Green Springs Eternal

Despite the plummet in the value of its residential real estate (thanks Sonoma County Assessor’s Office!), the Springs seems in the midst of an economic renaissance.

At least that’s what my bank statement tells me as it seems there are plenty of new places to alleviate oneself of those crinkled, sage-hued papers cluttering one’s pocketbook.

Among the new businesses are a smoking paraphernalia shop and a barbeque joint within spitting distance of each other, named Pipe Pirates and Hot Box respectively. Hmm. If Mary’s Pizza Shack changed its name to Mary-Jane’s, the “greening” of the Springs would be well under way. Area homeowners such as myself knew our mortgages were underwater, we just didn’t know it was bong-water. And all along I thought that bubbling sound was the gurgling of the natural geothermal springs. Or the meth labs. I’m kidding – mostly.

I’m both old and young enough to have used the word “green” as slang for money, marijuana and notions of ecological consciousness. Throughout the decades I’ve been writing columns, I’ve made cheap references to the Kermit the Frog tune, “It’s Not Easy Being Green” for at least the latter two “greens” more times than I can remember (insert “short-term memory loss” gag here). Apparently, it’s getting easier being green in Wine Country – however one defines it – and I bet that the weed and vine will eventually intertwine once some glassy-eyed sharpshooter, Johnny Appleseed-type gets a yen for biodiversity and sews the seeds of change in somebody’s vineyard. It happens in public parks all the time …

Of course, weed and wine aren’t the only naturally occurring substances along our stretch of Sonoma Highway. The newly-launched Olde Sonoma Public House continues the so-called “Beer Flag Revolt” that’s been brewing close to town vis-à-vis LoKal, the Sonoma Springs Brewery, Mondo and the coming Hopmonk Tavern. Perhaps, with the pending legalization of marijuana, our local pot-farmers and vintners should unite and take on the beeristas with a cannabis sauvignon or sativa sauterne.

Be aware that this hybrid would likely leave one neither drunk nor stoned but rather a combination of the two – “droned.”

What good is getting people droned? We could tax the crap out of it and use the funds to fuel the drive to incorporate the Springs into its own city. Personally, I quite like living in unincorporated Sonoma County but I must admit I also enjoy watching drunken dinner party guests debate what the new Springs-borne city might be called.

Various names are thrown against the wall like, “Sonoma Valley.” Duh. Sure, why not make it all the more confusing? As it is, my clients at the Sonoma County Tourism Bureau complain they frequently have to explain the Russian doll-like relationship between the county, city and Valley that all share “Sonoma” in their name). A cheeky nomination from the gay camp: “Where the Boyes Are.” “Sonoma-Lite,” Sonoma Plus” and “Sonoma Xtreme” all sound more like the snack aisle at a grocery store than a Wine Country village. For that matter, “Wine Country Village” sounds like an outlet mall – good for Dockers, bad for everything else.

The other part of the Drone Tax Springs Secession conversation is, “Who gets to be mayor?” This lasts about a minute before everyone decides that they should be mayor. Inevitably, the loudest person wins this mayoral race and proceeds to dole out consolatory cabinet positions like the one I always get – “Minister of Propaganda.” Like hell I’m going to write about such tripe, I explain to little avail. But they just glare at me with their glassy eyes and the next thing you know I’m on deadline and, well … It’s not easy being Springs.