Thursday, April 12, 2007

Cirrus and Fairness

It was with amusement and a bit of heartbreak that I listened as my sweet partner Marlie was being interviewed over the phone for a nice long spell about the hospital options. First she would favor one, then another, and then back to the first. The amusement was in realizing how human and honest this was. The heartbreak was a sense of the impending minefield into which the Options Committee, bless their hard working hearts, appears to be going to step once it decides any one way.

The Cirrus proposal, for a medical spa and hospital and office buildings at the corner of 8th Street and Napa Road, like the other options, has many strong points and some detractions. What I'd like to present here, is not an argument for that proposal, but a plea to disband the illogical and unfair arguments that are being used against it. In Measure C I saw both sides resorting to lowest common denominator tactics and I didn't like it then, and I don't like it now.

So here goes.

1) "The Cirrus Proposal" is a wolf in sheep's clothing." This isn't an argument. It's name calling.

2). "The Cirrus Proposal is the same as the Rosewood Hotel overlooking Sonoma." No. The Rosewood Hotel would have ruined the view of the hillside as we came into town, would have ruined a big piece of open and beautiful land and would have contributed immensely to downtown traffic and clutter. The Cirrus proposal destroys no hillside viewscape, takes over land of no particular beauty in its present use, and doesn't mess with downtown traffic at all.

3)There is an innuendo that things from Texas are bad. Not true, think of Austin, a town full of book readers and movie makers to rival Northern California and a music scene to rival Nashville.

4) Well, then, the innuendo continues: big businesses from Texas are bad. While this may be somewhat true, big business that are iffy can probably be found in every state of the union, and fond as I am of Sonoma Market, the people who work there and the high quality of food (though, fellow Chris, I'd love to see the return of the organic raw chocolate nibs, hint, hint), I'm also looking forward to the opening of a store operated by one of the best businesses in this country, for environment, for encouraging worker creativity and for keeping a low rate of pay difference between the highest and lowest paid workers, that company being Whole Foods. From Texas.

5). Well, then Big is Bad, right? Ah, here is an argument close to my heart, but if this is so, why do we encourage a 954 pound gorilla called the Sonoma Jazz Plus Festival to stomp through town once a year, why did we allow the big swath of development out along 5th Street East, why, indeed, did we dismantle our small hometown police and replace them as a subset of the larger (and more efficient) Sheriff's department?

6). Annexing the 73 acres to allow the hospital to be part of city land will inevitably lead to sprawl. False. The City Council has to declare what the land use, i.e. zoning, will be on all the newly acquired land. They can easily zone it agricultural. In fact, I'd love to see them zone it Organic Agriculture, and if the Cirrus Proposal, or some hybrid comes into being at this site, grow, for once, really healthy food for the hospital on this land. And heck, even have some big beautiful organic pathways and gardens nearby for the healing process. Actually, there is a wonderful organic Garden Park out that way, come to think of it.

Anyway: this is enough. Cirrus may not be perfect, but the proposal deserves to be free from this sort of level of argumentation.

Chris Elms (You're there. Welcome. Please look around,
there are literally hundreds of essays,
many shorter than this one.
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