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March 23, 2019
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CRPUSD seeking a new superintendent Cuts suggested for school district Cotati protests CASA compact Traffic concerns top RP survey SSU to host North Bay Women of Color conference Sonoma State president testifies for tax relief for disaster victims No criminal charges filed against PG&E in northern Ca. wildfires Promotions in the Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety 73rd Miss Sonoma County competition held at Spreckels Schools, facilities and bonds: Plans but no money Holocaust piano now in Cotati Rohnert Park Station Ave. update School district seeking new superintendent Don’t drive with an open container Fresh faces on the CRPUSD board A shimmer of hope against the angry heavy sky Newsom’s vision “cradle to career” RP Downtown project underway New alcohol fees for Rohnert Park Bad air quality cancels sports Official election winners as projected by the VOICE  RP swears in new council member 2018 local stories which made history ArtStart brings art to the RP Senior Center Cotati considers $15 min. wage Fun family Christmas events in Cotati Cougars’ season comes to a tearful sad conclusion CalFresh clients get Feb. benefits early Neighborhood watch meeting scheduled Dr. Dominguez and Hawkins named as director and co-director for Hanna Institute University Elementary School to host Maker World at SSU Animal Shelter League of RP receives grant Cotati Council reshuffles seats Help save lives by donating blood New laws on purchasing and concealing handguns Fencing in Sonoma County School district leaders tackle 1.9m deficit The Community Voice endorses candidates DA’s office awarded DUI Prosecution Grant Rohnert Park kid joins TCU El Camino graduates Rohnert Park Council says we don’t need another agency Rancho students excel in Poetry Out Loud  SC public safety heroes of the year Frightful, fun, free Halloween activities Cougars crush Ukiah Election projected winners November 6, 2018  Sonoma Clean Power offers no-cost energy upgrades Rancho advances to semifinals RP’s n­ew Director of Public Safety A stand-off with barricaded, suicidal woman ends safely in RP RP has a new director of public safety Mackenzie leaves SMART RP officers spent Sat. car chasing Public invited to give input on Downtown RP Site School board candidates voice opinions Woman stabbed on west side of RP LandPaths connects people to protected land Tech High Girl's Soccer Undefeated champions! AG Becerra issues consumer alert on price gouging in fire-affected communities Learn to docent at the SSU Fairfield Osborn Preserve New signs point in the right direction Where are the ski lifts? Is Cotati being targeted? State Farm property steams forward to Station Avenue Scrappers Steal Win RP Foundation issues grant Cotati allows second dispensary New residential building lands approved In Singapore Strait aboard a missile destroyer PG&E has a prediction model USCIS presents free training on how to apply for citizenship RP investigates new site for Corp. Yard Two arrested in RP motel for mail theft  Is Juuling the new norm? Rancho Cotate Band fundraiser BBQ Jessica Holman: Thirty-five years of Rancho Spirit Titans crush Mustangs Station Avenue gets final approval Cotati Council reviews trash plan Baseball League receives donation from local motorcycle club Cotati Police Chief Parish swears in new officer Garber A Sunday afternoon with retired football players Injury collision closes Golf Course Dr. Giving Kids Smiles in Rohnert Park New interim superintendent Krispy Kreme Doughnuts comes to Rohnert Park  Cougars blow past Gauchos  Rohnert Park honors its Veterans and Servicemen CHP reminds all of increased crimes Cougars beat Bulldogs More than 276,000 Dreamers have renewed DACA White receives Matt Walsh Memorial RP and Sunday festivities SSU fraternity banned for five years Cotati Chamber of Commerce Oktoberfest Rancho crushes Analy CA Homemaker Association needs volunteers Active duty honorees at the RP Veterans Day program Santa now knows her secret CPI receives funding to offer counseling in schools Caltrans works toward decarbonizing California transportation The Rancho Cotati Rotary Club hosts Humanitarian Award dinner SSU and SCOE offer high school internship RP’s new interim police chief Big changes to big project in Rohnert Park A possibility for Snyder Lane to have four lanes soon Rohnert Park road updates Sheriff’s Detectives arrest SR man after controlled delivery of ecstasy pills. Penngrove Community Church celebrates 120 years Cotati approves tree lighting City of Cotati has apartment housing parking problems Operators ordered to pay for false advertising violations Becerra urges Ca. businesses resources to help prevent human trafficking Possible change to parking rules Students at University Elementary discussing the labyrinth Rohnert Park City Council Candidates NHTSA reminds motorists to drive sober this season R P Foundation gives grants to NOAH and Petaluma Bounty Summit State Bank annual report FEMA awards Sonoma Water grant March for the blind highlights need for more accessible sidewalks Cougar to Bear — Simmons’ new pelt SRJC picks up local quarterback The Cougars defeat the Jaguars at homecoming New laws take effect Jan. 1 Kids and firefighters compete in RP RP local, Petri Alva, 14, a nationally recognized athlete SweetPea celebrates 31 years Seawolves serve up a victory Cardinals rout Cougars How to help victims of wildfires Polynesia celebrated at annual Pacific Islander Festival Fire storm anniversary Plan approved for Station Ave. park Football in full swing, 3rd win Arrests and charges target Apple stores Annie Rasmussen Celebration of Life Revisiting those who lost it all: October wildfire victims still on the road to recovery SMART celebrates a year of service RP Public Safety report card Penngrove native set for amazing voyage Cotati votes opposition to oil leases SC neighborhood sues illegal pot grower Penngrove grassfire destroys buildings Cotati Accordion Festival still a hit after 28 years RP residents provide input in police chief search Forum hosted by WLV for RP City Council candidates Supply giveaways lend a hand to families Police officers inspect inside of car Lowerys help with campaign Yes on Measure W will keep fire stations open RP to host community forum for public safety director search Emergency Alert System Test Sept. 10 & 12 Spreckels and Alchemia connects community It wasn’t an easy fight but Rancho wins again RP Safety Dept. climbs in remembrance of 9/11/18 Back to school for Rohnert Park and Cotati Another tough break for roller derby RP waits to make update to emergency alert system Cougars slay Dragons Third pedestrian struck by SMART train Enjoying ribs Little ones with big Polynesian dancing spirit Sidewalk repair gets big break from City of RP RP Health Center celebrates anniversary Imitating major leaguers Rohnert Park waiting for approval for canine program

