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Comment Archives: stories: News & Features: News

Re: “Back Door Men

This is outrageous behaviour from a local police dept supposedly pledged to "serve and protect" their community. "Surveil and harass" is more like it.
With so many in every community being incarcerated for non violent crimes and first time offenses, why have the police increase the sense of injustice with these tactics? Good grief, 3 officers to conduct a parole search when no crime was suspected, no complaint made?
That's not only a waste of tax payers money, but very poor public relations.

14 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by leslie 2 on 09/23/2015 at 11:48 PM

Re: “Back Door Men

Crackpots after easy money.

2 likes, 20 dislikes
Posted by Bee Ben on 09/23/2015 at 8:07 PM

Re: “Going Tipless

This article has inspired me to return to Peter Lowell's for another meal. I've experienced both good and bad from the restaurant (food is nearly always 4-5 stars imo), but service has been tricky at times. Glad to hear they are taking leadership on income inequality in our community!

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Denny Rosatti on 09/22/2015 at 11:53 AM

Re: “Going Tipless

BTW, Lowell Sheldon is just ahead of the game, one day soon, tipping will go away in California....mostly because of a high minimum wage.....I've been in the restaurnat business 35 years, I know. I've been an owner the last 16....Tipping is going away....

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Rocco Biale on 09/21/2015 at 1:14 PM

Re: “Going Tipless

To justsaying....if TIP is To Insure Promptness, why do we do it at the end of the meal. If we're " insuring" something, shouldn't we do it before?

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Rocco Biale on 09/21/2015 at 1:12 PM

Re: “Going Tipless

Just a couple points here, from a New Yorker who's relocating to Sebastopol:

1) Peter Lowell's is hands down my favorite restaurant in Sonoma -- it's one of my favorite restaurants anywhere! PL's embodies everything a local place should be; it's creative, exuberant, relaxed, true to its principles, and above all DELICIOUS. I have read gripes on SM about service, but in two dozen visits over the last 7 years I have never had anything but great service there. So I think that is truly a bad rap.

2) Maybe it's the years I've spent overseas where "service-compris" is standard, but to me an automatic service charge just makes sense. Tipping is an archaic practice that neither really communicates a larger message to management nor fairly compensates the supply chain that leads to that hot plate of deliciousness just placed before you. And it makes both waiters and patrons uncomfortable, by setting them up essentially as counterparties in a transaction, rather than people enjoying the miracle of a great restaurant. Let's face it, this model is outworn. There are plenty better ways for waiters to show they care and patrons to show they're happy than by this financial reward/punishment system.

3) Restaurant work -- at every level -- is HARD WORK. Competition is fierce for the best employees. Plus, shouldn't the people who bring you such goodness be fairly paid for that task?

Finally, Lowell, as everybody knows, is a passionate, committed, incredibly brilliant chef who is an asset to our community. I don't even want to contemplate Sebastopol without PL. We need to be supporting the local businesspeople that are bringing their hard work and passion every day.

4 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Marc Farre on 09/21/2015 at 11:45 AM

Re: “Going Tipless

Was just recently at the restaurant, my first time. I was a little underwhelmed. I did read about the 20% policy and it did not strike a positive chord for me. I still believe that a TIP is To Insure Promptness. WE did not really experience that.

As for the comments from DonDonSurvelo, do not worry about Lowell's. I noticed that they are already collecting the 9% tax on the "Service Charge". Hmmmm Not only are we required to pay a standard fee in lieu of the traditional tip, we are now taxed on it, whereas before tips were not a taxable commodity for the client. (Yes the servers and any kitchen staff that were receiving a portion are required to report it as income)

The result is a 25% (in my case) surcharge to the advertised prices. Not sure how that jives with the laws regarding advertising or labelling of prices. I would guarantee that even with the good intentions of paying the staff a living wage ($16 -$28 an hour given the hours and expense of living in the bay area is not a living wage) that none of us would buy gasoline (or groceries) that were labelled at $3.00 per gallon and after we filled up were billed $3.75

2 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Just Saying on 09/19/2015 at 7:29 AM

Re: “Going Tipless

As the owner of Peter Lowell's Restaurant I am always interested to read comments on the changes we are making.

