SDC plans, heavy money, elective surgery and more

Posted on November 1, 2021 by Sonoma Valley Sun

The long-awaited plan for the Sonoma Developmental Center (three versions of the plan, actually) is being rolled out by this week. Years ago, the state closed down the once-thriving facility and told the County to figure out what to do with the 900-acre campus — and how to pay for it. Committees were formed, meetings held, studies made. How to get the beautiful setting, studded with decrepit, uninhabitable buildings, off the County books? One thing’s for sure, the future of the Developmental Center will involve big-time development; housing for sure, a resort perhaps. Somebody’s got to pay… The fancy consultant (there’s always a consultant), one with a national reputation for this kind of project, was hired to plan the pre-planning. An element of that game plan called for the formation of a Planning Advisory Team (PAT), a group of 15 community volunteers to help ‘guide’ the process.’ That was four years ago, and the group — not allowed to meet publicly and directed not to discuss details — has achieved precious little. Some members feel their input has been ignored, and the panel’s formation was an empty PR move. The real planning has been done behind doors closed to even them… Perhaps it’s time to take up golf. Might be the only way to visit the old SDC grounds in a few years.

How much does $17 million weigh? Must be a lot, learned John and Brenda Camilleri — it takes $499 to ship it. When scammers called to tell them they had won the Publishing Clearing House there was just one catch: a $499 charge for shipping…The Eastsider is suspicious of any strange caller that requests payment by gift card. “I don’t even use my Target card to pay at Target.”

It’s not an anti-work statement, it’s a tired-of-work statement. Sonoma’s Public Works Director and City Engineer Colleen Ferguson will retire at the end of the year, concluding a 32-year career. “Fergy” has worked for the city since July 2017, overseeing construction of West Napa Street Water System Replacement Project, Depot Park First West Improvements, several pavement maintenance, pedestrian and bicycle safety projects, and more. In the pipeline for 2022: the Fryer Creek Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge Project, and the Montini Connector trail, and water supply improvement projects… Another project for City Hall: filling yet another staff vacancy. 

The first sign of the holidays is, of course, the Pumpkin Spice Latte. Also an early harbinger: the lighting of the trees on Sonoma Plaza. The zillion lights are being hung (with care) now, and the official ceremony is November 20. Which is also the official day to switch to candy-cane lattes.

The 2020 census triggered a look at election maps by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission, which has accordingly come up with ways to tweak the congressional, state Senate and state Assembly districts to reflect shifting populations. Nothing’s been finalized, but one map presents the odd possibility of moving Rep. Jared Huffman, San Rafael, out of Marin County entirely in favor of Rep. Mike Thompson of St. Helena, whose district includes Napa County and parts of Contra Costa, Lake, Solano and Sonoma counties. The rest of Huffman’s district would remain the same, gaining a bit in width up north, but still. “I was surprised to see that,” said Huffman of the option. “It’s an odd combination of places. It just doesn’t make a lot of sense.”… Elective surgery. Isn’t that supposed to be popular in Marin?

Six years of clarinet lessons taught Rosie Lee, of Readers’ Books, that when you’re facing a difficult note, you play the note below it louder, letting it support the higher one. “When done right, that note floats easily out, sounding effortless.” Her sound advice, “I’ve found that lesson holds across the board: focusing on the foundation makes difficult tasks possible.”

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