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  1. TopTop #1
    mamaj's Avatar
    mamaj
     

    Apple Blossom School now will be Wine Grape School ??!!!??!!

    There is a beautiful healthy apple orchard located next to Apple Blossom School on Watertrough Rd.,Sebastopol,Ca. This is a older apple orchard with many trees subject now to being cut down only to be replaced by another grape/wine vineyard ! We are surely destroying what Sebastopol is all about it's beautiful apple orchards , bringing us healthy apple products for everyone.The wonderful apple blossoms every spring which I grew up with and loved and enjoyed will no longer be growing soon due to the greedy money hungry wineries.

    People used to worry about the apple growers spraying their apples and the chemicals getting into the water system of the school next door. These apples are not being sprayed now. Wake up Apple Blossom School- you have something now going on which is a future nightmare for everyone attending or working at your wonderful campus,and all your neighbors will also be affected.

    POISON in the ground,POISON in the air ,everywhere. I know first hand what these winery producers say, and what they do to produce their "product". They do not care how it effects the environment or our health. They begin poisoning the ground first preparing it for growing. After they plant the spraying begins ,and the extensive use of "Round Up" does not disappear.It goes into water systems.

    I have had Asthma ever since the Dutton ranch winery began their spraying when they put in grapes next to our property in Freestone 12 yrs. ago. I will never forget that horrible smell which came into our home.I looked out the window,to see a hired farm worker dressed in a full white jump suit with a hat and mask covering his whole head,in a small vehicle carrying tanks full of poisonus liquids . This is what he was freely spraying everywhere. Even though there was a large field between him and our farm it was coming into our home. Since then we have lost several pets from cancer.

    PLEASE STOP THIS STUPID DESTRUCTION OF APPLE TREES AND STOP THIS VINYARD!!
    Last edited by Barry; 04-22-2013 at 06:09 PM.
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  3. TopTop #2
    Alexandra's Avatar
    Alexandra
     

    Re: Apple Blossom School now will be Wine Grape School ??!!!??!!

    I have 2 children at Apple Blossom and share the concern of many parents and teachers there about the adjacent beautiful orchard being converted to a vineyard. We have contacted Supervisor Carillo's office and spoken with his staff member Susan. She was very surprised to hear that the house had already been taken down and cleared away. She said that she wasn't sure that they had a permit to demolish it. She also said that the vineyard does not yet have a permit and they are concerned about "drift" from future spraying affecting the schools. There are actually 4 schools next to this property. Apple Blossom and Orchard View Schools border it and there are two other schools directly across the street. Paul Hobbs is the one behind this. All parties need to band together, work with the appropriate agencies and stop this from happening. Spraying pesticides literally a few feet away from where hundreds of children are is not acceptable. I was told as well by another parent that there are some water issues as well.
    Quote mamaj wrote: View Post
    There is a beautiful healthy apple orchard located next to Apple Blossom School on Watertrough Rd.,Sebastopol,Ca. This is a older apple orchard with many trees subject now to being cut down only to be replaced by another grape/wine vineyard ! We are surely destroying what Sebastopol is all about it's beautiful apple orchards , bringing us healthy apple products for everyone.The wonderful apple blossoms every spring which I grew up with and loved and enjoyed will no longer be growing soon due to the greedy money hungry wineries. People used to worry about the apple growers spraying their apples and the chemicals getting into the water system of the school next door. These apples are not being sprayed now. Wake up Apple Blossom School- you have something now going on which is a future nightmare for everyone attending or working at your wonderful campus,and all your neighbors will also be affected. POISON in the ground,POISON in the air ,everywhere. I know first hand what these winery producers say, and what they do to produce their "product". They do not care how it effects the environment or our health. They begin poisoning the ground first preparing it for growing. After they plant the spraying begins ,and the extensive use of "Round Up" does not disappear.It goes into water systems.I have had Asthma ever since the Dutton ranch winery began their spraying when they put in grapes next to our property in Freestone 12 yrs. ago. I will never forget that horrible smell which came into our home.I looked out the window,to see a hired farm worker dressed in a full white jump suit with a hat and mask covering his whole head,in a small vehicle carrying tanks full of poisonus liquids . This is what he was freely spraying everywhere. Even though there was a large field between him and our farm it was coming into our home. Since then we have lost several pets from cancer. PLEASE STOP THIS STUPID DESTRUCTION OF APPLE TREES AND STOP THIS VINYARD!!
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  5. TopTop #3
    sebastacat's Avatar
    sebastacat
     

    Re: Apple Blossom School now will be Wine Grape School ??!!!??!!

    Fool me once, shame on you. But fool me twice........well, you know the rest.

    Yet, that seems to be precisely what has happened in the case of the latest vineyard "conversion" proposal, as reported by Alexandra, of the apple orchard located next to Apple Blossom School and bordered by several other schools as well, potentially placing the children who attend these institutions of learning in harm's way of the powerful chemicals used to keep those grapevines happy and healthy.

    Who would have thought that anyone would even want to attempt to carry out a vineyard conversion right next to a school
    after the hullabaloo that ensued during west county's (and Sonoma County's) most infamous vineyard conversion which took place a couple of years ago, to the horror and dismay of scores of west county residents?

    Not me. But then again, maybe that can be attributed to an overabundance of naivete on my part.

    It seems that yet again, the west county may become the victim of an unpopular and questionable vineyard conversion, complete with a possibly permitless residential tear-town to be followed soon by rapacious tree-ripping for all to see.
    Yet, the staff member didn't seem to know anything about the residence being torn down until Alexandra called and informed her.

    I have a hard time believing that, but I'll give her, albeit reluctantly, the benefit of the doubt --
    this time.

    The apple blossom parade is being held in downtown Sebastopol as I write this, which seems fitting, since I live next door to property which belongs to my parents which is home to one of the last remaining working apple orchards on the Gravenstein Highway strip.

    Unfortunately, while I should be out celebrating with the blossoms, after hearing about the destruction which is being proposed, I've been placed in the uncomfortable position of reminiscing about a west county that once was and is quickly becoming no longer -- and trying to hold on to it for as long as I can before it is no more. I have a feeling that I'm not the only one who feels this way.

    I remember well when the "right to farm" initiative was placed on the ballot that the proponents of that ordinance exhorted us to embrace vineyards since they required less water AND less fungicidal and pesticidal spraying than apples. That argument was weak then, and it is even weaker now when considered in its proper context several years later.

    Who can forget the incident where a vineyard worker sprayed a vineyard right next to a Forestville school?
    I remember well the outrage expressed by several west county residents at a series of meetings held in Occidental regarding the alarming number of vineyard conversions which were occurring at a dizzying pace.

    Their outrage was well placed. I submit that NO amount of agricultural pesticidal or fungicidal spraying should be allowed near ANY school. To allow this is unconscionable.

    Vineyard conversion is an ugly business, and I truly feel for those who will be impacted by this one.
    My sympathies are non generational. I feel sorry for all those school children whose idyllic vision of Sonoma County agriculture is about to be shattered when they witness a vineyard conversion in progress.
    And I feel sorry, too, for the elderly west county residents who are so upset to see yet even more apple trees being yanked and destroyed, making them regret and pine for that one last remnant of a bygone era to be saved.

    I now have some pointed questions for our county officials: Now that you know about this, what are you going to do about it? Will you allow a vineyard conversion to take place next to a school? And if after a thorough investigation by all affected departments is done it is found that laws were indeed broken, ordinances were violated and that the proper permits were not obtained, will you be proactive and take action, or will you just look the other way and shirk your responsibilities as guardians of this county and give the persons responsible a slap on the wrist and a free pass?

    I, along with many others, I'm sure, will be wondering, waiting -- and watching.

    P.S.: Does anyone know what's going on down at the TLC Child and Family Services building located across the street from Andy's Produce? Last week, several apple trees were removed, and today when I drove by, there was a crane, a bulldozer and a heavy-duty dump truck sitting out in front. Smells like another vineyard to me. Someone PLEASE say it isn't so.....
    Last edited by Barry; 04-21-2013 at 08:09 PM.
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  7. TopTop #4
    ajay's Avatar
    ajay
     

    Re: Apple Blossom School now will be Wine Grape School ??!!!??!!

    I am having a difficult time understanding why this is even an issue at all. Apples require far more chemicals than grapes. Even organic sprays drift and can cause respiratory irritation. Grapes rarely require any application of insecticides while apples regularly require fungicides and insecticides. Spraying of apples requires spray rigs that force the chemicals high into the treetops which increases the potential for drift.