1st off I would like to acknowledge that we are not perfect. We have not always performed at as high a level as we would have liked, and are still improving today. Today, however, our service is far more consistent than any time in the past. We believe that we have the potential to provide excellent service to each and every customer that walks through the door. I humbly ask any former or current customer that has had an unpleasant experience to email me directly. I would like to invite you in for a meal on the house. I have no doubt that "keeping it real" is speaking the truth. Again, I humbly ask for a another chance. Every staff member on our current team has the utmost respect for the art of serving and comes to work each and every day hoping to curate excellent experiences for all our guests. email me at and I will set you up!

As to the taxation... "dondonsurvelo" is correct. Much like every other business in the country, we will now be paying taxes on every dollar our employees take home as pay. No one likes paying taxes! That's the basic truth. We will however survive and prosper despite the extra tax burden.

Lowell Sheldon

15 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by lpsheld on 09/18/2015 at 11:34 AM

Re: “Going Tipless

Good tip or bad tip, the owners and management should be more connected to the client in the seat and know whether service and food are good or not. A good server will let management know if there is a problem at the table even if they are the cause of the problem.

One thing not mentioned in this article is the increased taxation the owners will pay. Right now the owners are required to report a minimum of 8% of a server's sales as income. Now with no tipping the employer will have to report 100% of the income of the server and will have to match the Federal, State, SS and Medicare taxes. Higher incomes mean more taxes for the employer. It won't put them out of business but it will cut into the bottom line and it is not something you can put off paying.

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by dondonsurvelo on 09/17/2015 at 8:29 PM

Re: “Going Tipless

I've had some of the worst service ever at Peter Lowells. Now they can still make an excellent wage for ignoring you.

17 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Keeping it real on 09/17/2015 at 10:56 AM

Re: “Going Tipless

Pullman Kitchen in SR tried it at 17% and then stopped it because.....

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Connieinca on 09/16/2015 at 3:11 PM

Re: “Debriefer: September 9, 2015

Who told you SWMC would open soon? The same guy who's said it so many times in the past year? Doesn't sound like a very reliable source to me.

Posted by Dick Fritter on 09/11/2015 at 5:24 AM

Re: “Patience!

They didn't pass the pharmacy test on Monday. Not sure where you got your information. Apparently it will be rescheduled soon.

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by just wondering on 09/02/2015 at 1:53 PM

Re: “Patience!

Did you do any research besides what Hino fed to you?
Conflicts of interest are not "academic" discussions...

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Dick Fritter on 09/02/2015 at 1:20 PM

Re: “Debriefer: April 1, 2015

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Mr Patrick Munro(MD)

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Patrick Munro on 08/27/2015 at 7:32 AM

Re: “Hidden Agenda

From the article, a "Santa Rosa Based Post Carbon Institute" is mentioned. California Secretary of State ( says actually, it's "METAFOUNDATION doing business in california as Post Carbon Institute" and its jurisdiction (versus mailing address) is actually Oregon. Formed in 2006, like what I guess at the time of this article was "Post Sustainability Institute" but on formation was (per the same source) and as late as 2009, was called "Concerned Citizens of Santa Rosa Against Redevelopment Law Abuse" (EIN#, searchable, 68-0637955). This group has very little funding showing.

The following public info will display as a chart if searched on the above website:

Entity Number: C2929676
Date Filed: 09/25/2006
Status: ACTIVE
Jurisdiction: OREGON
Entity Address: 613 4TH ST. #208
Entity City, State, Zip: SANTA ROSA CA 95404
Agent for Service of Process: ASHER MILLER
Agent Address: 613 4TH ST. #208
Agent City, State, Zip: SANTA ROSA CA 95404

"Post Carbon Institute" a dba as it says above, is EIN# 651208462, has more funding than Post Sustainability ever did, but is also delinquent as a charity and hasn't sent in a tax return with their required annual "RRF" (to California Office of Attorney General, which regulates charities) since 2011.

The Edward Charles Foundation I mentioned above (fiscal agent for Freedom Advocates of Aptos, which is FTB Suspended and never registered as a Charity) is located in Beverly Hills.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Entity Number: C3191148
Date Filed: 03/05/2009
Status: ACTIVE
Jurisdiction: DELAWARE
Entity Address: 269 S BEVERLY DRIVE STE 338
Entity City, State, Zip: BEVERLY HILLS CA 90212
Agent for Service of Process: KENT E SETON
Agent Address: 269 S BEVERLY DRIVE STE 338
Agent City, State, Zip: BEVERLY HILLS CA 90212

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Let's Get Honest 2015 on 08/18/2015 at 8:55 PM

Re: “Hidden Agenda

I just wanted to make a (belated) note that while I'm very well aware of regionalization, centralization and coordination of public/private partnership from a different direction, I question whether suing ABAG and the MTC is going to get far. I also question why the group suing alongside Koire & Tokerud, "Freedom Advocates" never registered as a charity in California, has had its corporate status suspended ( Post Sustainability Institute is only "Delinquent" -- they formed in 2006, filed as a charity ca. 2008 and after that went "down" for 2008,09,10, 11 (financially) and again filed in 2012. I can understand being broke, but I do not understanding refusing to send in a few pieces of paper and a small fee to the state in compliance with its codes.

