For local soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, the readjustment can be endless p20
Paving P aving Petaluma Petaluma p8 | S Sharing haring th thee Br Bread ead p13 | R Reimagining eimagining 'Peanuts' 'P Peanuts' p24
NORTH BAY BOH E MI A N | FEBR UARY 22-28 , 20 1 2 | BO H E M I AN.COM
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NORTH BAY BOHEMIAN [ISSN 1532-0154] (incorporating the Sonoma County Independent) is published weekly, on Wednesdays, by Metrosa Inc., located at: 847 Fifth St., Santa Rosa, CA 95404. Phone: 707.527.1200; fax: 707.527.1288; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Member: Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, California Newspaper Publishers Association. Subscriptions (per year): Sonoma County $75; out-of-county $90. Thirdclass postage paid at Santa Rosa, CA. FREE DISTRIBUTION: The BOHEMIAN is available free of charge at over 1,100 locations, limited to one copy per reader. Additional copies may be purchased for one dollar, payable in advance at The BOHEMIANâ€™s office. The BOHEMIAN may be distributed only by its authorized distributors. No person may, without permission of the publisher, take more than one copy of each issue.The BOHEMIAN is printed on 40% recycled paper.
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Cover photo of Iraq War veteran Conan Nunley by Michael Amsler. Cover design by Tabi Dolan.
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If gay marriage is legalized, panda bears will be able to marry turtles! Aggghhh!
â€˜In the military, youâ€™re trained to suck it up. You donâ€™t want to be labeled as the guy with mental problems.â€™ F EATUR E P20 Petalumaâ€™s â€˜Hole to Nowhereâ€™ T H E PAP E R P 8
San Rafaelâ€™s Worker-Owned Bakery DI N I N G P 13
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NO RTH BAY BO H E M I AN | FE BR UARY 22â€“28, 201 2 | BOH EMI A N.COM
NORTH BAY BOH EMI A N | FEBR UARY 22– 28 , 20 1 2 | BO H E M I AN.COM
Rhapsodies Final Frontier
Goodbye to Occidental’s Ranger Rick BY FRANK DICE
n the summer of ’95, on my ﬁrst morning living in Camp Meeker, I came upon a spindly little creature with a Rip Van Winkle beard and a thousand-mile stare. I quietly mouthed a hello, whereupon the man stopped, put up his dukes and cried, “Do you want a piece of me, fat man?!” This was my ﬁrst human interaction as a resident of western Sonoma County. I continued to the Bohemian Cafe, made my way up the stairs, and who should I see again? “I’m not done with you!” he yelled, ﬁsts again at the ready. Quickly slamming the door behind me, I asked around if anyone knew a demented fairy-wood sprite who randomly accosted the citizenry. I was met with smiles and chuckles in equal measure, and was told that I had met the mayor of Occidental. Last Saturday, Ranger Rick departed this realm for parts unknown, and the true center of the Republic of Western Sonoma County, Occidental, was diminished. To those who knew him, the Range, born Rick Kaufman, was the embodiment of the Occidental secret handshake, proof of belonging to a community that best resembles Tolkien’s Rivendel crossed with a liberal dose (pun intended) of Easy Rider. To many, he was little more than an unbalanced vagrant with a greatly overestimated sense of self. In my estimation, his face belongs on Occidental’s Mount Rushmore, along with Larry Bustelo and Joe Negri. Ranger cleaned the town, completed the New York Times crossword puzzle daily and was to be approached with caution after 5pm. He seemed to live everywhere and nowhere, as likely to materialize out of a tree as from the back of a station wagon. He laughed like a Viking, and his stride carried him farther and quicker than his diminutive stature would seem to indicate. Ranger Rick was a trickmaster monkey, a mystical coyote and the crazy river all in one. If he was human, I’ll eat my fedora. The Range was some other category of creature altogether. I rarely understood him, I often seemed to anger him—and I can’t imagine Occidental without him. Frank Dice is a bartender at Underwood in Graton. To have your topical essay of 350 words considered for publication, write firstname.lastname@example.org.
