Letters
November 15, 2018
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LandPaths connects people to protected land Cotati allows second dispensary Station Avenue gets final approval City of Cotati offers Thanksgiving week fun for kids Active duty honorees at the RP Veterans Day program Election projected winners November 6, 2018 Woman stabbed on west side of RP RP Foundation issues grant Titans crush Mustangs  Cougars blow past Gauchos  CA Homemaker Association needs volunteers Dr. Dominguez and Hawkins named as director and co-director for Hanna Institute The Community Voice endorses candidates Cougars crush Ukiah School board candidates voice opinions State Farm property steams forward to Station Avenue Jessica Holman: Thirty-five years of Rancho Spirit Krispy Kreme Doughnuts comes to Rohnert Park Rancho crushes Analy A possibility for Snyder Lane to have four lanes soon City of Cotati has apartment housing parking problems Rohnert Park City Council Candidates Summit State Bank annual report Frightful, fun, free Halloween activities Public invited to give input on Downtown RP Site Scrappers Steal Win Rancho Cotate Band fundraiser BBQ New interim superintendent Cotati Chamber of Commerce Oktoberfest RP’s new interim police chief Big changes to big project in Rohnert Park Penngrove Community Church celebrates 120 years Cotati approves tree lighting Students at University Elementary discussing the labyrinth R P Foundation gives grants to NOAH and Petaluma Bounty 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 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

I can't believe I'm even writing this. In a political ad placed in the 12/19 edition, the copy in the ad, paid for by and supporting BROWN, CIMINIO AND GILES for School Board of all things, contains no less than three grammatical errors. A giant, bold headline reads, "PUTTING STUDENTS' FIRST". If you need a primer, the apostrophe after students makes it possessive, not plural. The headline would get an F in any elementary school classroom. I don't have a child in the district but if I did I would at least expect that the people who want to be IN CHARGE OF CURRICULUM would posses at least a 4th grade grasp of grammar and punctuation. Shame on everyone who allowed these people to ever reach a position of educational authority. Read more books. Chris Jones
Christian Jones
Sonoma
October 29, 2018

I support Gerard Giudice

I have lived in Rohnert Park for over 35 years and have known Gerard Giudice for most of that time. Whether through his work in the community or with Sally Tomatoes, Gerard has always worked hard for the community and for people who need help. Providing meals and a venue for Relay for Life, hosting fundraisers for individuals who are ill or have suffered severe financial difficulties, opening Sally Tomatoes as a refuge during the fires and assuming leadership roles in more civic and charitable organizations that I can count are just a few of his contributions. Gerard has always been here for us and for the community.

In addition, his business leadership and eight years of service on the Rohnert Park Planning Commission demonstrates that he is the type of leader that our city needs. He thinks outside the box and doesn’t give up when he sees a cause that needs to be addressed. He also motivates others to get involved because that is what it will take to make our city the best that it can be. 

That is why, with all my heart, I support Gerard Giudice for Rohnert Park City Council.

Holly Neal
Rohnert Park
October 26, 2018

Vote for Pam Stafford

The Community Voice

Mayor Pam Stafford has been an advocate for Rohnert Park and its citizens for many years. Her leadership qualities are key to providing input to the many changes and improvements in our city. Pamela’s ability to listen and truly hear what citizens are saying are then followed through with research and further discussion as necessary. Pam has detailed knowledge of the many facets of the city’s government, such as budget restraints and citizen priorities. This provides guidance to set the record straight and move forward with issues. Pam has been a friend for over 25 years. Her integrity, hard work and passion are qualities we admire. Her ability to laugh and show kindness are key to maintaining a balance. As the city continues to grow, with new housing and a new downtown center, we look forward to Pamela’s leadership that will continue to make Rohnert Park a proud city to live in.

Gary & Barbara Tatman
Rohnert Park
October 26, 2018

Honesty and integrity

The Community Voice

My husband and I have known Mayor Pam Stafford for over thirty years. We’ve been reading things in your paper that do not describe the Pam Stafford we know. She would never resort to lies to get your vote. She is honest and has integrity and is a team player on the Rohnert Park City Council. We recommend voting to re-elect her to the city council once again. Thank you.

Falk and Lenny Dressing
Rohnert Park
October 26, 2018

Vote yes on Measure W

The Community Voice

Please vote yes on Measure W, which is a parcel tax increase for the Rancho Adobe Fire District.

In 2014, the house next door had six explosions, including a natural gas explosion in the area of West School St./West Cotati Avenue. Because the Rancho Adobe Fire District’s Cotati Hub station was open, they arrived on the scene in five minutes.

Our family home of 46 years was saved that day, because of their quick response time. Multiple insurance, fire and independent investigators said that if the RAFD took one minute more to arrive, that we would have lost our home, instead of mild fire damage.

Since our home was then able to be used to fight the main fire next door, this also allowed the fire district to save other homes in our little corner of the neighborhood. If the fire district’s response time had been one minute more, multiple other homes could have been lost, including the current mayor of Cotati’s home.

They are the most frugal agency I’ve ever seen and will use the monies wisely. They do all the maintenance on their fire trucks and equipment. I’ve seen battalion chiefs on sewing machines repairing their fire apparel.

Right now, some of the firefighters earn $15/hr. to run into burning buildings, with no benefits. It’s time we all step up as a community and support the Rancho Adobe Fire District at a level where they can keep doing their good works. Vote yes on Measure W!

Laurie Alderman
Cotati
October 26, 2018

Gerard for Rohnert Park City Council

The Community Voice

In 2008 I decided to follow my heart and start my cake and cookie business.  I needed some guidance and sound advice in how to tackle this project.  I had known Gerard from his restaurant Sally Tomatoes and asked if he would take a few minutes to talk with me.  He very willingly said yes, listened to my plan, gave some very good commentary and encouragement and target points to achieve.

A month later, I went to Gerard to ask about subleasing a corner of his kitchen. After several days of consideration, he called to say yes, lets work out the details.  So, we did!  I was there for over 5 years and in that time, Gerard was always genuinely interested and considerate of my business and what I might need to grow.  He supported me with referrals, introducing me to many wonderful people (turned into connections), inviting me to networking groups and made himself available for guidance and help as needed.

I know Gerard to be a man of integrity and always a straight shooter. He has a big heart for helping others and giving people a real chance.

It has been 10 years! I now have my own retail shop, Your Sweet Expectations Bakery & Café in Cotati. I am so grateful for the example he has been and the support he has given.  

Forever grateful.

Carolyn Besse
Cotati
October 26, 2018

Questioning hiring system

The Community Voice

Hiring an interim superintendent was questionable for several reasons.

