Staff also made the following decisions regarding BoDean's application for the addition of three 85-foot asphalt storage silos:

<BL@199,12,11,10>The silos were acceptable &amp;&lsquo;tower' elements based on the city's design guidelines for structures.

<BL@199,12,11,10>The application only required a minor use permit since the three silos qualified as a minor upgrade.

<BL@199,12,11,10>An environmental impact report was not required for the project to get approval.

Finally, the Community Development Department staff apparently waived more than $115,000 in code violation fees that the BoDean Company had accrued and has allowed BoDean to operate without fixing those violations.

Let's face it, in the 1960s no one knew the negative impact of the toxins released during asphalt production. Even with the Community Development Department's other questionable decisions, an acceptable EIR would at least let residents living near the plant sleep easier at night. Yet the Community Development Department (and City Council members Jake Ours, Scott Bartley and John Sawyer, along with Mayor Ernesto Olivares who voted to deny the appeal) seem to feel that requiring an EIR would prove Santa Rosa does not have a business-friendly climate. What about a resident-friendly climate?

This project will bring no new jobs and no increased tax revenue to the city. But, even, if it did, why would our city place business demands above residents' quality of life?

When did the "community" in community development start referring only to the business community and stop applying to residents? And, why would four council members vote against an EIR for an asphalt plant next to a residential area?

Follow the money to get the answer. If you do, you will discover that the largest contributors to the political campaigns of Ours, Bartley, Sawyer and Olivares came from the local building and development industry.

What is the motivation behind the community development's actions in all this? We wish we knew.

Joe Lilienthal is a resident of the St. Rose Neighborhood in Santa Rosa. Lea Baron-Thomas lives in the West End Neighborhood.

Read all of the PD's fire coverage here