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Welcome to the Sonoma County Gazette ARCHIVE of PAST EDITIONS. Our NEW WEBSITE is up and running, so GazExtra is serving as your path to archived articles. Thanks for being part of our Sonoma County community...stay in touch...e-mail me - VESTA

Monday, May 31, 2010

Black Face Humor...Not Funny!

NOT Black
NOT Female
NOT Funny

Not long ago Don Imus-a controversial radio personality-referred to the Rutgers Women's Basketball team as “nappy-headed hoes”. Since the election of America's first Black President, many Americans believe-or want to believe-that we have reached a milestone in race relations. Well that depends on who you ask. When Black women continue to be portrayed as mammies, jezebels, inarticulate, or promiscuous hoes, then I know we still have work to do. Many racist and insensitive individuals continue to refer to Black women as welfare queens, nappy-headed hoes, and the like, but this time the perpetrator may surprise you.

Now there's Charles Knipp, a racist and culturally incompetent White gay male comedian donning a Black face and telling jokes at the expense of Black women and Black culture. Knipp's professional experience includes working as a nurse and a minister. He has dual American and Canadian citizenship. He is better known for his misrepresentation of Black women. He plays Shirley Q. Liquor in drag - a heavy-set, shoplifting, promiscuous, inarticulate, malt liquor drinking, and a single parent Black woman that doesn't know who the father of her 19 children are. Knipp has been touring the country for a number of years spewing his racist venom in venues that will accept him, oftentimes in White gay venues.

Knipp is now bringing his insensitive act to California to “allegedly” pay homage to Black women. His show is scheduled at the Russian River Resort-a White gay venue-in Guerneville located in Sonoma County where the majority of the followers are White gay men from San Francisco. Even more egregious, the theme of the show is called Hurricane Weekend and will be performed on June 19, 2010. June 19th or “Juneteenth”, is when Blacks from Texas and nationwide reflect and celebrate independence and freedom from American enslavement. I am outraged and can't believe the Sonoma County community would welcome such a performance, especially after the former Cotati City Councilman George Barich was recalled for appearing in blackface on his personal blog.

In 2009, several middle-age White gay men in San Francisco protested the performance of Buju Banton, a Jamaican artist, for his controversial anti-gay lyrics. The artist's 1992 song “Boom Bye Bye” where Banton sings of throwing acid in the face of a “batty boy” an equivalent to an effeminate man. The anti-gay artist caught the attention of San Francisco's "socially and politically conscious" community. Many leaders of the LGBTQ community and two San Francisco Supervisors met with the artist to address the matter. While some members of our LGBTQ community appear to be policing insensitive issues impacting the LGBTQ community, some continue to turn a blind eye to issues impacting non-White gay people.

I am a true fan of exercising our 1st Amendment Right and freedom of expression, but not when the action or speech is potentially divisive and damaging to others. I would expect to see the same outrage that went into boycotting and protesting the performance of a Jamaican artist directed at Shirley Q. Liquor who misrepresents and insults the humanity of Black women and Black culture. If there is to be peace and harmony across races in the LGBTQ community, then we must all eliminate malicious attacks on communities of color whenever they occur. Most importantly, I urge you all to join me and take a stand to eliminate racially insensitive performances-like Shirley Q. Liquor-that continue to cause great harm and place a wedge between the African American and LGBTQ communities. Feel free to contact me at
Javarré Wilson, MPH

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Russian River Low Flow & Estuary Update

Sonoma County Water Agency
Separates Low Flow and
Estuary Projects for EIR

By Brenda Adelman

Low Flow Back Again….
Lake Mendocino and Lake Sonoma are the fullest they have been in years and everyone is sighing relief at the expectation of having normal water supplies this year. Folks are grateful that this will be a summer when gardens can be watered without guilt. But sorry, the lower river is expected to get low flow again anyway!

This article is being written as the Sonoma County Water Agency (SCWA) waits to hear from the State Water Board about their Temporary Emergency Petition to lower flows between May 1 and October 15, 2010. The Biological Opinion (BO) required filing the Petition. In fact, the BO requires that they file for a temporary petition every year until the permanent change to Decision 1610 is approved, which may be seven or more years from now. SCWA had filed “emergency” petitions in 2002, 2004, 2007, and 2009.

Very Important Meeting…
Expecting to hear soon, the Water Agency scheduled a very important meeting in Guerneville on June 9th (Wednesday) at 6:30 pm at Odd Fellows Hall, just up the street from the Vets Building. SCWA will explain to the community the necessity for the temporary, but annual, low flow petition, which encourages flows to stay around 70 cubic feet per second (cfs) but will vary as high as 85 cfs. They hovered around 70 cfs most of last summer.

The intent is to allow the mouth of the Russian River to remain closed all summer while not flooding any properties in Jenner. The Agency anticipates that a closed lagoon will create conditions that will nurture threatened juvenile steelhead.

Because of the “emergency” status, there is no requirement for environmental review or examination of environmental impacts. In fact, the Emergency Petition boldly asserts that low flows will occur, “…without injury to any lawful user of water”, and, “…..without unreasonable effect upon fish, wildlife, and other instream beneficial uses.”

In other words, they claim that increased bioaccumulation of toxins in the low and slow moving river will not cause any harm; all of the nutrients and pathogens will not proliferate in heated waters, no recreationists and/or their children and pets will get sick or harmed as a result, and no significant impact on either water quality or public health will occur.

Unintended consequences of low flow….
Last year, many canoeists complained of fixed and floating, black and green and blue-green algae pervasive in the river last summer. (RRWPC has many pictures of this algae.) Large outcroppings of invasive Ludwigia were widely evident. We heard numerous reports of people and pets getting ill from playing in the river and have concerns that this is not being adequately considered in this process.

According to Regional Board staff, nutrient monitoring conducted by SCWA last summer was substantially inadequate due to excessive detection limits, that the Regional Board is gearing up to study nutrients in the Laguna and river, set numerical standards, seek a 303(d) listing under the Clean Water Act, and eventually change the Basin Plan to address the new standards.

Recent Estuary Project Meeting in Jenner
A recent Water Agency meeting in Jenner was promoted as an opportunity to learn about the Estuary Project and also serve as an environmental impact scoping meeting. Scoping meetings are meant to provide an opportunity for the public to express their concerns about the project and have their questions recorded by the lead Agency for later response. There is no requirement that the lead Agency hold a scoping meeting, but certainly if one occurs, there should be a record of the questions asked. While the Agency asked people to write questions on cards, there was no recording of their verbal comments. Furthermore, they had displays set up around the room and they expected people to walk around to various booths and talk to staff about the project. We learned that here would be no recording of their questions or comments while at these booths.

Many citizens who attended this meeting described it as a “dog and pony” show.
At that meeting we learned that impacts resulting from mouth closure and the low flows required to facilitate it, would be considered in separate environmental documents, even though lower flows were essential for the project to occur. This is illegal according to our understanding of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The Agencies explained that the permanent change to Decision 1610 that governs river flows will take too long and therefore they have to consider the EIR for the permanent change separately. This may be more convenient for them, but not the way things are supposed to be done.

Mistake Correction…
For the record, Russian River Watershed Protection Committee (RRWPC) recently sent out a mailer where we stated that the lower river was the ONLY section to get a decrease in stream flow. At the meeting, it was mentioned that the upper part of the river would be reduced from 185 cfs and 150 cfs to 125 cfs and not remain the same as we had stated. Nevertheless, we believe that 125 cfs flow does far less damage to water quality and recreation than the 70 cfs we will probably experience. These cuts represent a 32% and 17% cut for the upper river, and about a 45% cut for the lower.

