Regarding "New awning on Calistoga bar 'sends wrong message'" (June 16): This is Susie's. This is Calistoga. And this is a classic image – vintage art – on the awning of a classic bar.
Far from denigrating women, this Betty-Boop-style cartoon pays tribute to all the old broads who've held down a bar stool in Calistoga.
Co-owners Josh Blakeley and Frank Kibbish both have beautiful daughters. They are not dads who denigrate women. The image is playful, like the big martini glass fronting Martuni's in San Francisco. It says "come on in and have a drink – it's fun." It says this place is old-time.
So -- what message? And who to?
Josh, after all, is the "beer ferry," dubbed so by the LA Times during the Tubbs Fire. During that time of loss and turmoil, he hit the back roads on his ATV, delivering beer to people in the hills who were trying to protect their property.
Josh is a fourth-generation Calistogan from two families, the Blakeleys and the Hanlys. One great grandfather was a historic first-generation barkeep at Hanly's on the Mountain. Josh is the grandson of Bud Hanly, the mayor of Calistoga who had to evacuate the town during the Hanly Fire of 1964.
Bud, founder of the Smoke Shop, was one of the first customers for Calistoga Water, willing to support a new family business when people said it was crazy to buy water. Les Blakeley's Silverado Equipment kept everybody's farm equipment rolling. Les drove a sprint car at "the races" (and built one or two, I think). Blakeley Construction … I could go on and on about the families and their small businesses in the upper valley.
In other words, there's some lineage here. How fortunate that Susie's is actually owned and operated by a local family, one that's been in the valley for generations. A small business that thrives in a gentrifying valley should be celebrated, not persecuted.
Susie's is old Calistoga. The same Calistoga that used to have the Horrible Parade – nothing politically correct about that.
Frank and Josh should have the right to pick a classic image for the logo that fronts this historic bar. Keep the spirit of Old Calistoga alive, and let the image fly.
This is Susie's.