RP City Council picks new rep for solid waste advisory board
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By Jud Snyder  November 12, 2009 10:50 am

A California State Assembly Bill, labeled AB 939, has resulted in another 3-2 split on Rohnert Park’s City Council. AB 939 concerns a Local Task Force set up in Sonoma County to advise the Board of Supervisors on solid waste management issues. Theoretically, it has 55 members, including alternates, representing cities, supervisorial districts, various jurisdictions  and rural areas. But there are many vacancies in the task force, mostly among the alternates. Members serve three-year terms and meetings are held bi-monthly, the second Thursday of the month from 1:30 to 3:30 pm in Santa Rosa.
AB 939 revised the makeup of the task force and the call went out for new members.  Three Rohnert Park candidates responded: Former city councilwoman Dawna Gallagher, former city manager Carl Leivo and Chris Rogers, a Sonoma State University student, working on his Master’s degree.
The city council picked Rogers on a 3-2 vote with vice-Mayor Gina Belforte joining Jake Mackenzie and Pam Stafford. Prior to this vote, Mayor Amie Breeze and Joe Callinan selected Leivo for the post but lost 2-3 when Belforte, Mackenzie and Stafford prevailed. No action on picking an alternate was made.
Rohnert Park’s current delegate to the task force is Roxanne Meuse. Her term ended Sept. 26, 2009, as did the vast majority of other members and alternatives.
Rogers, 22, and a recent grad of UC Santa Barbara, told the city council, ”The Local Task Force is of particular interest to me and I’m most qualified to serve on.” He cited his work at UC Santa Barbara with the campus’s Associated Students. “I want to get involved in Rohnert Park and Sonoma County  and am incredibly interested in politics.”
Leivo said, “I did a lot of important work in the 90’s reducing the amount of solid waste going to the landfill. “It takes a lot of emphasis on re-using waste such as composting and reducing the amount it has to accept. This calls for increased efforts in educating the public.” As to the council vote, “I have no idea what goes on in their minds on many issues.”
Attempts to reach Gallagher prior to deadline were not successful.
The Local Task Force has been doing its work below the political radar until recent months. The long-standing Meacham Road landfill has been operating more or less peacefully for years. But it was discovered pollutants have been leaking into nearby creeks and pressure to close it and find an alternative increased.
The county set up a system sending truckloads of solid waste daily to landfills in Solano County. A company from Arizona offered to buy and operate the Meacham Road plant but the Board of Supervisors rejected the proposal. Sending the trucks to Solano County continues despite the expense and environmental damage.
This has given added emphasis to the AB 939 Local Task Force’s assignment.

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