The decisions we make today will shape the Sonoma of tomorrow. Rachel makes common sense decisions to protect and improve the quality of life for all Sonomans, present and future.
Tourism has become an important part of our economy, but it should complement our city and not define it. Diverse small businesses provide the goods and services we need while also making our economy more stable. Industries like the creative arts, cottage food, and green- and micro-tech already exist in and around Sonoma and could be the answer to a more diverse economy that doesn't depend on visitors. Rachel will continue to work for a balanced economy that supports our quality of life.
Our workforce is an essential component of our community and our economy. We need to rethink what housing looks like and find revenue sources to fund an affordable housing trust. This fund should be carefully leveraged to build much-needed affordable housing. We should also use incentives and a tighter development code to get more useful projects from the private sector. We need to build smaller and smarter. A vote for Rachel is a vote strategic planning and bold action on this critical issue.
Traffic & Parking
For too long we have ignored our increasingly more frustrating traffic and parking issues. We should improve our problematic intersections and get cars out of our neighborhoods and back on the main arteries through town. It's also time to talk about parking. We need to maximize the benefits of the Depot Park and Casa Grande parking lots, while also developing a strategy for alternate parking and transportation to the Plaza during busy events and weekends. A strategically placed parking structure south of the Plaza could reduce traffic and, eventually, allow us to reduce the number of cars around the Plaza and allow more dedicated accessible parking. Our traffic and parking problems have been building over the years and are reaching critical levels. Vote for Rachel so we can start finding solutions.
As your council member, Rachel has worked hard to align our city government with our community values. Here are a few of the ways she has fought for you.
Rachel is an advocate for safe and accessible medical cannabis. The council adopted her request to allow the delivery of medical cannabis while the council deliberated allowing a dispensary. Recognizing the cost of delivery could be prohibitive to some, Rachel led the charge in allowing limited personal outdoor cultivation. Most recently, Rachel fought to let the people vote on a citizen-led ballot measure related to commercial cannabis businesses, even presenting her own, more limited ballot initiative the council could run along side the citizen measure to let Sonoma choose what kind of cannabis businesses it wanted, if any. In a 3-2 vote (Hundley and Harrington opposing), the council voted to delay the petition until 2020, but Rachel will continue to fight for local access to medical cannabis.
Rachel is a champion for our most vulnerable neighbors. Recognizing that no city is immune to homelessness, Rachel has worked with Sonoma Overnight Support, Sonoma County, our city council, and our community to make sure Sonoma is doing its part to address this complex issue. Rachel successfully advocated for a safe parking program, building bridges between our shelter and its neighbors. Most recently, Rachel lobbied the county to reconsider its denial of funding to SOS (or any other organization in Sonoma or Sonoma Valley), ultimately securing $60,000 to fund this year's winter shelter. In 2017, Rachel was presented with the Compassionate Service Award by SOS. She currently serves on the city council's homelessness subcommittee.
The world of government finances has gotten more complex over the years, and last year Rachel realized Sonoma wasn't keeping up. The methods of accounting and the types of data collected that we had been using for over a decade was no longer sufficient. People want more information about where their tax dollars are going, and they want it quickly. We've modernizes the systems and software we use, and we've deepened the expertise of our Finance Department. Sonoma has been a stable ship long before Rachel took the wheel, and Rachel has made our city even stronger.