SIMILARLY, Freedom Advocates is using "Edward Charles Foundation" (formed ca. 2009?) as their fiscal agent. I question why an anti-Globalization, Agenda 21 organization (As Freedom Advocates would seem to be) would choose -- out of ALL groups to be their fiscal agent, a philanthropy which is nothing but. As you can tell, I read tax returns and corporate registrations. It doesn't take long looking at the ECF and its hankering for entertainment stars (Forest Whitaker) and other wealth (such as Anthony Melikhov, whose Form 990PF (Private foundation) "Bright Future International" out of Libertyville, IL is a place to put some of the wealth from pharmaceutical corporation SAGAMEL, Inc. (still in operation, but parts sold off to Bayer, helping the German Bayer get into Russia and other places for the OTC sales), is about as UN as it gets. Melikhov is also on the board of The Lourdes Foundation (or so the website says), also a recent group, alongside an oil heiress from a very troubled, though rich, oil family (Aileen Getty) and persuasive, "let's be positive" Peter Diamandis (If I read the corp. paper right). .....The Lourdes wealth (3rd generation) is from a publishing empire.

I've lived in the SF Bay Area since 1988, quickly becoming after marriage and childbirth, a battered wife. It took many years to get free, after which I had to face the family court gauntlet. On seeing my children (raised 14 years) stolen overnight, without cause, without remedy, and destroying a livelihood at the time, as well as ripping one's guts out for the shock itself, and on discovering the federalization of the (created entity), "Family courts" I started ignoring the (mis-leading) advocacy groups (in that category), who refused to follow through on this, and have been "following the money" which is to say, following the federal (Particularly HHS, which handles welfare and social services), and blogging it, too (Http:// while fighting to stay above water, and if possible regain sight of my own flesh and blood. I have been recruited, it seems, a little too often for my own comfort, by right-wing groups, but I cannot deal with people who prefer narratives and slogans, to getting a personal education on the ECONOMIC and GOVERNMENT ENTITY (in combo with Philanthropic Wealth -- i.e., "Private," so-called). It's the tax system itself (add in there religious-exemption from taxation for accumulation of assets and political clout) which set this up. Anyhow, a comment doesn't communicate this well, but I can lay it out and will be connecting soon, I hope, to some local groups I know are protesting PLan Bay Area. However I have a problem when they themselves refuse to stay properly incorporated. Both left and right know how to play shell games with funding, and dodge transparency, so it's up to those inbetween (and off their behinds) to develop a way to tell one from the other. It's also fascinating and a good history lesson. I've seen this in other states, and others before us saw it coming They didn't call it all "Agenda 21," but it was reported.

I have personally been under constant economic duress from family members for over 15 years post-separation from DV, in this area. My kids, after being stolen, were abandoned by their father; it was really nasty. One family member is a lawyer. My mother's obituary was re-written to imply I was still happily married, and all grand-daughters' last names were omitted (no grandsons) to conceal that two of them shared a last name with me. To date, 5 years after her death and cremation, no one will tell me if or where my mother (a widow of many years, but married when my father died) is or is not interred, or her ashes scattered. It has taken a few years in probate to get my older (childless) sister OFF a probate trust treating me like a child, which she had no business being on This was done while holding me on food stamps despite the existence of an inheritance, and dangling it as "bait" for whichever professional (legal or otherwise) might with to take a chunk out of it. Currently after about six months with new "trustees' (NOT "Conservators"), we have identified a pattern of lying and violation of professional ethics. On finally just telling them to "stop," I find the assets have been moved -- I've not been informed where -- probably because the initial place being at a sound, and reliable institution, helped me fact-check claims about what was or wasn't sent. They are controlling my housing, something I became aware of from years ago -- people who wish to control a population can do well by starting with control of the housing (See HUD) and from the threat of homelessness at any point hammer away through one institution or another, at what's left, or was left, of income-producing activities.

I never thought to see this in this country, but no denying it's here.