Way to Go, Mike
In regards to pastry chefs (“Just Desserts,” Feb. 15), a local Sonoman, Mike Zakowski, has been chosen to represent the U.S.A. at the Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie in March 2012, which is an honor and a huge feat.
CHRISTY POWER Sonoma
Basic Courtesy While I may agree with the ﬁnal suggestion in Barbara Stepka’s Open Mic (“Saying ‘Sorry,” Feb. 15)—namely, that “there are a lot of other people out there who really need to say it much more often . . . and mean it . . . and act on it. Hint: can you spell l-e-g-i-s-l-a-to-r-s?”—I think she misses the value of courtesy in our post-nice times. Like Champagne, you can have too much, but you can never have enough.
MICHAEL MCCAULEY Santa Rosa
Scary ‘Foreign’ Groups, Oh No
society they helped create.
The fact that we have an international group making plans and decisions for how the United States is supposed to be run—doesn’t this sound off any alarm bells to you? I repeat, an international group—that means “foreign,” not domestic—interfering with our national policies, implementing laws in our government. Well, if you don’t know, it is unconstitutional on principle alone. Please do some research on history, and see what it took to gain our independence and from whom. I have nothing against protecting natural resources and ﬁnding ways to lessen pollution, but not like this.
CARA CAPOLUPO Via online
Don’t Punish the Women Unplanned pregnancies result from unplanned sex. When will we change the conversation to include our men? Instead of arguing about restricting women’s reproductive health, why not have a discussion about regulating men’s sexual behaviors, and our failure to punish crimes against women and children? Abuses ignored do not fade, they ﬂourish. We are all witness to this tendency with regard to rape in the military and child abuse in the Catholic church.
I would rather live in a “Post Sustainable World” any day than to live with this “sustainable” crap (“Hidden Agenda,” June 15). I’ll tell you what a post-sustainable world would look like. It would look like what we had in the ’40s, ’50s, and ’60s—when the U.S. had one of the strongest industries in the world. We had more jobs and more local production than any other country.
In the Water
Other countries, the “sustainable” types, were impoverished, and that is why we have so many people ﬂocking here from those places. They came here for a reason—to get away from that type of restricted living. Now we are subjected to the same “sustained” or “restricted” living with huge job losses due to our industries being shipped overseas by the same corporations that are pushing this “smart growth” on an uninformed
Thank you for your article (“Natural Riches,” Feb. 8) concerning restoring our aquifers. However, the actual name of the brochure mentioned is “Slow it. Spread it. Sink it!” This phrase was ﬁrst coined by Brock Dolman, director of the WATER Institute at the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center and is a motto to prompt us to remember how nature actually works through lagunas, swamps and other wetlands to maintain healthy
It’s time to try a different approach.
J. T. YOUNGER Santa Cruz
Rants By Tom Tomorrow
GET SSMART SMA SMAR MAR RTT R
THE ALTERNATIVE ALTERNATIVE T TO TO HIGHW HIGHWAY WAY 101 Tired of sitting in trafﬁc alon Tired along ng Highway 101? Looking for a gr een alternative? alternattive? green Looking to cr eate jobs in the e North Bay to help boost our ec conomy? create economy? Ther e’s one place to look: SM MART. There’s SMART. Y ou asked for it and you vote o d for it. You voted And we’r e working har d to make make it happen. we’re hard In 2008, almost 70% of the vo oters of Marin voters and Sonoma supported Meas sure Q to Measure cr eate a train that connects the th he two create counties. Despite headwinds of the worst rrecession ecession in 50 years, we’r till moving e st we’re still forwar d to make SMART SMART a reality. rea ality. forward
aquifers, rather than how we have “engineered” our landscapes to waste much of the water resulting in depleted aquifers, erosion and damaged riparian environments.
PHILIP TYMON Occidental Arts & Ecology Center
Built to Spill Contest Winner! Congratulations to Thomas Gonzalez, whose lovably bizarre version of “Carry the Zero” has won our contest. Gonzalez wins two tickets to see Built to Spill at the Uptown Theatre on Feb. 25, and his cover can be heard, along with the other contest ﬁnalists, at www.bohemian.com.