Letters to send to Agencies…
RRWPC has developed new letters about this send to State Water Board and Water Agency. Please download/copy, sign, and send in as addressed on the letter. It would be very helpful if you could write your personal river stories on the back.

Brenda is chair of RRWPC and can be reached at Donations to RRWPC can be made via PayPal at their website:



Victoria Whitney
State Water Resources Control Board
Division of Water Rights
P.O. Box 2000
Sacramento, CA 95812-2000

Dear Ms. Whitney:
I am writing to you concerning the Sonoma County Water Agency’s (SCWA) Petition for a Temporary Urgency Change—Permits 12947A, 12949, 12950, and 16596 : April 4, 2010.

I (we) wish to express concern regarding the modification of summer flows in the lower Russian River from 125 cfs to 70 cfs for this year: May 1 through October 15th. I utilize the Russian River in the following way(s): property owner, business owner, recreationist and/or tourist, for artistic expression, for spiritual well being, for exercise and personal health, fishing, swimming, and/or_______________________________________________.

I am concerned that water quality will deteriorate from greatly lowered flows, including possible additional pollution from nutrients, regulated and emerging toxins, bacteria, temperature, invasive species, blue-green algae, etc. Lowering the flows to 70 cfs will seriously impede my enjoyment of the river and may impact my health and well-being. This action could also put children, pet dogs, and wildlife at great risk as well.

I believe the overall health of the watershed has greatly deteriorated, including impacts to other species besides salmonids, such as amphibians, sea birds, seals, unlisted fish and other aquatic life, etc. I wonder why the Biological Opinion, which requires that SCWA apply for this flow change, did not first require addressing other problems in the river that harm fish including excess sediments, temperature, and nutrient pollution? Can lower flows this summer cause bigger floods next winter given full reservoirs?

I understand that north of the river’s confluence with Dry Creek, flows will only be reduced by 32% or less, while the lower river will experience much greater reductions, even though the reservoirs are full. The purpose of the reduction would be to experiment with a closed Estuary at the mouth of the Russian River in order to help Steelhead fish. While we would like to see Steelhead saved, I/we are concerned that the collateral damage to water quality and ecosystem integrity may be too great.

Please see other side and/or attached letter for some of my experiences and why I am concerned that this change could cause adverse impacts to my use of the Russian River.



Grant Davis: General Manager
Sonoma County Water Agency
P.O. Box 11628
Santa Rosa, CA 95406

Dear Mr. Davis:
I am writing to you concerning your Agency’s Petition for a Temporary Urgency Change—Permits 12947A, 12949, 12950, and 16596 , dated April 4, 2010.

I (we) wish to express concern regarding the modification of summer flows in the lower Russian River from 125 cfs to 70 cfs for this year: May 1 through October 15th. I utilize the Russian River in the following way(s): property owner, business owner, recreationist and/or tourist, for artistic expression, for spiritual well being, for exercise and personal health, fishing, swimming, and/or_______________________________________________.

I am concerned that water quality will deteriorate further from greatly lowered flows, including possible additional pollution from nutrients, regulated and emerging toxins, bacteria, temperature, invasive species, blue-green algae, etc. Lowering flows to 70 cfs will seriously impede my enjoyment of the river and may impact my health and well-being. This action could also put children, pet dogs, and wildlife at great risk as well.

I believe the overall health of the watershed has already greatly deteriorated, including cumulative impacts to other species besides salmonids, such as amphibians, sea birds, seals, unlisted fish and other aquatic life, etc. I am disappointed that the Biological Opinion, which requires that SCWA apply for this flow change, did not first require addressing other problems in the river that harm fish including excess sediments, temperature, and nutrient pollution. I wonder if lower flows this summer could exacerbate greater jeopardy from flooding next winter in the lower river?

I understand that north of the river’s confluence with Dry Creek, flows will only be reduced by 32% or less, while the lower river will experience much greater reductions, even though the reservoirs are full. The purpose of the reduction would be to experiment with a closed Estuary at the mouth of the Russian River in order to help Steelhead fish. While we would like to see Steelhead saved, I/we are concerned that the collateral damage to water quality and ecosystem integrity may be too great.

Please see other side and/or attached letter for some of my experiences and why I am concerned that this change could cause adverse impacts to my use of the Russian River.


Order WR 2010-0018-DWR Approving Sonoma County Water Agency Temporary Urgency Change Petition -- Mendocino and Sonoma Counties

This is a message from the State Water Resources Control Board.

The Sonoma County Water Agency filed a petition for temporary urgency change on water right Permits 12947A, 12949, 12950, and 16596 (Applications 12919A, 15736, 15737, and 19351). On May 24, 2010, the State Water Resources Control Board, Division of Water Rights issued Order WR 2010-0018-DWR approving the petition. The Order approves the temporary reduction in minimum instream flow requirements for the Russian River as mandated by the National Marine Fisheries Service Russian River Biological Opinion for the improvement of juvenile salmonid habitat. The Order affects flows in the Russian River in both Mendocino and Sonoma Counties.

To view the order or project information, please visit the Division of Water

Rights website at:

If you have any questions, please call 916-552-9286 or email and a member of the Division of Water Rights staff will respond.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Russian River Summer Flows Reduced for Fish

Russian River Summer Flows Modified
by Requirements of Biological Opinion

PUBLIC MEETINGS (see below for locations & dates)
Scheduled to Discuss Changes

On Monday, May 24 the California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) issued an order lowering minimum flows in the Russian River this summer. The SWRCB order responds to a Temporary Urgency Change Petition for reduced flows that was filed in April by the Sonoma County Water Agency.

A Biological Opinion issued by the National Marine Fisheries Service in September 2008 requires the Agency to annually ask the state board to reduce flows in the river. Slowing the velocity of water during the summer improves conditions for young steelhead that live in the Russian River before migrating to the ocean.

“The state board order is good news. Not only does it help threatened fish, but by allowing the Water Agency to comply with the Biological Opinion, it helps secure the water supply for 600,000 residents,” said Sonoma County Water Agency Director Shirlee Zane.

As required by the Biological Opinion, the order requires minimum flows of 125 cubic feet per second (cfs) in the river above Dry Creek and 70 to 85 cfs in the lower river. While the order is in effect from May 25 to October 15, there will be little noticeable decrease in immediate flows.

“With so much water coming into the river from recent storms, the Water Agency isn’t currently controlling the majority of the flow,” said Pam Jeane, assistant general manager of operations for the Sonoma County Water Agency.

As was done last year when it issued an order for lower flows, the state board included several requirements, including water quality and fisheries monitoring and water conservation measures.

“The state board order makes it clear that Sonoma and Mendocino county residents must make conservation part of our lifestyle,” said Water Agency Director Efren Carrillo. “People need to make permanent changes, like replacing thirsty lawns with low-water plants, so that when the dry years return we’ll be prepared.”

Three public meetings are scheduled to discuss this summer’s flow changes and the state board order:

Wednesday, June 2, 6:30-8:00pm
Healdsburg Community Center
1557 Healdsburg Avenue

Thursday, June 3, 6:30-8:00pm
Ukiah City Hall
300 Seminary Ave

Wednesday, June 9, 6:30-8:00pm
Guerneville Odd Fellows Hall
16219 First Street

Specific conditions of the order include:

Fisheries and Water Quality –The order requires monitoring of threatened steelhead and Chinook salmon and endangered coho salmon and weekly consultations with California Department of Fish and Game and National Marine Fisheries Service regarding potential fishery issues. A water quality monitoring plan must be prepared.

