Letters
December 5, 2016
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Flag folding story resonates with reader

The Community Voice:

Thank you so much for the article on Nov. 11, by Irene Hilsendager, “United States ritual: flag must be folded 13 times,” especially the reasons for each fold.

I have my husband’s flag from the United States Navy, and I am delighted to know about the  folding ritual.

They should teach it in school.

Also, the Nov. 18, 2016 article written by Steven Campbell was absolutely wonderful. I pray we all fall on our knees in prayer for our wonderful country.

I also would love to commend Laney Riddle and Samantha Ramirez for their messages of hope and positivity. We all need to follow their example. God bless them.

I enjoy reading The Community Voice, particularly when you single out some of the people in our community who reach out to help others. I love doing the word search puzzle. Jud Snyder is my neighbor.

God has blessed him and his ability to write.

Carol J. OíDonnell
Rohnert Park
November 25, 2016

Sooner or later emotions will ebb

The Community Voice:

I held my nose and voted. I can now let go of my nose but now I need ear protection due to the tantrums being thrown by those who didn't get their way. Hopefully it will all calm down soon and we can get on with living.

Chuck Thayer
Rohnert Park
November 25, 2016

Election results show liberalsí true colors

Well, the elections are over and the left is showing their true colors with rioting, burning and vandalism. 
Where did all that talk of unity go?
It was all talk…all talk to win the election. What a bunch of poor losers! This didn’t happen when Bill Clinton and Barack Obama were elected. Wake up Democrats. 
The people who you for many years have forgotten to serve are still here. Now they have spoken.
I knew that Donald Trump was going to win. The polls were bogus. All the news people on TV were touting all of Hillary Clinton’s accomplishments and experience and downplayed what Trump will do.
The people of this country want change. The Democrats had eight years to do the people’s will and all they did was further their liberal agenda and run the country further into debt. 
It has to stop if we are going to survive as a nation.
 
Richard Cole
Rohnert Park
November 18, 2016

Winter averaging can cost you plenty of cash

The Community Voice:

Rohnert Park continues to bill its citizens using the wrong “winter averaging” data, claiming a problem with their software.  “Winter Averaging” is used to calculate your sewer bill. Well, after all of this time you would think that they would have been able to fix the problem. Until then we must all continue to pay the wrong amount.

The “winter averaging” uses average water meter readings for December, January and February when, as the city says, “all of the water goes down the sewer.” It is important to note that the months noted are not the same as actually used.

According to the city, meter reading actually occurs near the middle of the month.  In this case, the December reading starts in the middle of November.  

To keep the city from overbilling you, stop using water outside of the house after Nov. 13 and through Feb. 17. 

FYI the basic cost of water is $3.76 per 1,000 gallons. The cost of sewer is $10.94 per 1,000 gallons. So, for every 1,000 gallons of water you use outside of the house (“winter averaging”) you will pay $10.94 each month.  This means, that 1,000 gallons of water use will cost you $131.28 per year.  That is very expensive water.  

Do you wonder why your sewer bill is high and why the city never told you this?

 

David Grundman
Rohnert Park
November 11, 2016

Remember to support our local businesses

The Community Voice:

This is not a letter against Starbucks, big box stores, the casino or big hotels, this is just a message and hope that as a community – Rohnert Park, Cotati and Penngrove – we support all of our locally owned businesses, craft fairs and eateries 365 days a year, not just during the holidays. For an example, Honey Badger Coffee near Mary’s Pizza and Hana’s has been supporting our Gateway Christian Men’s Bible study for a while now. And recently I went in there and saw on their walls an exhibition of the early years of Rohnert Park (my family moved here in the fall of 1959). So, if you’re out and about, stop in and check it out. Say hi to the lovely young women who run the business, and remember to support our local businesses.

Michael Brown
Rohnert Park
November 11, 2016

I held my nose and voted. I can now let go of my nose but now I need ear protection due to the tantrums being thrown by those who didn't get their way. Hopefully It will all calm down soon and we can get on with living. (?)
Chuck Thayer
Rohnert Park
November 10, 2016

Donít be fooled by plastic bag industry

The Community Voice:

I was recently in Reno and was shocked at how much plastic bag litter I saw. There were bags blowing in the streets and caught on bushes everywhere. Since Sonoma County instituted its bag ban, I see very little plastic bag litter in our area. So, I urge a yes vote on Proposition 67 to reduce litter, protect wildlife and reduce costs of waste cleanup. Let the bag ban go statewide.

I also encourage a no vote on Proposition 65. This is a deceptive measure put forth by the plastic bag industry claiming the grocers are making a money grab. In fact, grocers do not support Proposition 65 and it would create a new state bureaucracy. I see no reason why grocers should not be able to charge customers for a bag they have procured for them. We don’t expect them to give us milk they buy for our consumption. Don’t be fooled by the plastic bag industry.

Vote yes on Proposition 67 and no on Proposition 65.

Laurie-Ann Barbour
Cotati
November 4, 2016

Money doesnít grow on local citizensí trees

The Community Voice:

As a teacher now retired, as a Rohnert Park resident, and as a past officer of the Rohnert Park Cotati Educators Association, I have supported every parcel tax and bond measure that has been put on the ballot to benefit our students.  Unfortunately, I will have to draw the line with respect to Measure C.  It feels that homeowners in Rohnert Park and Cotati are seen by the leadership of our district as a fruit tree that on a yearly basis can continue to produce more and more dollars for this district’s leadership team to spend.

It should be noted that homeowners are still paying for the 1990 bond, the Measure B 2014 bond, and the parcel tax that was extended in 2015 for another 10 years.  Homeowners should take a look at their property tax bill, and they will find that these three measures increase their base property tax by approximately 20 percent, and with the passage of Measure C, homeowners will be hit with another significant tax increase and renters may well see their rent rise as well.

Before voters approve another costly bond measure, the community should see how well Measure B funds are addressing the infrastructure needs of the district, including the construction of the of the theater arts/gymnasium (TAG) building on the Rancho Cotate High School campus.

It should be noted that questions have been raised about no-bid contracts, and companies that are making campaign contributions that will directly benefit from the passage of Measure C.  Stephen Bossio in his Guest Op-Ed column that appeared in the October 28 edition of The Community Voice pointed out that Measure C is asking homeowners to shoulder $500 million-$1 billion in debt when there has been questionable oversight over previously approved bond measures.  He also pointed out that under the current district leadership, legal fees have skyrocketed, and expenditures for professional and consulting services have increased by 550 percent.

This past week I received a very slick mailer promoting Measure C, paid for in part with campaign contributions from architectural and construction firms that will profit from Measure C, that falsely listed Trustees Leff Brown and Ed Gilardi as supporters of Measure C.  Both trustees have announced their opposition to Measure C.  The citizens of Rohnert Park and Cotati deserve better, and we can begin to set our school district on the right course by opposing Measure C and by supporting Chrissa Gillies and Tim Nonn, the two candidates for the Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District Board of Trustees who will insist on financial accountability, and that our tax dollars be spent in a manner that maximizes student success.

Richard Neffson
Rohnert Park
November 4, 2016

If student scores are stellar why give schools more money?

The Community Voice:

One of your readers recently wrote to inform us that test scores in our local schools are abysmal and was incredulous that nonetheless the school board wants us taxpayers to give them more bond money.

Say, what? If test scores were stellar then we wouldn't need more money for our schools, would we? If test scores really are abysmal, then obviously that's precisely the time we should stop starving the schools for money.

Rick Luttmann
Rohnert Park
November 4, 2016

Measure C another sleight of hand trick

The Community Voice:

School bonds again?

The next big pile of school bonds is on the ballot again. It appears that, like the last multimillion dollar bond, this new $80-million bond will be used to build new buildings replacing 40-year buildings for a variety of very thin reasons.

By the same reasoning, I should replace my 40-year old house as should most of the residents in Rohnert Park and Cotati. However, most of us know that we have to take care of our 40-year old houses because no one else is going to give us “free” money to replace them.