    If you owned the orchard would you continue to farm it even if it lost money? Sebastopol now competes with apple growers in Washington and China. It is next to impossible for an apple grower to make a living in this county.

    Do you buy only apple products that are made from apples grown in Sebastopol? Have you spoken to the owner of the orchard and offered him or her money to help offset his or her mounting losses? Have you organized a community event to help subsidize the farmer who loses money every year? If you enjoy the blossoms so much, maybe you should offer to purchase the orchard and then donate it to the Sonoma County Land Trust. Just exactly what are you doing to help the apple growers? Perhaps you would prefer to see a subdivision instead of a vineyard.

    Without the wine industry, Sonoma County would have been bankrupt in 2011. Thousands of people are employed by wineries and grape growers. Many children of parents that are employed in the wine industry attend Apple Blossom School.

    This is an agricultural community. It is the farmerís right to plant whatever the law allows on their land. There are no redwood trees being removed nor is there any habitat being destroyed.

    Folks like you are usually long on complaints but very short on viable alternatives.
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  9. TopTop #5
    sebastacat's Avatar
    sebastacat
     

    Re: Apple Blossom School now will be Wine Grape School ??!!!??!!

    Now, Ajay.....

    Can you HONESTLY say that grapes don't require much spraying when we all know that their bane is POWDERY MILDEW? And, if powdery mildew gets a foothold in a vineyard, it can wipe out the grapes in a matter of days. What do you spray to rid yourself of this scourage? Water? I doubt it. More like Rubigan, Systhane, Eagle, Rally........or maybe something even more powerful. I could go on and on.

    And if grapes don't require much spraying, then why are there several agricultural supply companies sprinkled around the county which cater mostly to grape-growers? Somehow, I don't think they'd be in business if they were losing money.

    You say in your post that "there are no redwood trees being removed nor is there any habitat being destroyed." How do you know what's being destroyed? Maybe those two things aren't being "destroyed," but something else -- a community.

    Who can forget the infamous vineyard conversion in the middle of Gravenstein Highway North in the fall of 2010 which resulted in what amounted to a replication of the Oklahoma Dust Bowl? The owners of the property did not even have so much as one water truck on the property initially to quell the dust; yet, the property sits right next to a state highway. Cars were dodging each other; it is a miracle that no one was hurt -- or killed. It is only after complaints were made that a water truck was finally brought in.

    You say that "without the wine industry, Sonoma County would have been bankrupt in 2011."
    Let me take this opportunity to thank you for so effectively pointing out the dangers of what can possibly happen when a county becomes an agricucultural monoculture.

    For the record, I grow my own apples, and my orchard employs several men during harvest time to pick them, and the apples are sold by a long-time apple grower who also sells them on the retail market locally. Yes, I do believe that I am indeed doing my part to promote agricultural diversity in this county -- and I hope to be able to do it for many more years to come. By the way, my two neighbors sell their delicious apples on the retail market as well.

    Finally, I doubt seriously that a "subdivision" would be allowed where the present apple orchard now sits, due to zoning restrictions, water restrictions, etc. But, yes, I will state that in some situations, I would definitely prefer houses over grapes. Take the site of the proposed Best Family Winery at the corner of Highway 116 and Occidental Road. The original zoning allowed two family homes to be built there before the County of Sonoma, in its infinite wisdom, decided to put the land back into agriculture, even though the parcel size did not meet their own legal requirement.

    What are we going to get now instead? A brand-new four-story building PROJECTING STRAIGHT UP IN THE AIR, higher than that spray boom of which you speak could ever hope to reach, along with a boutique vineyard surrounding it.

    Sorry, but that's not exactly what comes to mind when I think of the words "aesthetically pleasing."

    Finally, I hope that the many parents of children who attend Apple Blossom School -- and even the children themselves -- will band together and rally their elected officials to stop this vineyard conversion from occurring next to their school.

    I have always considered schools to be one of the last bastions of comfort and safety for our children.
    Now lets see if our elected officials do, too.
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  11. TopTop #6
    Barry's Avatar
    Barry
    Founder & Moderator

    Re: Apple Blossom School now will be Wine Grape School ??!!!??!!

    Quote sebastacat wrote: View Post
    P.S.: Does anyone know what's going on down at the TLC Child and Family Services building located across the street from Andy's Produce? Last week, several apple trees were removed, and today when I drove by, there was a crane, a bulldozer and a heavy-duty dump truck sitting out in front. Smells like another vineyard to me. Someone PLEASE say it isn't so.....
    It isn't so.

    They are replanting their gravenstein orchard, which had ailing trees. The Dutton family is contributing the work and the trees, and the County is contributing the permit fees with a fee waiver (approved by Efren) on Tuesday.
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  13. TopTop #7
    MamaBird's Avatar
    MamaBird
     

    Re: Apple Blossom School now will be Wine Grape School ??!!!??!!

    As a very concerned parent of one of the schools surrounding this orchard, namely Sunridge, the school directly downhill (runoff) and down wind (perfect line up while the spraying is going on) from there.....we need help organizing!! Our school was just received a grant from Fish and Wildlife to create a natural habitat on the campus for birds, butterflies, fresh water critters, wildlife, etc and we have been working hard recreating it as such and are dedicated to its renewal. This vineyard would be devastating for so many reasons!!! not to mention, do we really need more grapes??? bring on some other organic agriculture that feeds folks good food!

    We have been discussing it and we ABSOLUTELY are against it. Ideally we would like to make a law that only allows organic agriculture practices anywhere near a school in this county....but we will start with this! We know that there are many concerned and involved citizens in this county and we are hoping for advice and assistance on how to organize and fight this effectively!

    Any advice or feedback appreciated
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  15. TopTop #8
    dominus's Avatar
    dominus
     

    Re: Apple Blossom School now will be Wine Grape School ??!!!??!!

    Not all apple trees are sprayed. Taking any number of trees out including redwoods disturbs established eco systems. Wildlife and birds are required to find new breeding territory and food sources as they are displaced. In order for that to happen, they must encroach upon established territory belonging to other wildlife and birds which creates even greater stress. Those vineyards which are fenced, including some with barbed wire, obstruct migration corridors.

    Sprays are used (Napa county alone uses over 2 million tons of insecticides, pesticides, fungicides and herbicides every year.) Run off can occur, depleting top soil and contaminating water ways. Aquifers are at risk of being depleted during serious droughts.

    It's noisy and industrial. It creates jobs but such jobs are exacted at a high price to the land and the life that depends on it for sustenance. Individual land owner's rights shouldn't trump the greater public good in the 21st century. It's an antiquated and short-sighted mantra which doesn't hold up given the grave environmental assault our planet is under. I've heard the argument that in the lifetime of the earth over 90% of the planet's species are extinct. However, human beings are hastening their own extinction with their selfish behavior. When is it enough grapes already??
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  17. TopTop #9
    Dixon's Avatar
    Dixon
    Reptilian Overlord

    Re: Apple Blossom School now will be Wine Grape School ??!!!??!!

    Quote ajay wrote: View Post
    It is the farmerís right to plant whatever the law allows on their land.
    I'd put it a little more strongly: It is the farmers' right to plant whatever they want on their land, regardless of whether the law allows it.

    Having said that, I'll also add that I find wine snobs pathetic. Alcohol, a drug highly prized by those who feel (wrongly) that they weren't born stupid enough and need some chemical stupidity enhancement, is far more destructive than virtually all the illegal drugs. If I could make it disappear from the planet, I would do so without hesitation.
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  19. TopTop #10
    Alexandra's Avatar
    Alexandra
     

    Re: Apple Blossom School now will be Wine Grape School ??!!!??!!

    Hello All,

    We spoke today with Susan from Supervisor Carillo's office. It turns out that a demolition permit was obtained to take down the house/barn. The Vineyard permit has not been finalized yet. We were told that there are concerns being discussed regarding "Drift" of pesticides to the surrounding schools as well as water concerns.

    The schools are starting to collaborate as referenced in Mama Bird's post. The post by Dominus is very appreciated as it simply and clearly states some of the advantages of an orchard over a vineyard. Ideally, this property would be turned into a Wildlife habitat to compliment what is happening immediately across the road at Sunridge.

    This is a unique situation where numerous schools both directly border the property and are also just across the two lane road. I don't know of another area quite like this where so many children are involved.

    Perhaps, to mitigate some of the other negative actions that the Paul Hobbs winery has been responsible for in Sebastopol, he and his company would consider other options. Here is a link to the Press Democrat Article regarding some pending cases that are investigating the winery's actions. This is an issue that deserves research and thoughtful consideration. If children become ill, the price will be far greater for everyone in the long run.

    http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20111013/ARTICLES/111019756

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  21. TopTop #11
    Barry's Avatar
    Barry
    Founder & Moderator

    Re: Apple Blossom School now will be Wine Grape School ??!!!??!!

