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  1. TopTop #1
    Shepherd's Avatar
    Shepherd
    Supporting Member

    "Let's Talk Tourism" in Sonoma County

    Charlotte Williams of Wine & Water Watch (www.winewaterwatch.org) just sent out the following information. I plan to go to the July 21 presentation in Sebastopol. Please join us at one or more of these events, as it becomes increasingly difficult for locals to stay here and to find affordable housing. I went to the website mentioned below, which provided lots of information.

    I am also glad to hear that there will be an open WWW meeting in September, with details to follow. We are loosing our sweet county to winery event centers and rampant tourism. It is important to keep speaking up. Tourism serves only a few, including many who do not live and work here, but extract the natural resources of the Redwood Empire.

    Dear Wine & Water Watch,
    It's been several months since I've sent anything to you, so I hope you are all well and still paying attention.

    Below are some upcoming meetings hosted by Sonoma County Tourism you might like to attend. These may be good opportunities to let the industry know what your experiences and concerns are whether in Sonoma County or elsewhere, and perhaps to offer alternatives to business as usual.

    WWW will be hosting an open-to-the-public meeting in September. I'll send the details on that before long. In the meantime, do check out our website. http://winewaterwatch.org/

    ANNOUNCEMENT: "Let's talk TOURISM"
    A series of conversations to discuss Sonoma County's hospitality Industry.
    We invite our residents and tourism businesses to join Sonoma County Tourism in this discussion at locations around the county.

    July 18: Cloverdale: 8:30 - 10am. Grange Hall

    July 21: Sebastopol 8:30 - 10:00 am. Sebastopol Center for the Arts

    July 26: Petaluma: 8:30 - 10am. Community Center

    August 10: Healdsburg 8:30 - 10:00 am. Villa Chanticleer (Thursday morning)

    Sept 1: Rohnert Park: 8:30 - 10am: (Petaluma location listed)

    sonomacounty.com/partners.
    --
    Charlotte Williams[email protected]707-889-1788 cell
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  3. TopTop #2

    Re: "Let's Talk Tourism" in Sonoma County

    Thank you Shepherd for posting this and keeping our community informed on how WE THE PEOPLE who live in this county can make our voices heard.
    Last edited by Barry; 07-13-2017 at 09:05 PM.
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  5. TopTop #3
    O.W.'s Avatar
    O.W.
     

    Re: "Let's Talk Tourism" in Sonoma County

    Tourism is industrializing our quiet neighborhoods, causing many local servicing businesses to go under from expensive rents for stores that cater to tourists. recover. Our neighborhoods are becoming an investment and not a home while events and tasting rooms fragment our communities. People can't afford to live with unaffordable housing costs brought by out of town buyers with deep pockets. Our children move out because they can't buy a home or envision a future here. Our roads are in terrible shape and traffic congestion on the weekends (right turn only season) are getting worse and worse so locals use back roads to navigate causing safety issues. It has been reported that over half the police calls are now from tourists and the taxpayers are picking up that tab also.

    In Europe tourism has been handled by keeping events out of neighborhoods and in town centers where the infrastructure can handle the influx of out-of- towners. The tourism industry works hand in hand with the wine industry. Neither will ever be "sustainable" (this word means NOTHING now, corporate word for "you don't need to see my papers") and no we don't believe you are anything but a profit enterprise for the elite until we see some big changes.

    Time to speak up. If you don't show up, the tourism board thinks you don't care.
    Last edited by Barry; 07-14-2017 at 10:45 AM.
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  7. TopTop #4
    Shepherd's Avatar
    Shepherd
    Supporting Member

    Re: "Let's Talk Tourism" in Sonoma County

    We are loosing our small towns to these outside investors, often from outside the U.S.. These are important meetings to attend and speak out against our once ag. county turning into an alcoholic county, with all the dangers that presents. Please join us there. For more information, you can go to www.winewaterwatch.org, as well as to the PRSC website.

    ]
    According to U.S. News & World Report travel rankings revealed June 20, Sonoma County was named second only to Italy’s Tuscany region as the “Best Wine Vacation” destination. (Napa came in third.)

