I am collecting signatures for the Hotel Limitation Initiative because I grew up in Monterey during urban renewal when the city government knocked down the center of town and left it a vacant lot for 11 years. Several good things came out of that, but the bad thing was – in the name of more jobs, more revenue for shop keepers and more Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) – a new hotel was built at the foot of Alvarado Street, in the very heart of the town.
Yes there is more TOT revenue but there are absolute hoards of pedestrians on the sidewalks and crossing the streets. You cannot believe the traffic! One-way streets and traffic lights. There are mobs of people from someplace else who don’t care: piles of litter grow around overflowing sidewalk trashcans, sandwich wrappers blow down the streets, coffee cups tumble down the gutters. There is sooty grime on everything and a vacant expression in the eyes of the visitors “Is this all there is? What’s the big deal? This could be anywhere.”
I don’t want Sonoma to become just another Wine Country Disneyland and I’m finding most voters I speak with in Sonoma feel the same way – this is why I want to see the Hotel Limitation Measure on the ballot.