Letters
November 21, 2019
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Cougars prevail in all time classic ‘Fog Bowl’ Healthy food given by NOAH 49er Pet store closes its doors December gets festive in Cotati Visit the Arts and Craft Faire in RP FEMA grants Santa Rosa $1M to ensure effective evacuation routes Another death in California and investigation into E-Cigarette use Nomination period opens for March 3, 2020, primary election So Co DA office awarded grant 100 birthdays and more to go A day of celebration and tribute to our veterans Worn American flags laid to rest Promotions in the Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety Homelessness spikes in RP Home delivery changes Discussions on the care facility and apartments Fresh faces on the CRPUSD board 73rd Miss Sonoma County competition held at Spreckels Straus Family Creamery moving to RP TAG building grand opening Students housing and voting Newsom’s vision “cradle to career” RP Downtown project underway Schools, facilities and bonds: Plans but no money DUI driver crashes into 7-1 Teen arrested for shooting at RP RP votes to restrict fireworks Cube satellite built by SSU students set to orbit the Earth Bad air quality cancels sports Official election winners as projected by the VOICE  RP swears in new council member 2018 local stories which made history ArtStart brings art to the RP Senior Center Holocaust piano now in Cotati CRPUSD seeking a new superintendent Superintendent search begins Cotati Council moves ahead Planning Commission approves hotel November is Native American Heritage month... Fun family Christmas events in Cotati Cougars’ season comes to a tearful sad conclusion CalFresh clients get Feb. benefits early Rohnert Park Station Ave. update Cuts suggested for school district The “Healing Wall” comes to Sonoma County Cotati memorializes victims Rohnert Park considers firework restrictions CHP to check motorcycle safety in local area Cotati honors and appreciates Monitoring wells provide picture of underground water Dr. Dominguez and Hawkins named as director and co-director for Hanna Institute University Elementary School to host Maker World at SSU Animal Shelter League of RP receives grant Cotati Council reshuffles seats Help save lives by donating blood New laws on purchasing and concealing handguns Fencing in Sonoma County School district leaders tackle 1.9m deficit School district seeking new superintendent Cotati protests CASA compact School district balances budget More high density in Rohnert Park Put down your phone April is distracted driving awareness month SSU Police make arrest in sexual assault case CRPUSD district’s good news in May Levine applauds investigation into power shut offs The Community Voice endorses candidates DA’s office awarded DUI Prosecution Grant Rohnert Park kid joins TCU El Camino graduates Rohnert Park Council says we don’t need another agency Rancho students excel in Poetry Out Loud  SC public safety heroes of the year Don’t drive with an open container Traffic concerns top RP survey SSU Equestrian looks to go national Brace yourself for mosquitos Station Avenue project An offer has been made and accepted on Rohnert Park’s corporate yard SMART to offer free rides... SOMO Village overrun by CHP party Fire management assistance granted Frightful, fun, free Halloween activities Cougars crush Ukiah Election projected winners November 6, 2018  Sonoma Clean Power offers no-cost energy upgrades Rancho advances to semifinals RP’s n­ew Director of Public Safety A stand-off with barricaded, suicidal woman ends safely in RP RP has a new director of public safety Mackenzie leaves SMART RP officers spent Sat. car chasing A shimmer of hope against the angry heavy sky SSU to host North Bay Women of Color conference Rancho’s TAG building, now a reality Mayors of So Co write angry letter Dodd’s college student food bill passes Rohnert Park caregiver arrested Sheriff’s canine apprehends convicted felon Latino Alliance promotes first festival The evacuation through her eyes Public invited to give input on Downtown RP Site School board candidates voice opinions Woman stabbed on west side of RP LandPaths connects people to protected land Tech High Girl's Soccer Undefeated champions! AG Becerra issues consumer alert on price gouging in fire-affected communities Learn to docent at the SSU Fairfield Osborn Preserve New signs point in the right direction Where are the ski lifts? Is Cotati being targeted? New alcohol fees for Rohnert Park Sonoma State president testifies for tax relief for disaster victims Fixing Cotati’s roads RP driver identified Burglary suspect found with firearms Special education funding complicated Firefighters called to the front State Farm property steams forward to Station Avenue Scrappers Steal Win RP Foundation issues grant Cotati allows second dispensary New residential building lands approved In Singapore Strait aboard a missile destroyer PG&E has a prediction model USCIS presents free training on how to apply for citizenship RP investigates new site for Corp. Yard Two arrested in RP motel for mail theft  Is Juuling the new norm? Cotati considers $15 min. wage No criminal charges filed against PG&E in northern Ca. wildfires  RP decides on west side Vintage race cars on Sonoma raceway track May CalFresh month celebration Keeping California history alive Giving students added support Rancho Cotate Band fundraiser BBQ Jessica Holman: Thirty-five years of Rancho Spirit Titans crush Mustangs Station Avenue gets final approval Cotati Council reviews trash plan Baseball League receives donation from local motorcycle club Cotati Police Chief Parish swears in new officer Garber A Sunday afternoon with retired football players Injury collision closes Golf Course Dr. Giving Kids Smiles in Rohnert Park Neighborhood watch meeting scheduled New Executive Director at SSU RP man sentenced to prison 23 years for robbery Adolescent birth rate continues to decline School district seeks new superintendent New interim superintendent Krispy Kreme Doughnuts comes to Rohnert Park  Cougars blow past Gauchos  Rohnert Park honors its Veterans and Servicemen CHP reminds all of increased crimes Cougars beat Bulldogs More than 276,000 Dreamers have renewed DACA White receives Matt Walsh Memorial RP and Sunday festivities SSU fraternity banned for five years Name correction: Grand Jury report on SoCo jail system Former Rancho student convicted A New Experience – Coffee with the Congressman Coming together to have fun and help others Cotati Chamber of Commerce Oktoberfest Rancho crushes Analy CA Homemaker Association needs volunteers Active duty honorees at the RP Veterans Day program Santa now knows her secret CPI receives funding to offer counseling in schools Caltrans works toward decarbonizing California transportation The Rancho Cotati Rotary Club hosts Humanitarian Award dinner SSU and SCOE offer high school internship Illegal robocalls and spoofing Farmers’ Market party on the plaza RP Foundation to reinstate Small Grants Program Reported sexually transmitted diseases reach epidemic level So. Co. is here to connect with you RP’s new interim police chief Big changes to big project in Rohnert Park A possibility for Snyder Lane to have four lanes soon Rohnert Park road updates Sheriff’s Detectives arrest SR man after controlled delivery of ecstasy pills. Cotati comes out against CASA Llamadas ilegales y spoofing Music alive in Cotati Sept. is suicide prevention month Three arrested; stolen items recovered Celebrating National Hispanic Heritage month Paper Delivery Update RP voters overwhelmingly renew open space protections Penngrove Community Church celebrates 120 years Cotati approves tree lighting City of Cotati has apartment housing parking problems Operators ordered to pay for false advertising violations Becerra urges Ca. businesses resources to help prevent human trafficking Possible change to parking rules Enroll in Transportation Security Administration Elder abuse rising in So Co U10 Cal Ripken champions say Aloha New start at school board meeting In memory of Greg Beedon City of Cotati urges governor to sign affordable housing bill First Annual Latino Festival draws a large crowd Immigration appointments rescheduled Students at University Elementary discussing the labyrinth Rohnert Park City Council Candidates NHTSA reminds motorists to drive sober this season Cotati’s code of conduct School board follows its policy Free school supplies RPDPS receives grant to fight alcohol-related crime Winners of “Discovered: Emerging artists of Sonoma County” Cotati Oktoberfest on the horizon Carrying another on a recovery path Family Justice Center Sonoma County receives grant awards R P Foundation gives grants to NOAH and Petaluma Bounty Summit State Bank annual report FEMA awards Sonoma Water grant RP moves to curb false alarms Doggone hot days are here! Warnings weren’t enough! ‘Stuff the van’ with school supplies Wake up to social crisis Cannabis cultivation and more projects Downtown RP infrastructure project Ca. Dept. of Public Health issues Public Health advisory State Fund offers extended credit to policyholders March for the blind highlights need for more accessible sidewalks Cougar to Bear — Simmons’ new pelt SRJC picks up local quarterback The Cougars defeat the Jaguars at homecoming New laws take effect Jan. 1 Boards approve plan to offset proposed groundwater fee Technology High School construction on schedule Groundwater sustainability fee adopted in Santa Rosa Plain Rohnert Park City Council all about safety Accordion Festival San Francisco Mime Troupe to perform in Cotati Rep. Thompson speaks at SSU on climate change RP to vote on protecting open space and preventing sprawl Pedestrian jumps into path of SMART Train Fire - Community - Businesses Kids and firefighters compete in RP RP local, Petri Alva, 14, a nationally recognized athlete SSU named one of the best universities Verity is hiring to work with survivors RP City Council, not business as usual A young child making a big difference Cotati’s first homicide in 24 years Veterans’ housing to open in 2020 RPPS encourages public to drive sober Issues and recognition but no council meeting RCHS Mascot at Welcome Back Rally Raising awareness on the dangers of SIDS SMART will run limited service SweetPea celebrates 31 years Seawolves serve up a victory Students almost ready for kindergarten Would you make a great foster parent? Grand Jury recommends improvements for So. Co. Water City of Cotati switches to 100% renewable electricity I’m ready, bring ‘em on! Tech High School celebrates 20 years PG&E Wildfire Assistance Program accepting applications for aid Learn to become a naturalist Police and housing topics discussed at Council Coursey on the campaign trail Take one, leave one – New free library in Cotati Cardinals rout Cougars SSI and SSP recipients eligible for CalFresh benefits Five vehicle crash shuts down Golf Course Dr. Happenings at Cotati City Council Trades Intro Program (TIP) leads to career RP City Council: from safety to striping Girls explore STEM possibilities at Tinker Academy Spring Lake Water Bark kickoff Sozo Student Center opens Credo ladies in Trashion show Cougars win behind roaring defensive performance Another long evening at Cotati City council How to help victims of wildfires Polynesia celebrated at annual Pacific Islander Festival Fire storm anniversary New fire station gets final direction Undercover operation identifies prostitution at local massage parlors Red flags fly at all fire stations during “Red Flag” warnings L J principal promises open door policy DUI driver arrested after collision on RP Exp Contact information needed from about 150,000 PG&E customers A satisfied smile Cotati Council makes it short Cotati is open to new county wide voting system CANCELLATION Plan approved for Station Ave. park Football in full swing, 3rd win Arrests and charges target Apple stores Cotati fills Planning Commission The long summer grinds Alert resident foiled attempted burglary of neighbor’s home All about the roads Third DUI driver arrested in RP in three days Santa Rosa doctor overprescribing New leadership delivers new start at school board meeting Man takes own life Bound for a peaceful resting place After sluggish start, Cougars explode RP Improvements Update week of October 21st Annie Rasmussen Celebration of Life School district set to begin new year Wrong way bicyclist rides into path of SMART train City, county reach agreement with Homeless Advocates Our words are not enough: Educators call for action First day of school and new friends PG&E Wildfire Assistance Program distributes first checks to victims  Credo Kaplan-Kinsey semi-finalist Focusing on finances... The Salvation Army expands response to Kincade Fire Revisiting those who lost it all: October wildfire victims still on the road to recovery Rohnert Park residents awarded law degrees School Year 2019-2020 for free and reduced-price meals Cattle drive comes to SR Man dies in custody Home-based learning on the rise Home invasion robbery, suspects still at large Travis Jenkins Merit Scholar Semi-Finalist Years to launch SoCo post offices forced to close SMART celebrates a year of service RP Public Safety report card Joint Legislative Wine Committee to meet at SSU Ca. Dept. of Justice announces ammunition regulations Fatal bicycle vs. vehicle collision RPPS investigating sexual assault A slow and painful wait for a downtown RP improvement updates RP road improvements update When the power is off, treat signals as stop signs Penngrove native set for amazing voyage Cotati votes opposition to oil leases DMV offices will close for half day Social Security – Care and Beware Urban growth boundary benefits RP Council looks at serious close-to-home issues Fight the flu... get immunized Stay indoors to reduce smoke inhalation SC neighborhood sues illegal pot grower Reckless vehicle ends in DUI arrest Do you know the relationship between low impact development and water quality? So. Co. Behavioral Health and Health Services in the county jail Cotati City Council of Aug. 13 USCIS clarifies special immigrant juvenile classification to victims of abuse Consumer alert on price gouging Water Conservation Car washes and water waste Equifax provides $600 million in consumer restitution Cotati sees its first homicide in 24 years New Column Things to know about PG&E’s Public Safety power shutoff Structure fire displaces family 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 Stray sways the crowd Showing off rope tricks Sonoma County Fair reviews safety protocols Gun violence in the U.S. and globally Beautifying Magnolia Park Voters urged to return vote by mail ballots early 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 Skating during Cotati Kids Day parade Watenpaugh returns to lead CRPUSD Join CASA of So. Co.’s commitment to helping victims of child abuse Safety and power outages Campaign targets vaping-related illness RP to host community forum for public safety director search Emergency Alert System Test Sept. 10 & 12 Spreckels and Alchemia connects community Vehicle crashes into house Call to action in Ca. Passenger killed fleeing crash Help with citizenship Sonoma County 2020 campaign headquarters opening It wasn’t an easy fight but Rancho wins again RP Safety Dept. climbs in remembrance of 9/11/18 Suicide leading cause of death in youths Impersonating pharmacists Pesticide residue consumed by infants and children Ayuda con ciudadanía Early voting center opens Back to school for Rohnert Park and Cotati Another tough break for roller derby PG&E to conduct inspections by helicopter in Sonoma County Correction to the July 26 issue SSU student receives prestigious CSU Trustees’ Award The USCIS application support center in Santa Rosa closed RP waits to make update to emergency alert system Cougars slay Dragons Deputy saves overdosing man using department-issued Narcan SR theft suspect caught after lengthy chase Cotati City Council recommends several adoptions USCIS updates fee waiver requirements Third pedestrian struck by SMART train Enjoying ribs Rohnert Park’s Black Blear Diner gets sued Penngrove wastewater pipeline overflows Vote by mail ballots now available for the Nov. 5, consolidated elections Ca. Senate Fellows Program application period opens Little ones with big Polynesian dancing spirit Sidewalk repair gets big break from City of RP New safety power shutoff zip code alerts 'Team Trevor' A football team with a heart King and Queen RP Health Center celebrates anniversary Imitating major leaguers Rohnert Park waiting for approval for canine program The California Highway Patrol implements a regional effort to save lives RP Council talks about fast trains and lawsuits Reckless driver resists arrests, with help from K-9 Max

