So I got myself to City Hall last night before closed session to join so many good people who want to preserve our bird sanctuary, Gateway to Wine Country, one of four major migratory bird preserves in Northern CA, Shollenberger Park. Where I have counted a Baker’s dozen swans, 29! White Pelicans, endless Coots and many many Snowy Egrets. Peaceful, beautiful, pristine.

Emotions were high last night, but people were respectful from first comment to last, by Jason Davies’ young daughter, Lea, the brave girl. I heard old friends and new express their love of the land we share, the Commons, the Wetlands.

There’s still a chance to win for the People. Seems Mike Healy’s comment yesterday that Judge Rene Chouteau’s rulings had only been contested once and never overturned, was itself overturned by Sheri Chlebowski, who ran with the comment to an attorney friend who dug out a very different statistic:
Judge Chatoeux evidently has been challenged 8 times – and overturned 4 times – 50% overturns vs. the California average of 19%. So the show isn’t over – there’s still a chance to appeal this decision, though City Council must weigh the likelihood that CEQA rules and regulations point to misbehavior which cold lead to reversal of the judge’s verdict. If so, the whole thing goes back to the Supes, who, we expect, will NOT favor Dutra this time around.

Was pleased to speak after Cynthia Murray, who ran for Assembly when our Mayor Pam also ran. Cynthia’s always pro-business spoke up for business – but not the businesses I usually speak up for. I’ve often spoken for small business – for the shops and services that fill the famous avenues of downtown Petaluma, the shops that are threatened by big box stores and monopoly businesses that would drive them out.

The Press Democrat/Argus wrote up the story

Significant catch from Karina Lofee at Petaluma Patch:

“If the appellate court overturns Judge Chouteau’s decision even partially, the project would have to be voted on again by the Board of Supervisors. But because the board has changed since the original vote took place, with Supervisors Mike Kerns and Paul Kelley retiring, it’s unlikely that the project would get approved again.”

So keep the faith, Friends of Shollenberger Park. We still have a park and it still has no asphalt fumes spewing out across the River. Not yet. Let’s hope – and work for – a healthy, great park – Shollenberger. Made up of dredgings from the Petaluma River, it is a gem.