The school district needs a new board and superintendent that understand that taking care of what you have costs less than buying a new building just because it got old and the district is failing to take care of the existing buildings. By the district’s current maintenance program, any new building will probably need to be replaced before the new bonds are paid off.

Besides, how does a new building add to the quality of classroom instruction? With the county’s record assessed valuation for property taxes, the schools have never had so much money and with all of the new building going on, there will be lots of school impact fees arriving.

I posed a question to our State Assemblyman, Bill Dodd, about how much school funding from the state will be restored (the state is also awash in a budget surplus) and received silence. Maybe you recall the pledge of the state lottery to greatly increase funding for schools. True? But, the state took away an equal amount that it would have made available for education so there was no actual increase in funding for education. I believe this same sleight of hand is being used for this bond issue and many of the other bond and tax propositions appearing on the ballot.

Vote no for this double taxation.

David Grundman
Rohnert Park
November 4, 2016

Consider low-income residents when voting on tax measures

The Community Voice:

I suggest there is an unrepresented population segment in Rohnert Park, those who are retired, on fixed (and limited) income, who bought a house here without Proposition 13 tax protection.

We see nothing but what to us are large property tax hikes every year. Those who have owned property here for many, many years, protected from taxes by Prop. 13, do not see that, and of course, a couple bucks increase is not burdensome. To us not protected, we bear the majority of the burden of property tax on fixed and low-income residents. I am pleading that those folks not be so burdened. Think about us a little when issues of tax increases appear on ballots.

Also, SMART seems like it is not so much. Now, these diesel engines from Cummins throw connecting rods through the crankcase. Now, service will not start for six to eight months after all this confident prognostication about November 2016.

Now, nobody knows whether they can sue for lost revenue they never had. Plus, who do you sue...and for what? Now, those folks who voted in this pile of money are going “what the…?” You seriously didn't think that train whistles and noises were going to occur?  What did you have for breakfast...dumb flakes?

I’m curious.  What, exactly, is SMART?  Another government agency?  And who does the work on these safety checks…government workers or contractors?

This is a big mess.

David Carlson
Rohnert Park
November 4, 2016

Get ready for more George Barich bashing

The Community Voice

Every election, it’s the same story. My friend George Barich runs for Cotati City Council, and the same people try to smear him with the same innuendo and outright lies. I can almost guarantee there will be a few examples in this week’s letters.

Here are the usual accusations, and here are George’s responses from his social media posts, Accusation: George is a felon. Response: In 1998, I was arrested on a pot charge caused by my roommate. I paid a $200 fine and had two years of probation.

Accusation: George is a money launderer: Response: I was conned out of my money by several parties who said the money was going to the Coalition to Protect Cotati's Future. They said they no longer had a bank account and asked for cash. I was never part of any money laundering scheme and was in fact the victim. Check the FPPC records if you want their names.

Accusation: George kept guns illegally. Response: My brother, a police officer, stored a couple of guns in my outdoor shed with his other stuff. Based on a report that someone smelled pot in my house, the police searched my house. There was no pot but they found the guns. They dropped the charges against me and my brother got his guns back.

 • Accusation: George is a racist because he once wore blackface at a Halloween party. My response: I had the pleasure of working with George on his newspaper. For more than three years, we met at least eight hours a month to discuss editorial content. Not once, in hundreds of hours of meetings, did he ever speak of any race in other than positive terms.

My conclusion: Support George’s views on financial responsibility, limited government, and making Cotati business-friendly. Or support a City Council that continually raises taxes, tried to choke Old Red with roundabouts, and kept Oliver’s from building a beautiful new store. But don’t believe the lies and smears that his opponents bring up every election.

Greg Karraker
Unincorporated Sonoma County
November 4, 2016

Simon says vote for anyone but Barich

The Community Voice:

So, who would possibly support George Barich when there are five other options? Ken Coleman of the Committee to take Back Cotati neither lives nor votes in Cotati, so one wonders where he plans to take Cotati back to. Orinda perhaps?

As the widow of a decorated Marine who Barich denigrated, I urge all to vote anyone but Barich. His lies are an insult to every veteran and caregiver in the country. But veterans aren’t the only objects of Barich attacks. Businesses that advertise as Spanish speaking, in his words “Se Habla Stupido.” His actions so insulted the black community that the NAACP protested. His contempt for women is legendary – oppose him and you are a busybody, an abusive mom, a crybaby and worse. As for the elderly – as he once wrote in this paper – they aren’t entitled to opinions because “they'll be dead soon.”

His “record” includes participation in the biggest political money laundering case in Sonoma County history! He was exposed by the press as the source of an anonymous hit piece filled with bogus quotes. Legal records show felony and misdemeanor pleas, including breaking probation. Yes folks, someone who has broken multiple laws wants to make the laws for you and me!

Joan Simon
Cotati
November 4, 2016

Susan Adams asks for your trustee vote

The Community Voice:

The past few months I’ve been going door to door as a candidate for school board, meeting with voters in Rohnert Park and Cotati, handing out campaign literature and talking about my vision for our schools. I have talked with many parents who, like me, have children who attend our schools. This has been the highlight of my campaign. As your school board trustee I will support innovative programs in science, engineering, math and technology; attracting and retaining the best teachers; programs that prepare students for college and careers; and ensuring all schools and classrooms meet current education and safety standards.

My parents moved our family to Rohnert Park in 1961 when I was three years old. I graduated from John Reed Elementary School, Rohnert Park Junior High School and Rancho Cotate High School. After graduating from college with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communications, I eventually married and began working in the family insurance business.

My husband and I live in Rohnert Park because of our great community and our excellent schools. Our children are in the 6th, 8th and 11th grade and attend Lawrence Jones Middle School and Rancho Cotate High School. We have seen firsthand the benefits of having gifted, passionate educators teach our three sons.

As a longtime resident I have had the opportunity to serve alongside many dedicated community volunteers. I’ve served most recently as a Planning Commissioner, PTA volunteer, and Vice President of the Cougar Boosters. Over the years I have led and volunteered in many other campaigns to support our schools.

If elected I will work tirelessly to ensure our students and teachers have the tools and support needed to succeed in the classroom. I would be honored to receive your vote to be a Trustee for the CRPUSD.

Susan Adams
Rohnert Park
November 4, 2016

Voting to re-elect Trustee Wiltermood

The Community Voice:

Why am I voting for Jennifer Wiltermood and Yes on C? In 2011, the school district was on the verge of being taken over by the State of California, there were not the required reserve funds in the budget, each year the budget was experiencing a shortfall, teacher salaries were frozen, libraries were closed, facilities were in disrepair and five teaching days had been dropped from the school year.

Superintendent Dr. Robert Haley was new to the district but he had ideas to turn this district around. In spring of 2012, the board of trustees approved putting Measure D on the ballot and it passed, putting $1.2 million a year back into the budget.

In 2013, it was decided it was time to put a bond measure on the ballot and Measure B, an $80 million bond, was passed in 2014, and in 2015 Measure D was passed extending the parcel tax. An extraordinary amount of work in just four short years. What did all this work mean? Additional funds for the general fund and for facilities.

Who helped to lead those campaigns? Jennifer.

She’s a hometown girl with a lot of pride in her community. After working with the district on the Measure D committee, Jennifer decided to take the next step to work within the school district. She ran for school board trustee in 2012 and won a seat at the table. I am a close friend of Jennifer’s, and I might be biased, but for the last four years I have watched Jennifer work tirelessly with the district, meeting with teachers and staff, visiting school’s sites and attending countless meetings.

It hasn’t always been easy, as there have been many times when she feels she’s hitting her head against the red tape of bureaucracy, but she has persevered and I am very proud of the things she has been able to accomplish. With the funds generated from the measures passed, the district no longer has to worry about the state taking over as there is a positive budget with a 4 percent reserve. They have reinstated class size reduction, re-opened closed schools, opened up libraries, updated technology district wide, remodeled Thomas Page Academy and added new safer playground structures at all the elementary schools.

