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Public Eye 

Sonoma Public Eye

Mural, Mural on the Wall . . .

Unable to differentiate between art and commerce, a Sonoma planning board is threatening to demand the removal of a pair of 53-foot-long murals that decorate the inside walls of a pedestrian tunnel next to the historic Sebastiani Theater. The black-and-white murals, each seven and a half feet high, consist of stylized life-size figures engaged in various athletic activities, such as surfing, ice skating, bicycle riding, and playing basketball. The murals were painted by Jonell Green, the owner of the health club that is the sole business accessed through the tunnel. Although there is no written message in the murals, the city's architectural review board voted 2-1 last week to withhold approval of the artwork, deeming it a sign promoting Green's business, which is subject to the restrictions of the local sign ordinance. "It's not a sign, it's a mural. It's just artwork," Green protests. "I don't even do any of those sports." What's even more aggravating, she adds, is the swift endorsement the same board gave to another nearby tunnel mural that is even larger. Although she is now framing her appeals to the City Council in First Amendment terms, Green believes the basic problem is "just a matter of personal taste. I didn't like their designs, and I guess they didn't like mine."

Color Bind

By now, it's well established that a little red wine is actually good for the ol' ticker. You would think the local medical establishments would know this, especially the folks at Memorial Hospital, whose corporate parents also know a few things about the sacramental aspects of the stuff. So how come there was nary a drop being served at the otherwise well-stocked open house to celebrate completion of Memorial's new Cancer Center last week? Chardonnay and champagne in abundance, but no go for merlot? The answer, in a word: carpets.

Celluloid Zeros

Is there too much crime at the movies? Sebastopol Cinemas owner Dave Corkill thinks so. But not necessarily on the screens. Corkill bought a half-page ad in the latest issue of the West County Times and News to announce a $1,000 reward for the arrest and conviction of whoever is responsible for stealing two locked safes and their contents from the theater offices during a pair of October burglaries. During the first theft, Oct. 3, the perpetrators tried to remove the mounted safe but could not. Returning three and a half weeks later, "they brought the correct equipment to extract our remaining floor safe," as well as damaging or stealing various items of office equipment, Corkill's ad reads. "This action took a substantial amount of time--just across the street from the police department." The case is under investigation.

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