    Quote Dixon wrote: View Post
    I'd put it a little more strongly: It is the farmers' right to plant whatever they want on their land, regardless of whether the law allows it.

    Having said that, I'll also add that I find wine snobs pathetic. Alcohol, a drug highly prized by those who feel (wrongly) that they weren't born stupid enough and need some chemical stupidity enhancement, is far more destructive than virtually all the illegal drugs. If I could make it disappear from the planet, I would do so without hesitation.
    Hold on... The key issue here is not alcohol, nor monoculture, nor property rights. It's about introducing toxics that can not be contained to the property right next to several schools!

    If the vineyard was legally bound to be farmed with strictly organic (or better yet, biodynamic) methods I don't think there would be the outcry that exists and is certain to grow.
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  23. TopTop #12
    Barry's Avatar
    Barry
    Founder & Moderator

    Re: Apple Blossom School now will be Wine Grape School ??!!!??!!

    I believe the decision makers on this issue is Paul Hobbs Winery and the Sonoma County Agriculture Commission.

    Perhaps it would be helpful if the schools/parents involved start a petition and post a sample letter with the relevant email addresses. Of course you'd be most welcome to post it here including additional information as it becomes available.
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  25. TopTop #13
    Dixon's Avatar
    Dixon
    Reptilian Overlord

    Re: Apple Blossom School now will be Wine Grape School ??!!!??!!

    Quote Barry wrote: View Post
    Hold on... The key issue here is not alcohol, nor monoculture, nor property rights. It's about introducing toxics that can not be contained to the property right next to several schools!
    You're right, Barry. My remarks were triggered by a particular comment in a previous post and were tangential.
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  26. TopTop #14
    Alexandra's Avatar
    Alexandra
     

    Re: Apple Blossom School now will be Wine Grape School ??!!!??!!

    Hi Barry,

    You are correct, this is what we were told by the Supervisor's office- to contact the Winery and the Agriculture Commission. We are drafting a petition and will forward to you ASAP. Thanks!



    Quote Barry wrote: View Post
    I believe the decision makers on this issue is Paul Hobbs Winery and the Sonoma County Agriculture Commission.

    Perhaps it would be helpful if the schools/parents involved start a petition and post a sample letter with the relevant email addresses. Of course you'd be most welcome to post it here including additional information as it becomes available.
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  28. TopTop #15
    dominus's Avatar
    dominus
     

    Re: Apple Blossom School now will be Wine Grape School ??!!!??!!

    The Ag commission has jurisdiction under the current ordinance which the California legislature enacted. This ordinance is the equivalent of an Environmental Impact Report. It lays out guidelines which grape growers must adhere to over the course of five years in developing a vineyard. CAL Fire, Fish and Wildlife, Sonoma County Regional Water Control, and Air Quality defer to the Ag Commission. The PRMD (Permit Resource Management Department) oversees the administration of development permits. If a parcel is zoned Ag and was grandfathered in before the ordinance, then it's agriculture designated, though the same guidelines will apply.

    California has some of the most stringent guidelines for "pesticide drift" in the country which is a small comfort. Children are particularly vulnerable to chemical exposure. If Paul Hobbs was concerned about placing children at risk, he wouldn't be pursuing this project. An organized consortium of parents might find more receptivity dealing directly with the Ag commission.
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  30. TopTop #16
    sebastacat's Avatar
    sebastacat
     

    Re: Apple Blossom School now will be Wine Grape School ??!!!??!!

    I went out to Watertrough Road this evening and visited the site in question.
    As a result of this visit, I have a new list of concerns:

    1. The subject existing apple orchard is MUCH LARGER than I had originally thought and is located next door to THREE schools and across the street from one other. Additionally, the properties are in much closer proximity to each other than I had imagined. Consequently, I believe that there are no mitigation measures which can be taken to stop the drift of pesticidal and fungicidal spray to all affected properties.

    2. When the vineyard conversion is underway, i.e., trees removal in progress, topsoil excavated, gypsum and other soil amendments applied and mechanically cultivated into the soil matrix, the dust will be unbearable. Since the four schools in question and several miscellaneous residences located directly across the street are in direct proximity to the subject property, escaping this "dust bowl" will be impossible, and the dust will be unbearable. I know, as I speak from firsthand experience. Those of you with asthmatic conditions will need to wear masks or relocate temporarily -- but at whose expense?

    Those of you with swimming pools can look forward to clogged filters and ruined pumps, which will cost you several hundred dollars -- if not more -- to fix, assuming they are fixable, and again, at whose expense?

    And let's not forget the brown dust which will attach itself to every exterior inanimate object in its path and will inexplicably find its way into every nook and cranny of every building within a several-mile perimeter.

    3. I have not seen any of our posters mention this one very important concern: TRAFFIC! And I don't mean conventional passenger-car traffic; I mean semi-truck traffic.

    This will start in the early spring, when large tanker-trucks will begin delivering tankfuls of liquid chemical fertilizer to be deposited into the fertilizer-injection system to make those gravevines grow vigorously and produce copiously. And unfortunately, it will continue into the summer months as well.

    In the fall, we can look forward to several hundred ADDITIONAL semi-truck trips per day when the grapes ripen and the harvest is underway. The grape-growers and wineries have admitted many times in the media that harvest time occurs at a frenetic pace.

    When these trucks are filled to capacity, they, like their fertilizer-carrying counterparts, will weigh several thousand pounds -- if not tons -- making them dangerously heavy. I shudder to think what would happen if a child were to step accidentally in front of one of these trucks. There will be NO WAY for the poor driver to stop in time.

    4. Immediately after harvest, several vineyards in Sonoma County apply gypsum (calcium sulphate) to
    their soil. The purpose is two-fold: to leach excess fertilizer salts out of the root zone of the grapes and to add calcium to the soil for better production the following season. They count on the fall and winter rains to leach it into the soil matrix.

    This, of course, will mean even MORE truck trips on an already narrow road AND, unfortunately, more dust!

    I feel that it is both arrogant and audacious for anyone to even consider siting a vineyard right next to a school, let alone next to FOUR schools. Since the health, education, mental and physical well-being of the students will be impacted negatively by this extremely misguided project, I feel that it should be denied outright on its face.

    And if our elected officials and hired staff over at the County of Sonoma care one wit about these children and their teachers and staff, they will voice loudly their dissatisfaction and do whatever they can in their power to see that the person proposing this project is discouraged from seeing it through to fruition and encouraged strongly and unmistakably to abandon it -- once and for all.
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  32. TopTop #17
    Dorothy Friberg's Avatar
    Dorothy Friberg
     

    Re: Apple Blossom School now will be Wine Grape School ??!!!??!!

    Save the Gravensteins!!! Dorothy Friberg

    Quote ajay wrote: View Post
    I am having a difficult time understanding why this is even an issue at all. Apples require far more chemicals than grapes.
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  34. TopTop #18
    rekarp's Avatar
    rekarp
     

    Re: Apple Blossom School now will be Wine Grape School ??!!!??!!

    Here is a summary of pesticide usage in Sonoma County. A bit outdated but still informative: http://www.alternatives2toxics.org/p...e_rpt%2797.pdf

    Also, the TOP 50 chemicals used on grapes in California in 2009:
    http://www.pesticideinfo.org/DS.jsp?sk=29143

    Quote ajay wrote: View Post
    I am having a difficult time understanding why this is even an issue at all. Apples require far more chemicals than grapes.
    Last edited by Barry; 04-24-2013 at 12:03 PM.
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  36. TopTop #19
    Kalia's Avatar
    Kalia
     

    Re: Apple Blossom School now will be Wine Grape School ??!!!??!!

    Quote sebastacat wrote: View Post
    I went out to Watertrough Road this evening and visited the site in question.
    As a result of this visit, I have a new list of concerns:

    3. I have not seen any of our posters mention this one very important concern: TRAFFIC! And I don't mean conventional passenger-car traffic; I mean semi-truck traffic.
    Well what _about_ that passenger-car traffic? As someone who often needs to use Water Trough Road during the hours when school lets out, it's evident that the parents don't have much concern about massive amounts of traffic since they pile up in both directions making it impossible to get by. If you want to talk about traffic mitigation, I'd much rather see all that energy going toward a way to make the TWICE DAILY pile-up less of a hassle rather than worrying about trucks a few times a month. How about a nice little electric shuttle to take the kids to an area where the parents' cars don't block traffic? How about more carpooling?

