Pent-up feelings over a proposed hotel in downtown Sonoma, and over an initiative that would curb such growth, spilled over at Monday’s City Council meeting. The council voted 4-1 to give City Manager Carol Giovanatto the authority to research consultants for help in preparing a report on the impacts of the proposed ballot measure, should proponents succeed in qualifying it for an election.
A Sonoma group that includes a former mayor of the city is seeking a ballot initiative to limit hotel development, including the controversial Chateau Sonoma & Spa proposed near the Plaza.
A heated dispute Monday over whether dogs should be allowed on property that forms Sonoma’s backdrop nearly derailed the City Council from formally authorizing acquisition of the site.
If the campaign signs springing up around town are the most visible sign of the current election season, and the robo-calls and mailers its constant drumbeat, then the routine roll call of endorsements is the background noise.
While rarely revelatory, they are a signal to voters and thus a required part of any bid for public office, political experts say.
‘It is incumbent that you have them,’ said David McCuan, a Sonoma State University political scientist. ‘Do they sway voters? No. But they point voters in a direction.’
In announcing their latest endorsements last week, Susan Gorin and John Sawyer did some more pointing to voters.
Sonoma’s City Council on Monday night unanimously rejected raising water rates by at least 25 percent over the next five years amid concerns that the city has not explored other options, including consolidating services with other water agencies to cut costs.
Sonoma on Monday became one of the few cities in the nation to enact regulations on chain establishments, including a ban on large-scale restaurant chains, such as McDonald’s, from opening on the city’s historic plaza.
A controversial proposal to restrict chain stores in Sonoma has been significantly scaled back amid infighting among city leaders who are at odds over the issue. The original proposal called for banning all “formula businesses” from Sonoma’s historic Plaza and enacting new use permit requirements elsewhere in the city. But the latest version, which is supported by a slim majority on the City Council, calls for banning only formula restaurants on the plaza.
After days of making national news, Sonoma city leaders on Wednesday backed away from enacting a temporary ban on chain stores. Some saw the proposal as a way to protect the town’s character, but others said it would shut out economic development. Was it the right decision?