Blackmailed the city

Blackmailed the city 

The Community Voice

Bravo, Mr. Fancy-Pants Lawyer, you have blackmailed the City of Rohnert Park into moving to district elections for City Councilmembers, a system which the city neither needs nor wants.

Rohnert Park has a relatively homogeneous population and moreover it is relatively homogeneously distributed. In what meaningful way could we possibly district up the city?

We don't have a diversity problem on our City Council. We have in recent times had a Latino and a Nigerian serve long terms on the Council. In the last election one candidate was a woman from the Congo.

I like having a voice in choosing all five Councilmembers as I do now under the at-large system. I resent that I will be forced into participating in the election of just one of the five.

Rick Luttmann

Rohnert Park

Rick Luttmann
Rohnert Park
November 22, 2019

Cotati business owners and managers

Cotati business owners and managers

The Community Voice

The City of Cotati will be considering a model ordinance to prohibit the sale, use, and distribution of single-use disposable food service ware products and polystyrene foam products in order to reduce pollution to our environment and waterways and encourage recycling and composting of food service waste. The model ordinance is intended to be adopted throughout Sonoma County in similar or identical form and is based on similar ordinances enacted in many communities in California. However, before considering adoption of the ordinance, it was important to the City Council to reach out to our business community and solicit feedback.

The proposed model ordinance states that all to-go food service ware provided to customers must be recyclable or compostable and accepted at our local recycling and compost facilities. Zero Waste Sonoma, the county-wide organization that coordinates solid waste services in Sonoma County, urges food and beverage providers to consider implementing reusables for dine-in customers, as numerous studies show proven cost-savings associated with this approach in addition to the reduction of single-use items going to landfill.

The preferred alternatives to single-use disposable to-go food and drink containers include aluminum or PETE (1) / HDPE (2) plastics as recyclable options, or Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) certified compostable fiber only products. However, any recyclable or unlined fiber compostable product meets the requirements as stated in the ordinance. In addition, Zero Waste Sonoma suggests that restaurant owners offer incentives for customers utilizing reusable items and provide items like straws and to-go cutlery only upon request.

For businesses that do not sell food or beverages, you may still be affected by this ordinance. Stores would no longer be able to sell other polystyrene foam items such as packing peanuts, disposable ice chests, and wine shippers in the jurisdiction. Additionally, wineries and other businesses would no longer be able to use polystyrene foam shipping products to send their goods if they originate within the City of Cotati.

Should any business have difficulty identifying alternative products, Staff from Zero Waste Sonoma will be available to assist with this task. It is expected that the City Council will hear the ordinance before the end of 2019, so it would therefore go into effect early in 2020. In any case, the intent is to provide all businesses until the end of 2020 to use existing stocks of materials and give businesses enough time to find alternative compliant products.

If enacted by the Cotati City Council, experts at Zero Waste Sonoma will work with each business to achieve compliance with the disposable food service ware and polystyrene foam ordinance to ensure the environmental protection of our community. Zero Waste Sonoma can also provide technical assistance to our businesses as needed.

More information regarding the ordinance can be found here: 

If you have any questions regarding the disposable food service ware and polystyrene foam ordinance, please contact me at (707) 565-1730 or. 

 

Sloane Pagal

Zero Waste Program Manager

Sloane Pagal
November 15, 2019

Carping about PG&E

Carping about PG&E

The Community Voice

While many people are carping about PG&E and its alleged benefits accruing only to "the rich" (said with a snarl), last Saturday's WSJ had an op-ed explaining some of the mandates PG&E has to live under:

PG&E must obtain 33% of electricity from renewables by 2020, and 60% by 2030. Hydropower is expressly excluded from renewables. What could be more renewable than hydropower, especially given the network of reservoirs and dams that PG&E already has?

In 2018, PG&E was required to spend $509 million on discounts for low income customers, in addition to $125 million on weatherization and other upgrades for disadvantaged communities.

In 2018, PG&E was required to spend $150 million on battery storage and other "sustainable" technologies. The utility is mandated to install 7,500 electric-car charging stations and offers drivers a $800 "clean fuel" rebate.

Democrats are accusing PG&E of putting profits over safety, but the CPUC approves PG&E's return on equity based on what's needed to attract private investment.

So, for the people who claim that the State should take over PG&E, I think they've pretty much done that already. How's that working for you now?

