They're paving the Plaza and putting up a parking lot
Spring is a time of renewal, when even the snakes lying in the grass of our local Eden shed their skins and slither about their business with a little more rattle in their prattle.
I'm all for change, but it was jarring when I expected to see the tawny awning that usually skirts the Sonoma Hotel and adjacent brasserie, the girl and the fig, and instead spied the skeletal frame beneath it. Of course, I understand it's temporary but it looks as if an erector set has been grafted onto the side of the building, a la the ducts and whatnot adorning the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris.
Mind you, I'm a fan of modern architecture, even in the precious 4th arrondissement, however, seeing the building of one of my usual joints essentially naked was disconcerting. I had to drink twice as many pintos to get my eyes to adjust, which brings me to the utter revulsion I experienced when I read of the proposal to pave up to 75 percent of the Historic Sonoma Plaza for additional street parking. I can drink an ocean of pintos and guarantee my eyes will never adjust to the sight of cars pulling into spaces where our picnic tables once were.
Though the proposed "Re-allocation of Historic Sonoma Plaza Spatial Resources" spares the two children's playgrounds, I can hardly imagine any parent would want their child playing anywhere near an operating parking lot.
That the plan includes a "valet station/babysitting post" is little consolation. Parking cars and sitting kids are two entirely different activities, how City Hall thinks that a single employee could handle both positions simultaneously is beyond comprehension. Yes, I agree "creating jobs" and "providing childcare" are noble pursuits but not all at once, in one person. Who even has that kind of resumé besides, like, actors?
Also, I think that the premise of a drive-thru wine tasting gazebo is utterly absurd if not downright illegal. We already have a drunk driving epidemic in town, do we need to encourage it with the so-called "Splash-n-Dash?" Besides, if you're parked on the Plaza (let alone in the Plaza) chances are you're already drunk. I mean, "one for the road" is bad enough - "one ON the road" is downright reprehensible.
Likewise, "compensating for the relative loss of recreational space with the inclusion of a merry-go-round in the proposed traffic circle" hardly makes up for the devastation to the trees, lawns and, not to mention, hard-won history that constitutes our beloved Plaza.
How does one even get to the merry-go-round when a legion of cars is constantly circling it? I suppose that's what the inane "recommendation to the Sonoma Unified School District for a required course in crossing guardianship" is meant to address.
First off, what does that even mean? City Hall is going to make it mandatory for Sonoma children to be crossing guards, so other kids can get to a carnival ride in the middle of a drunk driving derby? If this isn't a prescription for disaster I don't know what is except for the proposal to turn the duck pond into a car wash by adding towels. Has City Hall ever seen the water in that pond? Or, rather, is that water in the pond? And how is the duck pond car wash going to be staffed? By requiring a class called "Towel?" This is insanity, people.
Let's just hope that the parties responsible for this insult grow a little backbone before it comes up for review April 1 and cancel this premises without compromise. As Harriet Tubman advised "Never wound a snake; kill it."
• • •
Daedalus Howell celebrates April Fool's Day at SonomaReporter.com.