Water Management -- The order requires the agency to work with agricultural Russian River water users to better anticipate periods of high water demand. The state board also requires the Water Agency to work with its customers (Santa Rosa, Windsor, Petaluma, Rohnert Park, Cotati, Sonoma, Valley of the Moon Water District and North Marin Water District) to conjunctively manage surface and groundwater resources, with an emphasis on conserving and replenishing groundwater resources.

Conservation – The order requires preparation of a report that spells out water conservation efforts in areas served by the Water Agency and by all jurisdictions that receive water from Lake Mendocino. In addition, cities and water districts served by the Water Agency must require their dedicated irrigation customers be assigned a water budget designed to achieve a maximum applied water allowance of 60 percent evapotranspiration (known as ETo). NOTE: A water budget is the amount of water a site should be using, based on the landscaped area and historical weather factors. ETo refers to the reference evapotranspiration – the amount of water that evaporates and transpires from a square foot of grass; 60 percent ETo means the landscape is provided 60 percent of the water that is needed for grass to thrive and grow.

About Russian River Flows and the Biological Opinion: The Water Agency is the local sponsor for the federal water projects at Lake Mendocino and Lake Sonoma and has responsibility to regulate water supply-related releases from these reservoirs to meet the needs of more than 600,000 people in portions of Sonoma and Marin counties. A decision by SWRCB in 1986 (known as Decision 1610) requires the Water Agency to release sufficient water from the reservoirs to maintain flow rates above designated minimum values at certain points along the Russian River. The values change depending on whether the hydrologic year is deemed “normal”, “dry” or “critically dry.”

The Biological Opinion requires the Water Agency to ask the SWRCB to permanently change the minimum flow levels established in D1610. Depending on the hydrologic year, the Biological Opinion flow levels are generally lower than those established in Decision 1610. In September 2009, the Water Agency petitioned the SWRCB for the permanent changes in D1610 required by the Biological Opinion. The proposed flow regime will undergo a full environmental review, which the Water Agency anticipates starting in the fall.

Because permanently changing D1610 could take several years, the Biological Opinion requires the Water Agency to annually petition the SWRCB to change minimum flow levels on a temporary basis.

SWRCB Order and SCWA Petition Information: A copy of the SWRCB Order is attached. The Water Agency’s Temporary Urgency Change Petition and Petition to Modify D1610 can be found at

Water Conservation Information: A list of water conservation tips, programs and rebates are available at Additional information can be found at


Sonoma County Water Agency provides water supply, flood protection and sanitation services for portions of Sonoma and Marin counties. Visit us on the Web at

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BP Oil Spill Clean-Up Mycoremediation

Report from Brock Dolman...

We just spent a wonderful week with Paul Stamets at his place in the Gulf Islands, and while we were there, the BP Crisis Management Team called to get his advice. In a way, that's pretty encouraging. People here were wondering what Paul's got to say about the mess, and after the call he put together a position paper on the spill and mycoremediation. It's at

Paul asks that this link go to anyone who can help.

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Monday, May 24, 2010

California coul lose Child Care for Workers

California Child Care/Early Care and Education
now placed on the endangered species list

In response to the Governor’s Budget May Revision 2010-11 which proposes an unprecedented $2.3 billion combined elimination of CalWORKS and General Fund support for California’s neediest children and families ($1.1 billion CalWORKS and $1.2 billion General Fund), child care and early care and education advocates launched the “Campaign to Save Child Care!” in opposition to the cuts. More than 200 campaign supporters including parents, providers, directors, teachers, resource and referral programs, alternative payment providers, local planning councils, and organizations committed to quality, accessible, affordable child care will attend the Joint Assembly Budget Subcommittee #1 and #2 hearing to demonstrate their united opposition to the dismantling of California’s child care system.

Although his proposals exempt the state’s part-day preschool and ASES afterschool programs, the overall proposal will destroy California’s long-established system of child care services that support the dual goals of helping parents earn and children learn. Since the end of WWII, California has recognized the value and importance of providing child care services to working families and their children. Our 68-year-old system has evolved to provide care to young children in a variety of settings – home and center based – that meet the needs of our diverse working families.

The campaign supporters are outraged that the Governor has proposed this massive dismantling of a child care system that provides jobs for:
• 100,000 parents1 working and contributing to California’s struggling economy
• More than 130,000 child care providers2, including licensed family child care homes and paid assistants; center staff (directors, teachers, and assistants); and license-exempt child providers3 serving low-income families.

The proposed massive elimination of child care services will result not only in lost employment for low income working parents and their child care teachers and providers, but also in endangered child safety and lost learning opportunities for the 200,000 young children4 who would be jerked from their child care programs beginning July 1, 2010. Brain research demonstrates that early education experiences – from birth to age five – are critical in determining whether a child’s brain develops a proper foundation for learning and success in school and later life. Eliminating child care and early learning opportunities literally imperils our children’s capacity for learning.

Campaign Coordinator, Patty Siegel, of the California Child Care Resource and Referral Network, stated, “Rome was not built in a day, nor was our child care system. Our centers and home- based providers – the foundation of our system – cannot put their programs on pause while we wait for California’s economy to pick up. This radical budget surgery will result in the permanent loss of child care facilities, teachers and staff throughout the state, leaving California even less prepared for the economic rebound forecasted for the not-so-distant future.”

The threat to dismantle the entire child care system is not only outrageous in its scope but irresponsible, leaving the child care field in limbo. This kind of anxiety pulsing throughout the state will result in hiring freezes, staff layoffs, and frozen enrollment beginning in the next few weeks. Employment opportunities for parents will be jeopardized without the guarantee of subsidized child care, creating further economic insecurity in the state. Equally devastating, California’s youngest children will lose access to our highest quality child care programs.

Campaign support has grown to 50 organizations and is expected to reach more than 300 by the end of the week. They stand united in their opposition to this wholesale dismantling of California’s child care system. The proposal cannot become a negotiation tool for accepting the Governor’s January budget proposals. Beginning today, campaign supporters will document and share the impact of this proposal on children, parents, providers and the communities they serve, and bring it to the immediate attention of Assembly members and Senators. “We cannot accept corporate tax breaks at the expense of young children. This is a campaign for California’s future – a future that must address economic equity and close examination of who wins and who loses in this budget scheme” exclaimed Donna Sneeringer, Public Affairs Manger of Child Action, Inc., in Sacramento.

Campaign supporters will be available for comment before and during the hearing. A list of supporters as of 5pm on May 18, 2010 is included below.

1 Estimated by dividing the total number of children in threatened programs served by two. This estimate assumes an average family size of three with one adult and two children being served.

2 Number of licensed family child care home and center-based program staff impacted was calculated by applying the percentage of licensed programs serving children receiving vouchers reported in the 2006 California Early Care and Education Workforce Study to updated 2008 supply data. These estimates were combined with the number of CDE, General Child Care state-contracted centers published in the 2009 California Child Care Portfolio to estimate the overall number of child care providers serving children receiving vouchers or in state-contracted programs impacted by proposed budget cuts.

3 Number of license-exempt providers impacted was calculated by first applying the percentage of children served in license-exempt settings in cut programs to the total number of children losing care. Total number of providers was calculated by dividing the total number of children in license-exempt care by two. This estimate assumes license-exempt providers serve an average of two children.

4Difference between maximum enrollment for FY 2009-10 revised budget and 2010-11 May Revise proposed maximum enrollment.

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Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Tarot Reading for the World

A Tarot Card Reading for the World
By Magick

Courage is the Key
Every year I do a Tree of Life reading to understand how to connect our individual paths with the larger picture.

Courage is the key to a resilient future as we release a dysfunctional world and continue creating new, local, and more communal structures for an organic and sustainable future.

