Planning Commissioners victims of new plan

Posted on November 23, 2017 by Sonoma Valley Sun

So long and thanks for coming to members of the just-disbanded Sonoma Planning Commission: James Cribb, James Bohar, Michael Coleman, Robert McDonald and Mary Sek. The new system concocted by the City Council calls for a re-constituted panel of seven, with each of the Councilmembers picking a favorite from a pool of applicants (including any former members who reapply for the gig). Those picks can’t be overruled, and the chosen stay in place throughout the term of the council member who appointed them. That’s five seats; the other two are filled by Council majority… In its final meeting as constituted, the departing panel greenlighted two apartment complexes: the Altamira Apartments, a 48-unit affordable housing project on Broadway, and The Oliva Apartments on West Spain St. Of its 30 units, six will meet affordable housing criteria, as mandated by law.

Sonoma’s Vintage House threw its annual Vintage Evening gala on Saturday night, complete with surrealistic magic from Tobias’s Traveling Spectacular and bubbly flowing from a gigantic champagne glass. As part of the County’s Year of the Senior, the event honored three locals who “show us a different way to look at getting older… who continue exploring possibilities, to celebrate discovery and live life to its fullest.” Saluted were restaurateur and culinary diva Sondra Bernstein; nonprofit dynamo and organ-donation advocate Marcie Waldron; and impresario and community champion Roger Rhoten. The bashed raised $60,000.

Two productions in the Sonoma Arts Live season, which ran January through July, were winners of three Marquee Theater Journalists Association Awards. For “Becky’s New Car,” Melissa Claire won Outstanding Lead Performance in a Comedy, and director Carl Jordan snagged the award for Outstanding Comedy Production. Daniela Innocenti-Beem, who Madame Rose in the Michael Ross-directed “Gypsy,” won Outstanding Lead Performance in a Musical. Ross was a nominee, along with SLA alum Ellen Toscano (for the lead in “Evita!”); Bruce Lacovic (set design, “Becky’s New Car”) and Matt Witthaus (supporting comedy performance, “Becky’s New Car”) and John Partridge (musical director, “Gypsy”)… Sonoma Arts Live returns to Andrews Hall on November 29 with a three-week run of “Inspecting Carol.”

A County-wide hotline for anyone to call when they believe an immigration enforcement action is now up and running at 24/7: 707.800.4544. Dispatchers will take the call, and direct a member of the Rapid Response team to report to the scene to observe and record any ICE action to ensure everything is done legally. The hotline is staffed by La Luz Center and the North Bay Organizing Project, and the roster of Rapid Responsers is up to 40 volunteers. Says one, “Our work is not political, it is being the best Americans we can be.”

— Val Robichaud

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