Joe Gaffney

Rohnert Park

Joe Gaffney
Rohnert Park
November 8, 2019

Evacuation plan in place

Evacuation plan in place

The Community Voice 

We are so grateful to report that the all SAY staff and youth residents are safe. The SAY Dream Center, Tamayo Village, and the Coffee House Teen Shelter are safe, not in mandatory evacuation zones and currently have power. However, we do have an evacuation plan in place for all facilities and will continue to monitor the situation closely. As for many members of our community, the evacuations and ongoing fires may trigger past trauma for young people. Therefore, we are increasing staffing to support youth during this difficult time.

SERVICES: Our 24/7 youth crisis hotline remains open 1-888-729-0012

Our short-term emergency shelter at the Dream Center is currently at capacity, but we do have the ability to increase capacity using mats and sleeping bags. Please call our crisis hotline at 1-888-729-0012 if you know a young person ages 18-24 who needs immediate shelter.

Drop-in services at the SAY Dream Center and Coffee House Teen Shelter are closed for now. Our Street Outreach services are currently suspended due to the widespread mandatory evacuation notices but are scheduled to resume as soon as possible.  

If you have an appointment scheduled at the Dream Center Counseling Clinic, please contact your clinician directly to confirm. In the coming days and weeks, SAY counseling staff will work with the Sonoma County Office of Education and school districts across the county to plan to provide mental health support to teachers and students when they are able to return to school.

Our hearts continue to be with all the first responders who are vigilantly fighting for the safety of our community. At this time, we are not in need of any in-donations. We will continue to monitor the situation and update you on the needs of our youth and the status of SAY's services. 

Elizabeth Goldman

Chief Program Officer, 

Interim CEO

Elizabeth Goldman
November 1, 2019

October 25th, 2019 Meat Industry More Scary Than Halloween Goblins Dear Editor, Halloween zombies, witches, ghosts and goblins lurking about don’t scare me; what’s really frightening is the meat industry. This is the industry that deprives, mutilates, cages, then butchers billions of cows, pigs, turkeys, chickens - animals who feel joy, affection, sadness, and pain, just like us…that exposes undocumented workers to chronic workplace injuries at slave wages, and exploits farmers and ranchers by dictating market prices… The industry that contributes more to our epidemic of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and cancer than any other, then bullies health authorities to remove health warnings from dietary guidelines… The industry that sanctions world hunger by feeding nutritious corn and soybeans to animals, instead of people… The industry that generates more water pollution than all other human activities, that spews more greenhouse gases than all transportation, that destroys more wildlife habitats than all other industries. Fortunately, our local supermarkets offer a rich selection of plant-based meats, milks, cheeses, and ice creams, as well as a colorful display of fresh fruits and veggies. According to the meat industry publication Feedstuffs, sales of plant-based foods doubled from 2017 to 2018, jumping another 20% from 2018-19. That's what gives me my courage…and hope. Sincerely, References for Editor https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2019/1/29/18197907/clean-meat-cell-plant-impossible-beyond-animal-cruelty https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/oct/10/huge-reduction-in-meat-eating-essential-to-avoid-climate-breakdown https://www.feedstuffs.com/news/plant-based-food-sales-doubled-last-year https://www.agri-pulse.com/articles/11933-plant-based-animal-protein-demand-shows-no-sign-of-letting-up https://plantbasedfoods.org/consumer-access/nielsen-data-release-2018/
Mark
Isemann
October 25, 2019

Intersections in Cotati

Intersections in Cotati

The Community Voice

I can understand the repaving of Old Red through Cotati, but who came up with the lane changes at the intersection of Old Red and East Cotati? It always seemed that the configuration that existed worked pretty well. Southbound Old Red had one left turn onto eastbound E. Cotati, one straight southbound through the downtown, and one right turn lane onto westbound E. Cotati. Westbound E. Cotati had one left turn lane S/B Old Red, two lanes through the intersection onto E. Cotati and one shared through lane/right turn to N/B Old Red. N/B Old Red through the intersection had 2 lanes N/B and one left turn lane onto W/B E. Cotati. It worked. Traffic moved smoothly and expeditiously.

A different story now. S/B Old Red now has two left turn lanes (though one is coned off at this writing) onto E/B E. Cotati, a bike lane, one straight through lane shared with a right turn lane onto W/B E. Cotati. So, if you want to make a right turn you need to be patient with the folks in front of you going straight. W/B E. Cotati no longer has a left turn lane onto S/B Old Red into the business strip. It is straight through the intersection. One lane is dedicated for right turn only.  No trucks are allowed to turn southbound onto Old Red or to proceed westbound E. Cotati.

All these vehicles that cannot turn onto Old Red, where can they go? Well, they can make a few U-turns or proceed down the various residential streets to get to where they want to go. And if you are a pedestrian you will stand on the corner to wait for the light to cycle through, even when there are no vehicles in sight. 

When something is not broken, why is it necessary to change it? The old way worked pretty well. 

Anthony Morgan

Cotati

Anthony Morgan
Cotati, CA
October 25, 2019

An open letter to the CPU Commission

An open letter to the CPU Commission

The Community Voice

It is now just over a week since Pacific Gas & Electric carried out the largest intentional power outage in the history of our state — maybe even the history of our nation.

In case you missed the news, it did not go well.

Hundreds of thousands of my neighbors were forced into darkness, both literally and figuratively, as PG&E fiddled with the switch. And while the literal darkness may be a consequence of the “new normal” of wildfire risk in California, the figurative darkness of this event was entirely man-made and completely inexcusable. PG&E failed utterly in its duty to keep customers, local governments and first responders informed both before and during the shutdown. This should never be allowed to happen again.

I am writing to you as regulators of our nation’s largest private utility company with two specific requests:

1. Demand that PG&E, after years of neglect and plush profits, finally upgrade and underground our electric infrastructure throughout the system.

Yes, we know PG&E has filed for bankruptcy protection. But the company also continues to lavish its executives with multi-million-dollar salaries and fancy wine-country dinners (at the same time its customers were eating everything in their refrigerators in preparation for the power cut-off). It buys full-page ads in our local newspaper telling us how to “prepare” for power shut-downs — the day after the power was shut off. It’s spending tens of millions of dollars on lawyers defending the company from fire-related lawsuits.

What it should be doing is investing its profits into modernizing an antiquated system that — by its own admission — endangers the lives of all of us. How can any business defend a practice that has live electrical wires hanging off of a 100-year-old transmission tower that was poorly maintained— the PG&E-identified source of the Camp Fire that leveled Paradise and killed 85 people just last year?

Yes, we have heard repeatedly from PG&E executives that they are pouring resources into clearing trees from around their wires and hardening their infrastructure to make it safer. But last week’s shutoff made it clear that PG&E’s work is nowhere near good enough. How is it that we can pass laws and regulations for seismic retrofitting, but we can’t keep the lights on in a stiff wind? When you have to cut off power to 34 counties because the forecast is for wind, you need to do better. Please, President Batjer and Commissioners, make PG&E do better.

2. Work with the state Legislature and local governments, such as Sonoma County and the City of Santa Rosa, to create a new emergency-response system that allows us to have more say about when a power shutdown occurs.

PG&E has a single purpose in this world: to make money for its shareholders. Sure, it spends millions on marketing campaigns telling all of us how much it cares, but facts are facts. It’s a business and its bottom line is the same as any business — to turn a profit.

Which means it has a serious conflict-of-interest when it comes to making the decision whether to keep the power on. It can’t put public safety and public interest first when its primary obligation is to its shareholders.

Bill Johnson, PG&E’s Chief Executive, likely would argue that point, and some supporters might even believe him. But PG&E doesn’t have that many supporters anymore. It has lost the public’s trust — Johnson admitted as much last week — with not just a long spate of utility-caused wildfires, but also the San Bruno natural-gas explosion in 2010, the stonewalling of fire survivors after the Tubbs Fire and now this widespread intentional power outage that was mishandled on a level that only a mega-corporation could mess up this badly.

I believe that power shutoffs can play a valuable role in public safety. I have seen the way that San Diego Gas & Electric works with local governments, first responders and individual customers to prepare a community for necessary outages, and to provide necessary resources for those who can’t cope on their own when the power goes out.

That needs to happen at our end of the state, as well. But currently in the second fire season of PG&E’s experiment with its own shutoffs, it is clear that PG&E should not be allowed to make these decisions on its own.

So please, President Batjer and Commissioners, let’s figure out a way to keep public safety in the hands of the public by including our representatives in the decision-making process alongside of the huge, for-profit corporation.

We rely on the California Public Utilities Commission for these requests, because you are the regulator of this business. We have no options such as boycotting or shopping around when it comes to having electricity delivered to our homes. Please help us improve the performance of PG&E, and to preserve the safety of all of us who live in California.

It’s time to make these reforms a reality of. For the sake millions of Californians, and billions of dollars’ worth of property, have the courage to rein in PG&E. 

 

From: A frustrated Californian 

Chris Coursey

Former Mayor, City of Santa Rosa

Chris Coursey
October 25, 2019

Guns are not the problem

Guns are not the problem

The Community Voice 

The government is the problem, wanting to take our guns away by slowly circumventing and using loopholes to abolish our Second Amendment Rights. They want to weaken the Second Amendment and continue to attack our rights to bear arms.

They will continue to tax, regulate and legislate arbitrarily enacting laws upon our gun rights given to us in our Bill of Rights, which was framed by the founders to limit a big over-reaching government. There is no such thing as gun control, only take control of all our guns.

The solution is to educate our middle and high school students on how to respect the weapon and properly use it. We Americans need to have gun zones that read, “criminals enter at your own risk.” This is a gun zone.

