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Spotlight on Petaluma



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  • Estefany Mendoza


Phoenix Theater board member Jim Agius dishes on the city of butter and eggs

How would you spend your perfect day in Petaluma?

Surrounded by people that I love in a place that I love. And I love Petaluma. It feels like home. I have so many wonderful friends that live here. And what's nice about framing it that way is that it gives every day the potential of being a perfect one, or at least a happy one. The community and roots here provide a great foundation for that. And what more can a person ask for in the place that they live?

Where is your favorite place to eat in Petaluma and why?

Petaluma Market is my favorite place to eat in Petaluma. I've had the same sandwich from the market deli thousands of times—no exaggeration. It's good. But beyond the meal, I enjoy the ritual of it. It only takes a few minutes for the sandwich to be made, but in that time I always run into a handful of different people that I care about and want to catch up with. This is true of doing just about anything downtown after you've spent enough time here.

Where do you take first-time visitors to Petaluma?

Downtown. Maybe start by getting some food at the market then going to say hi to Tom [Gaffey] at the Phoenix Theater. Maybe coffee downtown while running into a dozen people on the way. Helen Putnam Park is a good place for people who like nature and beauty. Walking the historic residential area nearby is a good backdrop for long conversations with friends. There is so much to see in this area, and it's all within walking distance. A blessing.

What do you know about Petaluma that others don't?

I know the quirky historical stuff and information about the wild characters that preceded us. Some laid the blueprints for what the town would turn into. Some lived lives that make for great stories. Some of those stories we probably shouldn't repeat, but that's what makes them great. Some were protagonists. Some were antagonists. But they all make up the wild and weird lore of a town that's been around for nearly 160 years now.

If you could change one thing about Petaluma, what would it be?

People are finding it hard to live here due to the high cost of housing. Some are folks who come from Petaluma families going back generations. Others have more recently discovered the town and would love to live here. This is a problem that's much larger than Petaluma, obviously, and is fairly complicated. But regardless, it would be great if people who love this town and would like to live in it weren't priced out of doing so.


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