Columns
May 24, 2017
link to facebook link to twitter

Coffeegrounds

Jud Snyder
RP City Council kicks ‘Quiet Zone’ illusion down the road
May 19, 2017

YOU COULD EASILY get the impression the city council did not enjoy discussing the subject at its last Tuesday meeting. But the words “quiet zone” have been dangled for seemingly months before the public eye and it has taken on a life of its own. It obviously convinced the City of Petaluma to establish its own and had signs declaring a QZ until federal agencies back in Washington, D.C. told them cities cannot do this; only a sub-department of the Commerce Dept. has the authority. This means it could be the Railroad Transportation Authority, a division of the Transit Management Agency, which covers only ships and aircraft or it could be another spider hidden in the web only President Donald Trump knows. We assume he knows and so does his staff. But we have no written guarantee. I can only assume our readers in the Voice op-ed columns have no desire for a closer examination of a federal bureaucracy

SO WHERE DOES THIS leave us? All we know is the quiet zones will not disappear. One of the many departments, sub-departments, committees, authorities or agencies snuggled in the comfy arms of the huge Commerce Dept., holds the strings and the city council can do nothing but listen to the complaints.

Sitting in the target seat is our Mayor Jake Mackenzie and he is also on the SMART commute train board of directors. This duality doesn’t disturb Jake, and I guess he’s enjoying riding around and thriving like a duck in a carnival shooting gallery. We detect no sign of a deer caught in the glare of headlights from Jake.

THAT WAS ALL the RP City Council could do so they got all wrapped up in a boring session dealing with how much a QZ would actually cost the city and where it could be squeezed into the budget while the audience fidgeted and patiently wondered what the discussion was leading to and wondering where will the QZs be located.

It’s easy to feel sorry for the city council. Somebody else thought up the words “Quiet Zones” and it sounded so good it rapidly became a target all by itself. Other readers, op-ed fanciers, caught a dim vision of Alice looking down the rabbit hole and spying on a dancing queen. 

The mad queen doesn’t know the words to QZ locations and segues into a bittersweet waltz. So the Quiet Zones theoretically snuggle back to their own comfort zone. But the RP City Council revives them and with more or less languid enthusiasm struggles to keep them alive.

It’s with this same languid enthusiasm we struggle to feel sorry for the quintet. 

They’re doing the same thing Councilwoman Gina Belforte mentioned about the cannabis turmoil – putting the cart before the horse. 

BUT IT SEEMS THAT putting the cart before the horse seems to be a common practice these days. Petaluma tried this trick before it was forced to take down their signs. Now the cannabis turmoil has morphed into a blizzard of practically invisible golden dollars buried in your yard amid your tomato vines.

It ain’t true gang. That might be the way President Trump runs this country. But I don’t think Trump’s methods will work here in Sonoma County. The RP City Council did not borrow it. Instead they buried it in a heap of budgetary ashes until the situation sends a better light.

Even the RP City Council deserves a comfort zone.