Pedestrian & Bicycle Tickets
Recently, Petaluma's Police Department, after going after and recieving a grant, started on a well publicized "CRACKDOWN" on pedestrians and bicyclist around town. Why in the world would they do that? The Police Chief, and the accompanying Press Release, stated that Petaluma is one of the most "unsafe" cities in the region. Now I can think of, and I have rarely but unfortunately been in, a few really unsafe places and believe me, Petaluma is not one of them. Petaluma is a safe town. Here's a couple of stories and the Press Release by the Police Department:
So why is the Police Department going out of it's way to make our town appear to be unsafe in the media and press? What's the point of making people scared to come to Petaluma? Yes, the numbers of jaywalking violations may be down because of the "CRACKDOWN", but doesn't this also just make less people in town shopping and spending money? We are only 7th out the 9 Sonoma County cities in per-capita sales tax revenue! Yes, we could go lower and shoot for 8th place, and this is a good way to get those revenue numbers down even more, but all kidding aside, what are they thinking?!!!
1. Immediately suspend any public servant that puts out press releases that egregiously makes our town look bad to the general public! Why would a public servant make their employer look bad to the media? This is a "no-brainer." The Police Department is destroying the reputation of our town, not making it safer in anyway. The real facts are that Petaluma is 5th out of Sonoma County cities in per-capita violent crimes - not last like the police might imply. Another real fact is that Petaluma has the 2nd lowest per-capita rate of property crimes amongst Sonoma County cities. If a visitor comes to Petaluma, they are the second least likely to suffer a property crime and certainly only going to suffer a violent crime at an average rate compared to other Sonoma County cities. The only real crimes that are likely to happen are ones made up and imagined by the Police Department like speed traps and outrageous and highly publicized pedestrian crackdowns!
2. Immediately rescind these rediculous tickets and appologize publicy to those that recieved them. Get those consumers back downtown and shopping again! With each stopped biker or walker, we've made an enemy. We need to immediately make these folks feel better about Petaluma.
3. Put out a new Press Release that correctly states that Petaluma is one of the SAFEST cities in the region to visit, park, and walk around in, and wecome consumers back to our town. We need a "Welcome Back To Petaluma" campaign, highlighting; how the offending police officers have been removed from working with the public in any way, that then shows the real data that proves that Petaluma's crime rate is very, very low, as we all sort of suspect that it is, and lastly, that highlights how nice it is to stroll down our streets and bicycle around our countryside.
We gotta fix this thing. The powers that be in this town are just floating along. It's going to take citizens standing up to those powers to change the direction of our town. The ultimate point is this: are we going to be nice to the visitors of our downtown zone or are we going to continue to harass them and drive them away.