This is represented by the 7 of Wands, called “Valour’ which has been my favorite card for years. (Check my website for the story of Mars) It calls us to reinvent Mars as the creative warrior free of cruelty, violence and domination. No need to judge Mars as inherently bad, instead we can reinvent him full of tenacity, enthusiasm, and flexibility. Lets take on our own demons and end external projections that are the root cause of all his old conflicts.

We will need his resiliency as we move to Chokmah, father wisdom, and find Death XIII wielding his scythe, bringing to the surface and releasing negative emotions and demolishing institutions of male dominance.

Crossing over to Binah, the understanding mother is still mourning her son, the tragic figure of The Hanged Man XII. In the Piscean Age of the sacrificed god we pushed the best and brightest to the top to be martyred, now we can rise enmasse to accept the mantle of self-governance. Time to throw away the childish need for parents in the form of rulers and religious figures that used guilt and shame to enslave us.

Creative Destruction
The Hanged Man and Death are telling us there is no turning back. Sadly, this combination suggests continued war and death as the good and evil paradigm sheds its many disguises to reveal itself as a tool of oppression.

We cannot prop up failed structures out of fear that everything is falling apart. Everything is falling apart, cracking open, to let the light in.

Try on a new paradigm shift by inviting in this unprecedented opportunity to reinvent all our systems. Many of the solutions are already here: alternative wellness modalities, education that encourages creative, involved and thoughtful children, biodynamic farming, non-violent solutions to conflict, co-ops and consensus based forms of business and government.

Next we find the 4 of Swords, “Truce”, suggesting a temporary cease-fire as the first step towards employing mediation and reconciliation. Here we can find common ground allowing true peace to gradually follow. May it be so!

Authentic Life Work
Crossing the tree we walk the Leo path of passionate life work strengthening our ability to resist the “Interference” tricky Jupiter throws in our way in the 8 of Swords. The twin temptations of fame and fortune will dance seductively before us. To stay the course measure every opportunity against your true will. Soul-driven choices will keep you in your own orbit safe from accidents, disasters, and difficulties rocking the world on a daily basis.

Coming into the center of the tree remember that home is where the heart is, symbolized by Mercury (communication) in Cancer (home) in the 3 of Cups. Take the time to deepen connections and celebrate life by cooking and eating together and creating simple rituals like storytelling and art projects. Within families it will be necessary to intervene when possessiveness and jealousy disguise themselves as love.

Toward a Gifting Society
Next the Queen of Wands steps forward like the Statue of Liberty herself and calls us to serve our communities with the gift of time instead of throwing money at any problem that arises.
In the past two years the Princess has held forth, now she has matured, releasing melodrama and self-absorption to find her light shines brightest when she gives her unique talents lovingly to the world. The Queen is the only personality card so her generous spirit is our key role model. To make wise choices and avoid burnout she suggests we simply ask, “Does this drain or energize me?”

Joie de Vivre!
The next card, called Art XIV, emphasizes that opposites are truly complimentary, fortifying our courage to resist hate mongering used by dictatorships, fundamentalist religions, and corrupt corporations to divide us. In the realm of human sexuality it is time to see our identities as fluid and authentic, not rigidly defined as right or wrong. May gay mean happy once again!

Next the 7 of Cups, “Debauchery”, calls our yang aspect to find new respect for the pleasures of this world, ending the addictive and enslaving abuse of her body, be it in the form of women or the earth’s resources. Temporary fixes hook us into the role of consumer as our defining job. We are convinced through the media of our inadequacies and sold our solutions in the marketplace.

In our final card the 10 of Cups, “Satiety”, Mars appears for his final curtain call to remind us we desperately need to let go of questing for the next best thing. Tens are the signal we can go no further and it is time to chart a new course starting with the Ace of Cups a present moment expression of joie de vivre!

Let the old world die, life is not dying, just a worn out, alienating way of life. If we stay in our hearts the answers will come.

Stay Grounded
The element of earth is absent from this reading so it will take work to stay grounded. Eat well, grow your own food if you can, exercise in uplifting ways, and listen to your body; it lives in the present moment and it never lies.

Take courage, the darkest hour is just before dawn!


Magick reads Tarot a Infusions Teahouse in Sebastopol weekday afternoons, teaches classes and is currently writing a book on the Tarot. magick 707 327 7940


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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Russian River Flow Community Meetings

Russian River Temporary Urgency Change
Meetings in Healdsburg - Ukiah and Guerneville

6:30 to 8:00 pm at the Healdsburg Community center
1557 Healdsburg Avenue

UKIAH - June 3rd
6:30 to 8:00 pm at the Ukiah City Hall
300 Seminary Ave.

6:30 to 8:00 pm at the Guerneville Odd Fellows Hall
1st & Church Streets

Please join the Sonoma County Water Agency to discuss changes to Russian River Flows this summer!

As required buy the National marine Fisheries Service - Russian River Biological Opinion, in April, the Sonoma County Water Agency petitioned the State Water resources Control Board to reduce flows in the Russian River this summer. The Water Agency is mandated to comply with the Biological Opinion, which requires lower flows in the Russian River to maintain a healthy environment for threatened steelhead and Chinook salmon and endangered coho salmon. Come learn about the State Board order.

Any questions? Call Ann DuBay at 707-524-8378 or e-mail

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Meet Sonoma County District Attorney Candidates

MEET Sonoma County District Attorney Candidates before you VOTE!

Candidates for District Attorney Answer Questions
from the ACLU-NC Sonoma County Chapter

On June 8, Sonoma County voters will elect an attorney whose job it is to speak "for the people" in the criminal courts. The primary duty of the District Attorney (DA) is to promote the safety of our communities by prosecuting those who break the law. As the “peoples’ lawyer,” the DA is supposed to serve the interests of all members of the community and to enforce the laws without prejudice, bias, or political purposes. Sonoma County voters will be asked to decide whether to re-elect our current District Attorney, Stephan Passalacqua, or replace him with Jill Ravitch, Chief Deputy District Attorney in Mendocino County and a former Sonoma and Alameda County Deputy District Attorney. See where the candidates stand on important issues.

A great deal of power and responsibility lies in the hands of district attorneys. Yet most voters do not pay close attention to the positions of DA candidates. Many voters simply skip this box on the ballot. Even editorial boards of newspapers often do not bother to endorse DA candidates. Without involvement from voters, community organizations, opinion leaders and the media, the immense powers that we put in the hands of DAs will go unchecked.

Many voters don't realize that the District Attorney is one of the most powerful elected officials in the state. The DA has the power to:

• Decide who should be sentenced to die.
• Set the stakes by deciding what charges to file.
•? Send someone away for life under the Three Strikes Law.
• Give someone a second chance.
• Influence state policy.
• Listen to and respond to the community

District Attorneys make policy decisions that go far beyond individual cases and impact the local community, county budgets and the state budget.

• The DA can set young people on the path to rehabilitation or directly to prison.
• The DA can help build positive relationships between law enforcement and the community or turn a blind eye to abuses by police and unfair enforcement of the law.
• The DA can be an advocate for the interests of all the people or can respond to special interests.

To help voters decide who would best serve as District Attorney, the ACLU of Sonoma County sent questionnaires to both candidates covering the budget crisis, death penalty, drug laws, juvenile justice, police use of force, rehabilitation and prevention, the Three Strikes Law and immigration.

Read what the candidates have to say on our website...
and don't forget to vote on June 8!

Martin McReynolds
Chair, ACLU-NC Sonoma County Chapter


The ACLU of Northern California works to preserve and guarantee the Bill of Rights for all, through litigation, public education, organizing, lobbying, and legislation. Protecting freedom of expression, the right to privacy, and the right to be free of discrimination are fundamental goals of the ACLU.

