The New Petalumans
I am one of those newly minted Petalumans (or, as I call myself, a Petaluwoman) who can't say enough good things about my adopted town ("Flourishing Transplants," March 12). I moved here from Marin in January after I was blindsided by a divorce. Still in recovery mode, just found the perfect support group, which meets on Kentucky Street once a week for two months—within walking distance.
Never in my life have I felt as if I fit in so well to a town as I do here. I'm a bit eccentric; so is the town. I appreciate its sweetness—the other night, a neighbor asked me to come into his yard to look at identical twin baby hummingbirds in their teeny, tiny nest.
I adore its friendliness, since I'm a Midwesterner; Marin was not that friendly. People talk to me for a few minutes and then say, "I'm glad you're here." I love all the interesting activities, and the fact that there are lots of other East Coast people, which is what I was originally.
Petaluma had suburbs; now a bunch of people are moving from the big city looking at what has always been an awesome little town and seeing it as simply a suburb of their big city.
And seriously, not gentrifying? As people flee the high prices of San Francisco and Marin, they drive up rents here. Petalumans are moving to Santa Rosa because they are being priced out. Money from Marin and San Francisco has been buying up real estate for profit. Petaluma Hotel, where all the poor people lived, has been gentrified.
I came to a sweet, affordable town a decade ago, hoping someday to be able to buy a home and live my life here. Now what I see is gentrification and strip malls popping up everywhere. And as a single parent, I have watched my dream of being able to afford my own home here fly out the window.
Petaluma pretends to be part of Marin County already. Homes selling for $1.5 million in San Francisco cannot be compared to the barns being sold for $500,000 (as you put it, one-third the cost) in Petaluma. So do you think the people working at the new Target store can afford these houses? Absolutely not.
How is the public transportation system in Petaluma? Any buses across town every 20 minutes? Or does the community only cater to people with cars and SUVs? What companies have moved there that are not part of the monoculture strip malls and restaurant chains? People with money cannot afford to live in the Bay Area, so they are migrating to the North Bay where they can price out those who have been here all this time? Might want to reconsider that G-word qualification.
Time Has Come
I attended Steve Martinot's talk ("Imagine No Prisons," March 5). I was able to go only because my (very hard to obtain) visit with my son at San Quentin didn't happen due to him being sent to the Central Valley. We can absolutely keep the public safe while not subjecting people who are accused or convicted of crimes to cruel and unusual punishment.
Many citizens support prevention and treatment of addiction and mental illness over punishment. Concepts of restorative justice, a focus on real education—there are so many ways to prevent incarceration.
It is an idea whose time has come!
Good Worm, Bad Worm
Regarding where the earthworms have gone ("Rhapsodies & Rants," March 12), I want to bring attention to the recent article in the Natural Resources Defense Council Journal titled "The Worm Has Turned" at www.onearth.org. The article discusses how nonnative worms are actually responsible for destroying forest topsoil.
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