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Vote Bill Wolpert - November 4 Email

Talking About Eastside Issues

My name is Bill Wolpert.  I'm running for Petaluma City Council.  This is another installment in my continuing conversation with the voters of Petaluma.
 
As I was pondering a run for City Council, people warned me to be aware of a divide between the two sides of town.  They advised me to plot an election strategy that accounted for the rift.  I acknowledged their concerns, but it took campaigning for me to truly the grasp the extent to which eastside/westside issues play a role in local politics.
 
The divide was probably historically inevitable.  Communities divided by rivers or freeways, of which Petaluma has both, typically develop different personalities on the two sides.
 
Also, the two halves of Petaluma were largely developed in different eras with land use patterns that reflect those eras, resulting in different neighborhood needs.
 
But I also think the electoral politics have sometimes looked for eastside/westside wedge issues to gain votes, leaving a lingering and unnecessary air of distrust.
 
My goal is to be a Councilmember for all of Petaluma.  My four decades of experience as an architect and planner have taught me to be sensitive to neighborhood concerns while also respecting the values of the community as a whole.
 
Most of my time over the final days of the campaign will be spent on the eastside.  Tomorrow, I’ll be chatting with voters in front of the Safeway in the Washington Square shopping center.  I’m not yet sure about my Sunday plans.
 
But even before my weekend conversations, I can tell you the two issues that top my list.
 
The first is crosstown connectors, starting with Rainier and then continuing with Caulfield and a rebuild of Corona Road.  All will play roles in Petaluma’s future.  But we need to have real, substantive, and public conversations about the opportunities, costs, and schedules for all three.  Trotting out Rainier as a wedge issue every election cycle may be a good political strategy, but it’s not good public policy.  We must do better.
 
The second is the North Petaluma SMART station.  I understand the financial constraints that caused SMART to eliminate the station from its initial operating plan.  But the scheme to build a North Petaluma station, using SMART’s downtown parcel as leverage, has now been common knowledge for more than a year and yet all the public hears is whispers about backroom negotiations with no tangible signs of progress.
 
The parking at the North Petaluma station is essential not only for the eastside, but for all of Petaluma.  The station needs to move ahead.
 
These are my top two issues.  Do you agree with them?  Are there others you’d put on the same level?  Come chat with me tomorrow.  I want to know what you think, eastside and westside.
 
I've been sharing what I think about the present and future of Petaluma.  But I also want to know what you think.  You can reply to this email, send me a message from my website, or talk to me at one of the events listed on my website.  I care about your opinions.
 
Bill Wolpert
Candidate, Petaluma City Council


Bill Wolpert for Petaluma City Council
40 Fourth St., Box 278
Petaluma, CA 94952
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