    Sonoma Co. tops Napa Valley as ‘Best Wine Vacation’

    You know what that means -- more tourists, more traffic, more impacts and more pressure from developers to cash in on the grape-rush!

    The County Tourism Board is holding public meetings this month to hear from residents -- please consider attending a meeting in your town to voice your opinions and share your thoughts! Resident input and perspective is critical as we expect many businesses who benefit from tourism will be well represented. Please click on the link at the end of each date and city to register to attend.



    Let's Talk Tourism: Sonoma County Tourism invites you to talk tourism and explore the road ahead


    Let’s Talk Tourism is a series of conversations to discuss Sonoma County's tourism industry. We invite our residents and tourism businesses in Sebastopol to join Sonoma County Tourism in this discussion.

    July 21, 2017 - SEBASTOPOL
    8:30am - 10:00am
    Sebastopol Center for the Arts
    282 S High St, Sebastopol
    Register here

    July 26 - PETALUMA
    8:30am - 10:00am
    Petaluma Community Center
    320 N McDowell Blvd, Petaluma
    Register here

    September 1 - ROHNERT PARK
    8:30am - 10:00am
    City of Rohnert Park - City Hall
    130 Avran Ave. , Rohnert Park
    Register here

    Last edited by Barry; 07-14-2017 at 10:45 AM.
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  9. TopTop #5
    Barry's Avatar
    Barry
    Founder & Moderator

    Re: "Let's Talk Tourism" in Sonoma County

    Click the link below for the PD's piece on these important public meetings:


    ‘Let’s Talk Tourism’ may be coming soon to a town near you

    Quote Shepherd wrote: View Post
    ...

    July 21, 2017 - SEBASTOPOL
    8:30am - 10:00am
    Sebastopol Center for the Arts
    282 S High St, Sebastopol
    Register here

    July 26 - PETALUMA
    8:30am - 10:00am
    Petaluma Community Center
    320 N McDowell Blvd, Petaluma
    Register here

    September 1 - ROHNERT PARK
    8:30am - 10:00am
    City of Rohnert Park - City Hall
    130 Avran Ave. , Rohnert Park
    Register here
    Last edited by Barry; 07-19-2017 at 11:32 AM.
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  10. TopTop #6
    Shepherd's Avatar
    Shepherd
    Supporting Member

    Re: "Let's Talk Tourism" in Sonoma County

    Some of us from Wine and Water Watch (www.winewaterwatch.org) and Preserve Rural Sonoma County went to the tourism meeting today. It was instructive. We spoke up. I hope that others of you will attend these other important meetings and speak up. There are many issues to talk about. Rampant tourism threatens our county. A moderate amount of tourism can be helpful, but enough is enough, especially when it involves the bloated wine industry, which displaces food farming. The number one user of that killer Roundup, which causes cancer, in Sonoma County, is the wine industry.

    Quote Barry wrote: View Post
    Click the link below for the PD's piece on these important public meetings:


    ‘Let’s Talk Tourism’ may be coming soon to a town near you
    Last edited by Barry; 07-22-2017 at 08:51 AM.
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  12. TopTop #7
    O.W.'s Avatar
    O.W.
     

    Re: "Let's Talk Tourism" in Sonoma County

    Thank you Shepherd for posting this important meeting. I attended their PR briefing today in Sebastopol and wonder what other communities must be saying or not saying. The tourism board seemed surprised at our comments about all the negatives and hardly spoke about the solutions that were given. Made me feel like it was just an exercise and PR push, calm down the natives. We'll see if anything comes out of it.

    Residents brought out the fact that tourism/wine industry is pricing all of us long time residents and our kids out of the housing market, causing terrible pollution from traffic issues, all surface roads are impacted now as people who live here find alternative routes to avoid the congestion during "right turn only season".

    Fragmenting of our neighborhoods by tourism, high rates of police calls from tourists, roads crumbling, low wage industries paying $14-16 an hour hardly support the workers, loss of stores catering to residents disappearing for tourist based businesses....and the list goes on. The tourist occupancy tax (TOT) can't cover all the costs to us taxpayers. A very good business model did come out by a woman who is running food tours by vans which takes traffic off the roads and supports true local business. What a great idea to get tourism impacts under control and the residents benefit big time.

