|The Rhone Ranger and the Reign of Terroir
World renowned winemaker Randall Grahm, whose fermentations have both delighted and consternated the mondo vino, will be at the March 8 RBDA meeting. The man nicknamed "The Rhone Ranger" for his grenache panache will unmask the secrets behind the excellence of Bonny Doon and Santa Cruz Mountain grapes. And, if he is so inclined, his schmooz de booze (a vulgar and shameless stretch, certo, but what pressure from the comparison to Randall’s own multilingually erudite newsletter) will also include anything else that crosses his complex and comic mind.
Bonny Doon vintages grace the wine lists in fine restaurants throughout
the world. With his outrageous Ralph Steadman labels, iconoclastic noms
de vins (Cardinal Zin, Big House Red) and inventive blends, Randall
is the eno-fant terrible of the wine world.
There will be much to talk about.
Vino, vido, vici? It will be your decision.
As we were going to press, Santa Cruz Superior Court Judge Robert Yonts was about to issue a verdict that could make it easier for virtually all rural property owners to build a second house if they wish. The verdict, in a suit brought by a Boulder Creek man, Steven Travis, and a Santa Cruz couple, the Sokolows, could knock out the county’s Second Unit Ordinance provisions that control rents and require that second units be occupied only by close family members or people who qualify for "affordable housing."
The ordinance was passed by the county a couple of years ago in response to several issues: the paucity of moderately priced housing, the state’s pressure on Santa Cruz to take more of California’s burgeoning population, and the county’s desire to legalize the myriad illegal dwellings and turn them into tax revenue.
The plaintiffs argued in court that state laws preclude the county’s
controlling rent and occupancy of the second units. If Yonts agrees, the
county is almost sure to appeal.
Good lumbering operations allow continuing sustainable growth of the
forests. Those who care about redwoods take the extra care and pay
the required expenses for Scientific Certified Systems (SCS) to monitor
the operations from beginning to end. They start by inspecting the forest
before the cutting, then make random inspections as they follow the logs
to and through the mill, until they are sold as boards or timbers. They
keep detailed records from start to finish.
First, let’s note that redwood has gone up 45% in the last year and is costlier than ever. At the same time, much of it is sapwood, which has a far shorter life span than center-cut redwood. It runs about $1.16 per linear foot for a 2x6" piece of rough redwood, or $1.70 for "con heart," which is really red.
One option that looks promising and has the endorsement of carpenters is called Nexwood. It’s made of recycled plastic and wood fibers so it’s lighter yet stronger than wood, and it lasts longer (it carries a 20-year guarantee).
It is worked with normal carpentry tools and needs no maintenance except occasional cleaning. It’s available at San Lorenzo Lumber and elsewhere for about $1.65 per linear foot. Trex is a similar alternative.
Big Creek Offers Log Site Tour
To help RBDA members learn to recognize a properly logged area, Big Creek Lumber has agreed to provide a tour on an upcoming Saturday.
When the trails turn to mud in Gray Whale, part of Wilder Ranch State Park, it brings out the motorcyclists who like their thrills dirty. Such riding does, of course, cause serious erosion in the park and also on some adjoining private land.
The understaffed rangers can’t protect the park from damage by careless
visitors. The value of an unguarded park is greatly diminished, and careless
damage cannot always be undone. We urge RBDA members to take an active
personal part in pressing for adequate ranger protection in the several
parks and reserves in our area. Write your assembly person, state senator
and governor to request their support in protecting Gray Whale and the
others for the future. And of course, if you see motorcyclists riding in
the park, try to get a license number and report them to the State Parks
With the runoff from the Santa Cruz Biotech goat pharm on Back Ranch
Road exceeding the legal limits for coliform bacteria by a factor of 12
when tested during recent rainfalls, the Board of Supervisors may be ready
to take some stern measures.