They have also reinstated the five teaching days, restored teacher’s salaries and given raises; and students are staying in our district because of the variety of programs that are being offered. And instead of cutting programs they are expanding them. There is still plenty of work to be done. With the construction of new homes for the first time in 10-plus years, it looks as if our district may grow, how much they can’t be sure, but our schools still need attention and they need trustees like Jennifer Wiltermood who understand hard work and dedication and who is fiercely dedicated to making decisions that continue to put the students first, while also maintaining the financial health of the district. Join me on Nov. 8 and vote to re-elect Jennifer Wiltermood and yes on Measure C.

 

Shari Lorenz
Rohnert Park
November 4, 2016

Vote to keep Cotati safe and civil

The Community Voice:

There are three seats open on Cotati City Council. John Dell’Osso, Susan Harvey and Wendy Skillman have a proven track record, are known for their volunteerism and involvement with Cotati city life and have all picked up a range of endorsements.

The new candidates are Eris Weaver, who is on the Design Review Committee, has her own small business as a professional mediator, has been with the Chamber of Commerce, and as a volunteer with search and rescue; and Jason Goebel, a building contractor, who is quoted as saying that the current Council is doing a pretty good job. Barich was voted onto the City Council in November 2008 by a five-vote margin. He was recalled a year later in a special election by 65.7 percent of the voters because he ignored the fact of the Great Recession which impacted Cotati's finances.

Ever since then, George has focused on negative, hostile and often very personal attacks, speaking at any opportunity without regard to the subject matter. So be sure to use all three votes and keep Cotati fiscally responsible – and civil.

 

Neil Hancock
Cotati
November 4, 2016

Every election, itís the same story. My friend George Barich runs for Cotati City Council, and the same people try to smear him with the same innuendo and outright lies. I can almost guarantee there will be a few examples in this weekís letters. Here are the usual accusations, and here are Georgeís responses from his social media posts, Accusation: George is a felon. Response: In 1998, I was arrested on a pot charge caused by my roommate. I paid a $200 fine and had two years of probation. Accusation: George is a money launderer: Response: I was conned out of my money by several parties who said the money was going to the Coalition to Protect Cotati's Future. They said they no longer had a bank account and asked for cash. I was never part of any money laundering scheme and was in fact the victim. Check the FPPC records if you want their names. Accusatiion: George kept guns illegally. Response: My brother Ė a police officer -- stored a couple of guns in my outdoor shed with his other stuff. Based on a report that someone smelled pot in my house, the police searched my house. There was no pot but they found the guns. They dropped the charges against me and my brother got his guns back. Accusation: George is a racist because he once wore blackface at a Halloween party. My response: I had the pleasure of working with George on his newspaper. For more than three years, we met at least eight hours a month to discuss editorial content. Not once, in hundreds of hours of meetings, did he ever speak of any race in other than positive terms. My conclusion: Support Georgeís views on financial responsibility, limited government, and making Cotati business-friendly. Or support a City Council that continually raises taxes, tried to choke Old Red with roundabouts, and kept Oliverís from building a beautiful new store. But donít believe the lies and smears that his opponents bring up every election.
Greg Karraker
Sonoma County
November 1, 2016

Why am I voting for Jennifer Wiltermood and Yes on C? In 2011 the school district was on the verge of being taken over by the State of California, there were not the required reserve funds in the budget, each year the budget was experiencing a shortfall, teacher salaries were frozen, libraries were closed, facilities were in disrepair and five teaching days had been dropped from the school year. Dr. Haley was new to the district but he had ideas, ideas to turn this district around. In Spring of 2012 the Board of Trustees approved putting Measure D on the ballot and it passed putting $1.2 Million Dollars a year back into the budget. In 2013 it was decided it was time to put a bond measure on the ballot and Measure B and an $80 bond was passed in 2014, and in 2015 Measure D was passed extending the parcel tax. An extraordinary amount of work in just four short years. What did all this work mean? Additional funds for the general fund and for facilities. Who helped to lead those campaigns, Jennifer Wiltermood, a longtime community volunteer and advocate for children who was born and raised her and is raising her family hereÖsheís a hometown girl with a lot of pride in her community. After working with the District on the Measure D committee, Jennifer decided to take the next step to work within the school district, she ran for School Board Trustee in 2012 and won a seat at the table. I am a close friend of Jenniferís, and I might be biased, but for the last four years I have watched Jennifer work tirelessly with the district, meeting with teachers and staff, visiting schoolís sites and attending countless meetings. It hasnít always been easy, there have been many times when she feels sheís hitting her head against the red tape of bureaucracy, but she has persevered and I am very proud of the things she has been able to accomplish. With the funds generated from the Measures passed the district no longer has to worry about the state taking over as there is a positive budget with a 4% reserve, they have reinstated class size reduction, re-opened closed schools, opened up libraries, updated technology district wide, remodeled Thomas Page Academy, added new safer playground structures at all the elementary schools, given school sites funds for supplies and Rancho Cotate High School received a much needed facelift and is in the planning stages of a Theater Academic Gymnasium Building (TAG) that will be a benefit to the students and community. They have also reinstated the 5 teaching days, restored teacherís salaries and given raises; and Students are staying in our district because of the variety of programs that are being offered and instead of cutting programs they are expanding them. There is still plenty of work to be done. With the construction of new homes for the first time in 10+ years, it looks as if our district may grow, how much they canít be sure, but our schools still need attention and they need Trustees like Jennifer Wiltermood who understand hard work and dedication and who is fiercely dedicated to making decisions that continue to put the students first, while also maintaining the financial health of the district. Join me on November 8th and vote to Re-Elect Jennifer Wiltermood and YES on Measure C to keep the positive forward momentum!
Shari Lorenz
Rohnert Park
November 1, 2016

So who would possibly support George Barich when there are 5 other options? Ken Coleman of the Committee to take Back Cotati neither lives nor votes in Cotati, so one wonders where he plans to take Cotati back to? Orinda perhaps? As the widow of a decorated Marine who Barich denigrated I urge all to vote Anyone But Barich. His lies are an insult to every Veteran and caregiver in the country. But Veterans arenít the only objects of Barich attacks. Businesses that advertise as Spanish speaking, in his words ďSe Habla Stupido.Ē His actions so insulted the black community that the NAACP protested. His contempt for women is legendary- oppose him and you are a busybody, an abusive mom, a crybaby and worse. As for the elderly- as he once wrote in this paper- they aren't entitled to opinions because " they'll be dead soon." His ďrecordĒ includes participation in the biggest political money laundering case in Sonoma history! He was exposed by the press as the source of an anonymous hit piece filled with bogus quotes. Legal records show felony and misdemeanor pleas- including breaking probation. Yes folks, someone who has broken multiple laws wants to make the laws for you and me! And although he promised not to take a salary if elected, he took every dime- and cost the City more in benefits than anyone else. With 5 other choices running in Cotati, who would possibly vote for George Barich?
Joan Simon
Cotati
November 1, 2016

Editor, I was recently in Reno, NV and was shocked at how much plastic bag litter I saw. There were bags blowing in the streets and caught on bushes everywhere. Since Sonoma County instituted its bag ban, I see very little plastic bag litter in our area. So, I urge a Yes vote on Proposition 67 to reduce litter, protect wildlife and reduce costs of waste clean up. Let the bag ban go statewide. I also encourage a No vote on Proposition 65. This is a deceptive measure put forth by the plastic bag industry claiming the grocers are making a money grab. In fact grocers do not support Proposition 65 and it would create a new state bureaucracy. I see no reason why grocers should not be able to charge customers for a bag they have procured for them. We donít expect them to give us milk they buy for our consumption! Donít be fooled by the plastic bag industry. Vote Yes on Proposition 67 and No on Proposition 65. Thank you, Laurie-Ann Barbour Cotati
Laurie-Ann Barbour
Cotati
October 29, 2016

Cotati committee makes its choices

The Community Voice:

The Committee to Take Back Cotati is a large group of concerned citizens who endorse George Barich and two others for Cotati City Council.

Rather than allow candidates to outright lie, talk out of both sides of their mouths and tell us what we want to hear to get our endorsement, the committee decided to endorse candidates based on our own observations of their track records.