THE ED. Occupied with What Other Persons Are Occupied with and Vice Versa Write to us at email@example.com.
Top Five 1 Santa Rosa Plaza to soon
charge for parking, continue being barrier to downtown
2 Brian Keegan of Keegan & Coppin releases Patrick Swayze hip-hop tribute CD
3 Chicken tikka masala at
Lotus Chaat in San Rafael is still the jam
4 Hugh Laurie, from
W e’re not stopping until we’v ve done what you asked us to do: cr ccreate eate an We’re we’ve ener gy-efﬁcient, green green alternative alterna ative to sitting in trafﬁc on Highwa energy-efﬁcient, Highwayy 101. Once SMAR T is operational, you’ll be b able to ride the train along the tracks t or ride SMART next to the tracks on a new S MART bike-walk path. SMART T odayy, energy-efﬁcient, o energy-efﬁcient, clean diesel trains have been or dered. The T tracks, Today, ordered. bridges, crossings crossings and station ns ar e being renovated, renovated, built and pr p epared. stations are prepared. SMAR T’s Boar d of Directors Directors recently recently awarded awarded a $103 million con nstruction SMART’s Board construction contract that will cr eate 1,000 0 jobs and issued bonds to raise $1 71 million create $171 towar d constructing Phase I: the t rroute oute between North Santa Ro osa and toward Rosa San Rafael. W e’re also proposing propossing a SMAR T Connector bus to link lin nk Clover dale, We’re SMART Cloverdale, Healdsbur g and Windsor to Santa S Rosa and San Rafael to Larksp pur. T o ogetherr, Healdsburg Larkspur. Together, they will serve 70% of the pot tential riders. potential W e’re excited and we want yo ou to get excited with us. W e e’re inv vesting in the We’re you We’re investing futur e of the North Bay SMART, we can jump into the 21stt century by future Bay.. With SMART, getting out of our cars — and d riding a train or a bike. For mor more e information about SMAR SMART, T, website www.SonomaMarinTrain.org visit our websit te at www .SonomaMarinT Trrain.org
“House,” to appear in song at the Uptown Theatre May 29
5 (It’s hard to write “from
‘House’” instead of writing “from ‘Jeeves and Wooster’”)
THERE S A TR THERE’S TRAIN RAIN COMING O G TO TO TTOWN TO OWN O WN
NO RTH BAY BO H E M I AN | FE BR UARY 22–28, 201 2 | BOH EMI A N.COM
THIS MODERN WORLD
NAILS & SCREWS Though Friedman’s has signed on as an anchor tenant, Petaluma can’t mitigate Deer Creek Village traffic.
Paving Petaluma Deer Creek Village: Traffic jams or home improvement? BY PETER BYRNE
o hear some tell it, the proposed Deer Creek Village center in Petaluma would seem to have it all: specialty stores, sales tax revenue and an agreement from local hardware supplier Friedman’s Home Improvement to sign on as an anchor tenant. Below the surface, however, the
Deer Creek project has more holes than a galvanized-steel pipe strap. In January, the Petaluma Planning Commission rejected the environmental impact report for Deer Creek. Members cited studies showing that adding another shopping center to the east side mall strip at McDowell Boulevard and Rainier Avenue would congeal traffic on roads already clogged by thousands of cars and trucks daily. On Feb. 27,
the Petaluma City Council is scheduled to accept or reject the planning commission’s veto of the project. Councilmembers Mike Healy and Chris Albertson each say that the burden of gridlock will be offset by the beneﬁt of having a home-improvement store at the massive development. The Lowe’s home-improvement chain recently pulled out of a leasing deal with Deer Creek developer
NORTH BAY BOH EMI A N | FEBR UARY 22– 28 , 20 1 2 | BO H E M I AN.COM
Merlone Geier Partners, although Friedman’s, which operates stores with lumberyards in nearby Santa Rosa and Sonoma, has reportedly signed a lease. But Friedman’s or no Friedman’s, the retail tenants of the 36-acre lot will create mostly part-time sales jobs with low wages. In addition to traffic jams, an increase in bike, pedestrian and car accidents is also projected. Importantly, the shopping center is projected by city economic studies to create blight by killing retail jobs at other locations; shuttering boutique stores; harming existing hardware and home-improvement stores; and duplicating pharmaceutical stores, office complexes and health clubs serving the outlying area around Deer Creek. Local businessman Jason Davies is concerned about this type of oversaturation destroying existing businesses. “Why does Petaluma need another shopping center,” he asks, “when the ones we have, especially downtown, are having such a hard time? Are we robbing Peter to pay Paul?” To assess the impact of Deer Creek, the Bohemian examined thousands of pages of public records and interviewed key players. The ﬁndings show that the city does not have the funds, now or in the foreseeable future, to mitigate its damage.