Cotati comes out against CASA

By: Joshua Farestveit-Moore
February 15, 2019

The Cotati City Council formalized its opposition to the CASA Compact Tues., Feb. 11th when they instructed the city’s staff to draft a letter protesting the legislative package. 

With the letter, Cotati joined Rohnert Park in opposition, whose city council drafted a similar letter at their Jan. 8 meeting. The point of opposition for both councils is that the package would bring higher taxes and a loss of local zoning control. 

“This hurts my head,” Councilmember Susan Harvey said. “We have for years and years tried to defend our small town character. There are elements in here that would create (...) monstrosities. I can only imagine a seven story building and how it might stick like a sore thumb. There’s nothing small town about that.”

The Committee to House the Bay Area (CASA) Compact is designed to ease California’s housing crisis. It hopes to accomplish this through establishing a cap on rent, strengthening tenant rights and removing regulatory barriers for new developments. The CASA Compact also includes a rash of new taxes and a minimum zoning of seven stories for neighborhoods around train stations, like the ones in downtown Cotati and Rohnert Park. 

Everything told, the CASA Compact is estimated by Cotati to cost the city $2.3 million. 

Those are some bitter pills to swallow and typically any problem for local governments would get worked out in the drafting process--but that didn’t happen this time. 

Jake Mackenzie, Rohnert Park council member and one of three representatives of Sonoma County to the CASA steering committee, signed onto the package without briefing the rest of the Rohnert Park City Council--an act for which the council later sanctioned Mackenzie by stripping him of his seat on the SMART Advisory Board. 

“Make no mistake, I want to be as clear as I can, this is essentially a coup. This is a power grab by the MTC because of the moneys they control,” Councilmember Mark Landman said. “Take a look at that time line: Dec. 3 to Dec. 19--16 days. Barely two weeks. While government and most people were taking Christmas off, (...) what was essentially a small fire skunking around and doing nothing for two years all of a sudden became a blazing bonfire.”

At this point there isn’t much local governments can do to stop the CASA Compact. Much of it has already moved onto the state level, and during Governor Gavin Newsom’s inaugural address, he called for the equivalent of a Marshall Plan--a sizeable government program that provides economic assistance--to solve the state’s housing crisis. 

That means Governor Newsom would likely look favorably on sweeping legislation like the CASA Compact. 

It also means that Cotati and Rohnert Park are in a difficult position. With the package moving through the state government, the only route available for the cities is to write a letter. That might seem like a token bit of resistance, but much of the legislation is still in flux. Elements of the CASA Compact will either be added or dropped and there’s still a long road to go before the package goes into law. In voicing their opinion, the Cotati City Council hopes to influence the debate. 

“Would it be worth getting a cadre of mayors and march up to San Francisco to have a frank discussion with our state’s legislatures. That’s going to be the most direct impact,” Mayor John Dell’Osso said. “Drafting a letter, that’s important. We have to do that. I think, though, that it might be a very effective tool and talk to them--setup a meeting and say, ‘We weren’t polled, but this is what we think."