By CYPRIEN PEARSON
PETALUMA HIGH SCHOOL , JUNIOR
In some ways, isolationism is preferable in today’s society of intercommunication and consumerism. For Petaluma, this does indeed hold true as it is this isolationism that our local business and small-town mentality thrives upon. With the continual talk of a new shopping center located beside the fairgrounds, this age-old debate of whether to down size or super-size comes once again into effect.
Since its days as the egg-capital of the world, one may assume Petaluma has kept its quaint, unique charm by carefully remaining isolated from the large businesses and corporations found due north in Rohnert Park and directly south in Novato. That being said, why let traditions go? Although Petaluma has accepted some chain businesses, such as Starbucks, Kmart, and Kohl’s, a line must be placed here, now and forever as to whether an open door policy of sorts will be instilled.
In Petaluma’s downtown, there are boutiques and restaurants aplenty; we have no need of a large department store, as well. At the location previously belonging to Kenilworth Junior High, a Target and its accompanying shops will hardly improve our small town. Rather, it will inhibit our traditions.
While it is true a Target could be convenient, one must look past this ease and think on a larger, community-based level. Our local shops depend on local support to prosper in any economy and particularly that of today. Like anyone else, these business owners are mothers, fathers, wives and husbands who hold the typical responsibilities of clothing and feeding themselves and their children.
What will become of them when our hard-earned dollars fly into the pockets of major heads of corporations instead of into the possession of our deserving peers?
Furthermore, the desire for a Target with one less than 15 minutes away in Rohnert Park hearkens to nothing less than laziness and sloth. Yes, their prices may be slightly lower, yet when one thinks through why that is so, even this once-alluring appeal of department stores fades. Setting prices low suggests that merchandise in question, a shirt for example, is mass-produced in China or another location. There, the major companies pay workers 5 cents to sew a piece of clothing, package it, ship it to the U.S. and sell it to the average Joe consumer for the cheap, yet ultimately outrageous $10 mark. That being said, is that 15-minute drive really so bad if it keeps one more large store, one more large opportunity for corporate manipulation of workers even a tiny bit at bay?
In comparison to that weighty ideal, the notion of an increase in traffic for the already heavily congested Washington and McDowell intersection comes at a superficial, although still important level. A shopping center placed next to this intersection would create even more cars, more traffic and perhaps more problems from confusion and accidents than one sees already. Perhaps the worst intersection of Petaluma, this stricken section of overpass does not need another draw to which more cars will come. Therefore, is a larger traffic jam and a higher-taxed patience worth this shopping center?
When it all boils down, the debate over one more shopping center in Petaluma must be seen literally from a list of pros and cons. One lies if one preaches that local living and complete community dependence is simple. Yet if we do not try, do not attempt to preserve our Petaluma isolationism, what will we become except one more replicate of the average American city? The preservation of our Petaluma uniqueness is at stake.