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Savory Sonoma by Stephanie Hiller - December 2016


Savory Sonoma by Stephanie Hiller - December 2016

Friday night on November 11, Veteran’s Day, more than thirty people gathered at the Plaza in front of City Hall to reject the election of Donald Trump. Many people honked as they drove through the “T” on their way home or for a night out on the three-day weekend. The mood was a jolly. 

The vigils organized by the Sonoma Valley Peace and Justice group have been going on for 20 years, sometimes with less than a handful of participants. If you are looking for a place to express your dismay over the election results and perhaps take some action, you might want to join forces. Contact me.

Locally, some great legislation passed, including Proposition K, the measure for Community Separators, which we wrote about last month. We made a couple of mistakes in that column, one of them a typo, the other listing the wrong source of the wine we drank. Our apologies to the donors!

Good to see that Prop M passed! Finally! And some other good things… But we voted to overturn the rule against single-use bags? Really? 

I attended a celebration held at the Bodega Grange last month organized by long-time Occidental activist Mary Moore to celebrate the decision to close Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power plant by recalling grassroots opposition to PG&E’s plans to build a nuclear power plant at Bodega Head. It would have been the first of a string of such plants along the coast, probably because that stunning scenic pathway was sparsely populated. (In New Mexico, where nuclear weapons plants are firmly established, the term used was “under-populated”, partly because Native Americans, whose land was appropriated, didn’t count.) A second plant, near Malibu, was canceled in 1970.

It was during the quiescent, complacent 1950s that the fight began. The people who participated were a group of landowners, fisher folk and other locals who opposed the plant for a variety of reasons, not least of which was its location directly on the San Andreas Fault

Locals were not unaware of the significance of a rupture to the plant. They released of 1500 balloons carrying the message: “This balloon could represent a radioactive molecule of strontium 90 or iodine 131.” 

They won! The plant was cancelled in 1964. 

The hole dug for the facility, the “Hole in the Head”, has since filled with water and become a resting place for migratory birds – an apt metaphor for the preservation of the world from man’s insanity.

Thomas Wellock, historian of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, called this action the beginning of the anti-nuclear movement. This event was meant to make that connection. Attending were many people who participated in the nonviolent protests at the Diablo Canyon plant during the 80s.

The Diablo plant is destined to become a facility for the production of alternative energy, explained Carl Zichella of the Natural Resources Defense Council overseeing the closure, himself a former protestor. 

Tales of those days of rage, as historian Todd Gitlin has called the 60s, were enjoyed by all, many of them veterans of years of protest.

Meanwhile, Sonoma is becoming a busy little hub of activity marshaling its forces against the looming plans of new Administration.

Many people do not realize how climate change policy, which was completely ignored during the presidential campaigns, is as much under threat as immigrants, Muslims and LGBT people. The progress of that infernal global disease is sure to be accelerated as the new president strips back regulations that had begun to slow the mining of coal and fossil fuels.

The Obama Administration had finally taken steps toward arresting climate change during the past two years, signing on to the Paris accord last December and composing a Clean Power Plan that passed Congress but is now tied up in court. Unless the court approves it before King Donald takes his gilded throne, he will be able to dismantle it, as he has threatened to do, calling climate change a hoax perpetrated by China.

Just before the election, EarthCare, Transition Sonoma Valley and the Shambhala Buddhist Center came together to present the film, Time to Choose, at the Congregational Church. TSV plans to show another film, Before the Flood, made by Leonardo di Caprio as part of his role as UN Peace Ambassador for Climate Change, which is even more powerful medicine. Would it help clear Trump’s befogged brain to see that movie? Perhaps di Caprio can arrange a private showing at Trump Towers…?

We simply can’t allow this farce about climate change to continue or we are doomed.

Nelson Mandela said, “Our greatest fear is that we are powerful beyond imagination.” Isn’t it time we got over that fear? Change is always possible! Citizen actions have even defeated the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) – hooray!

May your holidays be bathed in love.