We Americans need to be the First Responders by carrying concealed weapons on our person. This is another right that they have taken away from us. We are helpless to protect ourselves. We have become the criminal.

Lino Zamacona

Rohnert Park

Lino Zamacona
Rohnert Park
October 18, 2019

The man was the bread winner

The man was the bread winner

The Community Voice

Since the 1960s this country has been run by democrats and other people of liberal persuasion except for the 8 years Ronald Reagan was in office.

In the 40s and 50s the man was the bread winner and the woman stayed home and took care of the house and children. Every family had one car. It was possible to afford a house. After a few years when the family brew, the family up graded to a larger house.

There weren’t many divorces. Abortion was shunned and unheard of. Life was much simpler and good.

Then came the 60s the hippie generation-free love and anything goes. “If it feels good do it.” People replaced their spiritual life with material things and worldly pleasures. Material things and worldly pleasures don’t last forever like spiritual things do. People have been neglecting anything spiritual for a long time. It has led society into frustrating, hopeless existence.

I am in a 12-step program. They teach us there is a higher power. I believe that higher power is God. Before I joined this 12-step program, I had no hope of recovery, my life was a downward spiral, slowly going down. I got to a point that I believed I wasn’t going to be around too much longer. I simply asked god to help me. His idea of recovery wasn’t my idea, but I had to do it. My idea of recovery over the years hadn’t worked.

I’m telling you this story because there is hope in this materialistic society and that is God. Trust him with all things. You won’t be disappointed.

Richard Cole

Rohnert Park

Richard Cole
Rohnert Park
October 11, 2019

Dear Editor, As a bit of an animal lover, I have been scouring the Internet for some special occasion celebrating animals. I came across an international observance called a "day for animals," but it wasn't quite what I expected. I was shocked to learn that nearly 99 percent of all domesticated animals are bred and raised for food. That, unlike our cats and dogs, they get no compassion or respect from the meat and dairy industries. Male baby chicks are suffocated in plastic garbage bags or ground up alive because they lay no eggs. Groups of laying hens are packed into small wire cages that tear out their feathers. Breeding sows spend their entire lives pregnant in metal cages. Dairy cows are artificially impregnated each year, and their babies are snatched from them at birth, so people can drink their milk. Like many others, I always thought of cows, pigs, and chickens as simply "food on the hoof." Now, I realize that each dollar I spend on meat and dairy products at the checkout counter subsidizes animal atrocities. I will be replacing animal products in my diet with the new healthful, cruelty-free plant-based meats and dairy items offered by my supermarket. Sincerely, References for Editor https://www.dayforanimals.com/ https://www.aspca.org/animal-cruelty/farm-animal-welfare https://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/cruel-things-done-to-farm-animals/
Michael Ignacio
Novato
September 26, 2019

My wife and I regularly read the entire edition of The Community Voice and have been pleased with the content for so many years. That is until the September 20 edition, specifically the To Ponder column by Irene Hilsendager. We never miss Irene's columns because they are usually quite informative. I must say that I was appalled with the content of this particular column. What was the reasoning for this column? Was it meant to be funny or comical? We did not find this column in any way funny or informative. This was 10 Commandments of a Teenager? Thou shall not steal from K-mart (Wal-Mart has a bigger selection?). Thou shall not do drugs (Alcohol lasts longer?) That is only a sampling of this ridiculous column. Are you kidding me? If a teenager is reading this column, what is it teaching the teenager? It's okay to steal? It's okay to drink alcohol? How about this one: Thou shall not think about having sex (As Nike says, "Just do it.). I repeat, are you kidding me? Not funny, not smart, and we are shocked The Community Voice printed this column. You all should be ashamed of yourselves.
Lucy and Tony Madia
Rohnert Park
September 21, 2019

Leaving position

Leaving position

The Community Voice 

It is with a heavy heart that I share I will be leaving my position as CEO at Social Advocates for Youth. My family and I have decided we need to move to Arizona to support my mom following the passing of my dad. As heartbroken as I am to be leaving this amazing community and organization, moving feels like to right thing to do for a family I love dearly. Saying goodbye to SAY and our amazing work is one of the hardest things I’ve done in my career, but I know this important work will continue to support the most vulnerable youth in Sonoma County.

It is important to me that you know the organization is in very good hands with our Board of Directors strategically leading the CEO recruitment process and our Chief Program Officer (and 28-year SAY veteran), Elizabeth Goldman stepping into the role of Interim CEO. As you may recall, Elizabeth expertly led the organization as Interim CEO during my maternity leave in 2017. We will keep you updated with our progress on recruiting the next leader for SAY.

I am so proud of the work our agency has done over the past few years – from building financial strength and expanding eight new programs, to establishing the base of operations at the SAY Finley Dream Center to ensure another 50 years of serving youth in our community. I cannot thank you enough for your support and advocacy that helped us accomplish all this great work. 

While I will be making this move in mid-October, know that I will be a life-long advocate of SAY and the youth we serve. SAY still has vital work to accomplish this year to ensure youth have access to the resources they need to succeed, including our fall fundraiser, One Cold Night in November. Please join me in continuing to advocate for the most vulnerable youth in our community – whether that be through volunteering your time, donating resources, or helping to spread the message that young people in Sonoma County need our critical support.

I am deeply grateful for my six years+ with our incredible staff, donors, and community partners. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly if you have any questions at 707-800-3949 or Katrina.thurman@saysc.org.

Always an advocate for youth, 

Katrina Thurman

Katrina Thurman
September 20, 2019

The value of a library card

The value of a library card

The Community Voice

Recently, I was asked, “What is the value of your library card?”

I began working in libraries when I was 4. My grandmother ran a little lending library in a Market Basket, and she took me to work to get me out of my mother’s hair. Seventy-five years later I am working as Chair of the Sonoma County Library Commission. So, “What does my library card mean to me?”

The first library was established over 5,000 years ago – different, but still here. How does anything exist for 5,000 years and survive? Being willing to learn what is needed and evolve to satisfy that need.

In fact, libraries predate books. Initially, clay tablets were utilized, with writing in cuneiform about business and trade, then stored in a common building or room. Transmitting information evolved into other scripts - hieroglyphics on stone and papyrus, the Phoenician alphabet from which evolved Greek and Roman script on parchment, and our own writing of today, preserved on paper or in digital form – all still housed in special rooms or buildings to be accessed as needed.

Changes in topics also occurred as time passed. Business and trade were first, moving into military successes and failures, biographies and important papers of pharaohs and caliphs, intrigues and revolts, and religious concepts, ideas, philosophies, sacred manuscripts, disagreements and conflicts.

Even more important, access to these writings spread among the people as well, beginning with business leaders, accountants and clerks, followed by royal households and their retinues, priests and novices, educators and students, the upper class and, finally, to everybody as reading and writing became the norm.

With increased access available to everyone, libraries began to house a multitude of intellectual topics, including fiction and a variety of forms found today such as CDs, DVDs and books, as well as a multitude of pathways to digital formats, all information impacting personal lives.

So, the question is: What is the value of my library card, any library card in our world today? 

The answer: Access to information of all kinds!

Everyone has free access to the library and everything that it holds. Your library card opens new opportunities to explore different places and cultures, new people and ideas.  

The library card is giving me, the patron, access to computers, tablets, and WIFI hotspots. I can apply for a job, write a paper, file taxes, learn how to fix something, relax and have fun with a good book or computer game - all with my library card. I can go to the nearest branch, do it from home, or travel.

Library cards enable us to reach out into the world to find books, DVDs, research materials, etc. that our local library does not have in its collections through agreements with surrounding systems, interlibrary loans, and Link+. 

My library card gives me access to Discover & Go, its 38 museums and cultural institutions such as the de Young Museum in San Francisco, the California Automobile Museum in Sacramento, the Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, the Pacific Pinball Museum in Alameda, or local treasures like the Charles M. Schulz and Pacific Coast Air Museums.

Plus, you have those everyday superheroes, librarians and their combined extensive knowledge. You have a question? They can help you find the answer. There are so many questions over the years I have asked or answered standing there as a patron or working in a library myself.

And, today, all this is done with no fines. We provide an average of $500 to $1,000 in value to each end every library patron, all for free.

Libraries have evolved into valuable community and personal assets. With your library card you can keep using the library, reading, learning, reaching out into and exploring the world.

September is Library Card Sign-Up Month, so if you don’t yet have a card, join 53 percent of Sonoma County residents who know that a library card is your best investment in yourself.

Reece Foxen, 

Cloverdale, Ca. 

Chair of the Sonoma County Library Commission

Reece Foxen
Cloverdale, Ca.
September 20, 2019

Bringing up good points

Bringing up good points

The Community Voice

Thank you for bringing up the subject as published in the most recent issue of the Community Voice (dated Friday, September 6, 2019).  It is important for all who have vested interest in how schools operate that they know how moneys are allocated for expenditures in these areas.  Your article brings up good points of concern to a number of parents having students in our local public schools.

The federal government has established two important but broad allocations in public education.  English Language Learners and special needs are so critical that indeed the federal government initiated an allocation process to help ensure that all students are delivered a free and appropriate education in BOTH areas.  Both areas received federal money that is filtered down to each State, distributed by each County.  This is important to understand even with the complexities that exist.  The perspective in the article is a popular one that comes from a popular website for special needs parents.  However, I provide to you a more accurate perspective that comes from the official Congressional Research Office that differs from the source you quoted.  I am confident this will assist in understanding the complexities better.

