It does not surprise me that letters in Darius Anderson’s newspaper, The Sonoma Index-Tribune, have been pro-Hotel. It is his project and it is his paper.
A hotel of this size so close to our sacred historical Plaza is not a good idea, in my opinion. There are many reasons that I don’t support this hotel and many reasons why I don’t support Darius Anderson’s approach to buying up many properties in Sonoma. He is a venture capitalist and first and foremost has his own interests in mind.
When I first stepped foot on Sonoma Plaza in 1978, I remember thinking to myself, “I guess this is the sleepy part of Sonoma county.” It was peaceful, quiet and I really enjoyed that feeling. I came back a few weeks later in September and I had the exact same experience.
Many of my friends against this hotel have stated that we are at a crossroads now between becoming tourist town versus maintaining the quality of life that many of us enjoy here as residence of Sonoma. I disagree. We have already passed over to being a tourist town. We are Sedona. We are Aspen. We are Big Sur. We are Disneyland for wine drinkers. I think now the city council needs to decide whether to continue in this direction or kinda put the brakes on to keep us from going further into the wine swamp.
I wonder what would happen in this monoculture wine town if wine bottoms out at the same time another recession hits and tourists stop coming to Sonoma. If the economy tanks, our town will tank. I think Darius Anderson and his Kenwood Investments would then be faced with a bunch of buildings, a hotel, a cooking school and whatever else he owns that he would be forced to sell, and Sonoma would be faced with a mess. More and more and more is not a good idea.
I hope our city council wakes up and realizes that this place does not have to go in the direction of the rich investor and that we can preserve the quality of life that we all love.
George Thompson, Sonoma