Letter in support of limits and regulation for winery event centers

A response to the mass emailing  campaign by the Sonoma County wine industry.  We all want peace and quality neighborhoods to raise our children and grow old in. Please consider sending your thoughts to your supervisor. Makes me long for the old Redwood Empire……..

redwoodsSusan.Gorin@sonoma-county.org, Shirlee.Zane@sonoma-county.org, David.Rabbitt@sonoma-county.org, Efren.Carrillo@sonoma-county.org, James.Gore@sonoma-county.org

Dear County Supervisors,

I have recently become aware of a letter writing campaign to you by the Sonoma County Wine Grape Growers.

Wine Grape Growers seem to feel that legitimate questions and concerns interested citizens have about sustainability and the size and scope of event centers amounts to lies and misinformation.

A battle is on about how to frame these issues. To quote the Wine Growers: “… our opponents are actively contacting local officials to spread misinformation and build opposition against us.  If we fail to respond and inform, we run the risk of having their lies become facts in the eyes of key decision makers.”

I don’t believe my questioning the overall effects of wine tourism on the quality of life here is in any way illegitimate. This is my opinion. I am a serious citizen who studies the issues and who volunteers a lot of time in our community. I’m hardly uninformed, nor uneducated.

There have to be limits on everything. No one has the right to unlimited anything. A fair analysis of the status of the wine industry as a whole in the county would say it is quite well represented, maybe even enough as is.

Many related wine-tourism-hospitality issues have come into question in the last few years: tasting rooms, hotels, TIDs, low wages, high rents, inflated costs of food and services; these are all part and parcel of a gentrifying economy that leaves social equity and environmental justice considerations secondary to unlimited, unregulated economy.

People of conscience want a more ethical society and in my opinion, it is up to our elected officials, you, government, to be the gatekeeper of harm and fairness issues. Frankly, the guys at the top already have enough. Now it is time to favor resident’s quality of life concerns and, to take steps to balance a fair spectrum of economic outcomes in the county. 

Draw whatever conclusions you will about event centers, but please do not see opinions of those who favor limits and regulation as misinformed or disingenuous.

I hope you will be able to study these issues impartially and arrive at your own conclusions after having had a look at all the material and opinions.

Thanks very much,

Frederick C. Allebach

Sonoma Valley Groundwater Management Program TAC

Community Services and Environmental Commission, City of Sonoma

Sonoma Valley Sun, Editorial Board

Sonoma Overlook Trail Stewards

Sonoma Valley Historical Society, Board of Directors

KSVY radio host