    Food security was another issue brought up, lack of affordable food farms, 96% of our food brought in, the economic impacts of a tourism based economy (first to crash and last to return). Suggestions for city centric tourism like European models that work were also mentioned. Let's see what they come up with. Please other communities' let them know what you think and try to give them other solutions. We are at peak tourism levels and our infrastructure and quality of life are not sacrifice zones for profit, they are our neighborhoods/homes, and not investments.
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  14. TopTop #8
    Dustyg's Avatar
    Dustyg
     

    Re: "Let's Talk Tourism" in Sonoma County

    The event was mainly a talk by the Tourism board about themselves, and how much they can help any of us with businesses that attract or need tourists. There was hardly any time, we had to push for it, for the community to give feedback on the effects of tourism here and to problem solve. It was truly disappointing for many of us who thought it would be a forum for the community to give input on tourism.
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  16. TopTop #9
    sealwatcher's Avatar
    Supporting Member

    Re: "Let's Talk Tourism" in Sonoma County

    Sonds like the fix is in. Very disappointing but somehow not surprising. Where's the city council on this issue?
    Last edited by Barry; 07-23-2017 at 10:21 AM.
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  18. TopTop #10
    Shepherd's Avatar
    Shepherd
    Supporting Member

    Re: "Let's Talk Tourism" in Sonoma County

    Someone from Preserve Rural Sonoma County who was there felt that the intention of the meetings is to serve as "focus groups," so that they can decide how to be better cheerleaders for expanding tourism. No Sebastopol City Council members were present.

    Quote sealwatcher wrote: View Post
    Sonds like the fix is in. Very disappointing but somehow not surprising. Where's the city council on this issue?
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  20. TopTop #11
    O.W.'s Avatar
    O.W.
     

    Re: "Let's Talk Tourism" in Sonoma County

    Yeah, I guess we all thought they were going to listen to help the community but in reality looks more and more like a fact finding mission for the wine/tourism industry and PR push on how great they are. The little old lady who called them out on the PR push instead of what they advertised as a listening to community get together was correct when she pushed them. Since the tourism bureau works directly withy the wine industry, more than likely they wanted the info to give to them so they can push their agenda, not the residents.

    I won't be surprised when the wine industry uses all this info to twist somehow and try to deflect all of our concerns. The wine industry fudges "facts" like their pull out in the PD claiming 25% of our wineries are organic or biodynamic when actual acreage was 2%. They are slick and have alot of money to fool us all.
    Quote Dustyg wrote: View Post
    The event was mainly a talk by the Tourism board about themselves, and how much they can help any of us with businesses that attract or need tourists. ...
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  22. TopTop #12
    american dream's Avatar
    Supporting Member

    Re: "Let's Talk Tourism" in Sonoma County

    This is SO like what happened with the Courthouse Square boondoggle - Public meetings 'to seek input' only after it was a closed-door done (horribly) deal. So many folks spoke against it, to no avail. The result is a sterile, ugly parking lot.

    Quote O.W. wrote: View Post
    Yeah, I guess we all thought they were going to listen to help the community but in reality looks more and more like a fact finding mission for the wine/tourism industry and PR push on how great they are. ...
    Last edited by Barry; 07-24-2017 at 01:55 PM.
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  24. TopTop #13
    Shepherd's Avatar
    Shepherd
    Supporting Member

    Re: "Let's Talk Tourism" in Sonoma County

    Welcome to the Napafication of Sonoma County. Having colonized the smaller Napa County, the wine industry now takes on Sonoma County, with its rampant, destructive tourism. Napa vintners, such as Paul Hobbs and Joe Wagner, have moved some of their touristic operations to Sonoma County.