The Myth of Rainier At the heart of the Deer Creek project is a Rainier-Avenue-toPetaluma-Boulevard connector. The Deer Creek EIR states that this crosstown street will be operative in the near future, thereby relieving congestion. This falsehood in the report is one of the reasons for its rejection by the planning commission. For one thing, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is ﬁercely opposed to the city’s current low-cost engineering plan for the Rainier connector, for safety reasons. But more importantly, the city cannot afford any version of the Rainier connector. The connector was to be paid for with redevelopment funds, and Gov. Brown has abolished California’s network of
Hole to Nowhere Last year, the council borrowed $15 million (with interest) in a private transaction with JPMorgan Chase bank, paid for by local property taxes. The unorthodox deal funnels $7 million to engineering design ﬁrm URS Corporation to design and construct a tunnel under Highway 101 that might someday be used as a part of a Rainier connector. The contract is for a tunnel, and only a tunnel. In short, the city is charging taxpayers for a hole to nowhere, connecting nothing but idle dreams. Suzanne Smith, director of the Sonoma County Transportation Authority, explains that the Rainier “hole” cannot be constructed unless Petaluma comes up with $100 million to complete the entire crosstown connector, including a Caltransapproved design for safely ramping Rainier onto Highway 101. According to city, county and state officials contacted for this story, Petaluma is not likely to ever
ﬁnd the $100 million needed to construct the Rainier connector safely and properly. Strangely, this bleak reality has not kept Healy, Albertson or Councilmember Mike Harris from acting as if Rainier and Deer Creek are done deals. And at next week’ city council meeting, a fourth vote for Deer Creek could come from councilmember Gabe Kearney, who after his appointment to the council last year provided the lone vote in favor of the project as its representative on the planning commission.
No Money It is a circular truism of city planning that building more shopping centers means the city can extract more traffic-jammitigation fees for building more roads to reduce the gridlock caused by building more shopping centers. But the city’s general plan assesses the cost of mitigating traffic caused by all new development through 2025 at $257 million. Currently, the city has a mere $1.7 million available for traffic mitigation. To generate even $67 million in traffic-impact fees, which is not enough for Rainier, the city would have to permit the development of 4.5 million square feet in commercial, office and industrial development—a 40 percent increase over existing space of that type. It amounts to doubling the downtown area of 225 acres. Since redevelopment has been abolished, any increases in property taxes would go to the state, not the city. And retail sales tax cannot be used for traffic mitigation, but only for the extra cost of ﬁre, police and city utilities servicing Deer Creek. Petaluma currently draws sales taxes from 15 other shopping centers and an auto mall, and, says Mayor David Glass, “Our sales tax basis is very healthy.” For his part, Glass questions the wisdom of building another traffic-heavy mall. And without a doubt, the funds for the Rainier connector to Deer Creek simply do not exist— the city doesn’t have the money. It brings to mind the old Friedman Brothers motto: “If we don’t have it, you don’t need it.”
Sex Wars Marty Klein has been thinking about sex professionally for 31 years. In one of his six books, Ask Me Anything: Dr. Klein Answers the Sex Questions You’d Love to Ask, the intrepid doctor answers questions on everything from arranged marriages to masturbation and foot fetishes. Lately, the licensed marriage therapist has been looking at connections between the federal government, religious groups, puritanical impulses and the moralism of Dr. Phil and Oprah, and how they all convolute and undermine healthy sexual relationships in the United States. See Dr. Klein speak about what he calls “America’s war on sex” on Tuesday, Feb. 27, at Sonoma State University’s Cooperage. 1801 E. Cotati Ave, Rohnert Park. 7pm. Free. 707.664.2815.
