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Chris Smith: Rep. Jared Huffman will skip Donald Trump's inauguration, join Santa Rosa demonstration

After declaring he’ll be sitting out the swearing-in of Donald Trump, Rep. Jared Huffman has joined the roster of speakers at Saturday’s downtown Santa Rosa rally and walk against “hate, intolerance and acts of violence.”

The Democrat from San Rafael will share the mic on the City Hall steps at noon with former Rep. Lynn Woolsey, Ann Gray Byrd of the Sonoma County NAACP and several others, including a surprise speaker who’s said to be dazzling.

About 150 volunteers are pitching in on what’s being called the Sonoma County Stands Together for Women rally. It’s timed for a day after the presidential inauguration, the same day as the Women’s March on Washington and the 44th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision on abortion rights.

Several hundred such counter-inauguration protests and marches are set for cities across this country and in others. Amid all the speechifying and shouting Friday and Saturday, let’s hope there’s also some genuine listening, and resolve to get through this clash of culture and ideology without going to war with ourselves.

The times feel to demand that we be the best Americans we can be.

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SEND OUT THE CLOWNS: Mike Von der Porten asks a perceptive question:

Is Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus folding because it can’t compete with Washington?

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THEY FEED US: Coming up in a month is a chance to honor and hang out with two Sonoma County culinary giants who use food to lift up lives.

The SRJC Wine Classic on Feb. 12 will heap gratitude on aproned superstars Evelyn Cheatham and Art Ibleto.

Evelyn is, of course, founder and director of the nationally acclaimed Worth Our Weight, or WOW, that operates the apprentice cafe in Santa Rosa that teaches at-risk young people essential skills for food-service work and for life.

And Art, you surely know, is the Pasta King. He has introduced generations of Sonoma County people to pesto and polenta, and by again and again donating food for benefit dinners he’s raised huge sums for disaster relief and essential services to people and animals locally and overseas.

The two of them will mingle from 2 to 5 p.m. on the 12th at the JC’s Lawrence A. Bertolini Student Center. Tickets to the Wine Classic are available at srjcwineclassic.com.

Vintners from 30 Sonoma County wineries will be there to pour and answer questions about their wines. Gourmet appetizers will be plentiful and music will be live.

Christopher Silva, who runs St. Francis Winery and chairs the junior college’s Wine Studies Advisory Board, vows to make this annual event the region’s finest and favorite wine gala. So far, so good.

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BOOZE BARREL? Restaurateur Sonu Chandi and his partners/brothers planned to assign that name to the drink-and-eat spot they’re working to open within the former Rendez-Vous Bistro on Santa Rosa’s healing and mutating Old Courthouse Square.

For some reason, the Chandi brothers never got the idea that folks cared much for the name. So they’ve changed it, even before the place opens. Instead of Booze Barrel it will be the Beer Baron Bar & Kitchen.

Better.

Chris Smith is at 707-521-5211 and chris.smith@pressdemocrat.com.

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