I don’t question the qualifications of the person hired.

I do question the cost of $200,000 for the rest of the school year.

I also question why an administrator already working in the district couldn’t have been assigned the job on an interim basis?

Regardless of the qualifications of the person chosen the position doesn’t justify the salary offered.

The most important question I have is this hiring really intended to be one just for the interim.

What it suggests to me is that it is a way to hire someone without the necessity of a real and probably costlier search.

If that is the case it should have been stated.

If I had been in the position to hire a person to fill the position, and had the votes on the board to do so, I would have done just that without the pretense stated.

I am surprised and indeed somewhat shocked the district doesn’t have someone already working for them who would have been able to get the job done for the next eight months.

Warren K. Hopkins
Rohnert Park
October 26, 2018

Doing the right thing

This is in response to a letter submitted by Mr. Amy Ahanotu on October 5th, 2018:

I recently read a letter written by Mr. Amy Ahanotu endorsing Marc Orloff, Tracy Farrell, and Teresa Peterson in the Community Voice. I have included several portions of the text in this post in order to provide counterpoints…

"Marc Orloff, Tracy Farrell, and Teresa Peterson are running on a campaign platform to keep the positive momentum our district has going, into the future. These candidates support the staff who have earned recognition nationally for inclusive education and providing equity for our students. Our teachers and our support staff need a school board that will listen to them and gives them the support they need in their classrooms and their schools. The community needs trustees on the school board who will listen, have integrity, be transparent and make decisions based on what’s best for our students."

1. Mr. Ananotu seems to think that Orloff and Farrell support ALL teachers. Yet, Orloff and Farrell were found to have violated PERB law by creating a hostile working environment in a teacher’s classroom after she spoke out regarding the district taking down the fences at Rancho Cotate High School. Other teachers have been targeted in this district as well. Orloff and Farrell did not support them when they were being non re-elected from the district.

2. He claims that those board members have integrity. Integrity is defined as "doing the right thing, even when no one is looking." The testimonies of Orloff and Farrell were found to be “highly suspicious” and “not believable.” Because of that, PERB Judge Don Ginoza had a cease and desist order placed on the district. Subsequently, the district defied that order and another case is being heard involving the same teacher. Also, why would Orloff and Farrell knowingly barge into a private meeting on April 25th of this year with three of the five board members present, creating a quorum, which is a violation of the Brown Act? That does not show integrity.

3. Transparency is hard to understand when agendas on current Board meetings are approving minutes from meetings back in 2014. Transparency would have also been evident if those three candidates agreed to attend a debate hosted by the League of Women Voters. Then all of their voices would have been heard. Brown, Cimino, and Gillies all agreed to multiple dates. However, for reasons unknown, Farrell, Orloff (and Peterson) chose to decline.

“Since the district stopped cutting and closing and focusing on the needs of a few, more and more teachers have been hired and are committing to staying in our district. Show those teachers, and all of our teachers, we still support them. We need all of them to stay and get their ten, twenty and thirty-year pins!”

4. I am not sure if Mr. Ananotu knows that as of last year, approximately 50% of RPCEA’s (Rohnert Park Cotati Educators Association) 330 members consisted of teachers that were between years 1-5. These are historically high numbers. In 2015, an unprecedented 29 teachers were non re-elected including Damien Mason, a teacher working on his Ph.D. and the wrestling coach at Rancho Cotate and Carolina Perkins, a teacher who had her Ph.D. and was fluent in Spanish. This caused outrage among many teachers at the Ranch and they spoke out about this at a board meeting. How exactly is the district "attracting and retaining” teachers under Orloff and Farrell’s leadership? I know of several teachers that have left the district because they were not happy in the direction that this district was going. Also, we would all like to receive our 10, 20 and 30-year pins, but many teachers are non re-elected because the district doesn’t believe that they are “a good fit.” Teachers can be non re-elected up to the start of their third year. I honestly don’t believe teachers lack the commitment to stay. On a side note, my wife has just begun her 15th year in the district. I have been working in the district for nine. We have never received any pins. Do only certain teachers receive these pins? Perhaps someone could find out if there are any other criteria other than the number of years in the district to be awarded a pin.

5. Regarding paying the teachers, in 2016-2017, CBO Anne Baron forecasted another year of doom and gloom for the district. They continually told teachers that there was no money for a raise. Even after the Board gave the Superintendent a raise and put him on a step and column pay structure the night before in a board meeting, they came back the next day and told us there was no money for teacher raises. Somehow, an offer came from the district during the summer of 2017. It was a ridiculous 1% on the salary schedule and 1% one-time bonus. This offer was voted down by the members of RPCEA during the start of the 2017 school year. It was the first time in RPCEA history that a tentative agreement was ever voted down. It was Trustee Orloff and Sandra Wolliver of DWK that were angry and accused RPCEA of “bad faith bargaining” because the tentative agreement was voted down.

6. After receiving my sample ballots, I find it interesting that the term “Inclusive Education” was used to describe those three candidates. Orloff, Farrell and Peterson chose not to have their statements translated. Our district has a very high number of Spanish speaking students & families, almost 50%. This does not seem like an example of “Inclusive Education” to me at all. Por que?

“The alternative is to risk going back to the days of school closures, program cuts, and layoffs. Our children, our teachers, and our schools cannot afford to have that happen. We need to be committed to them and their future. We need to support the direction we have been going in, not going backward.”

7. I am curious why Mr. Anahotu thinks that the district will go back to the days of school closures, program cuts, and layoffs. None of the six candidates have spoken of cutbacks and layoffs. Of course, three candidates chose not to debate their platform at all. What would make him think that by electing new board members that this would happen? Also, with the new Local Control Funding Formula, our district gets more money than it ever did before. However, nothing can be done about money that has already been spent by the Superintendent. Richard Crane Elementary was supposed to cost $7,000,000 and the final costs were closer to $17,000,000. Also, this district has more Assistant Principals that it ever had before. Each Assistant Principal earns close to six figures a year. This, and monies being spent on the TAG Building and the new Tech High campus at Waldo Rohnert Elementary are something that we need to be concerned about when it comes time to discuss raises for teachers next year.

“The choice is clear, support candidates for the school board who care about our students. Who will support our teachers? Who will support our principals? Who will support our superintendent? Who can provide vision? Who can provide leadership? Who will listen and be transparent?”

