Cell tower as water tank; hotel to hit 'impossible' occupancy?; and where to wear the wine list

Posted on August 25, 2014 by Sonoma Valley Sun

Sonoma’s cell-phone-tower-as-fake-tree fiasco, in which ATT bullied the city council into approving the 80-foot structure, may have taught a few people a lesson. Instead of a faux redwood for a proposed cell tower in Kenwood, off Highway 12 near Hoff Road, ATT instead is going with a 60-foot fake water tower. Members of the Sonoma Valley Citizens Advisory Committee, meanwhile, learned that given the sweetheart federal law favoring cell providers, all resistance is futile. “Given what ATT went through with Sonoma, we’re only here to comment on design because we can’t say no to the project,” said committee member Ditty Vella. And neighbors may have learned that showing up to oppose the tower was barking up the wrong fake tree – and nobody showed. Said Rochelle Campana, the lone no vote, “I regretted voting for the last proposal. We approved the project – maybe, that’s why they didn’t come this time, because we didn’t listen.”… You can fight city hall, but ATT? Please hold.

The Sonoma City Council approved a 10-year extension of the Tourism Improvement District (TID), which collects two percent of every hotel room bill. The money, $550,000 per year and rising, is used exclusively to market Sonoma and promote tourism – “more heads in beds.” How it’s spent is up to a board of directors, a group of industry pros and the city manager, who now basically have full autonomy. That 10-year deal can’t be changed or rescinded by the city… Coming out of that discussion was a comment that got the attention of Measure B backers. A representative from the Marriott Renaissance Lodge at Sonoma projected an occupancy rate for the property this year of 80 percent, the very number the No on B crowd said was impossible during last fall’s campaign.

Congratulations to Saied Molavi, the big winner of Vintage House’s Golden Ticket Raffle. No doubt you’ll be seeing him around town – the grand prize was passes to the film festival, Sonoma Raceway, Taste of Sonoma and other cool events. The fundraising drive will benefit the Local Independent Mobility Options (LIMO) program, which helps non-driving Sonoma Valley seniors maintain their independence with free local rides provided by volunteer drivers.

Regarding matching colors for the Red and White Ball, software guy wonders, “should I spill my wine there, or come pre-stained?”

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