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March 26, 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 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. Cotati comes out against CASA 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

Rohnert Park Council says we don’t need another agency

By: Joshua Farestveit-Moore
January 11, 2019

The Rohnert Park City Council voiced its resounding objection Tues. to the CASA Compact policy package which is working its way through the California legislative process. 

It’s not surprising if the policy package doesn’t sound familiar. It’s a proposal put forth by the Committee to House the Bay Area (CASA) to solve the California housing crisis in the San Francisco and North Bay region—a rather admirable goal. 

The problem then for the Rohnert Park City Council is how the CASA Compact intends to go about it. 

“We don’t need another agency created to tell us what to do and how to do it. We don’t need our zonings changed, we don’t need our development changed—we are already doing what we are supposed to do,” Council-member Pam Stafford said. “It’s a great idea. Let’s improve housing. But to impose all of these things on everyone it’s not a good way to go about it. Local control is completely lost.”

The CASA Compact intends to bring an end to California’s housing shortage through ten different initiatives spread out over a fifteen-year period. Among the proposed initiatives the compact wishes to drastically increase tenants’ rights, impose a cap on rent and expedite the housing approval process for new developments. There’s also within the Compact a new rash of rules regarding building heights that override local zoning regulations around public transit, which can spell trouble for Rohnert Park’s new Station Avenue development. 

And if the new rules weren’t enough of a burden, the compact also comes with a steep cost of 1.5 billion dollars’ worth of proposed new taxes, 15 million of which will come from Rohnert Park. 

It’s a lot to take in and for most of the council it was the loss of local control and the $15 million which proved the sticking point. 

“I think what is most troubling for me is putting a city like Rohnert Park in a situation where we might have to pay $15 million dollars. We don’t have a lot of deep pockets. We’re a little itty-bitty community,” Gina Belforte, Rohnert Park’s mayor, said. “To take 15 million dollars out of the city to go down to offset housing in other areas I think does a disservice to the community.”

While the numbers and the laundry list of proposed regulations seems daunting, it’s important to remember that the majority of these changes are still within committee—that’s the step before voting by the legislature which studies the problems and its proposed solution.

There’s a huge jump between a committee and the governor’s desk where California’s bills becomes law. In the journey a bill can undergo a lot of changes. 

Which is the reason why council-member Jake Mackenzie, Rohnert Park’s representative to CASA, decided to sign onto to the compact and push it to the next step at CASA’s Dec. 12 meeting. 

“The opportunities are there to influence the legislation as it advances. That’s the way this will be resolved one way or another,” Mackenzie said. “The financial options are a menu. There’s a possibility there will be a $15 million impact on the City of Rohnert Park, it’s by no means a given. We really don’t know. We’re just exploring how to resolve the housing crisis.” 

As the sole dissenting voice, the rest of the Rohnert Park City Council rebuked Mackenzie strongly for his decision as their representative. The four other members opted to instruct the Rohnert Park city manager, Darrin Jenkins, to send a letter voicing their opposition to the CASA Compact. 

The next meeting regarding the CASA Compact will take place Jan. 19. Citizens interested in voicing their opinion should contact State Senator Bill Dodd or local Assembly Member Cecilia Aguiar-Curry.