George Barich is a proven leader who has exposed the corruption, waste, and fraud at city hall. For 18 years he has stood on principles, poked political correctness in the eye, provided logic and common sense to city hall when there was none. He walks door to door answering questions and even held office hours at City Hall for walk-ins when he served on the council.

Barich has proven he will not go along just to get along. He has never taken a dime from anybody, unlike the current five council members. Is it no wonder that so many residents and local business owners in Cotati support Barich? He even started Cotati's only newspaper, "The Cotati Independent" in 2011 and gave everyone, including the socialists, a chance to submit articles and letters before his advertisers were shaken down and intimidated by Councilman Mark Landman.

Cotati is in a clear state of decline and needs responsible leadership. The current crop of do-nothing, dishonest, lazy, foul-mouth city council members must be replaced by transparent, common sense, longtime, honorable residents who actually own and run real businesses. The current incumbents Susan Harvey, John Dell’Osso, and Wendy Skillman have done irreparable damage to our town. They have all been found guilty in a federal court of violating Barich’s civil rights during a city council meeting in 2014, and they are currently under investigation by the Sonoma County District Attorney for violating California open meeting laws.

We want to do everything possible to see that Cotati is not forced to merge with Rohnert Park in the coming years because of ongoing mismanagement of our town. Therefore, we endorse the challengers in this race.

Ken Coleman
Cotati
October 28, 2016

Reader tired of wasteful spending

The Community Voice:

I, too, looked over the items I am being charged for on my property taxes.  I was appalled to see over $600 in school bonds dating back to the 1990s.

A couple of things we must vote for:

• Vote no on Measure C: If you are a homeowner, think about your property taxes going higher; if you are a renter, your rent will go sky-high to cover the landlord's sky-rocketing property tax.

 • Vote for common sense people for Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District Board Trustees like Timothy Nonn and Chrissa Gillies.  We need to stop supporting curriculum, such as common core, the dumbing-down of the grading system and start teaching about what makes America exceptional, like our history, our founders and our Constitution.

Don’t be fooled again! Vote no on Measure C.

Lino Zamacona
Rohnert Park
October 28, 2016

Buildings donít make an education great

 

The Community Voice:

Rohnert Park voters are faced with another request for construction funds for schools. Mailers in support of the “Yes on C” vote are polished public relation pieces with significant campaign contributions from architectural and construction firms.

The mailers pitch that the $80 million bond measure, actually more than $160 million with interest, is to promote quality of education, but quality of education does not depend upon buildings. Quality education depends upon curricula, courses, and teachers.

High schools in the United States are regularly evaluated for the quality of education by US News and World Report. The evaluation includes graduation rates, quality of courses and college entrance examination performance, adjusted for socioeconomic and minority status. When Rancho Cotate High School is compared to other California schools and nationally, it is unranked because the school’s combined scores are too low to qualify for ranking. As determined by the California High School Exit Examination, 50 percent of the students are not proficient in Mathematics and 57 percent not proficient in English.

Technology High School fares better. The school is ranked 492nd among California high schools, and nationally ranked as 2,614 among high schools.

The California High School Exit Examination finds 89 percent of Technology students proficient in mathematics and 92 percent proficient in English. This is far higher than regional averages and the results are higher than the 19th, 20th, and 21st ranked high schools in California.

Given Technology’s outstanding test results and outstanding student body, why is the school not ranked in accord with its California High School Exit Test results? The answer is twofold: First, Technology does not provide sufficient Advanced Placement (AP) courses so that students may be compared on a national level, and second, the curriculum does not accord with California’s A-G course requirements for admission to the University of California or California State Schools. Therefore, Technology students are often left scrambling to take make-up courses at Santa Rosa Junior College. Similarly, Rancho Cotate’s poor standing is, in part, a function of its course offerings and curriculum guidance. Can the Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District do better? Yes, it can by putting money and resources where it counts, into courses, curricula, and rewarding teachers who deliver education. A school building facelift diverts attention from the central task of a school district. As the late Hiam Ginnot might have quipped, “Buildings do not education make.”

Emeritus Professor of Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies and former Visiting Professor at Teachers College, Columbia University.

Leland van den Daele
Emeritus Professor of Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies
October 28, 2016

Say no to big money, vote Gillies and Nonn

The Community Voice:

I would like to ask the voters of Rohnert Park to please vote for Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District Board of Trustee candidates Chrissa Gillies and Tim Nonn. They are No. 2 and No. 4. They have been endorsed by the teachers’ union and Trustees Leff Brown and Ed Gilardi. Please do not vote for Susan Adams, as she was the person behind the negative mailers and Robo-calls against my husband, Leff Brown, in the 2014 election and before that against Karyn Pulley. She spread falsehoods and innuendos against both of them. After 30 years of volunteering in our community, my husband was very hurt by such lies. He is an honest and trustworthy man of integrity, not the person she tried to sully with lies. He did not run 800 students out of Rohnert Park, the recession did!!

Thankfully, the voters saw this as unsavory and untrue and voted him in for another term. Susan Adams was fined for her behavior during that election. We were a better community than that.

We have had fair and positive school board elections for at least the last 30 years. If you notice, Susan Adams and Jennifer Wiltermood have many large signs around town in places where campaign signs have never been placed before. Many on Codding properties and city properties. She has ads on TV! They must have very deep pockets to afford all those signs and TV ads!

Perhaps they are getting money for pay to play from the builders who stand to make millions if they build new school buildings voted on and supported by these two candidates. Only wealthy people will be able to run for a trustee seat from now on to be able to compete with big money from builders, lawyers and whoever else stands to make money off the school district. Yes sir, right here in little ole Rohnert Park, nasty campaigning is happening. Just say "no" to lies and big money and vote for Tim Nonn and Chrissa Gillies, No. 2 and No. 4 on your Nov. 8 ballot.

Janice Brown
Rohnert Park
October 28, 2016

Teacher voting for Nonn and Gillies

The Community Voice:

We have a very important choice for school board in this election. As a teacher and parent in the Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District, I am supporting Tim Nonn and Chrissa Gillies for school board trustees.

Together, they will bring the necessary transparency and accountability to our district to improve student achievement, to ensure that we have safe learning and working conditions for students and employees, engage teachers and the community to end top-down decision making, and they will ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent on students and not wasted paying San Francisco attorneys and outside consultants whose contributions have been questioned by many classroom teachers.

When Ms. Gillies and Mr. Nonn become trustees, the citizens of Cotati and Rohnert Park will no longer read in their local paper about the administration ignoring a gas leak at Rancho Cotate High School for three months; a grading fiasco that made our district look utterly incompetent in our community and beyond, and never again will a superintendent improperly intrude in a student body election involving his or her child.

The Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District claims that it seeks to attract and retain the very best teachers, but under our current leadership we have seen an unprecedented turnover of teachers and school psychologists. Not only have we seen a high turnover, multiple legal actions have been filed against the district because of its abusive behavior towards teachers and support staff. This will stop with the election of Ms. Gillies and Mr. Nonn who will insist that all employees and their elected representatives are treated with respect and dignity. When Ms. Gillies and Mr. Nonn are elected, citizens will no longer have to file requests under the Freedom of Information Act to get access to basic information about how our district operates.

Transparency will be the guiding principle for our district when Ms. Gillies and Mr. Nonn become trustees.

During the past two years when all of the problems described above have taken place, Jennifer Wiltermood has been the board president. She has failed to provide the necessary oversight and has failed to hold accountable the behavior of our current superintendent and his leadership team.

Susan Adams, who is running to replace retiring trustee Ed Gilardi, has participated in two smear campaigns against former trustee, Karyn Pulley, and current trustee, Leff Brown, because they dared to question the leadership of our superintendent.

Trustees Gilardi and Brown have endorsed both Ms. Gillies and Mr. Nonn because they understand that we need fresh leadership in our school district. Please join me and others in our community who want the very best learning environment for our students and the very best working conditions for the employees in our school district by voting for Tim Nonn and Chrissa Gillies on Nov. 8. Thank you.