8. I think that the choice IS clear… Yes, the new board members need to support the new Superintendent, whomever that may be, but not lose sight of the fact that THEY are his employer and the new Superintendent serves at the pleasure of the board. Board members need to hold the new Superintendent accountable for their actions. We need to elect new board members, ones that support teachers, students, and administration. New board members that will display integrity, provide vision, listen and be transparent. Vote for real change. Vote for Inclusive Education and our Spanish speaking families. Vote for critical analysis, not just taking the Superintendent's word. Vote for leaders who will actually take the lead, not follow behind. This election isn't about one man who is leaving, but the three trustees who are staying behind! Vote for Leff Brown, Joe Cimino, and Chrissa Gillies.

A concerned CRPUSD teacher
Rohnert Park
October 23, 2018

I Support Leff Brown

The Community Voice

I have known Leff Brown for many years; both in the capacity of teaching all three of his children and seeing first hand his continued support of teachers, while promoting the best educational experiences for all children as a board member.  During his tenure on the school board, Leff Brown has exhibited professionalism in every action. He often questioned recommendations that he felt would not benefit all children. Equity in education for all students is his passion. He strongly believes that it is the responsibility of schools working with parents to provide the best opportunity for every child in addition, with his financial background, he can assist in protecting the recent parcel tax and bond measures (Measures B and D). I support Leff Brown for his candidacy for the school board of Cotati Rohnert Park Unified School District.

Jane Cloughesy Ginn
Rohnert Park
October 19, 2018

I recommend Gerard Giudice

The Community Voice

I write this letter in regard to Gerard Giudice who is running for City Counsel in Rohnert Park. I met Gerard about ten years ago when a mutual friend put us together in a band, now known as the Rotten Tomatoes Band, to perform at a fund raiser for a local medical clinic. Upon completion of that fund raiser it was decided by all of the band members to continue as a band. From that point, and continuing throughout the last ten years, Gerard has taken the lead in arranging local fund raisers, some of which included the use of our band, and has booked us with other non-profits to help them raise funds.

In getting to know him personally, and observing how he conducts his personal life, his business life, and how he treats people by both giving of himself and treating them respectfully, I have no doubt that he loves this community and the people in it. I have heard his vision for this community and it involves building a community where everybody, including SSU students, would happily call Rohnert Park their home. He has a great respect for our Public Safety Department leaving me with the confidence that he will work with Public Safety to resolve any issues that the city could face.

Don Gylfe
Rohnert Park
October 19, 2018

CRPUSD and League of Women Voters

The Community Voice

The League of Women Voters commonly organizes forums for candidates for election to present themselves to their public. There was, for example, a forum on 14 September for the four candidates running for two seats on the Rohnert Park City Council.

I was tasked by the local chapter of the League to organize a forum for the six candidates running for three seats on the CRPUSD School Board. Unfortunately, it never happened. Three of the candidates were more than willing to meet the public and were very cooperative in my challenging effort to find a date and venue to bring all six candidates together. The other three stonewalled at every opportunity and clearly had no intention of appearing before the public.

Two of the latter — Farrell and Peterson — never once responded to my 6 to 8 emails. Orloff responded but never productively. He whined, and carped, and complained. He claimed, with no evidence whatsoever, that I was “partisan”, and even tried to go “over my head” to other members of the local League.

The other three candidates — Brown, Cimono, and Gilles — promptly replied positively to all my suggested dates and venues. They were more than willing to stand before the public and defend their positions. Any credible candidate should be willing to do the same.

I was not partisan when I began this ill-fated quest to organize a forum. I live and vote in the District, but I have no children of my own and pay little attention to District affairs. I was vaguely aware from reading the Voice that there was some kind of dispute, but I didn’t know what it is about nor who the factions are.

I certainly have an opinion now. I don’t know what Farrell, Orloff, and Peterson have to hide but I wouldn’t think of voting for candidates who have so little respect for public opinion that they would shrink from appearing in pubic for voters to scrutinize.

I am voting for Brown, Cimono, and Gilles.

Opinions expressed in this letter are entirely my own, and do not represent the views of the League of Women Voters.

Rick Luttmann,
Rohnert Park
October 19, 2018

Gerard Giudice for City Council

The Community Voice

Although I have lived in Petaluma for the past 5 years, I previously called Rohnert Park my hometown since 1971. I have deep ties with Rohnert Park, as my family lives in town and I am a proud member of the Rotary Club of Rohnert Park-Cotati. I strongly support and encourage my Rohnert Park friends to vote for Gerard Giudice for City Council. With over 8 years of work on the Planning Commission he is extremely knowledgeable of everything that is happening in Rohnert Park, and has a passion for helping the community through his volunteer work and his company Sally Tomatoes. We have seen firsthand Gerard’s passion for Rohnert Park in his neighborhood meetings, where he explains the need to address the homeless issue, assisting senior citizens, making our creeks safe, strengthening our partnership with SSU, and creating a vibrant downtown. Gerard’s new vision is what Rohnert Park needs.  I ask all my Rohnert Park friends to vote for Gerard Giudice for Rohnert Park City Council.

Jeff Thomas
Petaluma
October 19, 2018

Shop Around

Shop around before you call Roto Rooter Plumber. In addition to labor at $235.00 per hour, they markup parts by 65%.

I recently had the gas and thermostat control valve replaced on my water heater. The charge for that part was $364.15

(list price for part $220.70 plus 65% mark-up of $143.45=$364.15).

Vernon Smith
Rohnert Park
October 19, 2018

Vote For Gerard Giudice

Rohnert Park citizens deserve to have Gerard Giudice on its city council. Gerard has integrity and represents the majority of our citizens for democracy. Rohnert Park lost its democracy in 2003 when the majority of the council members voted for the MOU (memo of understanding). I am voting for Gerard because he is the only one endorsed by Sonoma County Conservation Action and his platform. No outside businesses are supporting Gerard financiallyGerard Guidice has no conflicts of interest or relatives working for the city that would deny him a vote by the council. Yourvote for Gerard Giudice is a vote for democracy.

Eunice Edgington
Rohnert Park
October 19, 2018

Gerard for Rohnert Park City Council

In 2008 I decided to follow my heart and start my cake and cookie business.  I needed some guidance and sound advice in how to tackle this project.  I had known Gerard from his restaurant Sally Tomatoes and asked if he would take a few minutes to talk with me.  He very willingly said yes, listened to my plan, gave some very good commentary and encouragement and target points to achieve.

A month later, I went to Gerard to ask about subleasing a corner of his kitchen. After several days of consideration, he called to say yes, lets work out the details.  So, we did!  I was there for over 5 years and in that time, Gerard was always genuinely interested and considerate of my business and what I might need to grow.  He supported me with referrals, introducing me to many wonderful people (turned into connections), inviting me to networking groups and made himself available for guidance and help as needed.