    That being said, I agree that having a spray-intensive operation in the middle of a cluster of schools is a non-starter, and I hope the schools and the vineyard land owners can work out an agreement.

    Kalia
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  38. TopTop #20
    podfish's Avatar
    podfish
     

    Re: Apple Blossom School now will be Wine Grape School ??!!!??!!

    Quote Dixon wrote: View Post
    IAlcohol, a drug highly prized by those who feel (wrongly) that they weren't born stupid enough and need some chemical stupidity enhancement, is far more destructive than virtually all the illegal drugs. If I could make it disappear from the planet, I would do so without hesitation.
    Few people are truly born stupid enough, despite appearances. And if you restrict yourself to satisfying only your needs, stupidity won't limit your horizons much anyway.
    I don't aspire to live in a world where all is sweetness, safety and positivity. Probably just as well given the available choices of worlds, too.
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  39. TopTop #21
    Alexandra's Avatar
    Alexandra
     

    Re: Apple Blossom School now will be Wine Grape School ??!!!??!!

    Dear Community,

    There is a solid alliance that is coming together extremely rapidly to address the situation of the pending Vineyard conversion adjacent to the 6 schools in the Atascadero Watershed. Support is growing exponentially, literally every few hours to address this situation. Please stay posted- we will be forwarding in the next few days, a more detailed update and information for those that want to join us. We will need everyone's participation.

    Thanks so much.
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  41. TopTop #22
    estrella3210's Avatar
    estrella3210
     

    Re: Apple Blossom School now will be Wine Grape School ??!!!??!!

    I am a parent of a preschooler at Tree House Hollow Preschool (a non-proffit nursery school on the Apple Blossom campus). I will make sure the parents at this school are informed and updated about the movement. Many of us are terribly concerned and I for one at the very least am willing to help get petitions signed so our children can have a voice.

    Are there any petitions being drafted or already available for us to sign?

    Please make it clear, via this tread, who to contact and how I can help so I can do something instead of just talking... (I'll call the Ag Commissioner tomorrow).
    Thanks
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  42. TopTop #23
    Beenie Weenie
     

    Re: Apple Blossom School now will be Wine Grape School ??!!!??!!

    Do you know the history of the property that the school sits on? You might be surprised to find that an orchard was there BEFORE the school was. When you build a school (or house) in an agricultural area you will be subject to agricultural activities. If you buy a house next to an airport do you demand that the airport be closed? Of course not. Reasonable people would know that there will be noise etc. Reasonable people would work with the airport to implement curfews and noise abatement procedures etc. Have you ever considered discussing your concerns with the owner of the orchard?

    You don't seem to donít give a damn about the owners. You seem to be just fine with destroying their lives. Do you really expect the them to do nothing with their land just because you feel that it isnít being used for its highest best use? Well I strongly believe that your house is not the highest best use for your land so please remove it and plant an apple orchard.

    Am I correct in assuming that in addition to being concerned about the environmental health of your local community you also care about the health of the planet? Do you have a cell phone, computer, solar panel, automobile, refrigerator, fluorescent light, wind powered generator, etc.? Your use of these is hastening the earthís demise. Cellphones etc., contain rare earth metals. Use of rare earth metals, means more environmental degradation and human health hazards. Moreover, the refinement process for rare earth metals uses toxic acids and results in polluted wastewater. Of course since the wastewater isnít being disposed of next to your childís school, it doesnít seem to matter much to you. The use of rare earth minerals creates a far greater environmental problem than removing an old orchard and replacing it with a vineyard.

    It is absolutely imperative to protect our local environment. But, the way you are going about this is not the only way. The harder you push to completely stop this project, the harder the agricultural community (which is obviously the majority of the community in an area zoned for agriculture) will push back. This is a complex issue that requires thoughtful solutions. How about opening a dialogue with the landowner? I'm certain that common ground and a solution can be found. Not everyone will be happy with the solution but there is certainly a best possible outcome to be achieved.
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  44. TopTop #24
    sebastacat's Avatar
    sebastacat
     

    Re: Apple Blossom School now will be Wine Grape School ??!!!??!!

    I am a member of the "agricultural community" of which you speak. However, since I grow apples and not grapes, maybe my opinion doesn't matter to you. Pardon me, I must have forgotten my place.

    You ramble on and on and on about the extraction of metals from the earth and the resulting potential pollution of wastewater and its disposal. Important? Sure it is.

    Are Energy-efficient appliances important? Sure are. In fact, I have some. I'm sure several others over in the west county do, too.

    But are those things MORE important than spraying toxic chemicals right next door to hundreds of students? No, they are not. And I feel that you are bringing them up to shift the blame to others.
    Sorry, but that won't work.

    And what will happen when and if that toxic-of-all-toxics, methyl bromide, which is the fumigant of choice of many vineyard developers, is used to fumigate the soil RIGHT NEXT DOOR to these six schools? Do you give a "damn" that those students, teachers and staff will be breathing this noxious air-borne garbage? Do YOU give a "damn" about the children's health and lives, or do just give a "damn" about the seller's life and the buyer's bottom line? Tell me where you really stand.

    And what about the copious amounts of chemical fertilizers which are injected into the irrigation systems of vineyards? Since that soil up there is sandy loam, it will have no trouble leaching into the groundwater and into people's wells. QUESTION: Are the schools dependent on well water as their water source? If they are, hundreds of people are going to be impacted by this. Is the water going to be tested? And, if it is found that fertilizer has indeed made its way into the water supply, who is going to be responsible?
    Do you think that this is acceptable? Again, tell me where you really stand.

    As someone who has had to endure life during a vineyard conversion, I can tell you that it is a horrible thing to endure, and I don't wish it on anyone -- especially if those nasty ol' winds decide to come up when all of that pulverized topsoil is sitting on top of the ground, just waiting to be blown into people's homes -- and inhaled into their lungs. I have suffered from asthma all of my life, and I don't wish that on anybody. Do you? Again, tell me where you really stand.

    And, to put it bluntly, no grapevine, no bottle of wine and no one's bottom line is more important than the health of the citizens this county. Do you think it is? Again, tell me where you really stand.

    If the owner gave "a damn," they wouldn't even have considered selling this piece of land to a potential vineyard owner in the first place. They would have instead sold it to someone whose plans were far more compatible with the six schools which operate next door. And the potential buyer of said property would have assessed the situation, seen that there are several schools located next door (with children), come to the conclusion that this was not the "best use" of the land, and proceeded to find another piece of property to site and develop his vineyard.

    It's called being a good neighbor.

    But perhaps that's just wishful thinking. Maybe I'm just old fashioned; maybe that's just a thing of the past.
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  46. TopTop #25
    Beenie Weenie
     

    Re: Apple Blossom School now will be Wine Grape School ??!!!??!!

    Ah Sebastacat, you are propagating half-truths here. Methyl Bromide was phased out in 2005. MeBr is still allowed to be used in very specific, highly regulated situations. In fact, MeBr is rarely used in Sonoma County any longer. Hereís a link to the EPA site: http://www.epa.gov/ozone/mbr/

    Liquid fertilizer is very expensive hence a majority of grape growers care for their soil by utilizing cover crops that are tilled into the soil in the spring. Have you noticed that most vineyards nowadays leave half of the rows between vines untilled? This helps to encourage beneficial insects etc. and replenish nitrogen etc. Most fertilizers are applied dry at the base of each vine as needed. As a farmer you must know that excess vigor is the enemy of a grape vine so too much fertilizer is a bad thing.

    How many acres of apples do you farm? 30, 40, 50? I respect your choice to farm whatever you like but I wonder if you are actually making a living off of your farming.

    I can see by all of your posts that you have an irrational hatred of wine grape growers so I won't waste my time attempting to set the record straight on the many false things (like the use of MeBr) that you have posted. Iíll give you the last word. My only hope is that others on this thread will see the logic in working with the owners of the property rather than against them.
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  48. TopTop #26
    Barry's Avatar
    Barry
    Founder & Moderator

    Re: Apple Blossom School now will be Wine Grape School ??!!!??!!

    Quote Beenie Weenie wrote: View Post
    ... My only hope is that others on this thread will see the logic in working with the owners of the property rather than against them.
    I'm also thinking that working with the owner (does Paul Hobbs Winery own the land or are they just leasing it?) to get a legal agreement to have the vineyard be certified organic. That won't address all problems (dust etc.) but it seems to me to be a what's required to be a "good neighbor".

    Can someone working on this issue chime in about this?
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  49. TopTop #27
    Pace's Avatar
    Pace
     

    Re: Apple Blossom School now will be Wine Grape School ??!!!??!!