ACLU of Northern California | 39 Drumm Street, San Francisco, CA 94111
T (main): 415.621.2493 | T (civil liberties counselor): 415.621.2488 | F: 415.255.1478

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Decision 1610 - Change to Water Rights

Sonoma County Water Agency (SCWA) Petition to Change Water Rights Decision 1610.

The Sweetwater Springs Distirict Board heard a presentation from Brenda Adelman, Russian River Watershed Protection Committee, on SCWA’s Petition to Change Water Rights Decision 1610 which governs minimum flows in the Russian River. Ms. Adelman encouraged the Board to protest the Petition and discussed her reasons for doing so. SCWA is petitioning the State Water Resources Control Board to reduce minimum flows in the River as one of the conditions of the Biological Opinion (BO) for endangered and threatened fish species in the Russian River. The BO states that the lower summer flows are needed to improve fish habitat in the lower River, specifically to keep the sand barrier at the mouth of the Russian River so that the estuary behind can have fresher water for the salmonid fish that spend the summer there.

District staff believe Decision 1610 needs a comprehensive review because so much on the River has changed, in particular, substantially reduced diversions from the Eel River, and recommended to the Board that a protest be filed to retain standing in the ongoing protest process. It is staff’s hope that the process will broaden the analysis to evaluate the changed conditions in the Russian River and how flows need to be revised to accommodate those changes.

The Board directed staff to file a protest working with the District’s water rights attorney to include the appropriate language in the protest form.

Approval of the FY 2010-11 Operating And Capital Budget/No Rate Increases. The Board approved the FY 2010-11 Operating and Capital Budget. The District’s budget includes revenues of $4.46 million and expenses of $4.28 million which includes the $1.5 million CIP IV-B capital improvement project supported by a Sonoma County Redevelopment Agency (RDA)/Russian River Redevelopment Oversight Committee (RRROC) grant of $1.1 million. The budget includes no rate increases for FY 2011 because of the RDA/RRROC grant and the poor local economic situation. Analysis of the long-term effect on capital improvement program (CIP) funding without a rate increase this year showed that the District can forego a rate increase in FY11 and still maintain progress toward sustainable CIP funding even though there will be a dip in funding available for the CIP in FY11.

Award of Contract for CIP IV-B, Project 2. The Board awarded the contract for CIP IV-B, Project 2, replacement of existing mains and appurtenances with approximately 6,000 lf of 6-inch water main on River Boulevard, Alder and Willow Roads, Pebble Way, and Heller Streets in Monte Rio. The successful low bidder is KAT Construction with a bid of $938,640 which is $425,305 under the engineer’s estimate of probable cost of $1,363,945. KAT Construction previously constructed the District’s CIP IV-A Project 2, water line replacement in the Monte Rio Terraces, in 2009. CIP IV-B, Project 2 is expected to start in July 2010.

Surplus District Lands Strategy. Staff presented the progress on the District’s Surplus Lands Strategy, which included sending notice of the surplus District lands to the appropriate public agencies in accordance with the State Surplus Lands Act. The strategy presented to the Board includes a public workshop in July to present the District strategy for the larger parcels in a workshop setting and to receive ideas about how those lands can be used.

Other items discussed and acted upon at the May meeting included adoption of an ordinance to address owner account nonpayment and meter tampering, and review of the District’s third quarter actual versus budgeted revenues and expenses.

Items for the next meeting on June 3, 2010, include a report on the protest regarding the Sonoma County Water Agency Petition to change Decision 1610 and summaries of other River-related meetings, and progress on the District’s Land Management Strategy. More information on District services and programs, including the District’s adopted FY 2011 Budget, are available on the District’s website at


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BENEFIT for Taku Sakashta's Widow & Family

On Sunday, May 23rd, from 4pm to 10pm,
there will be a benefit concert featuring:
Robben Ford
Tuck & Patti
Boz Skaggs
and silent auction at the Spreckels Performing Arts Center in Rohnert Park,
to celebrate Taku Sakashta’s life and offer support to Kazuko, his widow and family.

Taku Sakashta, a wonderful guy, talented guitarmaker, and friend was tragically taken from us recently by a murderer. There are many fine luthiers in Sonoma County; it is something of a mecca for guitarmakers. However none are finer than Taku. He built incredibly beautiful, interesting, and innovative acoustic and electric guitars for musicians and collectors here and abroad. From Robben Ford to Tuck Andress of Tuck and Patty, from jazz musicians to blues and rock players, Taku found imaginative ways of building guitars that could excite, inspire, and facilitate their music.

Taku’s death leaves his wife Kazuko without her husband, and his many friends and fans without the lovely person who offered so much inspiration by his work and his life.

On May 23rd, from 4pm to 10pm, there will be a benefit concert and silent auction at the Spreckels Performing Arts Center in Rohnert Park, to celebrate Taku’s life and offer support to Kazuko. Items of general interest as well as of specific interest to guitar makers and musicians will be displayed and available. Already lined up are innovatively designed stools, handmade amplifiers, electric guitars and basses, instruments for kids, antique and modern bicycles, and much more.

Performing will be Robben Ford, Boz Scaggs, Tuck and Patty, Volker Strifler, the Black Market Blues Band, and other special guests, including Eric Gales. Bill Ham will be performing a Show of Light Art. Frank Hayhurst of Zone Music will be MC’ing

Tickets for this worthy and exciting event are available at the Spreckels Box Office, 707-588-3400.


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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Jenner Estuary Meeting May 19: Questions Needed

From Ann DuBay: I want to let you know about upcoming meetings in Jenner AND to ask for your input for one of the meetings.

There will be two meetings held in Jenner on Wednesday, MAY 19 at the Jenner Community Center. The meetings will be held back-to-back, but will have two distinct purposes:

• Community Meeting on the Summer’s Work in the Estuary -- From 6:30-7:30 p.m. there will be a community meeting to provide a brief overview of this summer’s work in the estuary.

• CEQA Scoping Meeting/Open House -- From 7:30-9 p.m. there will be a the scoping meeting/open house for the Notice of Preparation (NOP) of the Russian River Estuary Environmental Impact Report that the Agency will prepare in compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act. Please go to (look under “What’s New”) if you have not already received a copy of the NOP.

We need your assistance for the community meeting. Rather than a traditional panel discussion, we plan to answer questions that have been submitted by community members regarding this summer’s work in the estuary. There will be an opportunity for people to submit questions during the meeting, but we would really appreciate getting some questions in advance, so that we can have the appropriate staff attend and so that we can do the necessary research. You can submit the questions with your name (which we will read) or anonymously (we won’t let the audience know who asked the question). You can submit questions that you want answered and/or questions that you’ve heard raised by others. We really want to use this opportunity to get at the heart of the community concerns, while respecting the audience’s time. Please send your questions to by 5 p.m. Monday, May 17!

Thanks so much – I look forward to seeing you on the 19th.

Ann DuBay
Sonoma County Water Agency

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Climate Solutions: Diet & Greenhouse Gases

Climate Protection Campaign Hosts Community Gathering
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
“Climate Solutions at the End of our Forks”
Co-sponsors: Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Santa Rosa, Daily Acts, GoLocal, and the Leadership Institute for Ecology and the Economy

The public is invited to a free forum to learn about the relation between diet and greenhouse gas emissions. It will take place at the Glaser Center, 547 Mendocino Ave. in Santa Rosa, on Wednesday, May 26, from 5:30 to 7:30.