Maha Gregoretti
Rohnert Park
October 28, 2016

Tax bill prompts vote of no on Measure C

The Community Voice:

I believe it’s time for Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District to look beyond the property owners to raise funds for the schools in their district. After looking at my current property tax bill and getting some additional information from CRPUSD, I realized these bonds that have been passed will continue to cost property owners for as long as 36 years.

The 1990 bonds will be on our tax bills until 2026, the 2014 bonds until 2049, and the Cotati-RP direct charge of $89 until 2024.

We currently have another one on the ballot and the district was unable to tell me how long we’d be paying for that one. Also, I have heard they would like another bond measure on the ballot in 2018.

Enough is enough with these taxes! Vote “no” on Measure C.

Lorie Gomes
Rohnert Park
October 28, 2016

Measures K and Q deserve our votes

The Community Voice:

Measure K, for community separators in Sonoma County, and Measure Q (for Cotati’s urban growth boundary) are complementary. Both are designed to protect farmlands and open space from urban sprawl.  

Urban Growth Boundaries (UGBs), passed by individual cities, and community separators, throughout the county, were created by ballot measures more than 20 years ago. The UGBs are expiring and will be renewed on various different timelines independently for each city. Cotati voters will be voting on Measure Q this fall to renew its existing urban growth boundary for another 30 years.

Measure K if approved will help protect 53,576 acres of rural lands from urban development throughout the county. Not only does this help maintain the unique identity and distinct character of each city or town, it also helps to protect agricultural land, open space, watersheds, groundwater recharge areas, wildlife habitat and corridors, and by protecting our air, water and soil helps to provide a better quality of life for all Sonoma County inhabitants.

For further information on Measure K,  go to www.KeepCommunitySeparators.com.

For information on Measure Q, go to www.CotatiUGB.org

As a 20-year resident of Cotati, I love our small town and also the beautiful diverse ecosystems of Sonoma County from oak woodlands and redwoods to meadows and wetlands, and enjoy the wide variety of foods available from local farms. 

I urge you to help protect Sonoma County’s greenbelts and vote Yes on K!  If you vote in Cotati, vote Yes on Q, too!

Jenny Blaker
Cotati
October 20, 2016

Sounds of train revive memories

The Community Voice:

About the train…although the tracks are only two blocks from my home, I do hear the whistle and I love it so far.

It reminds me of many times of my past. Hopefully, we won’t have bad accidents because of foolish decisions from people who don’t respect the ability of the trains to stop on a dime. OK, I’m almost 90, so that has to factor into my opinion.

Shirley Templin
Rohnert Park
October 20, 2016

Nonn, Gillies are not backed by big money

The Community Voice:

Do you see those big signs all over Rohnert Park and Cotati pushing for Susan Adams and Jennifer Wiltermood to be elected as school board trustees?  Big signs equal big money but do not equal the best choices for trustees.

Do you wonder why the other two candidates' signs are not on those big business street corners?  Big business will not permit them to be there.

You will find small signs of Tim Nonn and Chrissa Gillies throughout neighborhoods.  These two candidates represent the residents of Cotati and Rohnert Park.  There has been a grass roots movement during the past year to get new board members who will represent the interests of our students, not the superintendent and his agenda.  Nonn and Gillies will ask questions and represent students, not buildings and facilities.  They will help to stop the wasteful spending and curb the rising taxes created through never-ending school bonds.

Tim Nonn and Chrissa Gillies lay out specific plans in their websites.  They both tell it like it is.  Take 90 minutes and watch how these two articulate and educated candidates responded at the Rotary Forum for School Board Candidates on Oct. 13. See one of the other candidates tell you how most things are resolved behind closed doors before school board meetings occur.  Listen to these opponents tell you how wonderful everything is in our school district.  Then consider how Chrissa Gillies has done extensive research regarding wasteful spending and mismanagement.  Hear how Tim Nonn discusses the need for the focus to be on student achievement.

Vote for change, transparency, fiscal responsibility and student success.  Vote for Tim Nonn and Chrissa Gillies for Trustees of the Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District.

 

 

Lanny Lowery, English teacher
Rancho Cotate High School, Rohnert Park
October 20, 2016

Tax bill from school bonds is outrageous

The Community Voice:

Its an outrage the schools are asking for more money. I got my property tax bill today. Theres already a total of $834 in school bond charges.

The largest one is from 1990 for $397 for the Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District. I’m on a fixed income and I can’t afford another increase in my property tax. From what I’ve read, we pay back three times the amount that is borrowed over the life of the bond. That doesn’t sound like good business to me.

I’m paying more in a month in property tax than I paid for a mortgage payment. My house is a basic 1977 tract home. I’ve put eight children through school. I think I’ve done my duty. It looks like we need another 1978 Prop. 13 tax revolt so us seniors won’t get taxed out of our homes. Vote no new taxes or bonds.

Richard Cole
Rohnert Park
October 20, 2016

Wiltermood should be re-elected to board

The Community Voice:

Our absentee ballots came earlier this week and everyone in my family voted for Jennifer Wiltermood and Yes on Measure C. 

I met Jennifer after Goldridge Elementary School was closed and our PTA was combined with Evergreen Elementary’s PTA. 

Jennifer was very welcoming to the teachers, parents and students, helping to make it a smooth transition.  She is gracious, kind and works her heart out for our kids.

I have first-hand experience working with Jennifer and know how hard she works for all of the children in our district.

She is dedicated to ensure parents have choices in the education that works best for their students, the students have the tools they need in the classroom and the teachers have the supplies and technology they need for teaching.

She has served the past four years on our school board and is the same, hardworking Jennifer I first met on the Evergreen PTA. 

I am proud to call her my friend and I hope you will join me in re-electing Jennifer Wiltermood, School Board Trustee.

Kim Franzini
Rohnert Park
October 20, 2016

Reader says enough is enough; No on C

The Community Voice:

I received my tax bill last week. Five different charges are listed for supporting our school districts. It added up to 17 percent of my property tax bill.

In fact, 26 years later we’re still paying for the 1990 bond. At what point do property owners stop becoming the ATM for school districts? When is enough really enough? Now the Cotati Rohnert Park School District is asking for another $80 million bond (Measure C) even though they have millions of dollars left from the $80 million bond (Measure B) we passed in 2014. And we passed Measure D to give them a steady stream of income by way of a parcel tax.

If Measure C passes, school district taxes will represent 20 percent of my property tax bill! And I’m one of the lucky ones because I bought my house three decades ago. Those newer homeowners with higher assessments are paying hundreds if not thousands of dollars more than I am. Oh, and if Measure C passes, the district has already stated they’ll be coming back in a few years with yet another     $ 80 million bond request. Again, when is enough really enough?

They say they need this money to upgrade schools, yet they spend thousands of dollars on slick informational propaganda, legal fees, political consultants, bond marketing fees that you and I pay for with our taxes. Why aren’t they using the millions they have more wisely? Money that could be purchasing needed classroom supplies and providing required maintenance and repair?

Well, I and many of my neighbors are saying enough is enough. We’re voting NO on Measure C. We’re also voting for the two candidates who’ll bring transparency and fiscal oversite to our Board of Trustees – Mr. Tim Nonn and Ms. Chrissa Gillies, so that the board can provide proper oversight to the district superintendent and the district office instead of being a rubber stamp for them. Stop no-bid contracts. Stop excessive legal fees. Stop the insider wheeling and dealing in our school district. Vote No on Measure C and Vote for Nonn and Gillies.

David Albaugh
Rohnert Park
October 20, 2016

Check tax bill before you vote

The Community Voice:

I just got my property tax bill for the upcoming year and noticed how much I am already paying for school bonds. I recommend that you check your bill before voting.

Michelle Lua
Rohnert Park
October 20, 2016

Stuttering Awareness Day is October 22

The Community Voice:

October 22 is International Stuttering Awareness Day. Did you know that 70 million people worldwide stutter--more than the population of France?

For nearly 70 years, the Stuttering Foundation has offered free information about stuttering and its treatment.

