Council Got it Right!

3 cheers for the American Canyon City Council Last night. Nope, not talking about the Bottoms Up controversy (although I do appreciate their decision to deny the appellant). I’ve tried to stay out of it. I have many friends that I respect who are dead-set against it for a variety of reasons and I support them. Me, personally, I just chose not to give them any of my money.

I will say this, though. What I particularly liked was seeing the Oro-Leary coalition spear-head the “let’s move on and deny them” contingent. They were right. There was little more to say and little more that the appellant could do to sway minds. Ken’s distaste was clearly palpable as he tried to describe the “modeling” pictures of the applicant. Glad that David and Ken were able to get council to move rather than pass the buck until the next council meeting. I would also like to give kudo’s to our own local lawyer Ralph Andino who was representing the unpopular coffee chain here. It’s not easy to take what many consider to be the wrong side – especially in a small town like ours. Ralph is good people and showed it last night.

Council also gave Canyon Estates another 2 years to get things in order by extending the Tentative Vesting Subdivision Map. It’s an interesting plan – to some degree scaled back from it’s original vision I think. You can hear my thoughts on it here: (my comments begin at approximately the 1:27:30 mark)

But for me, the big win of the night was Council’s decision to grant the new owners of Laso LLC a $40,000 no-interest loan to install an outdoor grease trap (or something to that affect). This will allow our local residents who are trying to start a family restaurant in town, the ability to do so.

I appreciate Councilmember Leary’s point about 90+% of all restaurants failing in the first two years. The fact is that this loan is a risk and that the applicants – and not the owner – are really taking all of the risk. It’s isn’t entirely fair to either the city or the applicants; but I can tell you this: last night’s vote by Council to award this loan was another tangible step forward in our larger goal. It’s time that we begin to move forward and have a larger tent

I love having lunch meetings at Thai Kitchen, Mi Zacatecas, Tacos Michoacan, Crave, et al. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for another restaurant. As we lurch forward with hope, also known as Watson Ranch, we will need more amenities like Laso to attract buyers for these $1M-plus properties from Canyon Estates. As we seek to continue to attract new homeowners to our area for the existing housing stock, we need to show discernible proof that we are prepared to make our community even better. $40,000 towards two young men’s dream seems like a small amount to me.

Here we go a Caroling…

Over the weekend – while trolling Facebook (you know you do it too!) – I came across an event over at the Recreation Center in American Canyon called Carols and Cocoa. Having two sons who both like to sing and who both love hot chocolate, I thought that I’d give it a try.

The oldest one backed out last minute because he’s too cool (teenager, right?!) but my youngest came along with. I was under the impression that it would be us drinking hot cocoa in the back, listening to semi-professional singers. Instead, as we walked through the door Artistic Director, Rebecca Kincl, handed us sheet music and invited us to sing!carols and cocoa

It was one of the best times that Miles and I have had together. We sang Christmas Carols like we were part of a choir for over 90 minutes (in between sips of hot cocoa of course!). All the while, Rebecca conducted the group (about 20 of us) to greater and greater heights. We had the opportunity to sing most of the Christmas classics ending with a rousing rendition of We Wish You a Merry Christmas.

The singers will be out and about at Snow Day on Saturday, caroling beginning about 3pm. They are a non-audition community ensemble for people who simple love to sing. If you love to sing and are interested in learning a bit more about music theory then I think that this is a great group for you. The American Canyon Singers meet on Tuesdays from 7-9pm beginning January 9th. Their spring concert this year will feature a full mass (6 parts) but will take each part from a different style, including Jazz, African and traditional European.