I know Gerard to be a man of integrity and always a straight shooter. He has a big heart for helping others and giving people a real chance.

It has been 10 years! I now have my own retail shop, Your Sweet Expectations Bakery & Café in Cotati. I am so grateful for the example he has been and the support he has given.  

Forever grateful.

 

Carolyn Besse
Cotati
October 19, 2018

Vote Yes on Measure W

Please vote yes on Measure W, which is a parcel tax increase for the Rancho Adobe Fire District.

In 2014, the house next door had six explosions, including a natural gas explosion in the area of West School St./West Cotati Avenue. Because the Rancho Adobe Fire District's Cotati Hub station was open, they arrived on the scene in 5 minutes.

Our family home of 46 years was saved that day, because of their quick response time. Multiple insurance, fire and independent investigators said that if the RAFD took one minute more to arrive, that we would have lost our home, instead of mild fire damage.

Since our home was then able to be used to fight the main fire next door, this also allowed the fire district to save other homes in our little corner of the neighborhood. If the fire district's response time had been one minute more, multiple other homes could have been lost, including the current mayor of Cotati's home.

They are the most frugal agency I've ever seen, and will use the monies wisely. They do all the maintenance on their fire trucks and equipment. I've seen battalion chiefs on sewing machines repairing their fire apparel.

Right now, some of the firefighters earn $15/hr to run into burning buildings, with no benefits. It's time we all step up as a community and support the Rancho Adobe Fire District at an level where they can keep doing their good works. Vote yes on Measure W !!!

Laurie Alderman
Cotati
October 17, 2018

Right to Vote

To the Editor:                                                                    
Denying people the right to vote has been a central electoral strategy for the Republicans. Republican voter ID laws screen out blacks, Hispanics, the poor, and the young. Multiple studies have proven that there is no epidemic of illegal voting, and that, in fact, it is vanishing, rare. But white Republicans fear that the the country's demographics will doom them. So they have created a concerted strategy to block people of color from the voting booth.
In 2006, Republican efforts to purge voter rolls of blacks and interfere with the Florida recount led to George W. Bush's victory by 537 votes. That victory taught Republicans to "lie without shame" about voter fraud, and to relentlessly pursue purges and laws designed to favor the GOP.
Ron Lowe
Nevada City
October 15, 2018

Those who objected

The Community Voice

Children matter.  Children are part of our community now and they are the future. 

Children.  Teachers.  Integrity, accountability, transparency.  A high quality education, inclusive of all students.

These are some reasons to vote for Chrissa Gillies, Leff Brown, and Joe Cimino for the Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District board.

The first major task of the new board will be to select a new superintendent worthy of this responsibility.  The current board majority unquestioningly supported the superintendent (who is about to leave) no matter what he did or didn’t say or do.  Even when he proposed an increase in salary for himself to $200,000 with an automatic increase regardless of performance.  Even when the health and safety of children and teachers were at risk – from a gas leak, mold in classrooms, dust and debris from building demolition that made children sick, sent a teacher to hospital, and sparked an OSHA complaint.  Those who objected, asked questions, and advocated for the children and teachers were ignored, even ridiculed.  The new board must protect the children and support teachers to do their best work. Vote for Leff Brown, Joe Cimino and Chrissa Gillies for the Cotati-Rohnert Park United School District board! 

Jenny Blaker
Cotati
October 12, 2018

Well informed

The Community Voice

I am a retired Rohnert Park Unified School District teacher. I taught first at Mountain Shadows, and then when the middle school was closed down; I taught art at Lawrence Jones. I want to encourage you, my neighbors in Rohnert Park, to return Leff Brown to the school board, he does a good job. And while you are at the polls, give Leff some help in changing the direction of the school board by electing Joe Cimino and Chrissa Gillies. 

In my many years working for the children of Rohnert Park, I saw the far reaching effects of board decisions and indecisions. Well-informed board members ask questions, visit classrooms, talk to parents, engage and respect teachers and staff. Having done their homework, good board members go about making their own well-considered decisions. Responsible board members do not abdicate their decision making responsibility by allowing superintendents carte blanche in the running of the district; and, when they have the opportunity, responsible board members go about hiring superintendents who consider the long term results of their decisions while keeping the education of our children paramount. Good board members must be community members who feel deeply their responsibility to ensure that Rohnert Park schools continue to encourage, nurture and guide its students so that they become compassionate, intelligent, organized, creative, literate and responsible adults. Good board members recognize that today’s students will become the good citizens and good neighbors of the future. It is time for a change on the school board. I encourage you to give Leff some help in changing that direction by re-electing Leff Brown and by electing Chrissa Gillies and Joe Cimino.

Susan Mellars
Rohnert Park
October 12, 2018

Angry and entitled

The Community Voice

Forget he said, she said. Judge Brett Kavanaugh showed himself to be an angry, entitled, belligerent person who believes himself the target of a vast, left-wing conspiracy. Such a person is unlikely to coolly and fairly judge all people and cases before the court and therefore is an inappropriate candidate for the Supreme Court.

If I would be testifying in a court proceeding in which the presiding judge was Brett Kavanaugh and he asked me a question to which I replied in the same manner in which he replied to the senator’s questions, I am almost certain that I would be held in contempt of court. He gets a pass. Isn’t what’s good for the goose good for the gander?

Ron Lowe
Nevada City, Ca.
October 12, 2018

Putting students’ first

This Nov., vote for change. It is time for a change. Come Nov., this community has the choice of six candidates for the Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District Board of Trustees. Three of the candidates are running on a platform of more of the same, no transparency, no accountability and the lack of stakeholder collaboration in the decision making process.

Leffler Brown has been on the board for 24 years and has been a community volunteer for over 30 years. He has been a tireless advocate for students and fiscal responsibility. Leff believes that providing a quality education to all students is essential. In order to do this, we must expand educational programs that increase achievement, and attract and retain students. We must find new and innovative ways to engage parents in their student’s education. We must find new innovative ways to attract and retain teachers.

Joe Cimino is first and foremost, a family man. He has two young children, one currently attends an elementary school in Rohnert Park and the other will start next year. As a parent, he wants the best education for his children and their peers. Joe has been in the electrical union since 2003. He is currently the general foreman for his team and served on the union’s executive board, where he was a member charged with overseeing its policies and procedures. He chose to step down from that board and was appointed to the apprenticeship committee, where he advocates for new apprentices. He welcomes this new opportunity as a governing board member, to see that we provide the best education for our students.