To mark this year’s awareness day, we’ve compiled information for all ages from speech-language pathologists around the world who specialize in the treatment of stuttering. This invaluable info can be found at www.StutteringHelp.org.

We hope to reach everyone with accurate and informed information about stuttering.

 

 

Jane Fraser, president
The Stuttering Foundation
October 20, 2016

Nonn, Gillies for school board

The Community Voice:

The big signs are now up around Rohnert Park. Measure C, Susan Adams and Jennifer Wiltermood for Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District Board of Trustees.

Big signs on every major corner. There are two others running for the school board – Timothy Nonn and Chrissa Gillies. No signs on major street corners.

Nonn and Gillies signs are in front yards. They are not supported by the district but they are supported by the teachers’ union.

Timothy Nonn had a letter to the editor in The Community Voice stating the myths of Measure C.

How refreshing to have someone running for office that speaks the truth. Could the problem be Superintendent Dr. Haley?

He has a history. The St Helena school district has warned us of him.

Big money and big signs are irrelevant this election year.

Michelle Millsap
Rohnert Park
October 18, 2016

Itís time to change stripes on board

The Community Voice:

A well-known saying suggests leopards are born with a designated number of spots and as such, can’t change these spots.

Unlike the leopard, elections allow voters to change the spots of those in leadership roles, be it national, state or local elections. 

Specifically, we are referring to the election of School Board Trustees for Cotati Rohnert Park Unified School District.  Time has evolved, challenges remain, effective collaborative leadership is visibly lacking. It’s imperative to create change within CRPUSD School Board leadership.

Change for the students, teachers, parents and stakeholders of CRPUSD can come with the election of Tim Nonn and Chrissa Gillies. 

Tim and Chrissa are being endorsed by trustees with 54 years of experience that embraced effective leadership. Ed Gilardi, Leff Brown and Karyn Pulley believe the leadership of Tim and Chrissa will provide CRPUSD outstanding governance focused on creating an excellent and effective balance between school to career and extracurricular activities. 

They will focus on creating programs and experiential learning environments that will meet and exceed the common core standards, higher test scores, providing opportunities for all students to achieve success. 

Their mission is setting direction and focus in the district based on four basic principles; transparency, accountability, communication, and collaboration.

Effective leadership is currently remiss within CRPUSD. While viewing the board live streaming, it can easily be witnessed that existing board leadership is inverted. The sole concern or cause is from an individual who worries if three votes, the effect, will be garnished to reach his own personal goals and objectives.  The Board of Trustees has one employee, not that employee, the superintendent, directing the board.  

Tim Nonn and Chrissa Gillies will not allow that to continue, but instead govern through effective leadership.

School boards govern through effective leadership.  School boards in collaboration with staff, teachers, students, parents, stakeholders, work to set the direction for the school district, remembering to keep the focus on the students and their learning. School boards prioritize school finance; work with all aspects of human resources and personnel, working towards effective collective bargaining. 

School boards maintain effective communication and transparency in everyday work within the district. The school board hires, fires, and supervises the superintendent, their one employee. 

This is a partial list of the roles and responsibilities of effective leadership of a School Board trustee, all of which can and will be included in the leadership of Tim Nonn and Chrissa Gillies.

There is another saying that describes close relationships between apples, trees, and people.  In this district, there are two other candidates, who from all outward observations haven’t fallen far from the direct influence and direction of the superintendent.

Their tendency will be to comprise two of three votes needed, therefore, the status quo will remain. The property owners of the district will continue to accrue indebtedness, tests scores will remain at lower levels, there will be no collaboration among the trustees, and effective leadership will be lacking.

Governance will not be by a board, but instead by in name only, where they will be of service not to the community, as elected and took the oath of office to uphold and do, but to that of only the likes, needs, planned expenditures, and more of the superintendent.

That influence and direction will not allow them to think independently.  

Independent thinkers could generate transparency, accountability, effective communication and collaboration. 

The election of these two candidates will not help the educational model needed for our students and their future. 

The communities of Rohnert Park and Cotati deserve the best educational model available, a model where the student’s successes are put first.

 

Karyn Pulley
Rohnert Park
October 18, 2016

Reader supports Nonn and Gillies

The Community Voice:

After reading Livia Prado’s letter, Monday describing reasons why Susan Adams is qualified to become a school board trustee for the Cotati Rohnert Park School District, I felt that some additional facts should be shared with voting parents and community members in Rohnert Park and Cotati.

In the 2012 school board election, Ms. Adams was accused of initiating hateful Robo-calls disparaging and denigrating Trustee Karyn Pulley. The Fair Political Practice Commission fined Susan Adams for falsifying legal documents and using a fictitious name. Adams refused to apologize to the community for her actions. 

In 2014, Susan Adams wrote a letter to the Editor of the Press Democrat stating that, 65-year-old Leff Brown was too old to continue to serve as a board member after giving 20 years of service as a trustee to Cotati Rohnert Park.  In spite of Adams’ ageist remarks, Leff was reelected to the board.  This was in large part due to the teachers’ supporting efforts. Leff remains the only board member who questions the current superintendent.

I urge you to demand a high degree of transparency and discussion from this board of trustees.  Electing Susan Adams will only serve to assure that the present superintendent will continue his top down agenda.

Vote Tim Nonn and Chrissa Gillies for school board. They are both ethical, knowledgeable about school budgets and accounting, practice transparency and both are highly capable of questioning district leadership.

Janet Lowery
Rohnert Park
October 17, 2016

Reader encourages a vote for change

 The Community Voice:

Change is badly needed on the Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District Board of Trustees. Current Trustees Leff Brown and Ed Gilardi, and former Trustee Karyn Pulley, have joined local teachers in endorsing Chrissa Gillies and Tim Nonn. They will work to reverse five years of declining enrollment, graduation rates and test scores, and to end wasteful spending.

Presently, district leadership is inverted. The superintendent is managing the school board instead of the other way around, as intended.

Board President Jennifer Wiltermood, who is running for re-election, has shown an irresponsible lack of concern for transparency and accountability. She has refused to answer parents’ questions about gas leaks and a lack of school safety plans, high legal fees, untested grading systems, inoperable teacher-student-parent software, improper administration intervention in a high school student election, and more.

Her running mate, Susan Adams, directed two smear campaigns in 2012 and 2014 against independent candidates who asked tough questions of the superintendent. The status quo candidates will bring four more years of declining student achievement, high property taxes and wasteful spending.

Chrissa and Tim will restore fiscal responsibility, collaborative leadership, transparency and a focus on student success. Vote for change!

Laurie Williams
Rohnert Park
October 17, 2016

Kudos to Giovenazzo on Glendi fest story

The Community Voice:

In your, Sept. 23 edition, there was a story (“Good food, good vibes rule Glendi Festival) that was so very well written that I wanted to give a shout out to the writer, Isabella Giovenazzo.

Of course, the ending with the fine quotes from the homeless man was surprising and inspiring, as were the quotes from the various “saintly” volunteers. It made me proud to be in a county where such events can be pulled off year after year, “even if it’s only held for two days on a small piece of property off a short country road.”

The first time I went, we asked the young priest at the entrance what the word Glendi meant: “Enjoy” he explained, with vim and vigor, and that is what everyone does there.

Thanks, Isabella Giovenazzo and thanks also to The Community Voice. The photo of Father Lawrence by Robert Grant was handsome too!

J.J. Wilson
Penngrove
October 17, 2016

Adamsí leadership needed on board

 The Community Voice:

I’m helping elect Susan Adams to the Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District Board of Trustees because she has worked tirelessly as chair of The Committee to Protect Cotati-Rohnert Park Schools, which has provided nearly $100 million in locally controlled funds for our students.

Susan’s leadership resulted in the modernization of Cotati’s Thomas Page Academy and added two state of the art buildings with 12 new classrooms and a science lab; the installation of safe, modern playgrounds designed for exploring and learning at all elementary campuses; modernization of Rancho Cotate High School’s exterior; modernization of classrooms on multiple campuses; and the development and installation of district wide technology infrastructure to enable 21st century learning and important safety upgrades on all district campuses.