In spite of the importance of the financial segment, there are other more glaring inadequacies in public education, and especially in districts such as ours, that transcend the money ‘problem’.  The issues we have found have to do with delivering on the promise of the IEP - providing an individualized education program to students who are specifically identified as in need.  You see, Special Education is not a ‘place’ - it is a ‘program’ - a program that is guaranteed to each qualifying student by the federal government (the source of finances) as well as each State, county, and public-school district.  In spite of the fact that the program is greatly underfunded, students are still guaranteed their IEP to be delivered as a constitutional mandate (14th Amendment to the Federal Constitution) and whatever resources that are available MUST be provided to students so that their IEPs are delivered with fidelity.  Money may not currently be available for this in spite of the fact that it would greatly benefit with enhanced funding.  Nevertheless, we have found that in this district, gross examples of malfeasance dealing with the delivery of services to students were experienced and dozens upon dozens of incidences of this malfeasance have been documented and referred to the federal Office of Civil Rights in San Francisco.  We can always talk about seeking more and more money for programs, but when a child comes to a school with an IEP, or when a child arrives on campus speaking a different language at home than English, they need immediate accommodations - regardless of the funding available

  I hope this begins a long and fruitful discussion in this community about the improvements necessary in special education as well as in services for our English Language Learners. I am most happy to meet with you to discuss these concerns at length - with data for support - if you wish.

Again, thank you for helping the community keep the topic alive.  It is truly worthy of support, improvement, and community support to help improve our educational service to the most precious resource we have - our youth!

Larry Holguin M.Ed.

Senior Executive Consultant

Center for Teacher Effectiveness (CTE)

Nationally Certified Trainer/Consultant

Western Region

 

Larry Holguin M.Ed.
September 13, 2019

Speed increases

Speed increases

The Community Voice

In both this newspaper and in the Community Newsletter that comes with our water/sewer bill, I read the following remarkable statement by a city official: “An increase of 10 mph in your speed increases your stopping distance by 60 feet.” To me as a mathematician it is bizarre that anyone would offer such a naked claim with no context whatsoever: no beginning and ending speeds, no braking time or braking rate, no allowance for reaction time, etc.

The fact is that for any beginning and ending speeds 10 mph apart, there is some unique braking time and braking rate that will increase stopping time by 60 feet. And with any other braking time and rate, stopping distance will change from 60 feet. Moreover, as soon as the 10-mph interval is changed, then the braking time and braking rate to increase stopping distance by 60 feet must change also.

I investigated what braking time and braking rate would have to be in order that our stopping distance increases by 60 feet when we move from 25 mph to 35 mph. The braking time would be 3.4 seconds and the braking rate about 10.8 fps per second or about one-third gravity (g/3).

By actual experiment I discovered that if necessary, I can stop my car from 25 mph in less than half of 3.4 seconds and actually just a bit over a third of 3.4 seconds. That means (without factoring in reaction time) the braking rate would be at least double and perhaps closer to triple the figure for 25 mph (= 110/3 fps). And the stopping distance would accordingly be at most ½ of 60 feet = 30 feet, and perhaps closer to 1/3 of 60 feet = 20 feet.

In short, the figure of 60 feet additional stopping distance is grossly exaggerated. Please note that I am not insensitive to the intent of the city official’s message. We certainly want our children to be safe on their way to and from school. But there is no need to get hysterical.

Rick Luttmann, 

PhD, Professor Emeritus of Mathematics,

Sonoma State University

Rick Luttmann
September 13, 2019

How many bullets?

How many bullets? 

The Community Voice

Terrorists proved on September 11, 2001 that guns are not necessary to kill 2753 people. Timothy McVeigh proved that a truck load of explosives can kill

168 people and injure 680 while destroying one third of building and damaging many others in Oklahoma City.  A man with a knife killed four people and wounded two others in Los Angeles last week. 

A weapon of mass destruction can be a plane, an automobile, a knife, a gun or whatever an evil person chooses to utilize at a certain moment. 

By and large the weapon of choice has been an automatic weapon capable of holding a high-capacity magazine.  Whether it was Las Vegas, Columbine, Charleston, El Paso, Dayton or sadly too many other locations to name, the weapon of choice has been an automatic rifle with high-capacity bullet magazines. A truck can kill people but normally you can hear and see a truck coming. A knife can kill people but not as many as a rifle with a magazine clip holding 70 or more bullets. 

An evil person can walk into a church, theatre, Walmart or school and immediately have a couple of hundred people huddled together as a target. He doesn’t have to aim. He just points the weapon and pulls the trigger. The gun acts like a sprayer of bullets hitting people so fast that running, or dodging is almost impossible. The shooter looks for scenarios where people are trapped with limited escape door opportunities. Thus, a shooter with a bullet clip of 50, 70 or more has a potential of killing many people in just a minute or less. 

This is why Congress must enact background checks, strict licensing for high powered rifles and limit the number of bullets a clip can hold at one time. However, here is the problem. What is the magic number? My ordinary pistols hold six shells and my automatic ones hold more so what is the magic number of bullets that Americans will be limited to in one clip? Will it be 10 or 15 or 20? Honestly, there is no right number because a skilled marksman will still be able to kill. The hope is that maybe the ending of one clip or emptying of one pistol would give someone a chance to tackle the monster if anyone is still alive. Hopefully someone in the room will have a gun and be able to stop the shooter. 

I’m for limiting magazine capacity but it won’t eliminate terrorism and mass shootings. It’s a Hail Mary and our Congress has to do something, but we have to do more. All gatherings must take security measures. Hollywood and network television have to change. Universal Studios/NBC television is the biggest hypocrite of all. They constantly bark gun control and are negative toward the National Rifle Association while coming out with a movie titled “The Hunt” which is supposedly about liberals hunting deplorables and killing them. This kind of junk is a huge part of the problem. Hollywood, the music industry and video games must dramatically change their tone. Barney Fife in the Andy Griffith show carried a gun, but he never made any of us want to kill anyone or hate people. 

Guns, knives, trucks and airplanes can all kill and there are many other weapons that will kill massive numbers of people. We can’t eliminate them.  Our greatest need is a culture change. 

Glenn Mollette 

City withheld

Glenn Mollette
City withheld
August 30, 2019

Thousands homeless

Thousands homeless

The Community Voice

A picture of the homeless and their living accommodations in L.A. Thousands living homeless in L.A.; millions living homeless in the U.S. The picture is the same everywhere. Why don't wealthy landowners donate land and the wealthy donate money to build thousands of small houses in thousands of communities around the country? This would alleviate some of the problem that the rich are always complaining about. And it is greed and housing shortages that are causing the problems; not only for the poor but for everyone. Check the prices of rents lately?

Ron Lowe

Nevada City, Ca.

Ron Lowe
Nevada City, CA
August 30, 2019

Mess in RP

Mess in RP

The Community Voice

Has anyone else noticed the embarrassing mess in downtown Rohnert Park? There are weeds and dirt piles and mounds of cement all over the Station Avenue property. There is even a homeless camp. Homeowners get fined when their yards are not maintained. Maybe you can check with the city to see how much money in fines they have collected from owners. They can use that money to clean it up.

D.Z. Gorgevich

Rohnert Park

D.Z. Gorgevich
Rohnert Park, CA
August 16, 2019

Fire arm violence

Fire arm violence

The Community Voice

Recently the state of Colorado passed the so-called RED FLAG LAW. If you are concerned about firearm violence, then Goggle it and educate yourself.

Then read the 2nd & 4th Amendments of the Constitution of the United States of America. 

If you still feel that the Red Flag Law would be good for the country as a whole, then start working to repeal the 2nd & 4th amendments. 

Good luck with that!

Roger Jack Young

Sonoma

Roger Jack Young
Sonoma
August 16, 2019

Difficult to find talent

Difficult to find talent

The Community Voice

Back to the future in CRPUSD-Michael Watenpaugh as Interim Superintendent? Why is it so difficult to find energetic and fresh talent for this needy district? This is a better decision than giving each of the current Assistant Superintendents 5k each month extra to fill in. (Gee, they have the time and skill to be both at once? Seems unlikely since reporting responsibilities for this district have been woefully incomplete as a rule. For example-is there a high school called El Camino in the district, or is that just a place to hide struggling students?) Find a super that is willing to see all students as equal! (Maybe a district with a huge deficit and no articulated plans for the future scare away true professionals?) Let's hope not-but the search goes on, and on, and on . . . maybe they could just rehire Vrankovich?

Brian Abbott

Petaluma

Brian Abbott
Petaluma
August 9, 2019

A leader works well

A leader works well

The Community Voice

It is time for healing to begin in our local schools.  An experienced educator is returning to lead our district during difficult times. Michael Watenpaugh has worked as a leader and manager in Novato City Schools, Cotati-Rohnert Park, and San Rafael City Schools.  Your columnist has called him a carpetbagger but also honestly depicted him as a leader who worked well with staff.  A leader who works well with others is that a good thing or a bad thing?  Fiscally responsible?  Interested in students?  Dr. Watenpaugh chose to leave CRPUSD to work where he lives and has lived for over two decades. He chose to work where his two sons were being raised and give stability to them and their community.  Carpetbagger?  How many superintendents have lived in Cotati or Rohnert Park?  These criteria would exclude many of our fine past superintendents who despite working for years in the CRPUSD lived in Sebastopol, Santa Rosa, Windsor, Petaluma or beyond.  A tremendous number of CRPUSD teachers and administrators have gone on to be superintendents of neighboring districts; they too have lived outside the service area of school districts they have led. These criteria do not hold up as to what a person has to offer our communities.

