Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Composite of Paul Hobbs in front of the Jenkel property he clear cut on the 116.
What I learned tonight at the Grange Hall meeting re: the Paul Hobbs vineyard conversion on Watertrough Rd. was quite disturbing.

I saw quite a few friends there on both sides of the issue.  There were parents of children that have been and currently are in my children's class.  There were activist stalwarts that exercise their right to Free Speech on a regular basis.  And there were people I've met and have worked with in the wine industry.

In fact, in attendance was the gentleman who oversaw the installation of my vineyard - a 3/4+ acre of Point Noir.  And I'll say now what I told everyone at the meeting tonight:  If I knew then what I know now, I would have planted apples.

Sonoma County has shifted from an agricultural community that benefited all, to a monoculture that benefits a few, namely the wine industry.  Here are a coupla facts I learned this evening...

Sonoma County:

There are 60,184 acres of wine grapes in Sonoma County.

There are 12,863 acres of all other food crops of which 7,520 are organic.

There are 12,000+ acres of organic dairy and cattle land.


There are only 2300+ acres of apples remaining in Sebastopol (over 50 varietals).

Less than 600 acres of Gravensteins are left.

Food for thought?  Not really.  Food crops are on their way out.  And considering the blasé approach to issuing permits for vineyard development by our Ag commission, Sonoma County will soon be bulldozed into one giant vineyard.  The Paul Hobbses of the world will win.

Which brings me back to the meeting...

Paul Hobbs mouthpiece, Tara Sharpe was there to "answer questions" as a concerned citizen/mother.  What she did, or attempted to do was to put the spin on something that really is inevitable.  She bobbed and weaved in her responses actually claiming that "our winery will soon be certified sustainable."  As I mentioned, I work in the wine industry.  When you hear the word "sustainable", you can bet that that winery is doing whatever it wants as far as farming is concerned.  There is no such thing as "sustainable certified".  Believe me, there was only one person in the room that believed anything that came out of Sharpe's incessantly grinning mouth - Sharpe (maybe).

If you read between the lines, Paul Hobbs will, once again, be doing whatever he wants, regardless of community concerns.  His lies and deceptions are on the record.  He will have Sharpe go through this dog and pony show, only to resume business as usual in the backyard of 3 different schools that range from kindergarten through 8th grade.

But what really bugged me was that Barbara Bickford, Twin Hills Superintendent chose to drop the ball when it came to being the self-appointed liaison between Hobbs and the community.  A woman entrusted with the well-being of our children neglected to inform the community, parents and surrounding schools of the status of the conversion.  So many parents stated that they just recently heard about this.  "I heard it on WACCOBB", "I heard it in the parking lot", "I heard from a friend."  The teacher at Tree House Hollow said she had just heard about it today!

Superintendent Bickford has had closed-door meetings with Hobbs' henchman since the very beginning when the winery was in escrow way back in 2012.  Ms. Sharpe expressed surprise that Ms. Bickford hadn't informed anyone.  She said she would get to the bottom of that.


So it's happened again.  Paul Hobbs will be doing what he wishes at the expense of the community, in this case, our children.  I'm afraid it is as criminal as it is legal.  And people are very angry.

So I'll leave you with this...

We need a moratorium on new vineyard development in Sonoma County to assess the damage it's done to our environment.

We need more stringent rules and buffer zones to adhere to when new vineyards are applied for.  More concern about our eco system and how a vineyard works within - or doesn't.

We need to conduct an EIR.

And we need a new Ag commission across the board to put the community and the environment  first and enforce current and future code.  Because, right now, it sure seems as if they're in the back pockets of the wine industry.

Please forward this to as many people you know who may be interested in protecting their children.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day...

This was my Dad as a 19 year old while he was stationed in India during WWII. He was a radio operator on a C-17. He and his crew flew the "Hump" over the China Burma India campaign. They flew tank fuel, would drop every form of supplies and ferry Chinese troops to the front, the smell of which he would never forget. This weekend, I'll be thinking of Dad and what he did while just a boy that still touches us all today. Here's to all the loved ones who served and are no longer with us.

Sunday, May 26, 2013


The lines are getting longer!

Today, I enjoyed a Maker's Mark milk shake!  My daughter had a Local Strawberry milkshake that was unbelievably delicious and my youngest devoured a double scoop cone of Mango and Raspberry Sorbet.  The girl behind the counter made his day when she applied a dollop of whipped cream to each scoop to match the whipped cream on our Milkshakes.

All was good in Sebastopol.