Chrissa Gillies is a 30-year resident of Rohnert Park, a parent of three Rancho grads and now a grandparent of students in the district. She has been in the financial industry for over 30 years. As a small business owner, she has participated in forensic audits both for business owners and the Department of Defense. Chrissa believes that the school board must have a vision, create structures and be held accountable to the community. Every decision that comes before the board, must be to the benefit of students and teachers. We must ensure that teachers in the classroom are given all the tools and support they need. We must support our unions, RPCEA, CSEA and SEIU and stop the practice each year of taking things away during negotiations. Our teachers deserve a fair and honest negotiation process, and should not be required to have their union protections eroded.

We need to put the focus on our student’s education and providing resources to our teachers in the classroom. By reducing wasteful spending, we can provide teachers with more than the $50 pittance they receive for classroom supplies annually. We must provide professional development, training and support to all of our teachers. We must collaborate to find ways to increase parental participation, which has been proven to increase academic achievement. We must investigate what programs are working in other districts to see where we can improve.

It is time for a change in order to make our district the preeminent one in Sonoma County. We must include all stakeholders in the decisions of our district. We must move to a board that is independent, collaborative and inclusive. Above all, we must provide transparency to our community. We must move away from decisions being made by a handful of people. We must stop the practice of contracts being signed and awarded prior to board approval.

We believe in holding town hall meetings 4-6 times per year, with the community asking any and all questions. We will insist that the public be able to address the board at the beginning of board meetings, not at the end, when they need to be home with their families. We would like to see the time allotted to public speakers at board meeting, go from two minutes, up to 10 minutes. If you want transparency, accountability, board members who put students first and support our teachers with actions and not words, the choice is clear. On November 6, 2018, vote for Leffler Brown, Joe Cimino and Chrissa Gillies. 

Leffler Brown, Joe Cimino, Chrissa Gillies
Rohnert Park
October 12, 2018

Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District faces a choice in this election for the school board. It is clear now that one faction wants to turn our district away from the positive direction we have been going back to the days of cutting and closing. Why? Power and anger. They do not have the best interest of our students and our community. They have been spreading rumors and lies about our district for years and they need to be stopped. Our schools are doing great and we want them to stay open. Our students deserve the best teachers, classrooms and schools we can provide. We voted for local funding to keep our class sizes small, open libraries, open computer labs and give our students enrichment. We voted for bonds that are rebuilding our schools and soon we will have the amazing new complex at Rancho Cotate High School. Technology High School will soon have a new, permanent home with all of the facilities a high school needs. But, what do we hear from “them”? It’s all false and our scores are low and we have too many schools. Enough is enough! Move on! The choice is clear, vote for Marc Orloff, Tracy Farrell and Teresa Peterson. Send a message to the haters to leave our kids alone. Our students deserve the best and they need our support and votes now more than ever. Marc, Tracy and Teresa will keep them safe.

Lori Fox
Rohnert Park
October 9, 2018

Supposed to be unbiased

The Community Voice

I am very disappointed in your newspaper. Newspapers are supposed to be unbiased in their reporting, respecting all opinions. As of lately you never print any conservative opinions. I realize that being conservative these days is portrayed by the left as being “politically incorrect” at the least and just plain crazy at the worst.

It is downright shameful that the politically correct crowd has sunk so low as to bash anyone who doesn’t agree with them. They have thrown decency and manners to the wind and replaced them with rudeness, slander and violence.

God has blessed this country with prosperity. I am thankful to live in a country like the United States. We need to protect our freedoms. You as a newspaper have an obligation to protect our freedom of speech whether you agree with a person’s particular opinion or not.

Richard Cole
Rohnert Park
October 5, 2018

It disturbs me

The community Voice

I am responding to an article submitted by the Commission on Human Rights of Sonoma on Friday, September 21, 2018, titled “Discrimination and bullying in our schools”.  

What really disturbed me about this article was the mention that our American flag on student vehicles was intimidating students of “color, LGBTQI students and students with disabilities”.  Since when does the American flag offend anyone?!  

Our flag represents our Sovereign United States of America under God, the creator and sustainer of (ALL) life & liberty. 

We should all be proud to wave and display the flag where ever we desire.  I proudly display the American flag on my house and my car.

Let’s teach our kids the true meaning of the American flag, and how to properly respect it.

Lino Zamacona - Spanish Basque/Mexican Heritage
Rohnert Park
October 5, 2018

Received the best of the best

The Community Voice

It was with great sadness to read that Dr. Haley would be leaving CRPUSD.  Dr. Haley has been a great leader and had brought many great improvements to the district.  Although he couldn’t be everything to everyone, he always focused on what the needs of the students were.  His dedication to improving student achievements and ensuring that students received the best of the best, he has always strived for, and has been very successful.  As a parent of a recent CRPUSD graduate and as a parent volunteer I feel very blessed to have worked with Dr. Haley for many years.  He came to the district when it was an absolute mess and cleaned it up and is now continuing his journey and I am sure San Diego will treat him as the valued leader that he is.  Thank you Dr. Haley for all your support over the years.  Thank you for making sure that our children received the best of the best.  Thank you for all the hours you spent away from your loved ones to make the CRPUSD community a better community.  I wish you well on your next adventure.  You will be missed.

Nicole Lahee
Austin, TX
October 5, 2018

Sharing appreciation

The Community Voice

 I understand that Dr. Robert Haley, Superintendent of the Cotati Rohnert Park Unified School District will be accepting a position as Superintendent of the San Dieguito Union High School located in San Diego County.  I would like to take this opportunity to share my appreciation and gratitude for Dr. Haley.  As a parent and resident of Rohnert Park, who regularly attends the CRPUSD School Board Meetings since 2014 and participates on two oversight committees, I have witnessed Dr. Haley’s leadership, knowledge and communication.  Our School District has truly been in great hands.  I’m grateful for the time Dr. Haley has spent promoting our schools, directing the process to upgrade our schools, and his efforts to work with the various groups in our district.  I thank you and your team for the years of service to our schools and community.  We want to wish you and your family all the best.  Thank you Dr. Haley.

Debbie LeBoy
Rohnert Park
October 5, 2018

They just sprayed Roundup again

The Community Voice

We, the citizens of City Center Dr. in Rohnert Park, are seeking to prevent the application of toxins into our environment. If it happened in Sebastopol it would doubtlessly be front page news. Why should RP’s residents dig their collective heads into chemical sands of denial? 

We have obtained dozens of signatures from our neighbors, demanding an end to all chemical pesticide usage. 

Pacific Landscapes (contractor out of Sebastopol), fraudulently advertises themselves as an “organic landscape company” (the slogan on their vehicles and trailers). Under the authority of Centreville HOA and its management company, they are getting ready to apply the Neonicotinoid compounds again this year, (Last year this wiped out our honeybees). 