Dr. Watenpaugh has worked in our communities with our staff to serve our students, parents and all within the district and beyond.  Our district needs leadership and healing and Dr. Watenpaugh has agreed to take on the task which others have left or chosen not to deal with.  Dr. Watenpaugh is aware of what he is coming to and has the experience to deal with issues that have been overlooked or ignored. We should welcome him and help in the healing process and move forward for the good of all.

Eric Kirchmann

Cotati

Eric Kirchmann
Cotati, CA
August 9, 2019

Let’s be real

Let’s be real

The Community Voice

Gun culture is white culture -- Let's be real if we're going to have healthy dialogue. They're the only one's displaying outrage about their guns.

More than 50 police departments around the country have opened internal investigations after the Center for investigative Reporting identified almost 400 law enforcement officers who were members of extremist groups on Facebook. Nearly 150 officers were involved with violent far-right groups such as Oath Keepers and Three Percenters. 

Donald Trump launched his re-election campaign at a rally in Orlando. Isn't that where guns killed over 50 people in a massacre? And aren't the Republicans the 'guns everywhere' promoters?

Ron Lowe

Nevada City, Ca

Ron Lowe
Nevada City, CA
August 9, 2019

Many members of the Callinan Sports Center have been increasingly unhappy with the lower-than-comfortable temperatures in the cardio room and the use of extremely over-sized fans to maintain those temperatures. The former Sports Center Director claimed OSHA requires the room to be 70 degrees, which is not correct. After researching the optimum temperature for a cardio room, the range is 68 to 76 degrees, which can be dependent on the age of participants and the types of cardio workouts. If you’re interested, here’s a link to an article on the subject: hhcommercialonline.wordpress.com/2017/10/24/maintaining-the-right-climate-in-your-gym-what-you-need-to-know/ The Callinan Sports Center cardio room is used by people of varying ages and fitness, who have different cardio routines. Additionally, some are cooling down from their exercise while others are just warming up, and still, others are at the peak of their routine. So finding an optimum temperature for all suggests a middle ground, which (in a range of 68 to 76) would nominally be 72-73 degrees. The related issue is the extremely over-sized fans that are both loud and push so much air that a normal cool-down becomes a "cold-down”, i.e. the exerciser cools down faster than is healthy. The only option would be to immediately put on a sweatshirt right after exercising, which could lead to overheating - again, unhealthy. These oscillating fans also produce a very uneven cool/warm effect that is very uncomfortable no matter where you are in your cardio workout. In summary, I am proposing two things: (1) the cardio room temperature be maintained at a comfortable and healthy 72-73 degrees, and (2) the oversized fans be replaced by fans that produce adequate circulation for a range of healthy workouts, while not making one feel like they’re exercising in a noisy wind tunnel. Of course, personal fans are an option. If you agree with me, please comment publicly on my letter and/or register your concern and support by contacting any of the following: John McArthur, the Director of Public Works and Community Services, a City Council member, or other City employee to express your concern. Thanks for listening! Pamela Fender
Pamela Fender
Rohnert Park
August 3, 2019

Train drivers need counseling

Train drivers need counseling

The Community Voice

If it's not already happening, SMART train drivers need immediate and ongoing trauma counseling, both for the drivers themselves, and for public safety. Anxious drivers aren't at their best, much less the traumatized drivers now dealing with unavoidable, accidental involvement in the recent deaths. If you would like to know how the issue is being addressed, please contact the SMART Board of Directors. Email and phone contact for SMART Chair Gary Phillips, and most (but not all) other SMART board members, is available at: sonomamarintrain.org/board-of-directors.

Carol Goodwin Blick

Carol Goodwin Blick
July 26, 2019

Denounce racial corruption

Denounce racial corruption

The Community Voice

When the Nazi soldiers, armed with machine guns, came to take their neighbors away, the community watched. Some hid behind curtains. Others jeered.

How did it happen? A tyrannical leader had substituted the critical thinking skills of an entire population with the constant clamor of fear-mongering and anti-Semitism. Hitler believed in a pure culture.

Hitler promoted an extreme form of Nationalism and denounced racial corruption.

He despised Internationalism (globalism) as an ideology that affirmed the equality of all men.

And Hitler came to power when the German economy was surging upward following a devastating war. Boy, does this ever sound like Donald Trump and the white racist Republicans.

Ron Lowe

 Nevada City, Ca.

Ron Lowe
Nevada City, Ca.
July 19, 2019

If it's not already happening, SMART train drivers need immediate and ongoing trauma counseling, both for the drivers themselves, and for public safety. Anxious drivers aren't at their best, much less the traumatized drivers now dealing with unavoidable, accidental involvement in the recent deaths. If you would like to know how the issue is being addressed, please contact the SMART Board of Directors. Email and phone contact for SMART Chair Gary Phillips, and most (but not all) other SMART board members, is available at: sonomamarintrain.org/board-of-directors

Carol Goodwin Blick
Rohnert Park
July 17, 2019

How newspaper is valued

How newspaper is valued

The Community Voice

I watched last week on the 10 p.m. news a segment on a Rohnert Park gentleman who was a retired 86-year-old college professor who was a victim of a Visa card scam. This broke my heart. We know in our industry how vulnerable the aging adults are so I have been trying to write on this need for education on this topic following this news segment.

In fact, last week I was at the Safeway on Commerce and purchasing 15 $100 Visa cards (it is how we manage our clients grocery accounts and is in place to protect against elder abuse) 

The woman behind me said "I'm sorry to pry but I must ask you- Did someone ask you to buy all those $100 gift cards?" I smiled and politely said no mam this is in fact how I as a home care business owner KEEP my clients safe from financial fraud when buying their groceries. 

Then the clerk chimed in too and the person behind the lady behind me too about this elder scam targeting seniors and one then said- I read about senior scams last week in the Community Voice! Then one of them said a columnist wrote about it there too in the Community Voice the different types of abuse seniors face! I said that’s my column- I write that and thank you for your readership of the Community Voice! 

I wanted to share with you how well received the Community Voice is and a valued resource to our community residents all the information shared with in the paper!

Way to Go Community Voice Newspaper Team! 26 years and Counting! 

Julie Ann Soukoulis

Rohnert Park

Julie Ann Soukoulis
Rohnert Park, CA
July 12, 2019

In your article of June 28 regarding the construction of Tech High , I was disappointed to see the writer refer to the large grass soccer field on the side of the school as "unused space and playground equipment that will not be necessary for highschool". Obviously the author is not familar with the neighborhood. The grass field was often used by families practicing sports with their children, or playing with their dogs. There were also soccer goals set up for teams to practice. The back basketball courts were often in use for games by local residents. When the chain link fence around the area went up someone posted a sign "We want our park back". Also, I often visited the two playground structures in the back of the school with my grandchildren. Each time there were always other families enjoying these structures, not necessary for a highschool but vital to a neighborhood. Perhaps I missed the neighborhood meeting with the school district and city which would have informed us what to expect with the construction which has included early morning noise of equipment, large dump trucks up and down Bonnie all day, and generation of dirt and dust.
Mary Daniels
Rohnert Park
July 2, 2019

Rohnert Park Military Banner Program

Rohnert Park has a Military Banner Program honoring those currently serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. These members are from the City or have family or relatives who work or reside in Rohnert Park. A special thanks to those who have supported our program since 2011 with over 50 banners installed in our city. If you have a family member or relative on active duty, the program can display a banner in town to recognize their service to our country. Contact me at andy@starspangledbanners.org or visit www.starspangledbanners.org for more information or if you want help in starting a similar program in your community. Windsor and Cloverdale also have similar programs.

Andy Durkee
Rohnert Park Military Banner Coordinator

Andy Durkee
Rohnert Park
June 11, 2019

Project Graduation

Project Graduation 

The Community Voice

Project Graduation time is here! Volunteers are needed for the event!!

This event requires well over 150 volunteers to make it successful and there are still volunteers needed. It's lots of fun and a wonderful community effort to give the graduating seniors from the Cotati-Rohnert Park district high schools a safe and sober graduation party. Even if you don't have a senior or did years ago, you are more than welcome to come help out!

This year's all-night event will be held on May 31st from 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. the following morning. We have volunteer times available just for setup, or you can volunteer for the event for the first shift, the second shift, or both! Whatever suits your schedule, we will gladly use your assistance!  Help us keep our graduates in a fun safe environment!

Please click the link at the bottom of the email to go to "Signup Genius" and volunteer to help out in some way:

https://m.signupgenius.com/#!/showSignUp/60b0849a4a829a4f85-under/4023828

Not available to help the night of the party? How about getting involved in the planning for next year or making donation to the party.

Thank you for any help you can give!

Lisa Bagwell

Finance Secretary, past President

Lisa Bagwell
May 31, 2019

Very disappointed

Very disappointed

The Community Voice

When I received my May 17 issue of the Community Voice, I was very disappointed to see the article about Olwen Peterson had been put on the back page. Not only having turned 100 years old but she has volunteered at our library for so many years, many times a whole day.

It seems to me she should have been on the front page.

Marion Ackerman

Rohnert Park

Marion Ackerman
Rohnert Park, CA
May 24, 2019

Why are new gas stations proliferating in So. Co. now?

Why are new gas stations proliferating in So. Co. now?

The Community Voice

For several months Petaluma residents have been in a David-and-Goliath battle with Safeway over their proposal to build a 16-pump gas mega-station adjacent to a residential district near an elementary school, a child care center and fields where children play.  The residents are distraught, because a gas station does not mix well with children or bode well for their health, for many reasons.