    You people act as though a nuclear power plant was going to be installed next to the schools, talk about over reacting! After reading this thread it is pretty obvious that none of people here who are so vehemently against farmers converting apple orchards to vineyards are interested in addressing the issue of who will subsidize the farmers so that they CAN keep their orchards and still pay the bills? No one has offered to pay that farmer's bills for him or her have they?

    Schools or no schools bills must be paid. So Sebastocat will you pay the farmer to keep his or her orchard? As indicated by your comments below in bold italic, you seem to feel very strongly that this person, whoever they are, is not a good neighbor but you don't really know his or her circumstances so how can you judge? How do you know the owner SOLD his or her land? Maybe he or she just leased it so that they wouldn't have to sell it and grapes were the only crop that would pay the bills?

    "If the owner gave "a damn," they wouldn't even have considered selling this piece of land to a potential vineyard owner in the first place. They would have instead sold it to someone whose plans were far more compatible with the six schools which operate next door. And the potential buyer of said property would have assessed the situation, seen that there are several schools located next door (with children), come to the conclusion that this was not the "best use" of the land, and proceeded to find another piece of property to site and develop his vineyard."
    Last edited by Barry; 04-25-2013 at 12:43 PM.
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  50. TopTop #28
    dominus's Avatar
    dominus
     

    Re: Apple Blossom School now will be Wine Grape School ??!!!??!!

    "Schools or no schools bills must be paid."

    True. There is a strong, growing consensus about the danger that pesticides pose to children's health. What do you propose is a solution?
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  52. TopTop #29
    sebastacat's Avatar
    sebastacat
     

    Re: Apple Blossom School now will be Wine Grape School ??!!!??!!

    Beenie Weenie....You're just a teenie-weenie bit mistaken.

    The fertilizer culprit to which I refer is NOT NITROGEN, which makes things grow. It is PHOSPHATE FERTILIZER, which promotes strong roots and makes things PRODUCE. As I'm sure you know, phosphates making their way into groundwater and waterways is an extremely serious issue. Since this proposed project is located in close proximity to Atascadero Creek and across the street from rural residences AND next door to several schools and across the street from one other, this should be a MAJOR concern to all affected parcels which have their own water well.

    Also, by your own admission, methyl bromide is still allowed in some situations. How do we know it won't be used here? Again, I ask: What assurances do those affected by this proposed project have? Scout's honor?

    But more importantly, you failed to answer even one of my many questions posed. Your silence is deafening, and I will let that speak for itself.

    Finally, it is you who is spreading half-truths. I do not have an "irrational hatred" of vineyards, as you wrote in your previous post. In fact, I know several vineyard owners whom I know and respect.

    However, that being said, I will not hesitate to take them to task when I feel that they are displaying a blatant disregard for the surrounding environment and -- perhaps even more importantly -- their neighbors.

    F.Y.I.: Both sides of my family were involved and engaged in agricultural pursuits, i.e., vegetable-growing, dairy farming, and, yes, wine-making back in the day, but to a much lesser extent than the former pursuits listed. And, yes, they were good neighbors.

    And I'll do you one better: I'll go out on a limb and say they if my grandparents were still here, they, being strong believers in the concept of community, would be APPALLED at the lack of concern for these people.

    And that's no half-truth.
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  54. TopTop #30
    Pace's Avatar
    Pace
     

    Re: Apple Blossom School now will be Wine Grape School ??!!!??!!

    In a perfect world I would propose that all farming be organic. Unfortunately in this imperfect world where the ecosystem is already unbalanced, organic farming is not economically feasible for a lot of farmers. It boils down to cost of farming and crop yield.

    Just as people moving to the big cities know that their children will be breathing in smog and other city based pollutants , people who put their children in schools next to apple orchards also must have realized that apples get sprayed as well. For some reason people are up in arms about grapes but apples are okay.

    What farmer can afford to keep a large apple orchard going when they can't sell their fruit for enough money to even offset the cost of it's care? What would YOU do if it were YOUR land? Unless you can afford to take a loss every year you might just do the same thing these farmers are doing. Targeting farmers who are just trying to make a living without offering another way for them to make ends meet is just plain wrong. If you want to make a big deal out of a vineyard replacing an existing apple orchard then I say that you should all be prepared to subsidize this farmer so that he or she can farm organically.

    Quote dominus wrote: View Post
    "Schools or no schools bills must be paid."

    True. There is a strong, growing consensus about the danger that pesticides pose to children's health. What do you propose is a solution?
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  56. TopTop #31
    Peace Voyager's Avatar
    Peace Voyager
     

    Re: Apple Blossom School now will be Wine Grape School ??!!!??!!


    I have taken Colleen up on her offer below and split off her extensive initial list (along with some commentary...) to a new thread called Wacco Heroes and Zeroes

    As Colleen asks: "will you add to it too?"

    I imagine I will... How about you?

    Play fair...

    Barry


    Save all the dry-farmed, organic Gravensteins,

    & the children!


    ....
    I am pleased to help make lists of heroes and zeros; will you add to it too?
    ...
    Last edited by Barry; 04-25-2013 at 12:44 PM.
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  58. TopTop #32
    Peace Voyager's Avatar
    Peace Voyager
     

    Re: Apple Blossom School now will be Wine Grape School ??!!!??!!

    So you just joined Wacco on 4/24/13 Jay; what's your dog in the race? Are you an apple farmer planning to convert to wine grapes?

    Quote Pace wrote: View Post
    In a perfect world I would propose that all farming be organic. Unfortunately in this imperfect world where the ecosystem is already unbalanced, organic farming is not economically feasible for a lot of farmers. It boils down to cost of farming and crop yield. Just as people moving to the big cities know that their children will be breathing in smog and other city based pollutants , people who put their children in schools next to apple orchards also must have realized that apples get sprayed as well. For some reason people are up in arms about grapes but apples are okay. What farmer can afford to keep a large apple orchard going when they can't sell their fruit for enough money to even offset the cost of it's care? What would YOU do if it were YOUR land? Unless you can afford to take a loss every year you might just do the same thing these farmers are doing. Targeting farmers who are just trying to make a living without offering another way for them to make ends meet is just plain wrong. If you want to make a big deal out of a vineyard replacing an existing apple orchard then I say that you should all be prepared to subsidize this farmer so that he or she can farm organically.
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  60. TopTop #33
    eeeeeeow's Avatar
    eeeeeeow
     

    Re: Apple Blossom School now will be Wine Grape School ??!!!??!!

    There should be a moratorium on new vineyard projects for the next five years at least to understand what this conversion to a monoculture will have on our county and the habitat that lies within.

    Just yesterday I heard the sounds of chainsaws and looked down my drive to see that the orchard across the street has been completely destroyed. The apple trees that greeted me every morning were gone. Personally, my family's quality of life took a punch in the stomach. My kids cried on their way to school this morning because of it.

    As a community, we seem to ignore the possible affect losing these orchards and habitats will have on us.

    There are people and conglomerates out there with loads of cash that can snap up parcel after parcel to benefit their private concerns, not the community at large, let alone the environment. We need to look at this long and hard, but meanwhile, we need to stop planting vineyards. There is a bigger picture, folks. To ignore it is immoral.
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  62. TopTop #34
    Peace Voyager's Avatar
    Peace Voyager
     

    Re: Apple Blossom School now will be Wine Grape School ??!!!??!!

    Quote Beenie Weenie wrote: View Post
    Not everyone will be happy with the solution but there is certainly a best possible outcome to be achieved.
    This "best" outcome is subjective, and will be based on 2 things, the loudest, most numerous voices; or the ones with the most money to buy favors, campaigns, and legal expenses.

    Since you just joined us as well; what is your stake in it? Let's try the direct approach.

    We know the Press Democrat is invested in lurkers to report and comment on Wacco threads like this.

    Who's pocket are you in; & who is in yours?
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  64. TopTop #35
    Kalia's Avatar
    Kalia
     

    Re: Apple Blossom School now will be Wine Grape School ??!!!??!!

    Quote Peace Voyager wrote: View Post
    We know the Press Democrat in invested in lurkers to report and comment on Wacco threads like this.
    And how do we know that, exactly? What's your source? Barry, can you corroborate? Have you busted paid lurkers?

    And since PeaceVoyager will ask, I don't have a dog in this fight. I live near Water Trough Road but don't have kids in any of the affected schools and don't own ag property.

    Kalia
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  66. TopTop #36
    Peace Voyager's Avatar
    Peace Voyager
     

    Re: Apple Blossom School now will be Wine Grape School ??!!!??!!

