Sonoma’s Bohemian Hero or “No Comment”

Ken Brown (now Mayor) enthusiastically signed the last hotel petition while serving on the City Council. Now, he has no position? This reference was made in the March 20, 2013 Press Democrat in regards to Ken’s actions in 1999 when faced with the Rosewood Hillside Hotel Measure A.

In response to blogs and constituent pressures, City Manager Carol Giovanatto wrote an Opinion Editorial in the cross town paper last Friday claiming all the City Councilmen needed to keep “an open mind” and refrain from making any statements for or against matters that have yet to be presented in front of them. This despite the fact the Planning Committee has seen various proposals and the articles (aka Advomercials) in the Press clearly outline enough to understand and formulate opinions.

I submit that if Ken Brown signed a petition in 1999, then the matter had not yet been placed before City Council to pass a measure themselves or pass it on for consideration as a ballot measure. The petition was still open and hadn’t presumably gotten enough signatures as yet. Then in fact he did exactly what Carol Giovanatto says cannot happen?

In 1999 Ken Brown was proud of his stance (as was I and a great many were proud of him), he got lots of Press as did his Bohemian Group of resistors (some now on Preserving Sonoma initiative) even being mentioned in the book “Tale of Two Cities.” Why did Ken sign then but this time all his Bohemian buddies are mounted against him? Why doesn’t he join when he was happy to join then in he past? Has he had a change of heart? Is he supportive of Darius Anderson’s big money and these other big hotels knocking on our door like Kessler Collection?

Why was it somehow OK to have Ken sign the petition back in 1999 but today he can’t even offer a passing thought or acknowledge he’s seen anything? Is there some “Invisible Hand” hanging over Ken and City Council, some controlling conflicted force? Was Carol Giovanatto even around in 1999 like myself and most of you reading this now? No, she is new to Sonoma and the way we do things. She doesn’t understand our past. She is not the City Attorney and she offered no links, cites or regulations governing conduct to support her statements. She also did not explain how it was permitted in 1999 for Ken Brown and why not now. She didn’t even acknowledge his past signing of a petition while a sitting Councilman.

To me, Ms. Giovanatto was making a desperate plea on behalf of City Council in an effort to quell the masses wondering what action what leadership City Council is going to take. The People are concerned this inaction and silence means their voices are not going to be heard and the majority of the Council side with big money interests despite the history of Sonoma standing up and fighting against deals like this unfitting French hotel on the El Camino Real, from the same Darius Anderson who brought us all “Cows Not Casinos” back in 2003 when he tried to cram a casino on Hwy 37 at Lakeville Road before we stopped it. How can you forget Darius’ casino, right?

In my opinion there won’t be any decisions in front of City Council anyway because when they get the chance after the initial petitions are presented to act as Leaders and pass it themselves, I am betting they punt it on to the voters as a ballot initiative anyway as they are too afraid to tell Darius Anderson NO, and fearful of a lawsuit.
And in the casino spirit, I’m willing to bet on my position, are you? That said, I do hope I am wrong on this one so we can avoid the cost and time and stand up ourselves against big money and for the Voice of the People.

Ralph Hutchinson
15+ Yr Sonoman

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