The Sept. 14 column, "If Don Quixote paid a visit to Sonoma County," and last week's follow-up, generated a lot of e-mails, including a letter on the facing page.

The premise of the column was that city and county leaders around the North Bay, and particularly in Sonoma County, are stifling jobs and the economy as they reject or delay projects from big-box stores to retirement communities and affordable housing.

Now, it's worth noting, too, when good things happen. Last week, for instance, the San Rafael City Council rejected opposition appeals to a Mi Pueblo food center. Here's to more displays of common sense and willingness to stand up to opposition.

Following are some of the comments on Don Quixote:

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"I think you could use most of your analogy on the state and to an extent to the feds as well.  What’s it going to take before people begin to see what we have here (or don’t) as far as an economic engine? We run out business and jobs, create a cost-benefit ratio that just cannot compete, do not produce enough housing and when we do, the housing we are able to produce is not in line with what people want to live in or can afford. A very sad state of affairs in our hometown."

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"Your NBBJ commentary was right on. Sonoma County needs to wake up before it is too late."

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"Thanks for finally telling it like it is.  Your article finally put a reality check on the impacts of the local governments, especially Santa Rosa's, to turn down businesses and projects that we sorely need to sustain our economy. The anti-growth sentiment that has prevailed is killing this state, this county and our cities.

"Why can't our decision makers spend as much time and energy helping business to open and create jobs rather than put up hurdle after hurdle, each higher and more difficult than the last."

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My personal favorite from a high school teacher in Santa Rosa, even if it is off the main point:

"Thank you for your recent article ...  'If Don Quixote paid a visit to Sonoma County.' I thought perhaps you would be interested to know that your article was used to review and accelerate discussions of Don Quixote and Cervantes' novel with my advanced Spanish students.  The article proved to be an effective teaching aid and framework that deepened student thought and discussion."

One never knows the impact they might have.

And finally, there were several with a "right on," or "keep it up."

Ditto to that last one.


Brad Bollinger is the Business Journal editor in chief. He can be reached at 707-521-4251, or online at