    Quote sebastacat wrote: View Post
    Who can forget the infamous vineyard conversion in the middle of Gravenstein Highway North in the fall of 2010 which resulted in what amounted to a replication of the Oklahoma Dust Bowl? The owners of the property did not even have so much as one water truck on the property initially to quell the dust; yet, the property sits right next to a state highway. Cars were dodging each other; it is a miracle that no one was hurt -- or killed. It is only after complaints were made that a water truck was finally brought in.
    Thanks for pointing out -

    WHAT WENT WRONG

    in Sonoma County Agriculture, when it went from an industry, to a trophy investment for the 1% and 1% wannabe's.

    WHAT WE NEED:

    Sustainable land and water use; not fat cat vineyard owners, investors & lobbyist who buy off judges, ignore permits and environmental regulations; as well as not honoring right-of-way agreements promising no taking of trees. (This is what Hobbs did on the Hwy. 116 property across from Harmony Farms).

    This is what happened and why I and others spoke up:

    Sonoma County freezes hillside vineyard conversions

    http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article...39916/0/SEARCH

    WHAT WE MUST BOYCOTT: ALL CHAINSAW WINE

    Meet Paul Hobbs 2.0

    http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article...71003/0/search

    A buying spree for vineyards, wineries


    http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article...41010/0/search

    Tree clear-cut sparks vineyard conversion furor


    http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article...19756/0/SEARCH

    Just remember that before throwing them under the bus in this article, Efren Carrillo was hosting campaign fundraisers at the Hobbs winery; which clear-cut property in his district without proper permits - at least 3 times under Carillo's nose. He was alerted to Hobb's illegal taking of Jenkel's property long BEFORE it happened and was clear-cut. Carillo did nothing to prevent it, and nothing since to restore justice to Jenkel, or the community & scenic highway visitors.

    Also, it's key to remember that the new owners of the Press Democrat, are long-time influencers of it; Doug Bosco & Darius Anderson are Big Wine Ag advocates, as well as, are Lobbyists for PG&E and Station Casinos.

    Do you honestly think any news which would hurt their clients', friends', spouses', lovers' and advertisers' interests would not be put through a serious spin cycle first?

    Just look at how Bosco helped Efren spin out of assault right before he bought the paper:

    Where was Carrillo yesterday? On a photo op for Crime Victims' Awareness, "walk a mile in their shoes".

    Ask Efren Carillo what it might be like to walk in the shoes of the victim he put in the ER in San Diego with a single first-strike blow.

    How convenient to have the resources of politically connected friends like Doug Bosco which enabled Efren to extra special treatment:

    Facing felony charges, still bail is set at $10,000, rather than the usual $60,000 AND he's allowed to leave the country for Russia! Then when the person Bosco tasked to use his relationship with San Diego law enforcement to obstruct justice and influence the charges getting dropped, look what happens to local law enforcement when they become informed Ė nothing! The organized crime of the lobbyists for Station Casinos, PG& E & chainsaw wine have all bases covered for their political pawns' crimes and bad behaviour.

    Or do they???

    It's up to you to demand justice. This won't fix itself; and what is lost if you remain silent is irreplaceable. This is not simply about swapping apples with grapes. It's about money, power, corrupt media & politicians shaping and spoiling our air, water and land use safegaurds.

    Have you had enough?




    So who gets to write
    the next chapter,
    the 1%,
    or the majority of us?
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  68. TopTop #37
    Peace Voyager's Avatar
    Peace Voyager
     

    Re: Apple Blossom School now will be Wine Grape School ??!!!??!!

    Former Press Democrat reporter Bleys Rose confirmed the PD's use of lurkers on Wacco to me personally. I do not know if they are paid for this as part of their job, or supplement to their retirement, or do it unpaid to protect their interests, investments, reputation, etc.

    You may know of PG&E recently getting a big fine from the State for infiltrating the EMF Safety Network under false premises. This is why I continue to make the Bosco connection beyond the wine grape monopoly to the other risks to our well being in Sonoma County and beyond.

    Quote Kalia wrote: View Post
    Peace Voyager wrote:
    We know the Press Democrat is invested in lurkers to report and comment on Wacco threads like this.

    And how do we know that, exactly? What's your source? Barry, can you corroborate? Have you busted paid lurkers?
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  70. TopTop #38
    Barry's Avatar
    Barry
    Founder & Moderator

    Re: Apple Blossom School now will be Wine Grape School ??!!!??!!

    Quote Kalia wrote: View Post
    And how do we know that, exactly? What's your source? Barry, can you corroborate? Have you busted paid lurkers?
    I cannot corroborate that. I'm proud to count at least 1 former PD reporter, Bleys Rose, among our contributing members, but I am not aware of any other formal contacts.

    However, the PD recently slapped my hand for re-posting their article on the Preservation Ranch deal and asked me to refrain from re-posting their articles in the future. That was after I had done so, selectively, many times, with full attribution, of course. So there seems to be some awareness of what's going on here.

    We do seem attract new members that jump in to controversial issues from time to time. I have nothing to suggest that they are paid by the PD or anybody else, though they often post on the side of monied interests. So long as they are respectful, thoughtful and on topic, they are welcome.
    Last edited by Barry; 04-25-2013 at 12:52 PM.
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  72. TopTop #39
    dominus's Avatar
    dominus
     

    Re: Apple Blossom School now will be Wine Grape School ??!!!??!!

    It doesn't always work out. Sometimes people lose money and sometimes children matter more than someone paying the bills.
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  74. TopTop #40
    rossmen
     

    Re: Apple Blossom School now will be Wine Grape School ??!!!??!!

    who is beenie anyway? no info on the profile... sounds like a hobbs attack dog to me. hobbs doesn't play fair, including online. i know from experience. ignore the weenie unless they man up to name their connections to the land and people of sonoma county!

    Quote Beenie Weenie wrote: View Post
    Ah Sebastacat, you are propagating half-truths here.
    Last edited by Barry; 04-25-2013 at 12:53 PM.
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  76. TopTop #41
    Barry's Avatar
    Barry
    Founder & Moderator

    Re: Apple Blossom School now will be Wine Grape School ??!!!??!!

    Quote rossmen wrote: View Post
    who is beenie anyway? no info on the profile... !
    Care to introduce yourself, William? To repeat a couple of the optional profile questions:

    "How did you hear about WaccoBB.net?"
    "What do you do to earn some bucks?"

    And additionally, why are you so interested in this matter?
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  78. TopTop #42
    Barry's Avatar
    Barry
    Founder & Moderator

    Re: Apple Blossom School now will be Wine Grape School ??!!!??!!

    Quote Barry wrote: View Post
    Care to introduce yourself, William? To repeat a couple of the optional profile questions:

    "How did you hear about WaccoBB.net?"
    "What do you do to earn some bucks?"

    And additionally, why are you so interested in this matter?
    To add to this, would you care to expound further on your previous comment?

    Quote Beenie Weenie wrote: View Post
    Not everyone will be happy with the solution but there is certainly a best possible outcome to be achieved.
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  80. TopTop #43
    Alexandra's Avatar
    Alexandra
     

    Re: Apple Blossom School now will be Wine Grape School ??!!!??!!

    Dear WACCO Members & Readers,

    It is an awesome and amazing testament to our community when we mark how far we have come in just 3 days since we have started to organize to address the proposed Vineyard Conversion on Watertrough Road. The beginning of our alliance includes children, parents, teachers, administrators, and many others. We have been in contact with the AG Board, the PRMD, the Vintner, Legal Counsel and the School Boards and Administrations. Meetings are planned for next week. Please join us in this effort. We invite your expertise, experience and partnership. There is a petition to sign which is just the first step in our scope.

    There are a lot of issues that this touches on and certainly quite a bit of passion. To focus things to the main concern, it seems that it would be difficult to find a more troublesome situation where 3 schools literally touch the property in question and 2 are just across a small 2 lane road and 1 further up the road. We are not sure another cluster of schools so close to each other exists. It is a perfect storm with the combined number of mostly young children from the adjacent schools numbering close to or over 1000 mixed with a proposed 40 acre Vineyard. The shared boundary stretches up the road that borders the 3 schools and wraps around the back of these schools. There is ALOT of exposure. Despite the Right To Farm Provision, Private Property Rights and Agricultural Zoning, it is illegal for pesticides to "Drift". There are strict and specific California laws that address this and override everything else. It has been brought to our attention, over and over during the past couple of days, the great and likely potential for harm to these young, developing and vulnerable children and their stewards and the accompanying liability.