Here's a letter that was recently posted from Shepard Bliss, re: local villain, Paul Hobbs.  I couldn't agree more.  This Hobbs character couldn't care less about our community.  He just bulldozes everything to plant his grapes and he's poised to destroy more habitat.  Please read.

From: ShepherdShepherd    Supporting member 
Category: General Community
Thread: Apple Blossom School now will be Wine Grape School ??!!!??!!

I spoke to an organic winegrape grower at the Sebastopol Farmers Market this morning. I indicated that the Watertrough Children's Alliance was open to trying to negotiate with Paul Hobbs for a win/win solution, like his going organic. He assured me that Hobbs would never do that. Given his previous record, that is probably true.

Having already experienced for many years how vineyard owners work their vineyard productions in Freestone and other areas, I do not believe Paul Hobbs is honestly now, or any time, going to work with our communities. He is already getting people to eat out of his dirty hands...

Now there is Hobbs , a vineyard vulture who has all the control and power to do what he wants. And he will get away with doing what he wants ,regardless of what county or state officials say or do. People who are working with this issue seem to be backing down and think Hobbs will"work" with them,forget it ,he is not a honest business person and has already proven it. He really does not care about the schools, and the community other than selling his wine to them... Meanwhile, allowing Paul Hobbs to talk his talk and do his "business as usual" is absolutely WRONG!! Do not back down and allow him to put his vineyard in no matter what.

This letter was posted on where you can get more information re: what this winery owner is doing.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


From what I understand, Paul Hobbs has been asked to speak at this meeting.  I know.  I doubt it too.

Regardless, this affects all of us.




When:  6:00PM

Where:  The COMMUNITY CENTER, 425 Morris St.

Why:  Councilmember John Eder is proposing two discussions regarding the General Plan and guidelines for the Design Review Board.

During the CVS hearings, it seems a lot of the divisiveness stemmed from just how "general" our current General Plan is.  So-called guidelines are so ambiguous that either side of the project could have argued their position and would have easily had a leg to stand on.  A lot of people, including myself, thought that was, at least part of the reason a project like CVS could get approval at all.

John is proposing we develop guidelines that set in stone (not literally) certain aspects of construction such as building height, doors, solar, whatever...

I would like to see more stringent measures taken to maintain the integrity of neighborhoods when new construction is approved.  That mega-project on Litchfield has destroyed the neighborhood and is quite imposing when viewed from Pinecrest school.  It has diminished the quality of life that folks living nearby have enjoyed since they've lived there.

Without such guidelines, builders, real estate developers and architects would have a field day over-building our community.

Write your letters and show up and support these proposals.

Sebastopol's future depends on it.

Friday, May 17, 2013


A team of 6 design and planning professionals from the AIA (American Institute of Architects) has been hard at work here in Sebastopol for the last 3 days collecting community input and formulating an achievable plan for sustainability and vitality in our downtown.

Tonight, they reveal their findings and recommendations.

I've seen many of you at the Community Workshop sessions and Town Hall. I hope to see you tonight at the big "reveal."

Friday, May 17  -  7 PM to 9 PM:  SDAT Presentation of Findings to Community
Community Church of Sebastopol
1000 Gravenstein Highway North

Can't be there? You can still help by

SHARING the SDAT- SebastopolConnect Facebook event pages:  

DONATING: We have about $1,000 left to raise as the community’s portion towards covering any costs above and beyond what the AIA has donated. Directions for donating online via PayPal, as well as by check, can be found here:

Tuesday, May 14, 2013





Community Church of Sebastopol
1000 Gravenstein Highway North
Sebastopol, CA 95472

Wednesday, May 15
1:00 to 2:15 & 2:30 to 3:45:  Community Workshops (sessions run concurrently)
Topics:  Transportation and Parking
              Pedestrian, bike and community connections
              Urban design & design standards
              Land use and land use standards

7:00 PM to 9:00 PM:  Town Hall

Friday, May 17
7:00 to 9:00 PM:  Presentation of findings to Community

Want to help out with expenses?  It's easy
Donations may be made online via Paypal here, or by making a check out
to The Core Project. Indicate SDAT in the memo section and mail to:
The Core Project, c/o 108 Art + Design
108 Petaluma Ave., Sebastopol, CA 95472

Like The Core Project on Facebook
The Core Project SebastopolConnect SDAT Steering Committee:
Paul Fritz, Chairman
Lars Langberg
Amy Bush
Cary Bush
Mitch Conner
Lynn Deedler
Tina Grob
Sarah Gurney
Holly Hansen
Charles Marr
Eric Spillman

Thursday, May 9, 2013


Here's an item I found in the Sonoma County Gazette.  Every month, Sebastopol City Council member, Sarah Glade Gurney writes "Sebastappeal".