    Following is what Napa Vision 2050 has written about the multiple dangers of tourism. We are currently loosing our county to foreign interests, especially in Asia, as well as Wall Street and Silicon Valley. Now is the time to speak up. Or else, welcome to Disneyland, Sonoma County, once known as the natural "Redwood Empire," now claimed by the commercial "Wine Country;" language is important. They will cut our forests, plant along our coastline, and take their wealth outside our beloved county. Is this what you want? If not, please speak up, or forever hold your peace.
    Below are the notes from the Napa Economic Forum.
    5 Stages: “Tourism’s Faustian Deal” – George Caloyannidis: NAPA Vision 2050

    • Stage 1: Tourism is purely supplemental and supportive to an existing economic base.
    • Stage 2: The local economy increases its reliance on tourist dollars and is perceived by local governments and businesses as essential.
    • Stage 3: The dislocation of the local population begins, a gradual tearing of the social fabric, the proliferation of low paying jobs with the associated concentration of outsider investor wealth at the top.
      • Examples: Neighbors move out and part-timers or vacation rentals proliferate: neighbors do not know or talk to each other.
        - Low paying jobs proliferate – the income gap widens – only the wealthy are “thriving”
      • – Housing is not available – workers have to commute in creating more traffic congestion.
    • Stage 4: By this stage, the process is irreversible. The deficit economy of tourism becomes evident as the wear and tear of the infrastructure requires ever increasing funds for maintenance and further destructive expansion. (Taxes, use and mitigation fees)
      • Examples: Tourism becomes “unwelcome” by local residents.
        - Traffic and road safety problems proliferate. Local governments propose additional taxes on residents to pay for fixing roads, etc. Are reluctant to impose “mitigation fees” on the businesses benefiting from the tourism.
      • - Authentic character is lost – feels like living in or visiting Disneyland.
    • Stage 5: The Faustian deal is complete: Local government has negotiated itself into the corner of no alternative than the vicious cycle of even more and more tourism to pay the bills. It never catches up … the infrastructure erodes … once thriving communities are in tatters both in terms of infrastructure and social capital.
    Tourism then moves to other destinations – and the cycle starts again – devouring once thriving communities and locations with authentic character.
    Last edited by Barry; Yesterday at 02:43 PM.
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  26. TopTop #14
    Barry's Avatar
    Barry
    Founder & Moderator

    Re: "Let's Talk Tourism" in Sonoma County

    Quote Shepherd wrote: View Post
    ...5 Stages: “Tourism’s Faustian Deal” – George Caloyannidis: NAPA Vision 2050...
    I'd say we are at stage 3. While I still support the hotel, I'd say it's time for "Shields Up!".

    Some amount of tourism is a good thing. Each community needs some type of industry the brings in dollars from the outside. Tourism is a lot better than a steel mill! But it needs to remain in balance and I'd say we have reached the edge of that balance.
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  28. TopTop #15
    larryjhanson's Avatar
    larryjhanson
    Supporting Member

    Re: "Let's Talk Tourism" in Sonoma County

    I really like how the concept of Napafication has been analyzed and put into progressive stages leading to a complete takeover of the county's economic system. This may enable us to mount a resistance to keep it from getting beyond Stage 3. Part of the solution may be a competing economic force to diminish its economic and political strength. In my song, I proclaim, "It's NOT Wine Country, let's be clear. It's Redwood Country, go have that beer."
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  30. TopTop #16
    Gene's Avatar
    Gene
     

    Re: "Let's Talk Tourism" in Sonoma County

    7/25 There is an article in today's Washington Post advertising the Russian River Resort Area. I live in Forestville and have given up going out on the weekends. The traffic is awful and a good deal of it goes right thru Sebastopol. Once the quiet peaceful town now the money interests won't be happy until they own everything and have pushed all the lower income people to leave. I wish we could reverse or slow it down but profit for the few is winning once more.
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  32. TopTop #17
    Shepherd's Avatar
    Shepherd
    Supporting Member

    Re: "Let's Talk Tourism" in Sonoma County

    Hi Gene and others,
    I went to the website for today's Washington Post but I could not find the Russian River Resort Area article mentioned below. Would you, or someone, please send us the link, and even parts of the article that might be of interest to us. I feel that we can at least slow this tourism binge here down and preserve some of the things we locals love about Sonoma County.