Please join me in voting to elect Susan Adams, School Board Trustee.

 

Pam Stafford
City Councilwoman, Rohnert Park
October 17, 2016

Retired teacher makes his preference known

The Community Voice:

As a retired teacher who began his career in the Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District back in 1985, and as a past president of the Rohnert Park Cotati Educators Association (RPCEA), I was pleased to learn that RPCEA, which represents over 300 teachers, counselors, nurses, school psychologists, and speech therapists has endorsed Chrissa Gillies and Tim Nonn for the school board.

 

It is essential we elect two new trustees who are independent of the current leadership team to ensure the very best learning conditions for our students and the very best working conditions for teachers and support staff.

 

Ms. Gillies and Mr. Nonn believe very strongly that our school district must make wise use of taxpayer dollars so that every available dollar is spent in the classroom helping our students achieve a quality education. Scarce dollars should not be spent paying unnecessary legal fees to a San Francisco law firm, to outside consultants and on faulty grading software. Hundreds of thousands of dollars that could have been spent helping our students have been unnecessarily squandered. For every $100,000 that is spent on unnecessary legal fees, on outside consultants, and on faulty grading software, we could provide 3,333 hours of tutoring for students outside of the school day to help these students be successful at the elementary, middle and high school level.

 

This could be done by paying our teachers at the contracted rate of $30 per hour to provide such tutoring services, and you could provide even more assistance by having aspiring teachers from Sonoma State University tutoring our students. We should remember not every child has the benefit of living in a home where one or both parents has the time or means to provide their children with the necessary support and enrichment that is essential for student success. The more one-on-one assistance that can be provided for our students, the better. If Ms. Gillies and Mr. Nonn are elected, we know we will have at least two trustees who are committed to providing every available taxpayer dollar to helping our students.

 

If our students are going to be successful, teachers, staff and the administration at both the district level and the site level truly need to be working together in a collaborative manner, and it is essential that we have trustees who will insist that this collaboration takes place.

 

On more than one occasion educators in our district have been polled on this subject, and their overall morale as reported in The Community Voice has been less than desirable. The results of these surveys should be a concern for all of us. Ms. Gillies and Mr. Nonn are committed to improving the morale in our district, eliminating top-down decision making, and engaging the community so conditions can be created that will improve student performance.

 

In my final years as a teacher and as RPCEA President, I was deeply disturbed to hear from a number of teachers and support staff who feared they would face retribution if they spoke up and respectfully voiced their concerns. Fear and intimidation have no place in any school district, and we must have trustees who will insist that such a working atmosphere will not exist in our district. Never again should a teacher or any other employee be fearful or experience any form of reprimand for sharing their concerns about safety or other issues that impact our students. Ms. Gillies and Mr. Nonn will insist the voices of our educators and the concerns of all of are respected.

 

 

Richard Neffson, Retired teacher
Rohnert Park
October 17, 2016

Donít hold breath on State Farm property

The Community Voice:

I will never live long enough to see the State Farm property developed by the City of Rohnert Park. Possibly by 2020 they might have the plans ready so don't hold your breath. I won't.

 

 

Ernest Giono
Rohnert Park
October 13, 2016

Council candidate sets record straight

The Community Voice:

I am running for the Cotati City Council. It has just been drawn to my attention that someone calling themselves The Committee to Take Back Cotati is distributing a flier titled “Dump the Incumbents,” endorsing me along with two other candidates.

To set the record straight:

• 1. I have never heard of The Committee to Take Back Cotati, and I did NOT authorize them to use my name.

• 2. I do NOT agree with all of the allegations made in the flier.

• 3. I have made a pledge to say NOTHING negative about any of the other candidates, and have stayed true to that promise as I campaign, speaking only about my own positions and thoughts and NOT those of any of my opponents.

• 4. The flier should NOT be interpreted as my endorsement of the two other candidates listed. I have neither publicly endorsed nor criticized ANY of the other candidates.

 

Eris Weaver
Cotati
October 13, 2016

Measure C another unnecessary tax

The Community Voice:

As a homeowner in Rohnert Park and a parent whose children have attended our schools, I strongly oppose Jennifer Wiltermood and Susan Adams for the Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District Board of Trustees. They are working hard to raise our taxes with yet another school bond this election. Measure C, an $80 million bond, is only one of five bonds and parcel taxes, passed or planned for the district. Enough is enough!

Is Measure C even necessary? No. A massive building program is misguided. The district’s own studies show expected enrollment will only rise by less than 200 students over the next five years. Are higher taxes and a huge debt burden improving student achievement? No. Student test scores, graduation rates and college/career preparedness are declining. We should restore a focus on student success instead of unnecessary building programs. Buildings don’t teach students. Teachers do. Put resources into classrooms. I’m voting for Chrissa Gillies and Tim Nonn to restore fiscal responsibility.

Sam Diamond
Rohnert Park
October 13, 2016

Adams the right choice for board

The Community Voice:

Vera and I (Dan Blanquie) are supporting Susan Adams in the election for Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District Board of Trustees.

Susan has lived in and served our community for many years. She and her husband, Sean, have three boys who are currently enrolled in our schools. Vera and I are both past presidents of the Education Foundation, an organization which has raised over $1.5 million in support of students and teachers.

Susan has always been supportive of our efforts by giving of her time and financial support to the Education Foundation. On another note, I have served personally with Susan on the Parks and Recreation Master Plan Committee and as a member of the Rohnert Park Planning Commission for many years. During the years I’ve served with Susan I’ve found her to be both insightful and decisive. Susan is a consensus builder and an excellent communicator. Frankly, I find Susan to be one of the brightest people in our community. Our school district would be well served by having Susan Adams serve as our school board trustee.

 

 

Dan and Vera Blanquie
Rohnert Park
October 13, 2016

All candidates for CRPUSD are flawed

The Community Voice:

The one thing that this general election will be known for most is that so many races require a choice of the lesser of two evils. The candidates for the Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District Board of Trustees are a perfect example.

On the one hand there is the pro-Superintendent Robert Haley camp consisting of Sue Adams and Jennifer Wiltermood. Their identification with the person whom they are supposed to be supervising and managing constitutes a clear conflict of interest.

On the other is the pro-union camp of Chrissa Gillies and Timothy Nonn. Their endorsement by the unions, which represent the teachers and staff will make them beholden to those interests when it comes to making decisions. Where is a candidate who has no conflict of interest when it comes to representing the people who should be the board’s No. 1 constituency – the parents and taxpayers? Why would people want to spend thousands of dollars to win a job that doesn’t pay anything and requires lots of hours of meetings?

Look at the full page ad in The Community Voice and the answer is clear – power. The CRPUSD Board controls money and policy. The corruption that such power works in our state and national politics has the same effect in little old Cotati and Rohnert Park.

So next month, hold your nose, close your eyes and vote. It will not make much difference because most of the choices are bad.

Richard Armerding
Rohnert Park
October 13, 2016

Voting to renew community separators

The Community Voice:

For the last 20 years Sonoma County community separators have kept green buffers between our cities, freeing us from urban sprawl and strip malls that plague so many other areas in California.

With a yes for Measure K in November, our community separators will be renewed for another 20 years. The separators complement the urban growth boundaries (UGB) around our cities by safeguarding rural/agriculture landscapes in adjacent county lands.

Let’s not risk losing more farm lands and rural landscapes. Greenbelts preserve our economy, environment and public health. Even better news is Measure K is a tax free initiative so there is no cost to taxpayers. A vote for Measure K in November will ensure land protections for ours and future generations.  It will also help keep Sonoma County the beautiful place we so enjoy.

Christina Meyer
Rohnert Park
October 13, 2016

Maybe SMART could turn down the horn

The Community Voice: I understand the need for the horn to blow...that being said I am not sure it is necessary to be so loud. The folks on Snyder Lane and Petaluma Hill road are in no danger and therefore do not need warning that the train is approaching. It would seem reasonable to lower the level of the horn. It is far louder than necessary to warn of an oncoming train.  