We have even (now Sept 2018) offered to provide an alternative product for free. It is called weed-away and is sold by Organic Ag Products - certified organic and very effective.

The REAL questions are: Why us? Why Rohnert Park? Why should RP citizens be forced to tolerate what would otherwise never be allowed to happen in communities like Sebastopol? Another question is the threat to waterways like Hinebaugh Creek, (right behind our housing complex); this tributary feeds into our precious Laguna, a critical wetlands habitat, (that needs all the help it can get in Sonoma County).  Why should Rohnert Park’s citizenry collectively dig their heads into a chemical sand of denial? 

At the end of the day, we have always chosen to comply with the HOA’s demands, (such as keeping bicycles inside and garage doors closed, etc.).  We still laugh at the hilariousness of how a stinky oil-leaking Harley Davidson motorcycle can be parked in a designated area, while something as innocuous as a bicycle is considered an “architectural code violation”!

However, this is no joke, there is nothing hilarious whatsoever about the usage of Neonicotinoids in an urban environment which is inhabited by sensitive humans, pets, and indeed native creatures. Hinebaugh Creek is a critical tributary to our precious Laguna and plays host to numerous aquatic, mammalian and invertebrate species. These compounds are killing all of us, slowly and bit by bit. If kids in FL are willing to stand up against assault weapons, then how about eliminating the silent assassin that kills far more of us than America’s gun-a-holic culture ever could?

Chemicals are responsible for cancer now occupying the top slot for causes of death, (surpassing even heart disease). Where is there an amendment to our constitution that guarantees the right to bear toxins on our own environment? 

Another irony is that Neonicotinoids have been billed as “The New DDT”, (systematically wiping out bees as surely as bird populations suffered up until the 60’s). The ironic part is that “Rachel Carson Hall”, (as you well know, the author of “Silent Spring”), stands proud and tall at the SSU’s campus barely a couple of miles from our door! 

Neonicotinoids are illegal in Europe and one lone state in the US.  Minnesota, where the regulators actually care about the honey bees. Bayer, meanwhile, (who now own Monsanto and who manufacture the majority of these bee-killing pesticides, have hilariously created a bee foundation! (Talk about the chemical foxes guarding the sheepie’s henhouses!). 

State laws were broken right here in Rohnert Park as the pesticide applicators must always provide a 30 -day advance notice of their intent to spray. (less than 24 hours of notice were actually provided). 

Josh, Lia & Team Boogie
Rohnert Park
October 5, 2018

We have a choice

The Community Voice

This November we have the choice of six candidates for the Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District Board of Trustees. Three of the candidates, Marc Orloff, Tracy Farrell and Teresa Peterson, are running on a campaign platform to keep the positive momentum our district has going, into the future. These candidates support the staff who have earned recognition nationally for inclusive education and providing equity for our students. Our teachers and our support staff need a school board that will listen to them and gives them the support they need in their classrooms and their schools. The community needs trustees on the school board who will listen, have integrity, be transparent and make decisions based on what’s best for our students.

 

Marc Orloff was elected by the community in 2010 when the district was facing a certain state takeover. Fiscal mismanagement and poor decisions made by the school board resulted in the closures of schools, the cutting of programs and yearly teacher layoffs. Marc worked to end all of that and in his tenure on the board schools have reopened, programs have been restored and we are attracting and retaining teachers.   

 

 Tracy Farrell was elected in 2014 and immediately supported the change in direction. She has experience as a teacher and as a classroom volunteer. She was a key contributor to the passage of our local funding measure and our bonds. The past two years she has provided steady, calm, leadership on the board as its president. As a mom of four school aged children, Tracy knows the importance of planning for the future. 

 

Teresa Peterson has been in this community over thirty years, raised her children here, volunteered in classrooms and then became a beloved teacher in our district. She served as a principal her last four years before retiring. She knows firsthand the support teachers need to serve our students. No one on the board would know more about how to keep our kids safe in school.

 

The alternative is to risk going back to the days of school closures, program cuts, and layoffs. Our children, our teachers, and our schools cannot afford to have that happen. We need to be committed to them and their future. We need to support the direction we have been going in, not going backward.

 

Visit our schools, talk to our principals, talk to our teachers, ask them, are they better off now or back when schools were being closed, programs being cut and teachers being laid off? Over the last seven years our teachers have seen salary increases and benefit increases. We are attracting and retaining the best talent in Sonoma County. Our teachers, principals and support staff work hard and they deserve every penny. Since the district stopped cutting and closing and focusing on the needs of a few, more and more teachers have been hired and are committing to staying in our district. Recently a video was posted online that showed excited teachers getting years of service pins. So many received five-year pins with smiles. Why so many at five years? Because starting in 2011 the school board took a new approach and refocused on what was best for the community. In 2012 the community responded and passed Measure D, which gave the district the local funds sorely needed to lower class sizes, reopen libraries, reinstate middle school sports, add technology into classrooms and so much more. Show those teachers, and all of our teachers, we still support them. We need all of them to stay and get their ten, twenty and thirty-year pins!

 

The choice is clear, support candidates for the school board who care about our students.  Who will support our teachers? Who will support our principals? Who will support our superintendent? Who can provide vision? Who can provide leadership? Who will listen and be transparent.? Vote for Marc Orloff, Tracy Farrell, and Teresa Peterson to support our future.

Amy Ahanotu
Rohnert Park
October 5, 2018

Vote against Pam Stafford

The Community Voice

We cannot afford Stafford’s version of a balanced budget.  An examination of public documents at the city reveals just how poorly the city is raising and using funds.

First off, the election papers show that Stafford received significant campaign funds from organizations that the city (council) does business with or otherwise regulates.  Such organization include PG&E - franchise fee, Industrial Carting – setting garbage fees, Codding Enterprises – development agreements etc.  More recently, only three campaign donations for Stafford came from RP residents. The other five donations came from out of town interests. So how can Stafford look out for our interests? 

A review of your own utility bills shows how much the city has increased your bills, about 6 percent per year per the city while inflation amounted to about 1-2 percent per the Federal Government.

Some years back during the “Recession”, the city pushed for additional revenue via a “temporary” sales tax increase.  Two years before the “temporary” tax was to expire, the city squandered over $100,000 on a special one-issue election in lieu of placing the issue before the voters in a general election.  Passed. I believe that Stafford remarked that the citizens could gather signatures and petition for resending the new tax.  The last time that happened, the council simply set the petition aside. 