    Quote Gene wrote: View Post
    7/25 There is an article in today's Washington Post advertising the Russian River Resort Area. ...
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  34. TopTop #18
    Gene's Avatar
    Gene
     

    Re: "Let's Talk Tourism" in Sonoma County

    Hi Sheppard and others, I tried to find the article with no luck. I went over all the other news pages I might have visited today but turned up nothing. Embarrassing. I will continue to search. It had a map attached and some travel brochure type pics. I wish I would have emailed a link to myself. Sorry I can't confirm, Gene
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  35. TopTop #19
    Dustyg's Avatar
    Dustyg
     

    Re: "Let's Talk Tourism" in Sonoma County

    This article is amazing. It looks to me like we're at the end of stage 3, and soon to enter stage 4. After we are decimated and no longer to live in our home town, who's next? Can't this be stopped?

    Quote Shepherd wrote: View Post
    Welcome to the Napafication of Sonoma County. Having colonized the smaller Napa County, the wine industry now takes on Sonoma County, with its rampant, destructive tourism. Napa vintners, such as Paul Hobbs and Joe Wagner, have moved some of their touristic operations to Sonoma County.

    Following is what Napa Vision 2050 has written about the multiple dangers of tourism. We are currently loosing our county to foreign interests, especially in Asia, as well as Wall Street and Silicon Valley. Now is the time to speak up. Or else, welcome to Disneyland, Sonoma County, once known as the natural "Redwood Empire," now claimed by the commercial "Wine Country;" language is important. They will cut our forests, plant along our coastline, and take their wealth outside our beloved county. Is this what you want? If not, please speak up, or forever hold your peace.
    Below are the notes from the Napa Economic Forum.
    5 Stages: “Tourism’s Faustian Deal” – George Caloyannidis: NAPA Vision 2050

    • Stage 1: Tourism is purely supplemental and supportive to an existing economic base.
    • Stage 2: The local economy increases its reliance on tourist dollars and is perceived by local governments and businesses as essential.
    • Stage 3: The dislocation of the local population begins, a gradual tearing of the social fabric, the proliferation of low paying jobs with the associated concentration of outsider investor wealth at the top.
      • Examples: Neighbors move out and part-timers or vacation rentals proliferate: neighbors do not know or talk to each other.
        - Low paying jobs proliferate – the income gap widens – only the wealthy are “thriving”
      • – Housing is not available – workers have to commute in creating more traffic congestion.

    • Stage 4: By this stage, the process is irreversible. The deficit economy of tourism becomes evident as the wear and tear of the infrastructure requires ever increasing funds for maintenance and further destructive expansion. (Taxes, use and mitigation fees)

      • Examples: Tourism becomes “unwelcome” by local residents.
        - Traffic and road safety problems proliferate. Local governments propose additional taxes on residents to pay for fixing roads, etc. Are reluctant to impose “mitigation fees” on the businesses benefiting from the tourism.
      • - Authentic character is lost – feels like living in or visiting Disneyland.

    • Stage 5: The Faustian deal is complete: Local government has negotiated itself into the corner of no alternative than the vicious cycle of even more and more tourism to pay the bills. It never catches up … the infrastructure erodes … once thriving communities are in tatters both in terms of infrastructure and social capital.
    Tourism then moves to other destinations – and the cycle starts again – devouring once thriving communities and locations with authentic character.
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  37. TopTop #20
    sealwatcher's Avatar
    Supporting Member

    Re: "Let's Talk Tourism" in Sonoma County

    1982 Warm Springs Dam was ready to foll. Having worked for the attorneys for the plaintiffs, I knew the their concerns. Wikipedia confirms:

    "Lake Sonoma
    is a reservoir west of Healdsburg in northern Sonoma County, California, created by the construction of Warm Springs Dam.The lake provides water for countywide growth and development, and for recreation."
    The dam did what dams do: create growth. It also plundered and replaced our native fishery, and took the native Pomo people's gathering grounds for basketry work, both art and function.

    Anyway, ladeez & gennelmen, like the light from a distant star, it has arrived. Me, I see Stage 6. Elsewhere dams have been removed. Lots of literature on this. But Warm Springs? No, I think we're done. Was an early member of Conservation Action and we pretty much sadly came to that conclusion. Too much has been taken, too little remains. But what remains is worth fighting for. So keep on and know I'm with you.

    Dian





    Quote Dustyg wrote: View Post
    This article is amazing. It looks to me like we're at the end of stage 3, and soon to enter stage 4. After we are decimated and no longer to live in our home town, who's next? Can't this be stopped?
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