers their million-dollar plan does none of the things it was supposed to. So they release a new plan in October, and hope nobody will notice what a cheesy bait-and-switch has been perpetrated.

    This is bad enough, but still thinking they can get their way, City Council and City Manager resort to a string of omissions, half-truths, and flat-out lies.

    It is encouraging to see the PD reporting that opposition to the 2-lane plan is intense and growing. It is even better to see that so many citizens are finally standing up to one of the most incompetent, uncaring, and arrogant local governments in the county.

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  31. Ricardo Sorentino says:


    While I don’t know the area of the proposed Windor project, looking at Google Earth, it looks like there is a little flaw with your story: isn’t the opposition to the Cotati roundabouts in large part due taking a four-lane road and making into two? Google Earth shows that Old Redwood Highway is already only a two-lane road.

    I always like it when people ignore the facts just to be able make their case.

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  32. Steve says:

    It seems pretty clear that the business owners who will be effected do not want this new design. Since they are the ones directly effected, their voices should be heard.

    These minor politicians have no stake in this, so their opinions shouldn’t matter in the least.

    Obviously they have no clue that these businesses support the town and bring dollars to coffers that they continuously wish to drain for their projects.

    Like most politicians, they believe money falls out of the sky simply because they are elected to office.

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  33. Brian Brown says:

    I will sign. That makes 587 more signatures to go to for the special election.

    We want our Oliver’s to stay, we want our local businesses to thrive, we want to minimize traffic jams, and we want to save 3.5 million dollars.

    $24,000 to put forth the measure or $3,500,000 spent on a frivolity. Hmm (palms turned up weighing)

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  34. Greg Karraker says:

    Cheryl Nixon and Susan Harvey had no problem with “divisiveness” when they supported the last special election to recall George Barich. Maybe they only shun divisiveness when it appears they could lose by a landslide.

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  35. Sandy says:

    Aren’t they removing roundabouts in other cities because they’ve failed? Why can’t politicians just leave things alone? If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it! I don’t see what the problem is. If it’s traffic congestion, it will only get worse under this plan. As for saying the city had meetings for public input, the notices are usually buried in a paper somewhere, and then they ignore citizen input anyway because they’ve already made up their minds! Roundabouts are confusing, take up a large amount of space and restrict traffic. Not something you want in a downtown business area. Usually m ake more sense in a residential setting, if at all.

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  36. Anderson says:

    Sung to The Cassions Go Rolling Along

    Roundabouts, keep shoppers out,
    Makes business want to scream and shout,
    And Cotati goes stumbling along

    Two lanes here, Four lanes there
    If stores close we just don’t care,
    And the council goes bumbling along

    So let’s vote, vote, vote
    And let the people ideas float,
    Their numbers are growing every day
    We’ll take to the streets
    So our voices can’t be beat,
    And the council goes fumbling along

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  37. Will says:

    Roundabouts are used worldwide and are much safer than signalized intersections. They work well for vehicles of all sizes, including large trucks and emergency vehicles. And there is no need to sit and wait for the signal to change.

    Banning roundabouts makes no more sense than banning lane markings, or any other common street design feature that improves traffic flow and safety.

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  38. Cotati Pedestrian says:

    I can easily imagine a group of Cotati residents running a referendum campaign if the city chooses not to go with the 2-lane option.

    I also have serious doubts about the legality of using voter initiative to dictate traffic and roadway calming measures (pro or anti).

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  39. Jay Behr says:

    The City council should take this opportunity to renew the face of Cotati and approve the roundabout plan. They are at a cross-roads in terms of what kind of city Cotati will be: do they want to just serve an an unmemorable pass-through with a dowdy strip mall at the entrance to town or do they want to create a truly interesting and lively space that will attract high-end retail and brand the town as a destination? That’s the choice before the city, and I hope that they do not get intimidated by a noisy, unpleasant and incivil minority that wants to push the rest of us around.City Council: vote yes on the roundabout plan.

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  40. Lucky2BOliver's says:


    Once upon a time, two grocers walked into Cotati City Hall and said, “If you turn Old Redwood Highway into a two lane road with two roundabouts and parallel parking, we will huff and we will puff and we will leave town. And also, you better watch out for the big bad wolf and her front group- they’ll conjure up a $24,000 election at the your expense to blow your plan down.”

    The two grocers then went over the river and through the woods to Windsor Town Hall, where, upon entering, they said, “We heard that you are looking for a grocery store to locate near the Town Green.” They were told that they first had to look in the magic book.

    And so the two grocers looked at: http://www.ci.windsor.ca.us/DocumentView.aspx?DID=5639 and http://www.ci.windsor.ca.us/DocumentView.aspx?DID=5578

    “Oh my!” said the two grocers when they saw that the site for the new grocery store was located on a two lane section of Old Redwood Highway with three proposed roundabouts and back-in diagonal parking right in front of the grocery store site. “We are SO excited- we couldn’t ask for a better road configuration upon which to place our store!,” they exclaimed. “We will take it, as it meets our needs perfectly!”

    And so the two grocers traveled back over the river and through the woods to Cotati, all the way marveling at how truly Lucky they were.

    The moral of this story is: Sometimes, something that appears to be a “deal breaker”, when moved seventeen miles up the same exact street, may magically transform into a “deal maker”.


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