Editorial: What a party!

What if they threw a party and everyone came?

That’s what happened Tuesday night, as what felt like most of Sonoma descended on the Plaza for the annual City Party. Highly unofficial estimates ranged from 5,000 people to twice that, and whatever the number, people were happily sprawled all over the Plaza, celebrating a tradition that goes back to 1996 and seems to grow more mellow with age.

Presented by the Sonoma Community Center, sponsored by Redwood Credit Union, and with valuable support from Sonoma Market, Lagunitas Brewing, The Other Guys wines (Leese – Fitch and Hey Mambo were present) and the City of Sonoma, the party poured out onto Spain Street, with a bandstand erected in front of the historic Toscano Hotel.

Music punctuated the night, kicked off with Cynthia Tarr’s powerful and moving National Anthem, and followed by an endless Tommy Thomsen medley of hometown favorites, including Sarah Summers, Dave Aguilar, Codi Binkley, Sean Cascadden and Junior Boogie.

There were, as always, girls with hula hoops, tattooed hipsters, prompt and impromptu picnics, children dashing hither and yon, fueled by crowd energy in explosive bursts of excitement. There was a veritable parade of young lovelies in sun dresses, infants in strollers, babes in arms, a big-horned Stompers mascot and even a cluster of uniformed players taking in the scene before retreating to the diamond at Arnold Field where they beat the Pittsburg Mettle 6-2.

Bags of fresh produce from the concurrent farmers market were clutched in many hands, the aromas of ripe peaches and kettle corn floating on the air.

Throughout the evening a mood of community conviviality embraced the town and Sonoma police subsequently reported a virtual absence of bad behavior and no serious incidents for the police report.

Woven as a continuing thread through countless conversations was the oft-repeated remark, “This is why we love this town.”

Indeed, community with a capital ‘C’ was alive and well in Sonoma, for which we should all extend our thanks to the Community Center, its able director Toni Castrone and all those who brought us all so happily together.

Paranoia flows from mystery hole

Meanwhile, back at the Fryer Creek sinkhole-mystery, the vanishing creek water has inspired a rash of citizen complaints, some of them bordering on abject paranoia about a suspected plot to push a flood-control, aquifer-recharge project down the city’s throat. We are quite confident those fears are alarmist at best, but we agree that there is a paucity of public information about the long-term maintenance efforts to clear our creek beds, and a need for better understanding of what, if anything, the $1.89 million DWR grant has produced thus far.

Ironically, were it not for drainage from school fields and other sources of urban runoff, Fryer Creek would be dry as a bone because there’s been no significant rainfall in recent memory. The water that was impounded prior to the culvert release provided a pleasant environment for ducks, frogs and other riparian critters, even if that environment was entirely artificial.

We would suggest that the drain hole – which currently serves no useful purpose – be plugged until there is some compelling reason to the contrary.

Creekside neighbors, we suspect, would love to see that happen.

– David Bolling