Hope Bohanec of In Defense of Animals will describe how we can shrink our carbon footprint through dietary choices.

The Climate Protection Campaign, the Leadership Institute for Ecology and the Economy, Daily Acts, GoLocal, and the Seventh Principle Working Group of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation Santa Rosa are co-sponsoring the event, an opportunity for the community to learn, mingle with friends and network with new folks.

These community gatherings are potluck style. For fun and a sense of community, attendees are asked to bring something to share - finger food or something to drink such as wine or beer.

For more information, please contact Lora Neffson (707) 525-1665 x114, or lora@climateprotectioncampaign,org.

The Climate Protection Campaign advances practical, science-based solutions for achieving significant greenhouse gas reductions.

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Forestville Town Square Project Hearing Date Set

Forestville's Town Square Project
designed by Thiessen Homes- goes before the
Board of Supervisors
on June 1st at 2:30 pm.

For Contact info - the calendar and to submit opinions/comments -
please go to:
Please check before you go in case the hearing has been re-scheduled!


By Max Broome, Forestville Planning Association (“FPA”) President

Below is a report and analysis on updated details obtained by the FPA at the April 15 Sonoma County Planning Commission hearing regarding the Thiessen Downtown Development Project (the “Thiessen Project” or “Project”). It has been over two years since the last Town Hall meetings on the Project in Forestville. So, no matter what your opinion on the development, it’s a good idea to get updated on where the project currently stands. The FPA would also like to remind everyone that the FPA’s function is primarily educational. Therefore, the FPA does not have a position (“for” or “against”) on the Thiessen Project. However, this is the time for you to become informed and to make your own opinions known to the County Board of Supervisors!

For more detailed information and analysis of the April 15th Planning Commission Hearing, go to the FPA website -

Planning Commission Recommends Supervisors’ Approval
On April 15, 2010 the Sonoma County Panning Commission voted unanimously to adopt the County Planning Department’s environmental review/findings and recommended the Board of Supervisors approve the Project. The Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing for a final vote on the fate of the Project on a date yet-to-be determined (possibly as soon as June 1, 2010).

The FPA encourages people who live in Forestville to contact the County Planning Department (565-1900) and/or Supervisor Carrillo’s office (565-2241), for any Project-related questions and to find out when the Board of Supervisor’s hearing is going to be held. If you wish to be alerted by email with updates, please send your email address to Max Broome at

Updates from the April 15 Hearing: Project/Land Use Issues Worth Pointing Out

The Rural Character of Forestville. Despite recommending approval, the County Planning Department staff noted several concerns with the current Project. For example, the staff found that the Project does not comply with County planning policy to maintain “the ‘rural village’ character of Forestville because it is not a small-scale development, and although it creates a town square, the square is too small (only 10% of the development); cannot be considered ‘substantial’ open space; and does not provide adequate native plants.”

Design Review provided another conflict between the Project and County planning policy for Forestville. In short, the Planning Department found the Project design does not give priority to natural landscape over development, and does not preserve and enhance significant natural features. Nor does it appear to retain open space amenities associated with rural lifestyle.

Boutique Hotel & Open Space. The County previously established a land use policy or at least the intent that any mixed-use portions of any development on the Crinella property include common open space and an open plaza with direct pedestrian connection to main street sidewalks, opening out directly onto the open space area “with a view to the hillside beyond.” This policy was reinforced in 2007 when the Board of Supervisors approved the development of the back 62 acres of the Crinella property, which shifted the higher density development to the front 8 acres for the (planned mixed-use) Thiessen Project.

However, the open space is quite minimal (the town square is only ½ an acre) and the very limited view of the hillside in the current Project plans (from one or two streets within the Project) is now blocked even further by a proposed 18-room boutique hotel, which adds another 15,000 square feet to the Project. The FPA is concerned the town of Forestville has not had a chance to sufficiently evaluate and comment on the hotel and its impacts, including the fact that it blocks out any meaningful remaining views of the hillside beyond (i.e., Green Valley.) County planning policy for Forestville states that, “design review approval shall assure that” projects, “to the extent allowed by law, require a long term scenic easement for the undeveloped portion of the property.”

Affordable Housing. Unlike the previous Thiessen Project plans, the Project as submitted on April 15 included no affordable housing units. However, it was clear that the Planning Commission requires meaningful affordable housing dispersed throughout the development, and the “Conditions of Approval” for the Project include at least 10 affordable housing units.

Traffic Issues. According to the County, the Project is going to make traffic in Forestville worse, especially during the morning rush hour. The proposed HWY 116/Mirabel Rd. roundabout needs to be completed to mitigate the traffic problems, in addition to a signal or roundabout at the northbound approach to the intersection of River Rd/Mirabel Rd. As for the bypass, the County does not own all the property required for its construction. Time of completion estimates for the bypass are from five to ten years, or maybe never, and about three years for the roundabout at Highway 116/Mirabel Rd

Feasibility. Questions about the feasibility of and possible legal impediments to the Project ever being built can be found on the FPA website -

Low Turnout. At the April 15 hearing, only about 5-6 people addressed the commissioners about the Thiessen Project, which seemed surprising considering the Projects magnitude and controversy. The FPA would like to note its frustration with the lack of adequate notification about the hearing and about the new aspects of the Thiessen Project, particularly the hotel. We received notification of the hearing less than 48 hours in advance, and no updates were provided to the FPA either by Orin Thiessen or by the presenters at the recent Forestville Town Hall Meeting. We encourage residents of Forestville to get their voices heard, and we will do our best to keep you apprised as we obtain more information.


There will be current changes to the project as requested by the Planning review Board and because of the roundabout going in at the intersection of Hwy 116 and Mirabel Road.

Forestville Square Project Description
By Orrin Thiessen Homes

Forestville Square is a revised component of PLP03-0025 Crinella General Plan Amendment, Rezone and Major Subdivision. The original 2003 Application covered five contiguous parcels comprised of APN’s 083-080-001, 084-031-060, 061, 062 and 063.

The Crinellas, who owned the land, were encouraged to talk to Orrin Thiessen by the Forestville Planning Association (FPA). Orrin and Terri Thiessen formed a Limited Partnership to design and develop the northern portion of their lands. Orrin met with the FPA Board to obtain input on community needs. The FPA hosted a Town Hall Vision meeting and invited Laura Hall, a well respected land planner and expert on town squares and downtown planning. After Laura’s presentation and a question/answer period, the community members broke into groups and made lists of what they desired in the square and downtown. The FPA’s Downtown Committee collated the information and made a list of the things that the community most wanted.

The Downtown Committee has been meeting with Orrin for two and a half years working on the design of the square and commenting on the design process of the whole project. The meetings, along with another Town Hall meeting, were well publicized and many members of the community gave their input. At the last town meeting, which filled the Odd Fellows Hall, Orrin presented the proposed architecture of the buildings he had completed, most of which were Victorian in style. Orrin asked if those present wanted more of the Victorian style buildings or if they wanted Spanish and Mission architecture mixed in. Approximately 60% wanted a mixture so Orrin has used Spanish and Mission designs for the remaining buildings.

Crinella Properties, in April of 2007 received approval from the Board of Supervisors for PLP 06-0076. This approval of the revision of the ongoing 2003 application adopted the Mitigated Negative Declaration for a General Plan Amendment, Zone Change, and Major Subdivision on 62 acres located at 6740 Highway 116 North, Forestville APN’s 084-031-071 and 072 (formerly 084-031-062 and 063). Orrin Thiessen and Forestville Square, L.P. bring forward this mixed-use planned community for development of APNs 084-031-069 and 070 (formerly 084-031-060 and 061 and 083-080-001). This portion of the development is intended to comply with the Sonoma County General Plan. Zoning compliance is achieved through an approved density transfer from the Board of Supervisors, allowing 59 residential units on this portion of land. The proposed project also conforms to the county’s Planned Community designation. Of the 59 allowable residential units, 49 are market rate and ten units will be affordable.