Eastern Connection The North Coast Coalition for Palestine is calling on the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors to cancel county bus system contracts with French multinational transportation company Veolia. “As residents of Sonoma County, we are asking the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors to reconsider Sonoma County’s transportation contract with Veolia, unless it stops aiding and abetting human-rights violations,” writes the coalition in an open letter. Most recently, Veolia was involved in the construction of a light railway line between the West Bank and Jerusalem. The U.N.’s Human Rights Council has called the railway “a clear breach of international law” for its location on a highway that until recently did not allow passage for Palestinians. Since 2008, Veolia has lost investments from the Dutch Triodos Bank and the Stockholm subway system for similar reasons.—Leilani Clark
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local redevelopment agencies. Last March, Caltrans district planning official Lee Taubeneck wrote in a letter to the city, obtained by the Bohemian from a former city employee, that “the Deer Creek EIR and the Petaluma General Plan 2025 EIR are inadequate and must be redrafted and recirculated. . . . With [the] demise of redevelopment agencies and what I also believe to be an unlawful traffic mitigation fee structure projected to fund the Rainer [project] . . . Petaluma cannot use [Rainier] as a feasible traffic mitigation in either document.” Two months ago, in a separate letter to the city, Caltrans district branch chief Gary Arnold reiterated the agency’s position that the ﬁnal Deer Creek EIR is not supported by accurate traffic-impact data. The agency also has environmental concerns about ﬂooding. City manager John Brown says the city has no record of the Taubeneck letter, but he conﬁrmed receipt of Arnold’s letter. Taubeneck and Arnold were contacted for comment, but Caltrans employees are not allowed to talk to the press, Arnold said.
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s I was riding through a remote part of the Swedish countryside last summer, I was surprised to see a farmer working a plow drawn by a horse. The young man’s face sported a beard trimmed to Amish speciﬁcations, and his pastcentury clothing looked like it had come right out of a movie-set costume trailer. I stared in surprise. “I didn’t know you had Amish in Sweden,” I said. My friend at the wheel of the car, an ex-pat from Marin, said, “We don’t. Those are German back-to-earth farmers who’ve been immigrating to Sweden, part of the Rudolph Steiner movement.” So this was how some were taking the mystical agriculture path, I thought. While I know the costuming and the beard are optional, farmers following
the plow in Steiner’s footsteps do, in a way, have to leave their country—psychologically if not geographically—to follow in true spirit. Steiner never intended his philosophy of farming to serve as a marketing gimmick so that more wine, for example, might be sold because the words “biodynamically farmed” appear on the label. What he intended was that the farming experience be reintegrated as part of the human spirit. His was not a getrich scheme. Austria-born Steiner, a brilliant and radical thinker who authored over 300 works before his death in 1925, was a mystic and scholar. Known for his many social-reform ideas, including the Waldorf methods in education, Steiner believed that those tilling the soil must resurrect and honor ancient agrarian practices and combine them with a creative spirituality—a kind of farming-the-self ideal. For his vision, Steiner functions like a patron saint of alternative agriculture. Decades before scientist James Lovelock’s 1965 Gaia hypothesis, positing that the planet Earth is a living organism, Steiner was claiming the same principle—that the farm is a living organism and that the farmer is part of that organism. So biodynamic principles require a big shift in perspective, a life change for those who take them on with whole-hearted conviction. Many are attracted to Steiner’s ideologies—some sincerely, others superﬁcially. But when the San Francisco Examiner claimed in 2010 that biodynamic farming was entering the mainstream based on the fact that a few hundred wine-industry folks attended a biodynamic workshop, I shook my head. I am still unconvinced. I’m not cynical, just aware that relatively few have the conviction (and the means) to go as far as that farmer I saw following his horse and Steiner’s plow. “Turn to the ancient principle,” Steiner wrote. “Spirit never without matter, matter never without spirit.”
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