Sarah's article provides the skinny on all things Sebastopol.   I'm very excited about the following article I read in her column just last week.

First Annual Ukulele Festival

Sebastopol has become a hotbed of ukulele fever.  Home to two active ukulele clubs, Sebastopol hosts its first annual Ukulele Festival on Saturday, May 25, at the Community Cultural Center, starting at noon.

There will be workshops for everyone – a beginner’s workshop for newbies, plus workshops for more advanced players.  Local clubs and regional talent will perform on two stages all afternoon.  The dinner break will provide an opportunity to eat downtown or, for those who stay on-site, to enjoy Hawaiian food and some informal musical jams. 
The Festival will close with a triple-header evening concert featuring Ralph Shaw, “The King of the Ukulele,” from Vancouver, British Columbia.  Ralph will amaze and delight you.  The concert also features the very best regional talent, Faith Ako, and the band, Mr. December. 

Tickets are only $30 for the whole day – the best deal of the year.  For the price of the concert, you get a whole afternoon of workshops, jams, and the company of happy people with the ukulele spirit.  Organizers expect a sell-out crowd so get your tickets [brown paper] early.  This event benefits Jim Corbett’s Mr. Music Foundation that brings music to our schools.

Here are some famous Ukulele players...

George Formby: King of the Banjo Uke.

George Harrison with a George Formby Banjo Uke.

Warren Buffet with a Martin.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Friday, May 3, 2013


Just saw that Screaming Mimi's has their Olive Oil ice cream available!!!

You either LOVE or don't love this flavor.  I like it because my kids don't and I get to eat ALL my ice cream without anyone taking samples.

It doesn't last long...


Sonoma County is under siege.  This is an urgent plea for everyone concerned to contact your County Supervisors and Agriculture Commissioner to impose a moratorium on all new vineyard development in Sonoma County in order to study the damage that is being inflicted upon our eco-system.  Big alcohol and rogue winemakers have no interest in slowing development.  Giant entities with very deep pockets are poised to snap up every available property that comes on the market to convert into vineyards.  Only those few people benefit from this environmental wasteland that drains our natural resources and threatens native species and habitat.  Our quality of life takes a huge hit, too.

With every new vineyard installation, we lose crop diversity, parkland and precious land that provides a habitat for the native species that makes this one of the most beautiful places on the planet.  And it is being destroyed by greed without any regard to our community.  Please contact our board of supervisors and County Ag Commissioner to place a moratorium on new vineyard development so we can assess the damage to the place we all live.  Do it now.

Sonoma County Board of Supervisors:

Thursday, May 2, 2013


Please contact the following to express your concern over vineyard development in our community - in our county...

Here is the letter I sent to the Ag Commish this morning.  You can cut an paste if you like:

Sonoma County has become a mono-culture of vineyards.  New vineyard development is robbing us of habitat and beneficial landscapes that contributes to our quality of life.  With every new vineyard that goes in - vineyards that provide no benefit to anyone except big alcohol concerns and the people who own them, we lose the diversity of fruit trees, parkland and precious land that provides a habitat for the native species that makes this one of the most beautiful places on the planet.  And it is being destroyed by greed without any regard to our community.  Please place a moratorium on new vineyard development so we can assess the damage to the place we all live.  Thank you.

Sonoma County Board of Supervisors:

Tara Sharp
Marketing & Public Relations


Paul Hobbs is poised to begin clear-cutting 38 acres of apple orchard on Watertrough Rd. right next to Apple Blossom School.  This is a man who high-jacked property on the 116 across from Harmony Farm Supply.  In that case, he complained about a small stand of fir trees on his property that was suffering from drainage from a septic on a neighboring property.  After fines went unpaid, Paull Hobbs won the property at auction and clearcut an amazing swath of hundred plus year old Redwoods to plant a new vineyard.

Hobbs composited in front of his clear cut of the Jenkel property.
So much for his concern of trees.

Even Supervisor Efren Carrillo came out against Hobbs in the Sonoma County Gazette, saying:  “Paul Hobbs has shown a blatant disregard for Sonoma County, its resources, his fellow vintners and community...

In the case of the Watertrough property, our children who attend Apple Blossom School will be directly affected.  Please read the article and please sign the petition.

Follow this link for a story from 2011 that tells you how this guy operates; without any regard for the environment or his neighbors:

PLEASE sign this petition if you agree that we need to stop this destruction of where we live.