What is left? What’s left is the promise that they won’t oppose the Friedman’s project. Today’s PD article plainly states that the group may oppose a future Lowe’s project in Petaluma that would compete with Friedman’s. Friedman’s benefits by this deal. The $100,000 could fund the opposition to the proposed Lowes. Paul Francis of the Petaluma Community Coalition told us that he has communicated with the Accountable Development Coalition about opposing Lowes.
In Santa Rosa, the Accountable Development Coalition suddenly was awash in funds when they opposed the Lowe’s project here. The Grand Jury, which investigated the ADC and members of the Santa Rosa Planning Commission including Michael Allen and Nick Caston, said that $95,000 was used by the ADC in that effort. Rumor had it that Friedman’s funded them. In both of these cases, community coalitions have taken actions that benefitted Friedman’s. Michael Allen’s other non-profit, NEWS, lists the Friedman Family Foundation at the top of their list of donors. There’s also a long list of labor unions that support NEWS.
Are these community coalitions just hit teams for a big box retailer (Friedman’s)? If so, what a travesty it is that the SMART board has agreed to use the Accountable Development Coalition to represent the community in the Railroad Square project. We need to get to the bottom of who is influencing these groups and who’s paying them. If it is Friedman’s and they want to lobby on their own behalf, then they should do so and not hide behind these shady so-called community groups that do their bidding.