Are you familiar with the Trans-Pacific Partnership? It’s a trade agreement between multiple countries that seeks to lower trade barriers and protect the interests of multinational corporations, often at the expense of consumers, the environment, and local workers. If that’s not enough to give you pause, new negotiations are well underway, and the United States is involved. Furthermore, the industries behind the agreement are looking to fast track the process, which would effectively cut Congress out of the equation by not allowing them the ability to amend the treaty or get approval from their constituents.
In 2013, Sonoma County denied State Parks’ coastal permit application requesting the installation of pay stations that would charge a fee to park at several Bodega Bay and other Sonoma Coast beaches. Many of these publicly-accessible and free beaches are enjoyed by locals and visitors alike, and nearly everyone surveyed voices strong disapproval for “iron rangers,” or automated machines to collect payment, many of which take only cash. The message was clear then, as it is now: Sonoma County wants to keep our beaches free.