Paradise Lost

The environmental expert currently occupying the White House was quick to assign responsibility for wildfires burning in California. Using the venerable Republican strategy of blaming the victim, he tweeted: “There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor.” In fact, these fires are […]

Sonoma County Artists Respond

Sonoma County artist Tom Swearingen knows what he’ll be doing for the next year: painting roses. Since retiring from the Santa Rosa police department several years ago, Tom has become known for his “Playful Realism” paintings. His “Photorealism” work includes a series of police badges, trains, and also many visual puns. In the aftermath of […]

Santa Rosa Update

The Environmental Protection Agency announced last week that it had removed household hazardous waste from 5,500 properties in Napa and Sonoma counties, three-quarters of those destroyed or damaged by fire. Sonoma County has begun process of adjusting tax assessments. The Assessor’s office was not damaged, but was closed for several days because of mandatory evacuation. […]

Remembering Santa Rosa

I recently repatriated from northern California back to Portland. I spent the past twenty-plus years in Santa Rosa, the heart of Sonoma Wine Country. Residing there one becomes accustomed to ever-moving ground and resultant cracked walls and stuck and then unstuck doors. Once a diverse agricultural area, while I was there, Gravenstein apples, hops, prunes […]

Portland Has Henry Huggins

There has been some – not a lot, really – agitation for the city of Portland to erect some kind of monument to The Simpsons, the long-running television program and brainchild of Portland native Matt Groenig. After all, many Simpsons characters are named after Portland streets. The local Willamette Week newspaper used Santa Rosa California […]

Restaurant Reviews: Best of the Worst

Santa Rosa California, where I spent the past two decades, is the largest city between San Francisco and Portland. Its population is 175,000, about 50,000 more than when I arrived. Notable citizens of the city, other than me, included Luther Burbank, Robert Ripley, Charles M. Schulz, and champion self-promoter Guy Fieri. His celebrity-driven success made […]