    We look forward to hearing from you and receiving your assistance in this urgent and far reaching matter.

    Last edited by Barry; 04-25-2013 at 12:10 PM.
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  82. TopTop #44
    sebastacat's Avatar
    sebastacat
     

    Re: Apple Blossom School now will be Wine Grape School ??!!!??!!

    Mr. Beenie Weenie......your credibility is rapidly becoming eeenie weenie.

    I drove down the Gravenstein Highway Strip this evening and saw THREE (3) vineyards in an approximately two-mile distance that had either cultivated the ground or mowed/sprayed all of the vegetation between the rows of grapes. I found one vineyard that seemed to leave some sort of vegetation between approximately every third or fourth row of the vines, and the vegetation that was left was mowed extremely short.

    So why, then, did you make it a point in your inaugural post to tell us that most vineyards in Sonoma County do not mow between the rows of vines when the opposite appears to be true?

    I guess it doesn't really matter, but I feel that the people on this board deserve something better than to be mislead, deceived and fed half-truths by the bushel.

    Perhaps a good place to start would be with the truth.
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  84. TopTop #45
    Shepherd's Avatar
    Shepherd
    Supporting member

    Re: Apple Blossom School now will be Wine Grape School ??!!!??!!

    Apples do not "require far more chemicals than grapes," as alleged below. I have farmed apples for 20 years near Apple Blossom school and never used chemicals. Perhaps the writer of these words has still not heard of organic, artisan or holistic farming.

    This is the way it used to be, before the chemicals used to make war during World War II were transformed into pesticides and fertilizers. They were then ignited in l995 at the Federal Building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people. This month they ignited near San Antonio, Texas, at the West Fertilizer Co., killing more than a dozen people and injuring nearly 200. Get the message--chemical farming is hazardous, not only to pests, but to humans.

    The bloated alcohol industry in Sonoma County is a threat to our economy and health. There are certainly many wonderful organic grape growers here. One problem is the boom and bust nature of this industry. Another is that this mono-crop has made Sonoma County vulnerable to a pest that could wipe out grapes.

    Another problem is that ag land has become too expensive for most people to buy land to grow food, as I was able to 20 years ago. The grape industry is far too powerful in this county and draws some "bad apples," like Paul Hobbs, who do mean things to people, as well as to the land.

    I will stand with the parents and families at Apple Blossom and Sun Ridge schools when the day comes that we need to back off the immoderate use of ag. lands for the grape industry.


    Quote ajay wrote: View Post
    I am having a difficult time understanding why this is even an issue at all. Apples require far more chemicals than grapes. Even organic sprays drift and can cause respiratory irritation. Grapes rarely require any application of insecticides while apples regularly require fungicides and insecticides. Spraying of apples requires spray rigs that force the chemicals high into the treetops which increases the potential for drift.

    Folks like you are usually long on complaints but very short on viable alternatives.
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  86. TopTop #46
    Beenie Weenie
     

    Re: Apple Blossom School now will be Wine Grape School ??!!!??!!

    I want to apologize for not replying to you Sebastacat . Ii was working until very late last night and did not have the time or energy to post a thoughtful reply.

    Who am I? I am an accidental grape grower.

    Several years ago, a large apple orchard adjacent to my property was put up for sale. Many large, well known wineries descended on the property and in a short time there were several offers to purchase it. I knew that if I didnít buy the property I would be living next to a vineyard that I would have absolutely no control of. I shared all of the concerns that you folks have today. My only option was to purchase the land. In addition to spending every cent I had, I borrowed money from my family and the bank. I over-leveraged myself and my family but I managed to purchase the property. I knew absolutely nothing about farming. After the excitement wore off I had to figure out how to pay back my family and the bank. I attempted to organically rejuvenate the ancient orchard (which required that I spend more money that I didnít have).

    When my first meager crop was ready for harvest there were no buyers for my apples. Oh I could sell a half ton here or a half ton there but the cost of picking would have put me under. There was no way that I could farm the orchard profitably. I was now nearly bankrupt.

    My options were few.

    1. I could sell the land to a large winery which would mean that I would lose control of the land forever and be at the mercy of the new owners.

    2. I could declare bankruptcy and still lose the land and my home as well as destroy my credit.

    3. I could lease a portion of the land to a winery and plant my own grapes on the remaining portion of the land for myself.

    Which option would you have chosen?

    I chose option 3.

    As soon as I began removing the trees the neighbors started doing exactly what you are doing now. Here I was trying to do the right thing and I was being harassed on an almost daily basis.

    I do not irrigate my grapes. I farm as sustainably as I can and use a minimal amount of chemicals only when absolutely necessary. I am a good steward of the land. I want this land to be a healthy, thriving ecosystem forever. If grapes go out of favor, I will happily plant tomatoes if tomatoes will help me keep the land. I believe that owning land doesnít give you the right to abuse it; it gives you the privilege to live on it and take care of it. Even though I do not irrigate my grapes people still accuse me of being responsible for their water problems!

    Installing a vineyard is extremely expensive. It takes on average over 10 years to break even. If the weather is fickle (as it has been) it can take even longer. No one who plants a vineyard is going to make a quick buck.

    Is installing a vineyard messy? Yes. But it is temporary mess. Can all of the nuisance vectors be completely mitigated? No. Can most of them be mitigated to some extent? Yes. Once the installation is complete a vineyard becomes a very peaceful place. From harvest in September to bud break in April there is almost nothing going on in the vineyard at all. After harvest, the cover crop is tilled in and then when the vines are dormant they are pruned and the canes tied.

    In the growing season, If the vineyard is farmed organically it will have to be sprayed more frequently than if it were sprayed with conventional fungicides. Spraying more frequently requires more early morning sprays and more fuel being burned by the tractors. Most conventional fungicides are extremely expensive and some require an application rate of as little as 2 ounces per acre. No grower is going to apply even one drop more chemical than is needed.

    Spraying is highly regulated. Every time a vineyard is sprayed (conventionally or organically) a detailed report must be filed with the Agricultural Commissionerís office. Growers must be licensed to purchase chemicals and their permit must be renewed annually. All workers must be trained and the chemicals (organic and conventional) stored in a well-marked secure area.

    I am not alone in my feeling of respect for the land. I know many growers, large and small who are in this for the long haul and would not intentionally do anything to hurt their land. Most if not all growers would be very happy to sit down with their neighbors to explain just exactly what they are planning to do in the vineyard. All you have to do is ask them.

    Many of the growers in this area have been farming here for generations. They have a deep respect for the land and they are trying to make an honest living.

    Sebastacat, I stand by my statement of alternating rows of cover crop. I also stand by my statement of Methyl Bromide hardly ever being used anymore. Your quick trip down Hwy 116 looking at the vineyard rows is not an accurate way to assess how cover crops are managed in Sonoma County. Some of the vineyards on Hwy 116 are very new. The roots of young vines are not established so they are unable to compete with a cover crop. This is why every row of the vineyards you site are spaded or disked. Once the roots have gained a foothold, the rows can be mowed instead of disced or spaded. I didnít say that all vineyards mow alternate rows. Some growers disc every row, some disc every other row and some donít disc at all and simply mow between rows. Can the way vineyards be farmed be improved? Absolutely. Are some growers more environmentally conscious than others? Yes.

    The wine grown in this area is certainly not the drug of choice for alcoholics. It is far too expensive to for most people to drink on a daily basis.

    I have received many emails and letters from customers thanking me for producing my wines. I recently received a card from a woman in Florida whose fiancť proposed to her over a bottle of our wine. She told me that our wine was an integral part of that very special moment for her and she wanted to share it with me. Not everyone drinks wine to get drunk.

    As you may know, our field hands are mostly from Mexico. These men and women are some of the finest people that I have ever had the privilege of working alongside of. Do you know what they do with most of the money from their paychecks? They send it back to their families in Mexico. The wine industry tangentially supports whole communities in Mexico. I canít speak to all of the growers but everyone I know treats their workers with respect, pays them fairly, and provides them with insurance.

    Have any of you heard of Ulises Valdez? http://www.valdezfamilywinery.com/
    Paul Hobbs purchases some of his grapes from Ulises.

    There are many other fine growers in this county. The Dutton family, for instance, has been farming in Sonoma County since the 1880ís.

    This issue of an orchard replant next to a school is an important one with many facets. The health of the children is, of course, the most important. Can the children be protected? Yes. How? Thatís not for me to say. It is up to the grower and landowner to develop a plan that will protect the school. Something to remember however; it is my understanding that the school was built on farmland. The farmland was there before the school. In hindsight it probably wasnít such a good idea to build a school next to a farm. And for the neighbors; When most of you moved in you knew (or should have known) that you were moving in to an agricultural area. You shouldnít be surprised by the agricultural activity.