This project proposes to develop 8.6 acres. The proposed Phased tentative map creates eight parcels with buildings and a Town Square located on Lot A. The Town Square is designed to be a gathering place for residents, patrons, and employees of Forestville Square and the community at large. The vision includes musical events, readings, plays, and a farmer’s market. This parcel will be offered through dedication to Sonoma County Parks. Should this offer not be accepted, a proposal for use and maintenance will be brought to the Forestville Community Service District for their consideration. Failing these alternatives it will be the obligation of the Homeowner’s Association to provide maintenance and enforcement of use restrictions thru recorded CC&R’s.

These maintenance costs would be included in Assessment of Homeowner’s Dues.

Lots 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 contain mixed-use buildings. Lots 6 & 7 contain multi-family residential condominiums only and Lot 8 will have an eighteen-room boutique hotel. Detailed on the attachment to this application, “Unit Size”, the 49 Market Rate residential condominiums range in size from 1265 sq. ft. to 2669 sq ft., with the average size being approximately1675 square feet. Forty-three of these homes will have two-car garages; four homes will have one-car garage and one outdoor reserved space; two homes will have two outdoor reserved spaces. All of these homes will have private outdoor decks or patios. Ten affordable residential condominiums ranging in size from 360 square feet to 684 square feet, with an average of 490 square feet. Each affordable home will be provided with one reserved outdoor parking space. Each unit will also have a covered porch. A request to the Board of Supervisors for an Alternative Equivalent Action on the affordable component of the project accompanies this application.

The Five mixed-use buildings will have a total of 24,094 sq. ft. of ground floor commercial condominium space. Proposed use categories include Retail (10,369 sq. ft.); Professional/Medical (4,937 sq. ft.); Food Service (8466 sq. ft.). The mixed-use buildings on Lots 2 & 3 will each have two common area bathrooms for the exclusive use of the commercial condominium owners/tenants, employees and patrons. Commercial parking calculations per Sonoma County’s Ordinance require 123 on-site parking spaces. These on-site spaces are shown on sheet 8 of the submittal package accompanying this application.

The eighteen room boutique hotel (Forestville Square Inn) is located on Lot 8. The guest rooms range in size from 400 to 600 sq. ft.. Elevations and floor plans for each of the eight proposed buildings are included with this application. The architectural portion will be submitted for preliminary design review concurrent with this application.

The proposed site plan incorporates a continuation of Sonoma County’s Bike Trail, with an offer of dedication. Construction in lieu of Park Mitigation Fees, or through grants, is being proposed to the Parks Department. This dedication will connect the existing bike trail from the south-east corner of the property to Mirabel Rd. A 32’ dedication paralleling the County’s proposed Hwy. 116 bypass with reductions to 12’ width in the remaining bike trail is proposed.

Note: Keep in mind that the plans are conceptual. The county has already indicated that it would like the entrance to the project from Crinella Lane removed. Also, Orrin has based some of the preliminary road names on historical Forestville family names. These road names may be changed.

This building is in Windsor - it gives readers a good idea of what impact the tallest building in the project will feel like in Forestville.


The Future of Forestville?
By Vesta Copestakes

Anyone who knows me well also knows that I am a small town girl and love my three-blocks-long downtown Forestville. We know our neighbors, volunteer to keep our community maintained, and have a common bond that feels like family. At the recent Forestville Chamber Annual Dinner, every recipient of an award for volunteering on behalf of our community spoke at length about our Family of Forestville. This community is our home.

At the April 15th Planning Review hearing on the Forestville Town Square Project, I got up to speak on behalf of Forestville. I feel like a broken record in my opposition to the Town Square project, and have angered some and been patted on the back by others.

If there is any fact that is 100% true and known to all who care about our home town, this project has divided us in Pro vs. Con for the last six years. The previous projects introduced to the town from the Crinella family carry that tradition back decades and generations. We do not succumb to development easily!

At each hearing before Planning Review we hear the tale that the Crinellas were treated rudely by either Planning or the Board of Supervisors at some point in this history. This is given as a reason why we need to be kind now and give this family what it has strived to achieve for so long. This is America and we have rights to do with our land what we choose.

This is where I draw the line in the sand…only if what you do impacts no one but your own family. 72 acres of land in downtown Forestville is a good chunk of our downtown.

When I moved here 20 years ago we fought off 300 homes, a shopping center and school. Then the plan became a golf course. Then the Forestville Town Square Project on 8 acres with 60 plus acres in vineyards, luxury homes and a winery on top of the hill. At this point the only change is the vineyard. It’s “Fish Friendly” so we’re OK with it. Those vines don’t drive cars or trucks and they don’t pollute. They even use wastewater from our treatment plant when they need irrigation. This is a win/win for us.

BUT – the Town Square Project looks like a win/lose and that’s where the debate gets hot. It looks like we’re not going to get our Bypass any time soon so our cars and trucks will still be rolling through downtown and along Mirabel Road whether they stop in town to do business or not. Add nearly 70 homes and businesses – plus a hotel in downtown Forestville and we’ll have more traffic morning and evenings for residents and even more traffic for commercial businesses. It’s also a lot of increased traffic for every road that travels to and from Forestville.

I also see it as NOT Smart Growth. The concept of Smart Growth is developing along major highways to keep commutes short, therefore saving energy and reducing emissions, and concentrating living units to maintain open space. (Hwy 116 does NOT qualify as a major highway!) SMART Growth keeps people living, shopping and working close by. To build a city-like development 12 to 15 minutes from a major highway (HWY 101) is the opposite of smart.

I also have concerns about architectural elements of this project from aesthetics to green technology design and materials. Passive solar technology has existed for decades - where is it in this project? Roofing material is available that creates electricity - why is it not used here? In my mind, it's not good enough that condo owners can install solar panels. When they are installed later on they look like add-ons. Where are the overhangs over south-facing windows, the list goes on. We don't need to repeat historical architecture when modern architecture is designed to be Green from underground to roof top. Let's grow into the future rather than repeat the past.

It’s time for Forestville and our surrounding communities to pay attention to how this one town project not only impacts Forestville, but also impacts every town, and its economy, within the commute path to and from Forestville. We ALL need to be looking at what kind of future we want for our home towns. Growth and development CAN be good - let's be INTELLIGENT about how we accomplish the task.

Vesta Copestakes
Forestvillian for 20 years.

Letter from Ken Smith to Board of Supervisors:

Re: Thiessen Forestville Downtown Development Project

May 12, 2010

Sonoma County Board of Supervisors
575 Administration Drive
Santa Rosa, CA 95403

Dear Board of Supervisors:

I have been a resident of Forestville for over 31 years, and have worked with Orrin Thiessen and other Forestville residents as Chairman of the Downtown Planning Committee for over a year.

Whereas I opposed the Crinella proposal for a major subdivision on the beautiful gently sloping land visible to downtown Forestville thirty years ago, I support the Thiessen project concept of concentrating mixed-use development in the core of downtown Forestville, and in so doing, leaving the hillside sparsely developed with a few homes. That said, I do have some reservations about the project:

• I feel the two-story (for the most part) Mediterranean and Victorian styled buildings are beautiful in themselves. But packed tightly together in a development I feel they are a visually overwhelming for existing downtown Forestville.
-I urged Orrin to consider the “living wall” concept to soften the impact of the project and provide habitat for insects and birds. I would love to see vines on all the wall surfaces to soften the impact of his project. I recommend the book Planting Green Roofs and Living Walls to Orrin that has great resources on how to successfully pull this off. Orrin in fact has introduced vines on some of the wall surfaces, but not enough in my opinion to unify the project with this concept. Orrin in fact has an interest in adding more plant material to the walls. I would like to see detailed descriptions for planting on all the walls on the drawings for approval.