Today we all pay for additional sewer capacity without supporting engineering calculations. A portion of that capacity was sold to the casino for about $12.6-million. The city treated that money as a grant and placed it in the general fund (helped balanced the budget).  Two parcel of land belonging to the sewer enterprise fund (your sewer charges) have been sold with the funds going into the general fund (helped balanced the budget). Altogether, the city has taken more than $20-million from the sewer rate payers to “balance the budget”.

The city bought a business building next to the city hall, forced all of the existing businesses to relocated on short notice, and the eventually had the building torn down.  Cost likely more than $1-million.

If you still believe in Stafford’s balanced budget claims take a look at the new restrooms in D-Park located one block from her home and cost $285,000.  That kind of money could make the down payment for about three homes in RP.  

Such waste of money and raising fees/taxes to cover the waste is not my idea of a balanced budget for RP.

Robert Grundman
Rohnert Park, CA
October 5, 2018

What makes schools great?

To create great schools, there must be a commitment to continual learning and improvement. This commitment is the foundation for excellence. Without this commitment, schools will flounder and deteriorate into mediocrity or worse. Teachers instill this commitment in students who strive toward excellence in their studies and careers. This commitment is the lifeblood of great schools. This commitment extends to every aspect of the school and the school district. If it is missing in one aspect, it is likely that it is missing in other aspects as well, which brings us to the point of this letter.

Over the last six years, our school district has allowed concern for health and safety to deteriorate to a dangerous level. Recently, the CRPUSD school board and superintendent were notified by OSHA that the district lacked an employee safety plan known as the Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP). Accordingly, in September, the district posted an IIPP safety plan on its website. Unfortunately, the safety plan is not effective. It cannot prevent injury and illness because it lacks several critical features of the legally-mandated safety plan. The current IIPP safety plan lacks a functioning employee safety committee, procedures for employee safety training and inspections of facilities, and recordkeeping. All of these critical features can be found in the CRPUSD board policies. But there is a wide gap between policy and procedures. Without actual procedures to implement policies, the policies themselves are merely words printed on a page. They protect no one. A policy without procedures is like a car without an engine. It might look good on the outside but it's going to take you nowhere fast.

If we want great schools that provide our children with hope for the future and make our community a place where people want to live, we cannot afford to neglect the health and safety of our employees by settling for mediocrity or worse. By striving toward excellence in health and safety, we will deepen our commitment to continual learning and improvement in every aspect of our school district. 

I have proposed a number of necessary changes to the IIPP safety plan to make it effective in protecting the health and safety of our employees. And when conditions for our employees are healthy and safe, they will also be healthy and safe for our children. This is a goal worthy of our efforts. I hope our community will support this goal. Let us join together to express our commitment to continual learning and improvement by supporting the health and safety of our employees.

Timothy Nonn
Rohnert Park
November 10, 2017

Not near residences

Well, no wonder you spent two hours on marijuana codes last night.   This is speculation on my part, but it makes sense that there is a deal in place with Mr. Monahan for the Cotati Marketplace development that is in the critical habitat on the west side of the freeway for a marijuana based business/industry. Why else would he attend and give his speech last night about his parcel of land in Cotati?   Of course, Mr. Monahan didn't mention that his parcel was in the critical habitat.  He did emphasize his experience in the industry though, didn't he? 

If you didn't specify the 116 corridors as where the businesses to be, I wouldn't have speculated this.  Your argument that the 116 corridors vs. the other areas of the city is not logical or true that it would involve being next to residential development.  The Cotati Cottages are on the north side of 116.   Gilman Ranch Subdivision is right near 116.   On the south side of the 116 Hwy, there are a few residences that zoned commercial/industrial that are citizen's residences. 

So, your excuse about not wanting it near residences, doesn't hold up. It is about the money, sales taxes and excise taxes and I'm sure Mr. Monahan is happy with your work. You already inappropriately researched his tentative map extensions on city time instead of being impartial to the development. Do you think this would really stand up in court with the paper trail you are leaving towards the development??

You'll already be under scrutiny by investigators over Village Walk and its relationship and your actions to having the same developer as Fountaingrove, I'm sure.    Why would you want to do another fiasco that could reach the federal level of scrutiny?

And Eric Kirchmann was right.   Having the businesses together would make us a target for crime.   Our west side neighborhood has a very low crime rate that contributes to our quality of life.   This is despite not having many police patrolling the neighborhood.  I personally haven't seen a police car in three months here.   This is only because people don't know this neighborhood exists.   Put confused and lost, sometimes out of town drivers in our generally wealthy neighborhood, and that will change. 

Making it indoor growing only, and banning outdoor growing of the six legal plants, will also cause people to go underground or disobey the law.    George was right that it is again disrespecting that indoor space/garages might be needed for housing those affected by the firestorm.   Also, how much is the concern really and how are you going to enforce the 6 legal plants outlawed outside?  Are you going to come inspect our backyards to make sure we are not growing our state level legal plants?  

Given that you don't enforce the weed abatement codes, how will the marijuana code enforcement be any different?   

You sold us citizens out long ago.   We were built out by 2006 of buildable space not in the critical habitat and only had something like 15 new building permits in nine years until you sold us out even more in the last few years with Village Walk, etc.    Then you have the gall to remodel the Community Development department with our tax dollars.  I can't wait until media coverage about this starts to happen.   Your lack of action on the firestorm sealed your real level of concern for the citizens of this city. 

I'm ready for another onslaught of overt and covert actions from those connected with city like last week.   For stating my opinions and criticisms of what is happening locally.   I have the intelligence, facts and evidence to support my opinions. 

Laurie Alderman 

Cotati

The Community Voice encourages readers to submit letters for publication. Letters must include the author’s first and last name, telephone number and address for verification. We will not publish unsigned letters or e-mails, and we reserve the right to edit or refuse letters. Please keep your remarks free from obscenities. The Community Voice will not publish more than one letter in a 60-day period from any one person. Please keep letters to a maximum of 500 words and mail them to P.O. Box 2038, Rohnert Park, CA, 94927, or e-mail letters@thecommunityvoice.com.

Laurie Alderman
Cotati
November 3, 2017

Certain Smells Coming Up

 

Recently, in these pages, perennial council candidate George Barich did “the unthinkable.” He tried to make the current catastrophe all about why he is so much better and smarter than everyone currently sitting on the Cotati City Council. This is rather laughable, given that Barich’s prime claims to political fame are being recalled by 65 percent of Cotati voters after less than one year in office and being fined $7,500 for his part in the largest political money laundering case ever filed by the FPPC in Sonoma County.

