<b>Petaluma and business</b>
EDITOR: It is sad seeing Friedman's, a home-grown family business (rather than a national chain like its competitors) having to pay, in effect, a $200,000 bribe to open a store in its hometown of Petaluma, even though there is currently no comprehensive home improvement store there ("$200,000 deal avoids Petaluma lawsuit," Saturday).
Friedman's joins a lengthening list of local companies (among them the Dutra asphalt plant and Roblar quarry) that are being ridiculed for trying to expand. Residents want jobs created but often seem to demonstrate NIMBYism when actual proposals are put forward. It is all reminiscent of the vociferous reaction of Sen. Edward Kennedy, a key supporter of renewable energy, when a windmill farm was proposed that might have been visible from his luxurious Cape Cod estate.
From Press Democrat accounts of Petaluma politics, perhaps the city should seek annexation to Marin County, a more kindred society with high-toned sensibilities that are repelled by the messy realities of mining, manufacturing, physical work, getting one's hands dirty or actually producing what is consumed.
<b>The city's role</b>
EDITOR: Although the deal will no doubt be spun negatively, I have absolutely no problem with the $191,000 to be paid by the Deer Creek Village developers in exchange for the Petaluma Neighborhood Association dropping its appeal.
More than 57 percent of that money ($110,000) will be used to fund "improvements to the Lynch Creek bike and pedestrian trail, traffic calming measures on Rushmore Avenue and crosswalks and pedestrian signals at Rainier Avenue and Maria Drive." Another $30,000 is earmarked for the city's tree-planting fund.
The question for me is why the city didn't insist that these things be included in the first place? I congratulate the Petaluma Neighborhood Association for making those improvements happen. I wish the city had done its job to begin with to ensure plans for the second-largest shopping center in Petaluma included such considerations.