The city of Santa Rosa is moving forward with what it has called a "high-priority infrastructure plan" to reunify Courthouse Square downtown, a plan that has been fraught with controversy over the fate of some 35 redwood trees, some of them quite majestic. The city held its second of two community-input meetings on Jan. 9. Critics say the fix is in, and that all those redwoods are going to be toppled in the name of reunifying the square and adding new parking downtown in the process. Those concerns may be a little overstated.
The Jan. 9 meeting was held to review preliminary design plans. No one is calling for the total removal of all the redwoods, but city officials previously told Debriefer that at least some would likely be felled to accommodate whichever of the designs is ultimately selected. Attendees at the Jan. 9 meeting were given a chance to signal approval or disapproval of the designs, and most of the approvals, reported the Press Democrat, were given to a plan that would create a big green space, surrounded by trees. Some of them, presumably, redwoods.
A noteworthy point of departure for some of the businesses in and around the square clamoring for more parking was their insistence that the redwoods are essentially an invasive species on the square as it is. Those are fighting words, and the Ents are on the move in solidarity with the redwoods as we speak. No decision has yet been made on a final design for the square.
PARKER POT PLEDGE
Sean Parker, Facebook co-founder, philanthropist and Big Sur defiler, has made good on a pro-pot promise he made last year, and donated $500,000 to a new pro-legalization organization called—wait for it, because it's kind of long—Californians to Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana While Protecting Children, Sponsored by Business, Physicians, Environmental and Social Justice Advocate Organizations. That's one all-encompassing organization, no further explanation required as to their orientation, but Debriefer is trying to figure out how to pronounce this mind-bender in the acronym form, which is CCRTAUMWPCSBPESJAO.
The organization formed in anticipation of a 2016 ballot initiative to legalize cannabis in California, but, while we are on the subject, don't tell that to the anti-pot chair of the Democratic National Committee, Debbie Wasserman Shultz, who foolishly told the world last week that she opposes legalization even as she's drunk on big dollars from the booze lobby.
Jan. 7 was a big day for a trio of area land-preservation organizations, as they announced the $3.8 million purchase of the 547-acre Estero Ranch west of Valley Ford. The Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation & Open Space District, the Sonoma Land Trust and the Wildlands Conservancy worked with the California Coastal Conservancy and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation to purchase the sensitive and breathtaking slice of coastal land, located where the Estero Americano meets the Pacific Ocean. A press release announcing the purchase noted that it would link to another forever-wild piece of land adjacent to the Estero Ranch previously scooped up by the Sonoma Land Trust.