Janice Raridon
Rohnert Park
September 26, 2016

Five myths about CRPUSD Measure C

The Community Voice: • MYTH: There is only one $80 million bond. FACT: Measure C is the second of three $80 million bonds. (Measure B, the original bond, was passed in 2014; a third bond is planned for 2018.) Total bonds issued will be $240,000,000. Total annual homeowner taxes will be $49/100,000 in home value times 3, or $147/100,000. This does not include the debt obligation for the 1990 bond and the 2015 parcel tax. (http://crpusd.schoolwires.net/cms/lib6/CA01001831/Centricity/Domain/42/2016%2006%2028%20Agenda%20Packet.pdf) • MYTH: There is an urgent need of $240 million for building improvements to cope with an expected influx of new students. FACT: The District’s current building capacity can already accommodate an influx of approximately 2,800 new students. Enrollment is currently stagnant and the District predicts new enrollment at just 184 students over five years. (http://www.crpusd.org/Page/4518 - Developer Fee Study dated March 2016, Table 8, Page 9). • MYTH: The total cost to taxpayers – principal plus interest – will be $492 million. (http://crpusd.schoolwires.net/cms/lib6/CA01001831/Centricity/Domain/42/2016%2006%2028%20Agenda%20Packet.pdf) FACT: Independent analysis puts the average total cost to taxpayers at nearly $1 billion. The figure of $480 million used by the district is the lowest possible cost. (http://hechingerreport.org/controversial-school-bonds-create-debt-for-the-next-generation/) • MYTH: Quality education is achieved by constructing big new buildings. FACT: Quality education is achieved by retaining good teachers at competitive salaries and fully funding necessary programs for students to improve declining academic achievement and graduation rates. MYTH: Homeowners on a fixed income can opt out of new bond taxes. FACT: This option only applies to a parcel tax, not bonds. These bonds hurt seniors and fixed-income residents alike.

(Editor’s note: Timothy Nonn is a candidate for the Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District Board of Trustees.) 

Timothy Nonn
Rohnert Park
September 26, 2016

Former colleague has praise for Bricker

The Community Voice: Kim Bricker is one of the most amazing, brilliant, energetic and compassionate employees to grace the halls and rooms of Rancho Cotate, Mt. Shadows, Creekside and the CRPUSD. Those of us who were lucky enough to work with her were/are blessed. The positive impact she had on her students and colleagues was a beautiful thing. 

Donna McKenna
Rohnert Park
September 26, 2016

Barich takes issue with Snyderís column

The Community Voice: Is Jud Snyder ignorant, senile, jealous, or just an aspiring comic? Each election cycle it’s the same old song. If I, George Barich, don’t run for Cotati City Council I will surely be labeled in this newspaper as a quitter and/or a coward. If I do run for city council and actually give local voters some real hope for change in the right direction, Snyder gets his panties in a knot. Look, the jig is up. The voters need to see this newspaper for what it is, a mouthpiece for the status quo and cheerleading squad for more loony leftist local government gone wild. If it wasn’t for George Barich, there would not have been a Cotati council race at all the past eight years. Jud Snyder has boldly exclaimed to me that Cotati is so screwed up that he won’t cover Cotati news anymore. But like always, he will soon endorse the incumbent candidates who are well financed by local interests who always stay far under the radar. Snyder is not doing voters any favors by bashing any challengers, never returning my emails, and refusing to be objective. Who would dare run for city council when up against such bullies and the political goon squads doing the dirty work behind the scenes intent on holding onto power at any cost? It’s clear that this newspaper wants to see only democrats on these city councils who all vote in lock step with one another. Don’t be fooled. For the 100th time, please take note, Mr. Snyder. Anyone who actually wants to serve on the Cotati City Council, knowing what I know, needs to have his/her head examined. If you, the voters, want more bought and paid for candidates who have their hand out for anyone who will grease it in exchange for special favors, vote Susan Harvey, John Dell’Osso, and Wendy Skillman who are marching Cotati ever closer to the need to merge with Rohnert Park to reduce costs. Last, and it bears repeating. I have always wore the recall as a badge of honor, a price one pays for exposing this city for its criminal, unethical, irresponsible, racist, intolerant conduct and its bully tactics. No one ever said taking back Cotati was going to be easy or come without a price. Until Cotati citizens stop begging me to run for Cotati city council, the socialist democrats here will just have to deal with me and my supporters who want their voice on our city council.  

George Barich
Cotati
September 15, 2016

Boutique contributes LJMS drama club

 The Community Voice: I would like to publicly thank Second Wind Boutique, located in the Crossroads Center in Cotati, for their continuous, generous contributions to the Lawrence E. Jones Middle School Drama Club. Last year they donated to our spring production a large couch in excellent condition, and I can’t wait to use it again. This year, Alice called me and had me come over and go through an entire garage full of possible costumes. I took with me an assortment of poodle skirts, uniforms, formal gowns and even a wedding dress. My van was full of clothing for this fall’s musical, as well as performances to come. I am so appreciative to Alice and Mary for their generosity, and am always amazed at the interesting antiques and collectibles they have at their shop, along with all the vintage clothing. Please stop by Second Wind Boutique to thank them for supporting our schools.

Jill Zschach Drama Teacher
Lawrence E. Jones
September 15, 2016

Reader not on side of 49ers quarterback

The Community Voice:
Sorry Kapy (49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick), while I totally agree with your freedom of speech and expression, and while I agree that in the United States, it is almost like a process of osmosis to get laws changed legally and morally, I can't sit with you on this one.
As terrible the loss of any life under any adverse situation is, isn't it somewhat hypocritical for you and thousands of other educated African-Americans who make thousands and millions of dollars in your professions while thousands of your brothers and sisters are profiling each other by killing each other every day?
Why are you not marching in the neighborhood areas protesting these senseless slayings showing what you can do to change the profiling? Give the police and public reason not to profile, leading by example is the best teacher.
No Mr. Kaepernick, as a combat veteran, I cannot sit with you on this one.
While dishonoring all who fought and died for your/my right to do so. Even if you just stand and not salute, it would show at least respect for what is possible and what must happen for change.

Robert Fleak
Rohnert Park
September 8, 2016

RP resident slams unnecessary whistle

The Community Voice:
Recently there has been some discussion in the newspaper about the noise made by the train whistle or horn on the new SMART train.
Some persons have complained that the noise disturbs them.
The trains are running in test mode now, but when they begin the planned commute runs in December, there will be a lot more trains passing by and sounding their whistles or horns.
This noise is going to become a regular and frequent occurrence in our environment. I have given this subject some thought.
I can plainly hear the train whistle in my house about one-half mile from the train tracks in Rohnert Park. In fact, I just heard the whistle as I write this letter.
And I have heard the whistle from at least three quarters of a mile from the train tracks. I have often walked to the train tracks and beside the train tracks.
Lately, I have walked on the new bike and pedestrian paths and have biked along the paved portions of the pedestrian paths. I enjoy doing this and always look forward to catching a glimpse of the train as it rolls along during the current testing phase.
During these outings I have noticed that at every vehicle and pedestrian crossing in Rohnert Park there are signal lights that flash, bells that sound and gates that lower when the train approaches and then passes by. Those warning lights and bells seem quite adequate to warn the driver, biker or walker that the train is coming.
So it occurs to me that the train whistle is not needed. The whistle disturbs a lot of people but is not needed to warn anybody approaching the train tracks – the signal lights, bells, and gates seem adequate to this task.
The local residents do not need to hear a train whistle. It serves no purpose. Accordingly, I suggest that the train whistle not be sounded on a regular basis.
It should only be used in an emergency, that is, when someone is on the tracks or not staying behind the gates.

Ira Freed
Rohnert Park
September 8, 2016

Former player says thanks to coach

The Community Voice:
I played for Ed Conroy in 2004 and 2005. He certainly was a coach that Rancho (Cotate High School) was lucky to have.
He had a great feel for the game and instilled a lot of core values that I use today. Sad to see him go.
Can't imagine what the program would have been without him and hope it can continue to thrive when he retires.
Thank you Conroy for the many years of service.

Jason Key
Rohnert Park
September 8, 2016