Dues Raised by $5
Support Our Sponsors
As time goes by, it’s becoming clearer that PG&E’s squashing manzanitas
in its recent Bonny Doon line clearing was not just a rare accident. Reports
have recently surfaced in locales like Boulder Creek, Watsonville, Carmel
and Pacifica of vegetation getting the short end of the stick from our
omnipresent power distributor.
All this points up the need for greater public oversight over the utility’s line clearing policies, and perhaps more stringent guidelines, at least in populated areas. And also the need for PG&E to gain greater internal control over what its many minions are doing.
We’re still waiting to learn where PG&E plans to cut next, which may either be along the lines south from last year’s Robles/Molina area in the general vicinity of Bonny Doon Road, or beyond that in the Coastal Zone down to Davenport. It will be required to get Coastal Commission permits and there will be a lot more government regulation of the cutting. Meanwhile, negotiations are continuing with PG&E as part of the lawsuit brought by several Dooners last year to force changes in its line maintenance practices. Thanks to the more than two dozen RBDA members who supported this suit with financial contributions. There are still ongoing costs from this suit and more contributions are welcome. Send them to the RBDA at 102 Sunlit Lane, Bonny Doon CA 95060, with "for the PG&E lawsuit" marked on the check.
Wylie Joins RBDA Board
Frank Wylie, who has lived on Smith Grade for many years, was elected to the RBDA executive board at the Jan. General Meeting. Retired from a distinguished career spent in public relations, he is taking over as Highlander Editor starting with this issue.
Ted Benhari retains his post as chair, Marilyn Hummel is now vice chair, Dave Deamer remains as treasurer, Bill Hornaday becomes recording secretary, Miriam Beames, who was re-elected to a 2-year term, is corresponding secretary, and Fred Bryck, also re-elected for 2 years, continues as membership coordinator.
Our sincere appreciation goes to Val Haley, who declined to re-run because of other commitments, including serving as Eco Reserve docent coordinator. Val has promised to continue actively advising the board on botanical and environmental issues. We’ll miss her, but we’ll still have access to her expertise.
Preserve the Reserve
The RBDA board has asked the state Fish & Game Department to close the Bonny Doon Ecological Reserve to the public until a management plan has been approved and personnel are appointed to monitor and protect it. We know this may upset some people who waited many years for the opportunity to visit this incredible terrain, but even before public access is formally permitted, it is clear that the unique plant and animal species there are being endangered by unwitting or just plain dumb people. People are already using it as a dog exercise area, riding mountain bikes on it, throwing beer fests there, and otherwise trashing it. Without adequate supervision, there is danger that this great treasure, which so many worked so hard to preserve, will be ruined.
UCSC’s Parking Problems Are Ours, Too
North and south of UCSC’s west entrance on Empire Grade, overflow parking has created some real dangers. Despite the "No Parking at Any Time" signs, there are up to 35 cars parked, on the shoulder and in the bike lane. Besides people who ignore the Heller Drive stop sign, we now have people running suddenly across Empire Grade.
Northward, along Cave Gulch, parked cars nudge off the road wherever
they can, while the County refuses to extend the parking signs, and the
existing parking prohibitions are seldom enforced.
We Want Your Pictures
Since we’re now printing rather than photocopying the Highlander (the
quality is better and it’s even a little cheaper, though it takes longer),
we can print decent renditions of photos.
Help with Quarry Petition Data Input
To communicate quickly any news regarding RMC Pacific Materials’ (formerly Lonestar) attempts to expand their limestone quarry operations, we want to put together a database of the hundreds of people who signed our protest petitions last year.
If you can do computer data input (typing, basically), please contact our membership coordinator, Fred Bryck, at 425-5476.
RBDA Participation in Advisory Groups
We greatly appreciate the work our knowledgeable representatives do, and the chance to have input into these important groups.
Bonny Doon's voice in preserving our special quality of life, The Highlander,
Send mail correspondence to the Highlander Editor at the above
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