Meanwhile, another totally unnecessary 16-pump ARCO gas station (including 4 diesel pumps), with a carwash and AM/PM convenience store (selling soda, chips etc.) is being proposed at Highway 116/Stony Point Road in an unincorporated, semi-rural area of the County, less than 2 miles from Cotati on the way to Sebastopol.

The handful of small, locally owned businesses on the site, including Cali Kind tie-dye clothing shop, the Pond & Garden Nursery and Martin’s Market & Deli would have to go – pushed out by a massive, out-of-county corporate developer. 

There are already five gas stations within 2 miles of this site, four clustered around the Hwy 116/Hwy 101 intersection, and another to the north on Hwy 116.  There are already two carwashes, a full service and a self-service, less than 2 miles away in Cotati.  

Over 1.65 acres of impervious surfaces would be added.  Well water, a septic system, wastewater from the carwash and run off from the gas station would all be dealt with on site. Ditches alongside the site run into nearby Gossage and Washoe Creeks, tributaries to the Laguna de Santa Rosa, a wetland of international significance.  Sonoma County is riddled with Leaking Underground Storage Tanks, including within a few miles away.  Underground gas tanks from gas stations almost always leak.  One gallon of oil can pollute 1 million gallons of water.  One pin-prick size hole in an underground gas tank can leak 400 gallons of fuel a year.  And all of this potential trouble lies a mile upstream from the Llano Road water treatment plant.  

The site is in a Scenic Corridor, close to a Community Separator. Community Separators were voted in 2 years ago by 81% of the voters to protect green open spaces between cities, and show what a high value Sonoma County residents place on protecting rural lands. The surrounding rural, agricultural land consists of seasonal wetlands, and lies within the area of critical habitat for our local endangered species, the California tiger salamander.  

There are many conflicts with the Sonoma County General Plan, designed to guide development in the County. For example “While existing commercial uses are recognized, new highway oriented businesses should be avoided to minimize traffic and safety problems and to encourage location of these uses in nearby Urban Service Areas”; “Assure that commercial development in rural portions of the area is of a scale, intensity and design which is compatible with the area’s rural and scenic character”; “Limited commercial land is intended to accommodate retail sales and services for the daily self-sufficiency of local rural or urban neighborhoods or communities in keeping with their character”.  

Quite apart from local impacts, why would anyone want to build another gas station now, with the climate crisis looming over us, gas stations plummeting, and sales of electric cars soaring?  If built, how soon will this one become an obsolete white elephant and who will pay for the clean-up costs?

The project came to preliminary Design Review Committee in February and was sent back to the drawing board for a redesign, mainly because it is in a scenic corridor and not suitable for a rural area. It will come back for a second preliminary Design Review at some point, but we don't yet know when.  The site is zoned for Limited Commercial; development of a gas station would require a Use permit, which is the responsibility of the Board of Zoning Adjustments to deny or approve.

And then, I just heard of yet another proposal for a gas station in a rural, unincorporated area of the County, at 5300 Sebastopol Road, between Santa Rosa and Sebastopol.  Many of the same concerns apply: potential for pollution and proximity to the Laguna; impacts to existing businesses, and most of all, why a gas station now when the climate crisis is upon us and both environmental and economic imperatives demand a move away from fossil fuels towards renewable, clean, green energy and more sustainable lifestyles.

To sign up to be on the County’s mailing list for notifications about the next public hearing for the Hwy 116/Stony Point Road project, contact Kyreen.Gonzalez@sonoma-county.org

Jenny Blaker

Cotati, CA

Jenny Blaker
Cotati, CA
May 17, 2019

Old-fashioned chicken BBQ

Old-fashioned chicken BBQ

The Community Voice

On behalf of the Cotati Historical Society, I wish to thank the community for their unwavering support of the Cotati Historical Society & Museum.  We held our 11th Annual Old-Fashioned Chicken BBQ this past April 7th, and it was a wonderful success, thanks to over 400 visitors who attended.

Amazingly, it rained before and after the BBQ, but not a drop during the event.  Being so blessed, we were able to hold our annual Car Show and we had two local bands who played for our visitors.  The BBQ itself is amazing, and combining it with a fabulous Silent Auction, Bake Sale, wonderful music and Car Show, it becomes an event not to be missed!

We have a key feature that we cherish as well.  The fourth grade students from Thomas Page Academy - a few weeks prior to the event, visit city hall, the Museum, and the Police Station, to learn how our city works and how our local history shaped Cotati to become what it is today.  Each student is asked to write a brief essay about an aspect of Cotati's history.  The students turn in some excellent works, making it difficult to choose which is the best.  During the BBQ, winners are announced and awarded prizes for themselves and financial gifts for their classroom.

The Cotati Historical Society is grateful for the continued support that the community gives to support our efforts of making Cotati's history available for all to learn.  If you haven't been to the Museum at the West end of Cotati City Hall, please do visit some Saturday between 1 and 4pm..you'll be glad you did!

John Allred

President

Cotati Historical Society

John Allred
Cotati, CA
May 17, 2019

A special council meeting

A special council meeting

The Community Voice

The City of Cotati has buried a public hearing notice in your newspaper and not advertised/publicized an important public hearing on the proposed hotel and market hall on Monday, May 13.  

The hotel project is located on St. Joseph’s Way, across from Walgreens.   Please come to the public hearing or write a public comment as the city council and planning commission needs to hear from the citizens on this project!   Here are the details from the public notice: 

NOTICE OF SPECIAL MEETING AND PUBLIC HEARING

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the Planning Commission will conduct a public hearing at a special meeting date on Monday, May 13, 2019, at 7 p.m., or shortly thereafter in the Council Chambers of Cotati City Hall, 201 West Sierra Avenue, to consider the following matter:

Consideration of Design Review, variances, a Use Permit, and adoption of a Mitigated Negative Declaration to allow construction of a 153-room hotel and 7,246 square foot market hall located at 147 St. Joseph Way. The Planning Commission will also consider accessory uses to the hotel and market hall, including outdoor dining on private property and alcohol sales with live music.

ALL INTERESTED PERSONS are invited to attend the meeting or send their comments on the matters listed above to Jon-Paul Harries, Senior Planner, at 201 W. Sierra Avenue, Cotati, CA 94931.  

JP Harries’ email address is jpharries@cotaticity.org

Laurie Alderman 

Cotati, Ca.

Laurie Alderman
Cotati, CA
May 10, 2019

Walk about

Walk about

The Community Voice

The Redwood Empire Chapter of the California Council of the Blind, Sonoma County is going to conduct a Walk-About at the intersection of Redwood Expressway @ San Simeon on Friday, May 10th from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. to raise awareness of the difficulties for visually impaired, disabled and community members to safely access this intersection. The City of Rohnert Park has been instrumental in making adjustments and corrections to intersections we have conducted these "Walk-abouts" at including most recently @ Snyder Lane @ Rancho Grande, Redwood Expressway @ Rancho Verde, Commerce & Hunter Drive. The improvements were increasing the time for pedestrian crosswalk lighting, audible signals, moving the pedestrian buttons to trigger the crosswalk signals to enable visually impaired & disabled pedestrians access to the crosswalks, trimming trees to improve intersection visibility to motorists to name but a few.  City of Rohnert Park representative George Frostick and Rohnert Park Public Safety Representatives will be in attendance as will members of the Redwood Empire Chapter to this effort to improve pedestrian safety in Rohnert Park especially in light of the increase in vehicle/pedestrian accidents in the state. 

Thank you for your consideration of this request and we look forward to our continuing combined efforts to make and keep Rohnert Park safe for all residents.

Dr. Thomas G. Luparello, D.C. (Ret.)

Redwood Empire Chapter of the California Council of the Blind

Dr. Thomas G. Luparello, D.C. (Ret.)
Redwood Empire Chapter of the California Council of the Blind
May 3, 2019

Drivel about president

Drivel about president

The Community Voice

Ron Lowe, I really don’t know where you are coming from. I’ve been following your drivel about President Trump for the last year or more. You sound like you were born in the sixties. I was born in 1941. I remember that the Democrats party respected this country and the constitution. Now I don’t know what they respect, money and power I think.

I think of the constitution like I think of the Bible. It was written a long time ago but is still relevant today.

I was so sure about Trump at first but certainly would never vote for someone like Hilary. But I’m glad I voted for him how. I see what he has accomplished. Do you ignore all the good things he has accomplished?

Practically wiped ISIS out, appointed two staunch conservatives to the Supreme Court and dozens of other conservative judges.

You probably don’t like conservatives. But look at what all the liberals have done to this country in the pursuit of power and money.

This country will not survive under much more liberal rule. Think about it and pray for God’s will for this country.

Richard Cole

Rohnert Park

Richard Cole
Rohnert Park, CA
April 26, 2019

It is impossible to imagine

It is impossible to imagine

The Community Voice

It seems like America went through a long dark night of the soul with Donald Trump for the last three years. The Trump presidency has, from the first represented a threat to truth, democracy, and the rule of law. Donald Trump's contempt for basic governance is accompanied by a lack of decency, empathy, and psychological stability. 

It is sheer folly to have this man anywhere near the command and control of nuclear weapons.

Trump has the psyche of an emotionally damaged toddler. You hear this not only from his ideological opponents but from countless departing confidants, lawyers, and advisers. He is devoted not to public service but to feeding the demands of his ego and his appetites.

It is impossible to imagine Trump changing his behavior. Trump's affinity for autocratic types suggests that he might refuse to give up power without trying to undermine the legitimacy of the American political system.

