This week’s chitter, chatter and innuendo

Posted on December 1, 2022 by Sonoma Valley Sun

Fired? Quit? TikTok rehab? After less than 18 months on the job, Sonoma Valley Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Adrian Palazuelos is out – and we’ll never know why. The abrupt “separation agreement” was announced November 18. The document included a clause which limits any real details or accountability for what went wrong. The vote to ‘separate’ Palazuelos from his $230K annual salary was approved, though Trustee John Kelly (with TrusteeTroy Knox) voted against the deal because, as Kelly stated, of the “presence of a payout” and a “non-disparagement clause, which I think limits the public’s ability to learn about Adrian Palazuelos’ behavior, and my ability to comment on the same.” There are a lot of things the public should know about this situation, and SVUSD governance generally, but won’t because of the legal muzzle,” Kelly said. “I do not see any easy, expedient solutions to this problem.” … Taking over will be Dr. Elizabeth Kaufman, who inherits at least 10 administrators with a year or less of experience in their jobs. Trustee Anne Ching, speaking for the full board, confirmed that the exit package includes six months of pay and benefits for Dr. P. “We believe that separation was the best path forward for ensuring stability and continuity of the district, because it allowed the board to appoint an acting superintendent with full authority to lead,” she said. “We are confident Dr. Elizabeth Kaufman possesses the experience, competence and professionalism to lead us through this challenging period.” 


Supervisor Susan Gorin held a recent public meeting to re-float the idea of a Springs Community Plaza, to be located behind and adjacent to the Boyes Hot Springs Post Office. The rest of the semi-circular building, once the site of the Church Mouse thrift store, is now owned by noted property-acquirer Ken Mattson, another vacant, nearly-decrepit building in his 80+ local portfolio. An open community space has been on Gorin’s wish list for years, but the County lacks (big surprise) enough money to pull it off. Enter Mattson, who broached the idea of making the space available – if the county builds an underground parking garage to make up for, and add to, the spaces his retail spots would lose. (He also owns adjacent properties, as yet undeveloped). A sweet deal, sounds like. But no hard plans or promises made… Some 100 people showed up for the meeting. As Cathy Wade Shepard noted, “It is no secret to any of us who have lived in the Sonoma Valley for any length of time that the Springs is underutilized. Mattson sees the upside, but most are skeptical due to the lack of finished projects.”


The Wine Spectator has picked its top 100 wines of the year, and two Sonoma Valley labels made the grade: Hanzell, 2019 Pinot Noir, Sonoma Valley, $98, 95 points (No. 25); and Bucklin, 2019 Ancient Field Blend, Sonoma Valley, $38, 94 points (No. 35). Five other Sonoma County wines also made the list… Meanwhile, you know Thanksgiving is officially over when even the cat refuses to eat the leftover turkey.


In the run-up to last month’s BMX Freestyle World Championships in Abu Dhabi, Glen Ellen native Nikita Ducarroz battled through an Epstein-Barr virus diagnosis to take second place. “Practice didn’t go so well for me, and I had quite a bit of trouble right before qualifying (a few crashes) which forced me to completely switch my run plan. I don’t think I’ve ever been so nervous before. Luckily, we pulled it together and made it happen!” Ducarroz, 26, an Olympic bronze medalist, now lives in Geneva. 

A cozy relationship at Hanna Center, where the nonprofit furniture bank Make It Home has donated and installed 35 residence-rooms on the campus. “The rooms don’t feel institutional because all the furnishings are different and coordinated,” says Scott Singer, VP of Hanna Center Residential Programs. “They feel like home.” The furnished rooms provide residences for youth transitioning out of foster care.

World Cup joke for the soccer nerds: “I watch the 4am game when I get up to pee… It’s a Sepp Blatter infection.”

– Val Robichaud, [email protected]





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