Out of commission; new Broadway project; shameless gossip and more

Posted on June 15, 2017 by Sonoma Valley Sun

page_3_logoRight now, here’s how a seat on one of Sonoma’s several commissions – Planning, for example, or Design Review – is filled: the mayor picks another councilmember to help out, interviews applicants and then names a choice. Traditionally, that pick is then ratified without debate by the full council. As then-mayor David Cook once famously said, the process is one of the few perks of being the mayor. (Itself an honorary, rotated position). Now the rest of the council wants in on the action. With a 4-1 vote, the panel has ordered up from city staff a plan that would allow each councilmember to place, without debate or review by the others, one member on each of the seven commissions, the Planning panel being the most prominent (sorry, Tree Committee)… It was said to be an effort to avoid ‘politicizing’ the process, but would seem to add a level – or seven – of politics and possible patronage to every council candidacy. Continuity? If your council benefactor loses – or after a year doesn’t like you’re stance on development, or your new haircut – you’re out. Interestingly, Gary Edwards, a prior member of the Planning Commission, was the lone no vote.

The current Planning Commission — after perhaps checking their nameplates to make sure they’re still on the dias – are getting the first look at a project proposed for Broadway and MacArthur. No, not the blighted old car lot, but the gas station across the street. The idea of Chad and Erika Harris is to close the station down and use the retro design to inspire a restaurant and ‘nano brewery’ – a pint to a micro-brewery’s quart — with 24 seats inside and another 24 outdoors. The restaurant is conceived as a family-oriented, neighborhood-serving establishment, to be open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The existing paved areas on the property that now support the service station would be replaced with landscaping, walkways, and the outdoor seating… The half-acre parcel extends all the way to First Street West, and the ‘back half’ would be used for housing: four two-bedroom apartment units.

Sonoma Raceway is used to high-speed maneuvers, but a wild CHP chase that started in Napa at 100 mph ended in the hills above the track at a slow jog – the evasive driver abandoned his Ford Explorer and took off on foot. The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office helicopter spotted the runaway, then landed to make the collar.

In Sonoma, the percentage of average weekly wage required to pay down a median-priced home is 82.1 percent. That makes our humble burg the 10th most expensive place to live in the U.S., according to Forbes Magazine. Accordingly, many impacted citizens are making tough household budget cuts, like canceling their subscriptions to Forbes Magazine.

And which prominent public relations and marketing ace just lost a lawsuit by his old firm? The boss maintained, and the judge agreed, that he should not have taken another job while still employed at the first one. Even in a gig economy, that was one gig too many.

— Val Robichaud @ [email protected]


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