Ron Lowe

Nevada City, Ca.

Ron Lowe
Nevada City, CA
April 19, 2019

Fish market speaks

Fish market speaks

The Community Voice

The gentleman who owns Mac’s Fish Market has a unique perspective on building a wall on our southern border. He owns markets in LA, MS and AR close to that area. While advertising his business he also shares his political opinion as well as his religious conviction with the following statement: “He has a wall, a gate and a strict immigration policy. Hell has an open border. Let that sink in!” Need I say more?

Dale Greenlee

Ukiah, Ca.

Dale Greenlee
Ukiah, Ca.
March 22, 2019

Is Cotati being targeted or ignored?

Is Cotati being targeted or ignored?

The Community Voice

Your article reports that a Cotati Police officer "hearing glass shattering and a vehicle on fire...." It does not give the time of day but an officer hearing shattering glass and seeing a vehicle on fire results in the van being a total loss and four other vehicles were damaged with a golf club. Hmm a golf club and carrying a gallon of "accelerant" with a Cotati Police officer on hand to Hear the glass shattering but the suspect or suspects vanished without a trace? How is it that I am the only one thinking there is a lack of accountability somewhere in Cotati? The three million dollar Northern Gateway Project involves Windsor style lights everywhere but in front of Downtown Garage or its neighbors as well as the Bike Hut and Joel's Harmony Garage. For some reason no lights are needed there, no continuity. Plenty of lights in La Plaza Park where Arch's Glass and Dos Amigos are vacant buildings. No lights in the Public Parking lot By Friar's despite frequent requests. No lights where four shots were fired and a suspect was shot twice in the back. What does the city charter say the city should provide citizens? A bench was burned with accelerant where the shooting suspect emerged. Everything seems to happen Friday, Saturday, and Sundays.

Eric Kirchmann

Cotati

Eric Kirchmann
Cotati
March 8, 2019

There is only release

There is only release

The Community Voice

A dear friend passed on recently and this letter is dedicated to her: 

People fail to relate death and sleep. Death is a longer interval from the physical plane than is sleep; one "goes abroad" for a longer period of time in the death experience. Death is essentially a matter of consciousness. We are conscious one moment on the physical plane, and a moment later we have withdrawn onto another plane and are actively conscious there. In death, there is only a release of the physical body and entrance into a fuller life and higher state of consciousness.

In the movie Star Wars, Luke Skywalker's adventure begins when a beam of light shoots out of the robot Artoo Detoo and projects a miniature three-dimensional image of Princess Leia. This image is a hologram. A hologram is a specially constructed image which, when illuminated by a laser beam seems eerily suspended in three-dimensional space. The most incredible feature of a hologram is that any piece of it, if illuminated with coherent light, provides an image of the entire hologram. The information of the whole is contained in the part.

Invisible realities exist beyond physical sight. Thoughts are objects in the invisible world. Anyone want to say there aren't thoughts?

Ron Lowe

Nevada City, Ca.

Ron Lowe
Nevada City, CA
March 1, 2019

Healthy redwood trees cut

Healthy redwood trees cut

The Community Voice

One of the treasures that we all have in Rohnert Park is the large number of mature, healthy redwood trees. After all, we enter the city from the Redwood Highway, right?

Losing some were a necessity when the Expressway was widened, but many were left.

This was not the case on the old State Farm property where most of the healthy redwoods were clear cut. Some may be “allowed” to live along one small corner, but we will see.

This was a very shortsighted decision and more of the grand trees should have been saved.

Reston Stedman

Rohnert Park

Reston Stedman
Rohnert Park, CA
February 22, 2019

Some are vindictive

Some are vindictive

The Community Voice

I was shocked to read that long-time council member Jake Mackenzie has been ousted from his position on the SMART Board and another regional transit agency. Mackenzie is the longest-serving member of the Sonoma County Transportation Authority and is responsible for bringing much-needed state and federal funds to repair roads and continue build-out of the new SMART system. 

Fellow Rohnert Park council members' ouster of Mackenzie was petty and vindictive. To replace Mackenzie with Joe Callinan on the SMART board is laughable. A relative new-comer, Callinan obviously lacks the experience, knowledge and commitment that Mackenzie brought to the job.

Throughout Sonoma County, elected leaders have expressed dismay over this shocking action by the Rohnert Park City Council. According to County Supervisor David Rabbitt, "Jake has been a long-serving, strong, steady hand at SMART. He was able to work closely with his fellow North Bay commissioners to bring real dollars to Sonoma County for a myriad of transportation projects."  

The outgoing SMART board chairwoman Deb Fudge said, "I'm afraid we will pay for this. Jake was in the best position at MTC and with the SCTA and the SMART seats to lobby hard for new big grant dollars for SMART's bike path. This was a very shortsighted move that will affect our region negatively." 

Liz Reyna

Rohnert Park

Liz Reyna
Rohnert Park, CA
February 1, 2019

This month is Veganuary

This month is Veganuary

The Community Voice

In the “Sweeping up Solutions” you wrote that “true vegetarians eat nothing from an animal”, - actually, they are called VEGANS, they do not eat (any) animal flesh and refrain from using/wearing anything from an animal or that has animal ingredients. Veganism is on the rise for several reasons: climate change is largely due to animal agriculture, our decline in health is largely due to the increase of animal consumption and last but not least, the way we abuse animals is horrendous. Tempeh is made from fermented soy beans and I am not sure why you mention that most vegetarian foods  contain too much sodium, - it is my understanding that ALL processed foods are loaded with too much sodium. A Pescetarian eats fish, but no other animal flesh. Thank you for shining the light on different eating possibilities, this month is “Veganuary”, where people are invited and encouraged to give their food choices more thought and choose compassion over habit!

Melanie C.

Rohnert Park 

Melanie C.
Rohnert Park, CA
January 18, 2019

I would like to thank Mayor Gina Belforte, Vice Mayor Joe Callinan, Councilmembers Pam Stafford and Susan Hollingsworth Adams for their bold stand on voting against the CASA Compact. Thank you for protecting Rohnert Park’s sovereignty and putting residents first over regional interests. I couldn't agree with you more that we don’t need another agency telling us what to do. There is too much of that going on in California and we call it the Fourth Branch of Government.

Debbie LeBoy
Rohnert Park
January 14, 2019

Help the less fortunate

 

The Community Voice

Brrr, it’s chilly out there. How would you like to be homeless; down on your luck, in between places, living out in the harsh environment? Well, if you have a nice warm shelter and food in the fridge here are a few ways you can help the less fortunate of your brothers and sisters. 

Give warm clothing; winter’s coming. Give a bag of groceries, this will bring a smile to their faces. Give money. Always appreciated. Volunteer at a shelter. Volunteer at a soup kitchen. Bring a meal to the homeless. Help find housing for your fellow souls. Any little bit will help.

Ron Lowe

Nevada City, Ca

Ron Lowe
Nevada City, CA
December 21, 2018

RP utility and other bills

The Community Voice

I received a “PAST DUE NOTICE” the other day and called the city about it as I never received a bill in the first place. I was told to come in and see Kim.  The city will waive the late charge once a year, which they did so we are good.

Being curios, I asked how the bills are processed. The city originates the bills and then sends them to a Santa Rosa printer as a PDF. The printer then sends the printed bills to the County for mailing.  The Santa Rosa post office sends the bills to Oakland for processing and finally back to Rohnert Park for delivery.

As I look at the process, there appears to be 5 or more places where your bill is handled.  A little statistical math suggests that there is a one in 120 chance that something will happen to your bill and you may not receive it on time or not at all. With up to 10,000 bills going out each month, there may be about 83 bills that have a problem.

You may be better to mark your calendars and look for the bill.  If late call the city for another copy. Bills are mailed mid-month in even months.

I also received a license bill for a “fully equipped” dog, which I do not own (mine has been altered).  The city “made an error” which was corrected and the bill paid.  Later I received a delinquent notice for having not paid the “full bill”.  Another visit to the city corrected that additional error.  Check your bill to make sure it is correct as the city seems to be making a lot of errors.

Another error occurred in 2016 when the city used the wrong winter averaging to determine your sewer bill. I called for a meeting to correct things.  The meeting was called off with the city admitting there had been an error.

A new water rate bill has been sent out using the wrong average household use (6000 gal. vs 8000 gal. as shown on the sewer bill rate).  Also, the city was not able to produce a calculation to support the 6000 gal. figure.

I do not know about you, but I find that it is a good idea to review any bill from the city for correctness, sort of like reviewing your credit card statement in this age of identity theft.

Robert Grundman
Rohnert Park
November 30, 2018

Our safety must not be compromised

The Community Voice

Now that the elections are over, the question is what policies the Federal government should follow for the next two years.  The most important goal must be that the accomplishments of the past two years not be undermined.  We have a booming economy and rising wages, resting on a foundation of lower taxes, deregulation, and cheaper energy.  That must be protected.  Respect for the law is being restored, with illegal immigrants being identified and deported.  That must not be undermined.  The fight against anti-American terrorists is being carried on effectively, both in their foreign bases and along our borders and within our territory.  Our safety must not be compromised.  The US Constitution is being protected by Federal judges with a faithful respect for what it says, as defined by the actual text and by those who wrote and ratified it.  That must continue.  Whether bipartisan cooperation is possible will depend on whether liberals want to reinforce these accomplishments or roll them back.  

Peter J. Thomas

Chairman

The Conservative Caucus

Warrenton, VA.

Peter J. Thomas
Warrenton, VA.
November 23, 2018

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