Postscript: Coloring Outside the Box – Defined

“Coloring Outside the Box”

Utilized locally by longtime Petaluma City Councilmember Mike Healy*, this is a somewhat nebulous phrase describing something which is always frowned upon.

As of the summer 2016, it appears to be defined as any city requirement of prospective developers within Petaluma city limits that:

  1. Is of benefit to the citizens of Petaluma, and
  2. Interferes with, slows down, reduces, or is perceived to potentially threaten the private profits of said developers (especially Basin St. Properties)

“Coloring outside the box,” in the Healy contingent’s** lexicon, is an unacceptable negation of a fundamental principle of state capitalism, as played out at the city level – the costs and risks (of public infrastructure, for example) are socialized, while profits are privatized.


*City Councilmember Mike Healy may define this phrase differently by the time you read this. If you wish to obtain the most current definition of the phrase, RR suggests you contact him directly. Contact information for him may be found at the city website.

**The Healy contingent of the Petaluma City Council is a group which fluctuates in number from two to four members. Councilmember Kathy Miller is a charter member of the group. Councilmember Chris Albertson is an honorary member who generally joins them after finding some element of the item at hand to differentiate himself. Councilmember Gabe Kearney almost always wants to be a part of the progressive, more public interest-inclined wing of the council, perpetually agreeing with most of what they have to say before voting with the other side. Kearney could be described as an off-the-books member who fakes left before voting right. Councilmember Dave King remains unaffiliated and appears to be charting a course above the council’s ideological split.

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