I saw my own mother ware-housed and medicated, and now am old enough to have serious concern about when, or in what manner, this may be applied to myself (although I'm the youngest of the siblings). In years of handling this (sociopath) environment, one also learns to pay attention to language of control, limitation and censorship of conversation, force-feeding, encouraging people who to hate, who to blame (and all that). I have one statement: If the group is a nonprofit, locate and read the tax return and corporate filings. Pay attention to what moves where, and just do a little lookup. As to the Governmental money, after 3 years of tracking grants and grantees (and realizing there were so many dead ends and dropped trails that most didn't know seriously how the faucet was turned on "high" through HHS, and it was sensed, correctly, that the public wasn't paying attention) I ran across the concept of "CAFR" (Walter Burien,, and it's laid out (the man who laid it out died in 2004 and was a federal auditor). Once key concepts are understood, and it's realized that federal taxation is less than necessary at this point, but is maintained through constant talk of "budget" and conditioning people not to read the financial statements of the various entities.... in any given situation, it's easier to sort the labels and see the larger picture.

By the way, I go as Let's Get Honest and am the third daughter of William G. Pfann. People in the semiconductor industry who may have heard of Bell Labs, William Shockley (he worked under), transistors (he designed one of the earlier ones) zone refining (his process and a book describing it) and in short understand how Silicon Valley got its startup, will run across this name. His name is on 65 patents (not owned, but the name is on them), National Academy of Sciences, sent three daughters through college (one artist, one attorney, I'm the musician), and a few more things. My mother, having and raising children made this possible. He died shortly after retirement (within a week of retirement). Meanwhile, a continent away and within two decades of the 1970s, women of spunk and intelligence who also are mothers, and simply said "No!" to assault and battery and other forms of in-home violence, have been, being treated as simply unnecessary to the futures of our own kids, under "marriage/fatherhood/family values" programming. The DV industry (SF has some significant players in Futures without Violence, the State of Minnesota has others) basically maintained a professional silence, when writing about this violence, as to the federal incentives to it. Our children are being grabbed overnight, and essentially sold on the social service marketplace, which all taxpayers support. EVERYONE is involved in this situation some way or another.

In case this is actually posted (well after publication date) I apologize for the length, adding personal information, and format. It's been a very long haul, and at times I lose the concept that a different future is possible. I have several blogs in various states of development ; but and will lay out some critical matters. Take care, and teach your neighbor to FIRST, identify a group's Secretary of State registration, status as a nonprofit (in California, more information is available than most on groups that register) and "grow a pair" when it comes to looking these basics up. A lot of insight is available, for free (except the time) on the tax returns. I use (also a SF group).

Posted by Let's Get Honest 2015 on 08/18/2015 at 8:29 PM

Re: “Cops on Film

Slow down, everybody. You want to see the officer disciplined or fired. But there's a process that has to occur pursuant to the Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights Act (generally still referred to as "POBR" which is a acronym for its earlier, shorter name). There's quite a few steps that have to be followed.

Then there is the lawsuit question. Some people are saying on other websites that McComas has already filed a suit. I don't think that is correct. I think it is too soon--usually in order to recover money, the person claiming money damages has to serve a claim with the government it wants money from (I think that would be the City of Rohnert Park) and wait until it is either acted on or enough time has passed so that it could have been acted on. I think that's usually time to get it on an agenda of a regular city council meeting. Then, if the city doesn't grant the claim, he can file a lawsuit for damages. It would probably be in Federal Court, but I checked the records for the Federal Court, Northern District of Calif. and I could not find such a lawsuit by him. So, anyway, the reason the city has not acted sooner is probably that it can not.

Posted by ME2 on 08/17/2015 at 7:04 PM

Re: “Cops on Film

Is this officer of the law, who was required to swear an oath to uphold the Constitution, insinuating that it is a bad thing for an American citizen to be in support of the Constitution, or that such a person would be a "crazy guy"?

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by NoName on 08/17/2015 at 11:03 AM

Re: “Cops on Film

The behavior of the police officer is truly reprehensible, with no need for further explanation or debate. It is scary, period. And it's certainly not just about the gun.

The aggressive, sarcastic tactics to achieve an unstated goal must not become the new norm in our community, especially in an area of relatively-low crime. I know; this is less than two minutes from my house.

Unfortunately, the non-response response by the police department indicates that more of this is on the way. If no more "constitutionalists" step forward, then this may indeed be the new normal.

3 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by rohnertpark1956 on 08/17/2015 at 12:13 AM

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