ISSUES

During my 12 years on the City Council, I’ve shown my commitment to all Petalumans by promoting smart, managed growth; funding major transportation improvements; and protecting our environment. I’ve helped to place on the ballot a reauthorization of our Urban Growth Boundary, and I’ve fostered the development of an economic strategy that provides our community with jobs that pay a living wage and promise sustainability.

Petaluma is our home, and I care about both preserving what is special about it and improving the quality of life for everyone. Most of us enjoy our neighborhoods. We shop locally, eat out, take our children to great schools, enjoy the farmers’ market, and frequent the local parks and playgrounds. At the same time, many of us are adversely affected daily by traffic, the condition of our streets and sidewalks, and the lack of first-rate bike lanes.

What is positive about Petaluma is exactly what is driving the demands that create too much traffic with too few alternatives. Making the improvements that ease our problems while respecting our town’s culture and neighborly feel has been my goal during the almost twenty years I’ve been serving our city. But the process often involves pointing out what the real and sometimes painful costs are, often requires compromise, and sometimes takes a lot longer than any of us would like.

During the next few months, I will be posting brief blogs on a number of the issues we face. I will also describe those issues that we’ve faced during my tenure and how we were able to get the best deal for Petaluma. I want you to know my approach and my thinking behind how I intend to be the voice for this community, its residents, and our neighborhoods. A voice of reason.

MEETING OUR HOUSING NEEDS

Petaluma has experienced an influx of homebuyers who have been burned out of Santa Rosa or priced out of Marin County and San Francisco. As a result, the local market has heated up and as housing prices have increased, fewer people can afford to live here. Like many communities, Petaluma struggles to provide sufficient affordable housing and historically, despite the challenges, we were the only jurisdiction in the Bay Area that managed to meet its affordable housing goals. Unfortunately, this accomplishment was undone when Governor Brown ended the State Redevelopment program.

Even under these adverse circumstances, I am proud of the proactive measures the City Council has taken to protect our current inventory of housing and to create affordable housing for the future. From my seat on the Council I advocated for a state law that allows cities to require that low cost housing be included in all new developments. Based on this new law, the City Council is mandating that developers building five or more units must have 15% of those be low income units, and we have also adopted a much higher fee which developers will have to pay if they choose not to include low income units in their developments. Raising the “in lieu” fee simultaneously acts as a deterrent to non-compliance, and also puts much-needed funds in Petaluma’s coffers.

I chaired a committee tasked with creating a master plan for areas near SMART train stops – our downtown terminal and the one proposed for the corner of Corona Road and North McDowell Blvd. I am excited about the opportunity to take the next step on this issue with State Senate Bill 961, which is designed to generate revenue for housing, parking and infrastructure in transit-oriented areas. This new law would enable us to develop our town in an environmentally-responsible manner and at the same time provide lower cost of living options for our residents. I’m proud of the role I’ve played on housing issues to date and if I’m elected mayor, one of my priorities will be to advance forward-thinking solutions to the housing challenges we face.

BANNING PERSONAL FIREWORKS

In my role as city council member, I have been pursuing a ban on personal fireworks for nearly a decade, and feel the time has come to ramp up those efforts – achieving a ban is now within reach.

Personal fireworks were part of my childhood and part of the Independence Day celebrations my children enjoyed as well. However, as with many other things from times past, circumstances have changed and we need to reexamine our policies and practices. Once confined to the Fourth of July, fireworks are now heard sporadically throughout the year and the increased frequency of their use parallels greatly increased risk of fires and air pollution. In addition to the environmental dangers, fireworks also have psychological effects, negatively impacting those that suffer from anxiety-related disorders such as PTSD.

The importance of fire risks cannot be overstated in the current atmosphere. The Sonoma County fires in the fall of 2017 hit particularly close to home, and many of us took part in Petaluma’s heroic relocation efforts to support those who were temporarily displaced or lost their homes. Summer 2018 has seen neighboring Lake and Mendocino counties suffer similar devastation and the unhappy distinction of the “largest fire in California history” seems to change with each new catastrophic fire. With massive wildfires becoming “the new normal,” it only makes sense to do everything we can to minimize the causes that are in our control.

Santa Rosa adopted a ban on fireworks only after a home burned down. There’s obvious wisdom in taking precautions to prevent such an event, rather than waiting to react after tragedy strikes. Other cities are rethinking policies that can make an already dangerous fire situation worse. Here in Petaluma, it is the City Council’s job to make the decisions necessary to avoid known fire problems going forward.

In addition to greatly increasing the risk of fires, personal fireworks also make a significant contribution to unhealthy air. This year, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (I represent the cities of Sonoma County on the board of directors) issued an urgent news release asking Bay Area residents not to use personal fireworks due to extremely bad air quality. The coupling of excessive heat and extreme dryness lead inevitably to the coupling of increased fire risk and unhealthy air.

I believe that if we weigh the risks against the benefits, our course of action is clear. I will be advocating for the council to vote on a ban by the end of this calendar year.

BALLOT STATEMENT

As your Mayor, I am prepared to be your representative using my experience over the past 12 years on the City Council to achieve fiscal responsibility, improve housing affordability, relieve traffic, fix our streets and protect our kids and environment.

Our most profound challenges include affordable quality housing, public safety, and the current street and traffic conditions.

As Chair of Petaluma’s SMART Station Area Plan, I am well prepared to provide the leadership necessary to create housing opportunities in our transit corridors.  This type of housing creates an economic stimulus for eastside and downtown while protecting our Urban Growth Boundary and avoiding urban sprawl.

The fastest path to achieving Rainier is in phases. The first phase is the crosstown connector, which can begin once Highway 101 is raised and widened in Petaluma.  

We must protect our environment and continue our clean energy programs, while providing recreational opportunities including more play fields and open space.  

My endorsements to become your Mayor include Congressmen Jared Huffman and Mike Thompson who know I will work closely with them to make our city safe as well as protect and enhance our community character. 

For more information, please visit http://TeresaBarrettforMayor.com

I would appreciate your vote!