Fresh off a high of approving a much-needed affordable housing development, the Sonoma City Council pivoted to a more intractable problem: Plaza stench.
Specifically, after some 40-50 years, City staff noted that Plaza ginkgo trees produce fruit that litters the area below the trees and gives off a bad smell as it rots. “Tantalizing hints and notes of dog-vomit,” was the description of a local sommelier.
What’s worse, one of the offending ginkgoes – ‘non-native,’ we should note — stands on the northeast corner of the Plaza, mere feet from the hallowed Bear Flag Monument honoring undocumented American immigrants who, in 1846, overthrew the town’s original undocumented Mexican immigrants who, with help from said undocumented Americans, subjugated and enslaved the town’s original lawful permanent residents in the name of God.
Like the Fountain at Lourdes, the monument draws tourists from far and wide to hear the tale of Sonoma’s founding, a propitious event without which there would be no California and, more important, no I-Phones.
But we digress.
Stench and filth on the Plaza threatens Sonoma’s economy and is thus worthy of the City’s attention. After all, tourists can’t be expected to spend fortunes getting wasted in a nearby tasting room only to stagger into the shade of the Plaza and be unable to determine whether they had stepped in something or simply vomited on their shoes.
Enter City Council. A committee was formed to investigate and prosecute the gingkoes. Anticipating the inevitable, Public Works blindfolded the offending trees with green cloth (in the presumed vicinity of the eyes) in preparation for public execution.
Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed, the City listened to residents’ protests and the trees may yet be spared.
Meanwhile, however, Ginkgo-gate has obscured a far more serious Plaza health hazard, one capable of sickening the most slum-hardened visitor. Namely, the wretched groups of City trash cans – a/k/a Dumpster Pods – placed in and around the Plaza to receive the endless stream of filth from tourists and residents alike:
Used tissue, food wrappers, cigarette butts, beer & soda cans, spit, plastic cups & water bottles, wine and beer bottles, flu snot, Styrofoam cups, food of every description & stage of digestion, bagged & un-bagged dog poop, lost-child flyers, unidentifiable plant material, and copious amounts of what-the-hell-is-that?
The Pods have become a disgusting sight, even without the occasional corpse dumped in a barrel in front of City Hall.
Perhaps in a misguided effort to preserve history, the City has not cleaned The Pods since the town’s founding in 1835. The only things remotely sanitary about them are the bright ‘Not Allowed’ signs bolted to each can: “No Dogs Allowed.” “No Bicycling, Skateboarding, Rollerblading.” “No Smoking or Vaping.” Etc. In short, signs forbidding all the things people do regularly on the Plaza.
So odious are The Pods that something unknown to science is now growing on their exteriors.
How bad is it? Recently, a resident walking her dog deposited a dog-waste bag in one of the containers. To her shock, it jumped from the can and begged to be returned to the dog, who of course wanted no parts of that.
We understand City finances are such that any attempt to buy new, clean, modern trash cans will trigger bankruptcy. However, a low-cost power-washing might combat the alien life-form that has now taken hold on the outside of The Pods and which recently attempted to eat a small tourist from Mumbai.