    If I had to guess I would say that this vineyard will be approved. Itís up to you to either work with the vineyard owner to create a workable plan that will insure that the children and the land are protected, or oppose every move the owner(s) make thereby forcing them to take extreme measures to protect their land.

    I do not work for the vineyard owners. I do not even know who they are. But I have seen this play out time and time again. You folks are bright, informed and concerned Sebastopolites. You can help bring this situation to its best possible outcome.
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  88. TopTop #47
    Kalia's Avatar
    Kalia
     

    Re: Apple Blossom School now will be Wine Grape School ??!!!??!!

    Sebastacat, your sample size is eenie-weenie. You saw 4 vineyards out of however many hundreds there are in Sonoma County and have now decided that what you saw is representative? I'm not saying you're right or that Weenie is right, just that you need to look at a whole lot more vineyards before you can make a credible statement.

    Kalia

    Quote sebastacat wrote: View Post
    Mr. Beenie Weenie......your credibility is rapidly becoming eeenie weenie.

    I drove down the Gravenstein Highway Strip this evening and saw THREE (3) vineyards in an approximately two-mile distance that had either cultivated the ground or mowed/sprayed all of the vegetation between the rows of grapes. ...
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  90. TopTop #48
    Beenie Weenie
     

    Re: Apple Blossom School now will be Wine Grape School ??!!!??!!

    Quote Shepherd wrote: View Post
    Apples do not "require far more chemicals than grapes," as alleged below.
    I misspoke. I should have said that conventionally farmed apples generally require more chemicals than conventionally farmed grapes.

    My apologies.
    Another is that this mono-crop has made Sonoma County vulnerable to a pest that could wipe out grapes.
    Question: When 90% of the crops in this area were apples, were apples not a mono-crop?
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  92. TopTop #49
    sebastacat's Avatar
    sebastacat
     

    Re: Apple Blossom School now will be Wine Grape School ??!!!??!!

    Good morning, beenie weenie...

    First things first.

    What are the "extreme measures" to protect the land to which you refer near the bottom of your post?
    Is this something you can share with us outside of the wine-growing community without being ostracized, or is this a threat that you may have overheard? Please let us know.

    I am glad that you are a good steward of the land and do not irrigate your grapes. However, based on my observations and what I have been told by others who are far more knowledgeable than I am on the subject of vineyard irrigation, you are one of the few growers who employs this type of waterless grape-growing.

    I remember well in the late '90's/early 2000's attending meetings in Occidental and hearing people's heartbreaking stories about how their wells dried up when a vineyard purchased property next door to theirs and drilled a deeper well next to theirs. Maybe those vineyard owners were being good "stewards" of THEIR LAND, but were they being good neighbors? Did they care that the well on the parcel next too theirs had been sucked dry? The answer -- all too often -- was NO.

    I like to think that things have changed since that time, but when a proposal is being put forth like the one which we now find ourselves confronting, it certainly gives me pause.

    Also, I continue to be amazed by so many vineyard owners who use the phrase "good neighbor."
    Yet, what is the first thing that they do BEFORE they even undertake the development of a vineyard? Put up a seemingly endless amount of galvanized -- and, sometimes, barbed-wire -- fencing, along with several
    "NO TRESPASSING" signs attached to it. Just what exactly are they afraid of? And who at that point are they trying to keep out? Copper thieves? Perhaps. But that has always begged the question:
    Why continue to use copper fittings when they might get stolen anyway?

    Sorry, but pardon me while I take this opportunity to reminesce and pine for the days when I first moved over here to Sebastopol (after living in Santa Rosa since 1961 -- and Sebastopol Road, on a working prune and walnut orchard, since 1972) and there were hardly any fences to be found.

    Now, thanks to the proliferation of vineyards, the west county is fast taking on the look of a prison.

    You speak of conventional fungicides being "extremely expensive" and that "some require an application rate of as little as 2 (two) ounces per acre. No grower is going to apply even one drop more chemical than is needed."

    NOR SHOULD THEY!!

    I will point out to you something which you conveniently omitted in an attempt to make the spraying of a vineyard more acceptable: There is a BIG DIFFERENCE between CONCENTRATION and DOSE!
    Many of the agricultural versions of the fungicides and insecticides which you use are highly concentrated. The homeowners' counterpart of the same chemical is usually sold in a much more diluted form. Thus,
    2 (two) ounces of the agricultural version of a certain chemical could potentially contain EVEN MORE
    active ingredient than a pint or even a quart or even a gallon of the homeowners' version, depending, of course, on the particular chemical involved.

    This, of course, is a general example; however, it is an extremely important point that needs to be made.
    Trying to minimize the danger of spraying a chemical -- any chemical -- by saying that a particular chemical might be applied at a dosage of as little as 2 (two) ounces per acre is not going to make spraying agricultural chemicals right next door and in close proximity to six (6) schools any safer.

    Also, another important question needs to be asked: To what chemical class do the chemicals which are going to be sprayed on this potential vineyard belong? Are they labeled CAUTION, WARNING or --
    hopefully not -- DANGER? What is their position on the LD list?

    I think that since the people at the school are going to be impacted directly by these chemicals that they have a right to know. Don't you? Please let us know where you stand.

    Now, on to something else. You say that "many growers, large and small"....."would not do anything to intentionally hurt their land."

    I agree with you; I'm sure they wouldn't. But, unfortunately, some of them sure don't mind hurting other people.

    Take the vineyard installation at the corner of Occidental Road and 116 behind the Texaco station (the approximate area). Who can forget the ugly -- absolutely ugly -- and well-documented incident of the neighbor who was in his home on his death bed dying during that messy vineyard conversion and how the developers of that vineyard, their eyes clouded by rapacious greed, refused to stop the messy conversion even temporarily so that he could live out his final days on this earth in the peace and comfort of his own home? There was much publicity surrounding it at the time. And I will tell you that that shameful incident made me ashamed to tell people that I was from Sonoma County. And I AM a lifelong resident. (Question, added after original post submitted: Who in the west county who was around at that time will ever forget all of those improperly secured pieces of black visqueen flapping and flying around, allowing the methyl bromide fumes which they were supposed to be trapping to escape?)



    No, some of us do not -- and will not -- forget. Being close to my family and having strong family values, you can't expect me to. And please, don't defend the vineyard developers for their shameful conduct; there simply is NO defense.

    I have made another perusal of vineyards and still can't find many in my immediate area matching the
    "mow/row" descriptions in your posts. I'll promise you one thing, though: I'll keep lookin'. Maybe I'll find a couple.
    And, by the way, two of the vineyards that I described viewing yesterday in my previous post were WELL-ESTABLISHED vineyards.

    Finally, lest you attempt to make the miraculous assumption that I am nothing more than a griping hypocrite, let me dispell any predispositions about me which you may have but are not willing to state:
    I do NOT consume wine -- produced from grapes grown in Sonoma County of anywhere else, and I never will. In fact, I can't stand wine! It burns my stomach and makes me sick.

    That said, I have several friends who do. And we all long for a day when those engaged in your industry will treat their neighbors with the same dignity and respect they they give to their grapes, their land and each other.

    And I don't think that's asking for too much.

    P.S.: When hops were so widely grown in Sonoma County, were they not a monocrop? Yes, they were. Then that scourge-of-all-scourges -- downy mildew -- wiped them out, once and for all, in the late 1940's. I know; my dad used to pick them when he was a kid....
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  94. TopTop #50
    Peace Voyager's Avatar
    Peace Voyager
     

    Re: Apple Blossom School now will be Wine Grape School ??!!!??!!

    Quote rossmen wrote: View Post
    who is beenie anyway? no info on the profile... sounds like a hobbs attack dog to me. hobbs doesn't play fair, including online. i know from experience. ignore the weenie unless they man up to name their connections to the land and people of sonoma county!
    Beenie Weenie is listed as William Reston; Pace goes by Jay Norman.

    More details anyone?

    Colleen Fernald

    Sonoma County resident since 1982

    Consultant, Sales, Marketing, Advertising - in areas relating to optimal: living, working, playing

    Loves well balanced, locally owned, organic & permaculture based agriculture

    Hates politics, so jumps into elections to challenge voters to require more from candidates and elected officials than just business as usual.

    Seeks to improve our quality of life by helping to define and achieve ideal environmental and social standards for 99.5% of us; and bankrupting or incarcerating the remaining .5%, whose means of profit causes harm, and/or is a result of illegal, immoral, or unconstitutional activity
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