Recently, my family recieved its 3rd "bad ticket" in downtown Petaluma, CA, all in the past year or so. These so-called "bad tickets" only served one purpose in my mind; they made us mad at the town. I talked to some friends and wrote about it on a social media site and found that many people had similar experiences and had similar outcomes - everyone said they never wanted to come back to Petaluma and spend a cent more in the town. None of these tickets made the town safer, more comfortable to live in, or solved some pressing social need. In fact, since they made us mad, they hindered our desire to shop and spend money in the downtown area, which is contrary to our nature. It appears to me that Petaluma is heading the wrong direction. We need to change course and stop making enemies of Petaluma and start thinking about how to make emisaries of our town.
So I did some research and found some amazing fact out about Petaluma:
* While Petaluma is the second largest incorporated city in Sonoma County out of nine, it only ranks seventh in per-capita sales tax revenue. How could this be? Why don't more people come to Petaluma to shop and do business? Petaluma has a beautiful downtown, with fabulous businesses and shops and restaurants. Petaluma is idealy situated at the gateway to one of the United States major adult tourist destination, the wine county, and also has it's own food culture and history. Yet Petaluma is seriously lagging behind our neighboring cities in capturing revenue from our natural resouces.
* The Police Department went out of it's way to get a grant that they publicized in all the local newspapers that was meant to highlight how "unsafe" Petaluma's downtown core is for pedestrians and bicyclists. The Police Department stopped many hundreds of citizens and wrote almost 200 tickets in just a few months to pedestrians and bicyclists. These ticketing campaigns were highlighted in the local press and created a stir in the community. We completly disagree that Petaluma is "unsafe." In fact, with these high-profile ticketing campaigns, is seems to us that it's the Police Department that is making Petaluma "unsafe!"
* Petaluma city is facing severe revenue and budget issues. City services are being cut back. Layoffs are coming. All the while, the police are chasing shoppers out of town!
* I've been wondering why there isn't even one major hotel chain, or even an independent hotel, in the downtown area. Why don't people want to stay here?
* I've been to one Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Business Association, and City Council meeting each. At each one, during the citizen comment period, about 20-to-30 percent of the time was spent complaing about the police, the interim chief, and the direction of the city in this exact area, yet, nothing seems to be done.
Petaluma needs an Attitude Adjustment. This web page is devoted to making sure that Petaluma changes it's direction and becomes more liveable, safer and economically prosporous for it's citizens and visitors. There are a multitude of things that can be done...