Council OKs SONOMAWOOD sign
The Sonoma City Council approved putting the SONOMWOOD sign up again during the Sonoma International Film Festival.
The 50-foot-long, 10-foot-tall SONOMAWOOD sign, that stirred both applause and disapproval during last year’s Sonoma International Film Festival, is coming back to the Plaza.
On Monday, the City Council voted unanimously to ignore the recommendation of the Community Services and Environment Commission (CSEC) and approve re-installation of the giant letters that make affectionate reference to the iconic sign overlooking Hollywood.
Created by seven students at the Creekside Continuation High School, under the supervision of veteran Creekside teacher Walt Williams, the installation was allowed to skirt Plaza guidelines when the council chose to interpret it as public art and not as a sign advertising the film festival.
Said Councilmember Steve Barbose, “It indicates that we have a sense of humor about ourselves and we don’t take ourselves too seriously.”
Agreed Mayor Ken Brown, “I think it’s important for a city to have a sense of humor – they’ve got me for a mayor.” He added on a more serious note, “It’s a really big deal” to allow young people to participate in the festival.
CSEC members had frowned on the return of the letters because the assembled sign exceeds the city’s special event policy “with regard to its size, location and the number of days it would be displayed.”
The CSEC also objected because the installation “obstructs views of City Hall.”
None of those objections resonated with council members who voted 5-0 to bring back the signage and even agreed to wave the $500 Plaza rental fee in lieu of any city contribution of financial support for the festival.