• Design review approval asked that there be a scenic easement for the undeveloped portion of the property. Orrin stated that there are indeed good view lines to the hillside beyond the project, and that there is a misunderstanding about this matter.
-I would like Orrin to show the ways we can see the hillside beyond through his project from main street.

• I am concerned that the downtown square proposed for the project truly be an attractive meeting place for our downtown, that there be lively activity surrounding the square.
- Orrin has recently decreased the square footage of designated restaurant space. Perhaps this is a good thing since we now have a few great restaurants downtown. But what other types of businesses would bring a sense of aliveness to the square? I would like Orrin to suggest the types of business he feels would serve this function other than restaurants and cafes.

• Orrin recently informed us that he could not afford to build the project all at one time. I have concerns about this.
- I feel it is very important that the first phase include all the amenities required by design review such as the bike trail and of course the square and the surrounding buildings at the square, and that the first phase feel complete. There is no guarantee that the future economy will support a second phase.
- Building the project in phases will subject Forestville citizens to an overall lengthened time of construction noise and commotion. I know Orrin is under great financial pressure to get the project started, and has resorted to propose building the project in phases. I think it will be a better project and better for Forestville citizens if the project were to be built all at once. So I urge the bank(s) involved to consider working with Orrin with a long-term view to the total success of the project. Perhaps a letter from the Board may be persuasive?

I urge the Board to consider my concerns.

Ken Smith, architect
Forestville, CA 95436


Max Broome, President, Forestville Planning Association &
Effren Carrillo, Sonoma County Board of Supervisors,

Thank you Max for your update as I enjoyed reading your recent article, report and outcome of the planning commission hearing/ meeting for the Thiessen Forestville Development Project in the Sonoma County Gazette. Much to my surprise in times of extreme economic constraints... it concerns, actually "wows" me to know the project is still a consideration, slotted and subject to approval.

Having served on the Forestville Planning Committee for nearly 3 years as a volunteer, I officially stepped down for the sake that this development did not reflect a vision and character of Forestville I felt appropriate. The development and community process seemed only a display of what "was to be done". I still share many concerns, as do my neighbors, with such a large development in the hands of many non-residents. As noted, many of the reasons clearly stated by the Planning Commission in your article, it seemed appropriate to state my concerns here. Nonetheless, let this letter serve as my "stand-up and be counted" note of record along with concern of my own.

Agreed by many, even as an unincorporated area, I feel the time will be necessary and essential with planning the future of our downtown. I personally support the economic interest of Forestville with development and growth of our community, although mainly in the form of public improvements. As a licensed landscape architect, my personal interest, profession and career promotes and relies on the value of long term land planning, urban land use principles with emphasis in site design form.

The controversial and subject issues for this project that I find in question are... SCALE, CONTEXT, FORM and PROGRAM.


Doubling the size of our downtown with one development puts Forestville at great risk. Primarily, I feel that the scale of this project is entirely dis-proportionate for the site's use nor does it reflect the natural character of the site's land form. I recognize and understand the client's economic commitment to a project, but the SCALE of this project compromises the entire town, the people, and it's current local identity. In addition, where does this leave existing shop and store owners? How does it fit with what's currently Forestville?


Considering the regional context of who we are and where we are located, the proposed "architectural concept" and site plan does not relate visually or physically. It's a generic architectural picture of "Sonoma County Anywhere" and not particularly that of Forestville. It is a mere re-creation of the past and not that of innovative architecture. Compare and consider the proposed main elevation facade for the Forestville main square. I feel it will look very similar, if not exact, to the facade of Omlette Express in Windsor. The only changing factors being that of the length is to accommodate ADA grade access, and maybe the color. (see attached photos).

The proposed "donated" square, being roughly half an acre (or half the size of the Healdsburg Plaza), romantically paints a picture of "natural". It's "postage stamp" reality, especially surrounded by parking flatwork and hardscape surfaces in three directions, in addition to Highway 116 to the north, seems far from "natural". Also consider the building heights of 30' plus, some higher on the uphill slope, removes our greatest rural asset.... the views: Forestville's principal "natural" character and identity.


The project is that of a "traditional mixed use development" and not that of "innovative urbanism", as once reported. I personally feel that the project lacks innovation. This development does not embody true innovative urbanist principles, lacking in both site planning and with the proposed architecture. For example, the architecture does not relate with the natural contours of the site, nor does it create a story or dialog for who or what Forestville is. The buildings do not protect or enhance the existing site features with respect to the native trees/ vegetation, view-sheds, hydrology, or other specific site elements. On the contrary, it removes close to 70% of the existing trees and benches nearly the entire site (primarily 7.6% cross slope) with slab on grade footings and excessive roads, living up to it's "Portland Grid" form. Parking and vehicular circulation is still at large with concerns to accommodating the size of this development.

Ecologically, the runoff from rainfall propose a concern for wastewater (point source pollutants) to watershed (creek) convergence with non-innovative ways for water collection and use. Bio-swales are mandatory for drainage and not that of a site design element. Environmentally, it leaves little in the way for the imagination which could certainly be it's biggest asset for visitor enjoyment.


Up for development, the site... beautiful as it is, needs improvements to accommodate the use of the people in our town. The town uses the space seasonally and needs more passive public areas for local and seasonal events. I think the Theissen development proposal will not sufficiently accommodate the current needs, on the contrary, it will remove space that is currently used by the townspeople.

Altogether, if properly considered and programmed accordingly, Forestville can be on the map for something not done before, thus making it a place of true destination. For example, if Forestville needs structure, build it like no other in the world. Scale it proportionately, program it to the needs of the townspeople and provide a long term (200 year) solution. This structure could relate architecturally to the site, be relative in context, capitalize on views, be technologically innovative, carbon neutral, and relate to our particular destination. This type of development would soon meet FUTURE site design guidelines and standards. Look to a progressive city like San Francisco for new construction allowance and future construction conformance.

Furthermore, ideas for this project's program and concept could glorify and embody our mixed artisan community and environmental concern with it's architecture, be a west county mecca bike trail hub, own up to it's quarry town status, adopt vernacular river funk architecture with historical connection to the river, include recharge of rainfall ingenuity, whatever.... the ideas for our identity should be truly site specific, truly sensitive and fundamentally Forestville. The "concept" should reflect us Forestvillians, not just anywhere literally overdone romantic Sonoma wine country boutique. My point is that this project can get deeper than a copy/ paste Windsor elevation.

Lastly, it is important to note that my letter is not a personal charge against Orrin Thiessen, for either his past or current work. He is a nice guy and I respect his efforts for wanting to put Forestville on the map with a "there... there". He's worked hard, respects his clients economic interest, and I feel he truly cares about making this town a better place for all of us. Although, from my experience as a landscape architect and site planner, research and development and with over two years of monthly community participation, I feel that this proposal will put Forestville on a map as a BIG over scaled "there" and no more. Unfortunately, it truly lacks a another THERE unless the folks of Forestville feel differently. Overall, my thought, stance and suggestions call for innovative QUAILTY, not quantity.

My two cents on the table to be counted. Thanks again Max.

Cary Bush
R.L.A. #5228
m e r g e s t u d i o
[ modern landscape architecture ]




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