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Small justice, random gaslighting, and more

Posted on May 28, 2021 by Sonoma Valley Sun

Dominic Foppoli finally stepped down, in un-self-aware disgrace, as mayor of Windsor after being accused of sexual misconduct by at least seven women. One of them was Rachel Hundley, the former Sonoma city councilmember, who said he accosted her at a Sacramento hotel in 2015. At the time, Hundley and Foppoli were newly elected councilmembers attending a government conference. “His exposure to me was absolutely nonconsensual,” Hundley told The Chronicle. “It was unwanted sexual aggression and persistence contrary to the boundaries I had set.” Hundley came forward when she “realized how desensitizing it can be to be a young woman navigating a sexist and patriarchal world filled with men who think they are entitled to women’s bodies.”… Defiant to the inevitable end (though investigations on both coasts continue), Foppoli admitted only to “lawful, but poor choices,” and said he resigned to spare the town from the “unfortunate distraction.” Uh, thanks?

Quick, a shot of moral character: a crisp salute to Cadet Mathieu Sanders, son of (former Sonoma mayor) Joanne and Morgan Sanders of Sonoma, who just graduated from the U.S. Military Academy and was commissioned as a second lieutenant. After a summer of traveling and surfing, he’ll report to Fort Stewart, Georgia, for his first assignment in the engineering branch… Say, can Joanne Sanders be redeployed as a Sonoma City Councilmember? There seems to be an (ongoing) opening. 

If city council isn’t your stack of downloaded PDFs, how about District Attorney? DA Jill Ravitch faces a recall in a September 14 election. Why? Because of a seriously disgruntled developer, Bill Gallaher, owner of Oakmont Senior Living. The same Bill Gallaher whom Ravitch prosecuted for criminal negligence during the Tubbs Fire: staff members abandoned infirm residents as flames threatened the facility. He paid $500,000 to settle the case. Soon after he invested $800k-plus bankrolling a recall campaign; the County will spend at least that much on the election. (By the way, Ravitch is on record that she won’t run again when her term ends next year.) In Arizona, they’d already be demanding a recount. 

Dr. Adrian Palazuelos is the new superintendent of the Sonoma Valley Unified School District, approved by the board of trustees, including Anne Ching, who feels he’s an exceptional fit. “He is an experienced leader with a strong professional and personal track record and also possesses the motivation and initiative that will help move our district forward.” She also vouched for the vetting process, which culled 35 strong candidates to a field of six for extensive interviews. “The search and selection process was exhaustive, rigorous, and impartial.” She gives him an A, sounds like.

Len Handeland, formerly of Sonoma’s LENDoesMyHair salon, checks in from his new home in Palm Springs, and as a published author. Preface: he and his husband Bryon thought Sonoma would be their “forever home” when they relocated here in 2010. But the wildfires of 2017 were traumatic, as they lost their vacation rental and had three real scares with their Thornsberry Road home. So they ditched the stress and decamped for Palm Springs, a town they know well from vacationing over the years. “We’ve recently reconnected with friends living down here that we knew when we all were much younger while living in San Francisco, some for 25 years or more, who either live down in Palm Springs part-time or full-time; it’s been a blast.” About the book, The Darkest Gift, he calls it “a dynamic, enthralling tale of love, jealousy, rage, and the supernatural.” Two words: gay vampires. “No other author had written an enthralling vampire romance novel since Anne Rice, which was a breakthrough in featuring two vampires of the same gender as a couple.” He spent five years on the project, getting the historical details just right, and shaping a tale of good vs evil in which “same-sex couples are far less ambiguous about their sexual orientation than in vampire books of the last century.”

If you’re the executive director of the Sonoma Valley Visitors Bureau, getting a parking ticket can be a good sign. So says Tim Zahner, who forgot to move his car from a Plaza spot after a meeting. “Normally this would be a cause for some choice words, cursing my fate. But it’s good to know that someone else needed my parking spot – hopefully to visit a shop like Woof for some pet treats or to get their shipment from Sosie wines. So I get to send the City of Sonoma a $40 thank-you note for the reminder.” 

Sebastiani Winery, which has made wine continuously for 118 years, will close its historic Sonoma facility and move all production to Healdsburg. So declares owner Foley Family Wines, which bought the operation from the family in 2008. There will be layoffs but the tasting room will reportedly remain open. About 160,000 cases of Sebastiani wine are made annually. Production will now be done at Ferrari-Carano winery, which Foley bought last year with the idea of consolidation. The Sonoma winery – production, tasting room complex, parking – occupies prime acreage of land at Fourth Street East at East Spain Street, and along Lovall Valley Road. But Foley “has not considered any other options for the rest of the site at present.” The size and layout of the facility, its location within a residential neighborhood, and ongoing concerns about the environmental impact all played a part in the downsizing, the company said. 

“My wife told me I looked like a young Charles Boyer,” said Man on Stool at the Glen Ellen Saloon, “but she was just gaslighting me.”


— Val Robichaud, [email protected]


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