Tourism Impacts, locals speak out

Thanks Ken for pointing out the disparity in funding. Add that to the growing list of tourism impacts….is quality of life vs. low wages, seasonal work worth it? Tourism based economies are the first impacted in an economic downturn and the last to recover.

Tourism impacts

EDITOR: I agree with Michael Troy and Craig S. Harrison on the increase of transient occupancy taxes in unincorporated areas from 9 percent to 12 percent (“How Sonoma County can quickly repair ravaged roads,” Close to Home, May 14). This increase is supposed to address the impacts of tourism, most of which are in west county. Seventy-five percent of hotel tax revenue is spent under the guidelines of the county’s advertising and promotions program. I think it’s time to redirect the tax revenue contributed to tourism groups and chambers of commerce.

Tourism promoting organizations have done too great a job of “selling” our county to visitors. Few west county residents are direct beneficiaries of the oversell of our county’s beauty and activities. Our emergency services are overwhelmed and underfunded, especially on weekends with a bike race here, a near drowning there and cars falling off our cliffs into the ocean. Let’s give a greater proportion of hotel tax monies to coastal 911 responders and reduce the money given to promotional organizations.

As Janis Watkins said in an April 30 Close to Home column, “Sustainable tourism standards (are) long overdue.”

It is hard to push back against the well-paid staffers of advertising campaigns dedicated to their mission of bringing more high-paying guests to Sonoma County. But if we don’t, do you expect the supervisors will?