Barich has publicly opposed several bond measures for extra monies for our local fire fighters- going so far in one election to sneakily distribute political posters to defeat an initiative without the proper identifying information. His complaints about what the City of Cotati did or did not do in the face of the county’s unprecedented emergency are ludicrous and hypocritical. Barich is widely known to be the first person to complain about increasing the city budget for any reason, yet he suddenly thinks we should offer already committed city funds for unknown and undescribed county wide purposes. He castigates the city for not holding a fundraising event on short notice when there are so many volunteers and non-profit organizations better equipped to do so effectively. He claims the city hasn’t encouraged the community to help when the City of Cotati’s Facebook page had several posts about volunteering but the community group Facebook page Barich founded offered nothing more than his newspaper letter rant. And by the way, he apparently wants to turn La Playa Park into a homeless encampment with all the related policing and sanitation problems and costs; yet for years he has claimed that the city doesn’t try hard enough to attract new business. 

While Barich may allege that “the stench at city hall is horrendous,” given that he is already advertising his next run for office in 2018, I would argue that the self- aggrandizing smells coming out of his computer are decidedly “fishy.” 

Joan Simon

Cotati

Joan Simon
Cotati
October 27, 2017

Our community has come together

Vast amounts of people were literally saved by their neighbors pounding on their door and helping each other to evacuate.  Our community has been coming together in all sorts of positive ways. People choosing to do the right thing. Former Councilmembers and School Board members helping to get animals to safety not just cats and dogs and rabbits but horses dozens of them. People spending their money to buy Gatorade and water and snacks and giving them to first responders and roadblock monitors each and every day.  People doing more than they have to do, doing the right thing for others. That is local that is community. Yes, there are tragedies, our former Police Chief lost his home, as did my aunt and friends and far too many others... Each day things are getting a little better as people come together and do what is right. Monday morning was chaos but some shops opened early and stayed open to serve despite employees stretched thin, too many without a place to stay that night. I hope our local paper reports about the good things that people are doing right here to help their neighbors and our greater communities. Thank you to all that did more than they had to, to help others and continue to do the right thing.

 

Eric Kirchmann
Cotati
October 20, 2017

Just give Nonn his needed aide

The Community Voice:
The incompetence of higher ups at the Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District has never ceased to amaze me. What would be simple to the average person is never more complicated than in the hands of our “educators.”
It should not take “a series of meetings” to determine that a board member needing accommodations...needs accommodations. Furthermore, if Tim Nonn needs an aide, good gosh, let him have one! It shouldn’t matter who it is so long as they can assist him adequately and he would be the person best to decide what constitutes “adequate.”
While I’m certain other board members and the secretary can sufficiently explain or help, their primary task is to be involved in the meeting and their own tasks. Someone who can half-heartedly help is not the same as an aide dedicated to helping said person; nor would their interest be in the meeting topics at hand, thus it really shouldn’t matter who helps Mr. Nonn, so long as they're adequate to do so as he needs and not as predetermined by Superintendent Dr. Robert Haley who apparently needs a “series of meetings” to figure this out.
 

 

Bianca May
Rohnert Park
December 30, 2016

I wish Judd Snyder had all the facts before going to press with this one sided story about CRPUSD not accommodating Mr. Nonn. If one reads the statement the district released regarding his accommodations, one would understand the factualness. It seems as though Mr. Snyder continues to listen to the few of the disgruntled employees/constituents of our school district. As a teacher in CRPUSD, I along with many others was opposed to our union's support of this candidate. And certainly not for reasons regarding his disability, but in the way the union 'muscled' his endorsement. In addition, I along with many other teachers, support Dr. Haley and the current administration. I encourage Judd Snyder talk with some of us.

Janice Little
Rohnert Park, CA
December 30, 2016

District should do right by Tim Nonn

The Community Voice:

Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District Trustee Tim Nonn, who is severely and permanently visually impaired, was elected on Nov. 8, 2016, by a landslide. 

During the campaign, he criticized district leadership for creating a hostile working environment for educators and employees and for not effectively addressing student academic achievement. Many believe that Superintendent Dr. Robert Haley is currently dragging his feet about providing lawful accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to hinder Trustee Nonn’s efforts to reform district leadership and improve conditions for students and educators and staff.

Under the ADA, “reasonable accommodations” must be provided through an “interactive process.” 

However, in Trustee Nonn’s case, the superintendent appears to be attempting to unilaterally oppose accommodations. How can there be an interactive process without interaction?

At his first school board meeting on Dec. 13, after the superintendent refused to honor the written memorandum on accommodations, Trustee Nonn asked his aide for assistance. (I was that aide.)

I am highly qualified to assist people with disabilities as I have had a career working with disabled adults and children in colleges and secondary schools.

Superintendent Haley then called for the meeting to be adjourned early because I was there to help Tim Nonn.

Trustee Nonn has been forced to fight for a legal right that should have been provided rapidly and willingly. It is the legal and the decent thing to do.

 

Janet Lowery
Rohnert Park
December 23, 2016

The Voice is essential. That's why I feel I have to call you down on a couple of points. First of all, the mural of the Cougar at the Ranch was not dedicated to the Class of 2015. Apparently, 'staff' took the painting on the bench to mean something else. The mural has been at the Ranch the 10 years I have taught there. Another 'issue' is the article by Brian Masterson on the consequences of cannabis. The history of Cannabis, in the eyes of law enforcement does not need be supported by scientific fact or citation. If you write and article you need cite your sources. If we just say that, hey-"war on drugs'" we can look past objective science and spew. Cannabis can be used to enhance quality of life. I has been done so for eons-so-spend more time on what RP needs to focus on. Child exploitation and prostitution, alcohol and gambling. I just think that the community's voice needs and accurate Community Voice.
Brian Abbott
Petaluma
December 22, 2016

Blinking lights should be installed at the crosswalk along the rail road tracks on Southwest. You don't see people waiting to until you are right in front of the crosswalk. I was driving toward the high school and saw the young man that was waiting to cross. The truck on my left did not see him and sped through the crosswalk. Had there been a car behind me I would have been rear ended.

Concerned Citizen
Rohnert Park
December 8, 2016

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. ODonnell
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 liberals 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

Dont 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 doesnt grow on local citizens 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, its 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 weeks letters. Here are the usual accusations, and here are Georges 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 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 Georges 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 Olivers from building a beautiful new store. But dont 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 hereshes 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 Jennifers, 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 schools sites and attending countless meetings. It hasnt always been easy, there have been many times when she feels shes 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 teachers 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 cant 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 arent 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 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 dont expect them to give us milk they buy for our consumption! Dont 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 dont 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

Its 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

Adams 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

Dont 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 Snyders 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