Letters to the Argus-Courier editor May 27, 2021

On the Water Street ’monstrosity’

EDITOR: It is said that “Art is a very individual thing.” However, when it comes to the Tacky Tubs (oops, sorry, A Fine Balance), P.T. Barnum’s “there’s a sucker born every minute” is much more accurate.

Apparently, the Petaluma Public Art Committee gave birth to quadruplets who approved the infestation. I mean, installation of this 20-legged monstrosity on Water Street. And it’s only going to cost the city another $80,000.

“Art is what you can get away with.”

Thank you, Andy Warhol, and congratulations, Brian Goggin.

Bob Canning


A vote for the fairgrounds status quo

EDITOR: Why is the fairground’s future up for debate in Petaluma? There should be no question as to what should happen to the fairgrounds. Since the 1800s the fairgrounds has been a place for community gatherings that rival any others throughout the year. It is an emergency evacuation center, a location of two schools, a community center, a park, a multi-county fair, a speedway, and the one place in Petaluma that continues to be a source of enjoyment throughout the summer every weekend. I urge the city council to do what is right for the community and keep the fairgrounds as it is; and as it has been for so many successful years. The parade downtown brought joy to my eyes when I saw it, but later while looking into the issue it really saddened me that it takes this much effort for the city to recognize how important this place is to the community. From that looks of it; the community is starting to speak up, so please listen.

David Frym


Discussing the fair

EDITOR: Last Saturday a caravan of vehicles choked the downtown streets with pollution. Noise, exhaust and mis-information spewed from this “parade” (un-permitted) received a lot of attention while it lasted and endured on social media. My aunt from Alameda was having lunch and later asked, “why does the city want to get rid of the fair?” I feel this simplistic representation about what is actually going on in regards to the lease negotiations between the City of Petaluma and 4th District Agricultural Association is a false representation of facts and would fuel a fire to lead us into another bad long-term lease. The disruptive Saturday display might have achieved a level of public awareness but at what cost? Outdoor dining and downtown businesses rely on every dollar on weekends, many folks I witnessed were enthusiastic in support however many were not. The noise was excessive, and the black smoke stunk and made me wish I had not been downtown.

Public dialog is the main objective of those who wish to “save the fair.” City council Ad Hoc subcommittee on this topic include Mike Healy, Dave King and Kevin McDonnell, plus three designated representatives of the District Agricultural Association are responsible for setting up the groundwork for these meetings, and I encourage the public to reach out to those elected officials and ask them to return to work on setting the framework for this contract. Their last meeting was January 2020 and it is now time to get back to the table.

Daniel Bleakney-Formby


Community engagement needed for fair

EDITOR: Why do people get upset when someone speaks up for something they believe in? Double-edged sword. If you speak up and make noise, people get upset and say you’re going about it the wrong way. But if you sit back silent and complacent, others will do what they want without a care for what you think. Your chance to make a difference will slip away. Our city council needs to hold up their end and initiate public outreach regarding the fairgrounds. The community needs to know what is going on. Yes, Covid put a damper on in-person outreach but nothing stopped them from setting up a poll or online survey. The community members voted the council in and expect them to work for the community and not themselves. They need to be involved with the public.

Kylee Giovando


A poem for our times: Water is gold

EDITOR: I’m a visionary or so I’m told, we must save the water, as though it were gold; turn off the faucet when we’re brushing our teeth, doing with less is how it must be; running the sprinkler to keep grass alive, might only be done in the morning and evening at five; washing a vehicle can waste quite a nugget, one can do a more thorough job if they use a sponge and a bucket; wet your hands, turn off the cold, rub them together, rub them bold; turn on the faucet to a moderate drip, hey, this is a pretty good tip; a new idea that is really quite old, is to lather up using a pitcher and bowl; a drought soon comes to a drying nation, so, everyone in earnest must begin to ration; lakes and rivers are starting to shrivel, the rains are coming less frequently, even the drizzles; the water we use or even we drink, will one day come to your door instead the sink; when we go to a restaurant to have a meal, let’s ask for water only if we plan to drink it for real; don’t get a new refill unless you plan to swallow, otherwise, it will just get thrown away, and this is a poor plan to follow; think. What will we do if we’re battling a fire? Let things burn down? Lose our lack of desire? The water may be gone one day, so we must conserve it now, for there may not be another way; in nourishing the people as they thirst for more gold, moving from place to place in search of water, to sustain their hold; our stewardship must be consistent and bold; imagine a world were gold just gets thrown away; who is to care? Someday our water may be more precious than air! SAVE THE WATER! It is our new GOLD! Not just a fad; an idea that is sold, but a new way of thinking for the generation to come; SAVE THE WATER now, so that one day we’ll have some.

Joan Hans-Stafford


Editor’s note: This poem was originally published August 2014 in the Foresthill Messenger. It is republished here with Hans-Stafford’s permission.

Keep the fairgrounds as is

EDITOR: The traffic was worth the education! We saw and we noticed! We found out more about what all the cars in town were doing with the signs in the windows cruising around downtown. Looking back there is a long history of the struggle the fairgrounds has gone through to make sure the future contract with the city is renewed. "Save Petaluma Fairgrounds“ was posted in windows of cars seemingly all over town on May 15 and now it seems important. I hope we don’t lose the fairgrounds; please protect it. The community is waking up to the over development of Petaluma. There is no good reason to develop the fairgrounds in any way, and the city council should keep the fairgrounds for the community as it is. With the commitment of a new long-term lease that will allow them to adjust with the times as they have.

Vin Morris


Save the Petaluma Fairgrounds

EDITOR: Petaluma is always full of surprises! For instance, on May 15, as my family and I were strolling along Kentucky Street, we were in for a surprise!

At first came the surprise factor, in the form of a tooting horn, a bit startling, but to our surprise we were witnessing a brigade of diverse vehicles, even a large rusty rhino. “Only in Petaluma,” I told my kids. As a pick up truck with flags passed us, I got a glimpse of the flag’s statement “save Petaluma Fairgrounds.”

Vehicle after vehicle, tractor after tractor, old jeeps, suburbans, sedans, vintage classic cars, even a rhino, all Petalumans vouching for saving the fairgrounds. They made a lot of noise but their smiling faces and waves I knew this was a friendly group that only wants to make us aware that the fairgrounds must be saved.

I have read some recent articles in news in regards to the fairgrounds lease expiring in 2023 and that the city council recently denied a requested one-year lease extension that the fairgrounds had asked for. This group reminded me that there is a question to be answered and likely addressed very soon, which is what is going to happen at the fairgrounds once the lease is up. I am thankful for this reminder, as many of us strolling around town forget about the fragility of the existence of things that matter to us in this town. I believe the fairgrounds is one of those places that is unique and special and a place where many of us have ties. Almost everyone in town has some type of connection to the fairgrounds. It would be sad to see it gone.

I have to applaud these people who decided to take the time to remind us of an important part of Petaluma that must be saved for future generations and to help preserve what makes Petaluma special and unique. We need more people like this who care about our town and what’s best for it. I myself say SAVE PETALUMA FAIRGROUNDS!

I hope everyone else does too.

Ashley Machado


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