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The ultimate growth control

Jack Balshaw 2/13/02

The latest proposed solution to control congestion on 101 is to limit the construction of new commercial buildings in Petaluma. The rational is that if we allow such building, then those employees who don't live in Petaluma will have to commute here, causing congestion on 101. Of course, if those employers who would have occupied those buildings simply choose to locate Elsewhere in Sonoma County, then OUR residents can get on 101 and commute to their jobs Elsewhere. Apparently, Petalumans commuting TO Elsewhere don't CAUSE congestion.

It seems our City Council is more concerned with the welfare of commuters from Elsewhere then they are for the welfare of local residents. Perhaps we should change their title from CITY councilmembers to WORLD councilmembers. That way, we won't expect them to look out for us.

We like to think those who we elect are OUR representatives in government. At least that's how I thought people felt. Perhaps we should just put people in office and tell them, "Do what's best for the world and don't concern yourself about our welfare". I expect that to happen when other Sonoma County cities say, "Give our road funds to Petaluma, their streets are in the worst shape in the whole Bay Area and they need the money more than we do".

It seems that some councilmembers think it's Petaluma's responsibility to do what it can to relieve regional traffic congestion without considering if anyone has signed up to follow us. It is appropriate for EVERYONE to do their share to minimize congestion and other impacts on quality of life and the environment. But, there should at least be a sign that others are committed to assist. If those who want it all may be considered greedy, those who will give everything away might be considered fools.

Let's look at the numbers from a Press Democrat article and see what they say. The starting number is that recent proposals to construct office and industrial space in Petaluma would add 6432 new jobs and require 4288 new homes in Petaluma. (4288 is 2/3 of 6432) This indicates that at least 2/3 of the jobs will be filled by Petalumans

In the first instance, 2135 jobholders (6432 new jobs minus the 4288 jobholders who live in the new homes in Petaluma) would have to commute TO Petaluma. If these buildings aren't constructed, and assuming the employers just locate elsewhere in Sonoma County, then 4288 Petalumans who could have worked in town will have to commute from Petaluma. Which would cause the most congestion?

On the other hand, there seems to be an assumption that every new job filled by a Petaluman will require a new house to be built. Isn't it possible that many Petalumans who presently commute out of town would be more than happy to get a job in town and not have to commute? Think about this - if there are no jobs for them in town, aren't we, by definition, forcing them to get on 101 and add to the congestion? That's really the bottom line.

If we really want to solve the problems associated with commuting, air pollution, endangered species, global warming and such other things as several people may be concerned with, why only treat the symptoms? Why not get to the root of the problem. It's people who cause traffic congestion. It's people who cause air pollution. It's people whose actions endanger several species. It's people who cause global warming.

LET'S HAVE A MORATORIUM ON ANY MORE PEOPLE!!! Not only no more people moving in, no more people having babies.

In a generation's time or two there would be no more problems. Well, that is no more problems if Petalumans aren't the only people supporting the moratorium to make the world a better place for nature.

Think globally and act locally only goes so far and then it starts to get foolish.

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