Gummying up the works; Andy’s new book; graphic comments and more

Posted on December 5, 2019 by Sonoma Valley Sun

In a City Council discussion so convoluted that at times council members seemed on a contact high, the city’s proposed Cannabis Ordinance was tossed around for nearly three hours. The city is desperately trying to hammer out a way to allow two cannabis outlets in town, one for deliveries only. But like a 2 a.m. munchie run to 7/11, the proposed ordinance might be too much, too late. (At least in advance of a vote on a 2020 ballot measure, the pro-dispensary campaign mounted by Jon Early). Using a complicated scheme of ranking applicants, and requiring all sorts of provisions never before applied to any business application, the whole idea may go up in smoke. It might have been easy to allow a dispensary in town five years ago, but in today’s corporate cannabis environment, it’s all about money and who’s under the influence. 

Andy Weinberger of Reader’s Books has written his own book, An Old Man’s Game. Dedicated to his late wife Lilla, it’s a detective novel based in L.A. where sleuth Amos Parisman is called in when an unorthodox rabbi named Ezra dies while eating matzo ball soup. It’s light noir with a touch of Yiddish; clever and fun. Weinbeger’s take is, meh. “This is not Dostoevsky.”

The School District’s master plan to upgrade school athletic fields continues to draw heat. Some folks say the money, via school bonds, should be better spent. Others, like Stewart Saunders, make the point that the artificial turf to be used for the fields is a fire and health danger. The school board has heard his impassioned comments at its meetings, but has drawn the line at visual aids. Posters Saunders used to illustrate his argument “terrified” two young girls in attendance, according to Chair John Kelly, who then banned public commenters from using information posters in future school board meetings. Freedom of speech, at least for three minutes, yes – but freedom of graphics? “Eliminating posters from presentations further restricts the opportunity for concerned parents to have adequate time to look at detail and fully understand the environmental impact research findings,” Saunders argues. “This suppresses our ability to fully inform the public of our findings.” 

The foundation that manages Jack London State Park will have a new executive director, in February, when Matt Leffert succeeds Tjiska van Wyk. Leffert, 48, has had a long career in the nonprofit world, heavy on development and fundraising, most recently with the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy. There’s a legacy angle, too: his great grandfather was James P. George, founder of the eponymous George Ranch. Quipster Richard Bond notes, “So the directorship is going from a van Wyk to a Lefferts?! It seems that the directorship stays with the Dutch. Niet dat daar iets mis mee is!”

— Val Robichaud


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One thought on “Gummying up the works; Andy’s new book; graphic comments and more

  1. I was at the city council meeting and do not think the comments about the cannabis discussion are 100% correct. We could have and should have acted years ago to get this done, as it is clear the majority of people in Sonoma want a dispensary. But, I do not think council members Harrington, Hundley or Harvey were mixed up or under the influence in any way. They have been clear about wanting to get this done. And I believe they are acting responsibly, perhaps with a little bit of overkill, to assure what we get does not come back to bite us in the butt and create a backlash against having a dispensary in city limits. Cook’s comments that Sonoma is too small to allow a dispensary and that it is best to have one outside city limits are what are way out there. Cotati is the smallest incorporated city in Sonoma County and they have a dispensary with no issues at all. And given the Springs uproar about a pipe shop, I doubt that a dispensary could happen in my lifetime here in the unincorporated area of Sonoma County.

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