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August 3, 2021
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Rohnert Park swears in new Public Safety Officers Cahoots Program advancing to Cotati-Rohnert Park Sebastopol approves change to dangerous road and a use of initiative funds Measure D – YES or NO The Sebastopol Community Apple Press has returned and is ready to crush it Hello August! Sebastopol offers neighborhood preparedness class/ looks for volunteer emergency scribes RP Rebels 10U B team takes championship win in Rebels Classic Tournament Sebastopol approves 2021-22 city budget Virtual Academy comes to CRPUSD Cougars prevail in all time classic ‘Fog Bowl’ Peacetown Music and Art Festival returns with new look Healthy food given by NOAH Interception seals the deal Here We Go Again – Glass Fire Sonoma Clean Power looks for volunteers to fill advisory committee 49er Pet store closes its doors Emotions were running high Outbuilding fire quickly extends to two residences Local man arrested on suspicion of sexual assault on minor Rohnert Park recognizes new Futsal Courts at Alicia Park Vegetation fire in Santa Rosa Fresh faces on the CRPUSD board December gets festive in Cotati Johnson picks up Las Lomas fumble Palace of Fruit will see better days Combining Art and Education Torch run faces challenges Rohnert Park Leadership transition RP city benefits from American Rescue Plan Newsom’s vision “cradle to career” Promotions in the Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety Visit the Arts and Craft Faire in RP Rancho eliminates Benicia Updated list as of 9-14-20 Barbershops, hair and nail salons open in RP/Cotati Increasing wildfire risks to communities RP City Council meeting after November election Get away to the Mendocino Coast Cotati Council report Sebastopol’s Apple Blossom Parade set to resume in fall without festival Bad air quality cancels sports Official election winners as projected by the VOICE  RP swears in new council member Homelessness spikes in RP FEMA grants Santa Rosa $1M to ensure effective evacuation routes Not in my backyard... 36 New Graduates from El Camino High School People helping people during COVID-19 There is no such a thing as ‘Safe and Sane’ fireworks. All fireworks are dangerous. Iconic trees- No more CRPUSD School Board report Meet the 2020 election candidates Cotati runs up against big government Salvation Army during the time of Covid-19 Child molester gets 756 years in prison St. John’s church has a new pastor Fun family Christmas events in Cotati Cougars’ season comes to a tearful sad conclusion Home delivery changes Another death in California and investigation into E-Cigarette use Annual holiday gift and toy drive Callinan receives RP mayor gavel Another astral performance Is COVID-19 affecting your ability to pay rent? RP City Council held special virtual meetings WillowGlen residents respond Flu season is approaching Local church defies governor Some relief during COVID-19 Following the military ways Five years later Unicorn update The Boring Room Cogir’s Chef hosts residents at the Plaza 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 73rd Miss Sonoma County competition held at Spreckels 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 Nomination period opens for March 3, 2020, primary election Orangeco settles case for price gouging Rohnert Park storm drains getting a whole new look Public hearings held for school district Dr. Mayra Perez new CRPUSD superintendent PG&E to conduct helicopter patrols in Sonoma County Friar Tucks takes a stand Class of 2020 – Drive through graduations Students learn hands-on with Habitat Garden Sunrise pickleball courts now open Poor air quality in Sonoma County Cooling off at Magnolia Park with ‘Wicked Slush’ 2020 election was on everyone’s mind Rotary sponsored Thanksgiving meal Know the facts, ignore the myths and rumors Santa Rosa man convicted of DUI murder 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 Straus Family Creamery moving to RP 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 Worn American flags laid to rest Penngrove man receives life sentence School Board initiates election process change Reducing disposable bottle waste at Hahn Elementary The Community Voice announces a sincere Thank You Part III Life behind the closed door The silver lining among clouds Part III A visual art project for quarantining teens March the Friendly City in support of the Black Lives Matter Movement We make things Columnist Elias wins again for commentary Barbershops, hair and nail salons open in Rohnert Park and Cotati Vehicles, Covid and homelessness Grand Jury indicts So.Co. deputy sheriff Transgender Day of Remembrance - 2020 Unsheltered Friends Outreach Rohnert Park moves forward on Mental Health Response team 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 TAG building grand opening Rohnert Park caregiver arrested Sheriff’s canine apprehends convicted felon Latino Alliance promotes first festival Discussions on the care facility and apartments PG&E meteorologists forecasting a major winter storm Dark gloomy skies, rain, mud and Timberwolves could not stop CIF 3A NorCal Champions, Cougars AG Becerra reaches settlement alleging anticompetitive practices by Sutter Health Bella Creek, a new housing project How the County of Sonoma shares housing Astronaut Nicole Aunapu Mann talks to students The Community Voice flex operations schedule Schools plan for distance learning Notice to residents Economy first, health second Paying tribute to four excellent athlete graduates Cotati businesses Stimulus Package PVH nurses bring attention to unfair contract negotiations Kaiser to test an investigational vaccine RP City Council report RP City Council Rohnert Park remembers Jerry Bick Halloween Spirit at Evergreen Elementary 2020 Thanksgiving Sonoma County Military banner program still active NOAH strong despite demand RP Health Center doctor receives COVID-19 vaccine RP City Council back in city hall A brief visit to Pompeii 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 RP Downtown project underway 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 Students housing and voting Flu activity widespread CRPUSD announces next steps in new election process Separating with Reconciliation and Grace Sportsmanship, community, lifelong fitness We have prepared a helpful guide Soccer Stars program receives grant Aviso a las residentes The silver lining among clouds Part IV Stimulus Package for Cotati businesses The James Pitt Theater in RP School District – What now? Cotati police department, city officials and citizens work together to eradicate racism Dr. Perez presents her entry plan Biking, driving & construction A Parent’s Transition Journey More Affordable Housing Comes to Cotati Get all the info you need to vote from the Sonoma County Library Farmster Halloween Letters to Santa Redwood Empire Food Bank – A Philosophy of Philanthropy CRPUSD 2020 December report Christmas celebrations throughout the world Putting words into action Emergency Rental Assistance Program Two females deceased in car crash in Rohnert Park Ad-hoc will make recommendations SSU student dies after being struck by car on East Cotati Ave. 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 Schools, facilities and bonds: Plans but no money 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 Cube satellite built by SSU students set to orbit the Earth  So. Co. DA Ravitch announces consumer protection settlement Helping homeowners with energy efficiency Redwood Credit Union celebrates 70 years of service The study session that was not initiated during board Part one: Life behind the closed door Tragedies can occur far too easily The silver lining among clouds Part II Testing capacity in California Fireworks in Rohnert Park Summer camps, meals and groceries for kids November 2020 council elections -Rohnert Park Another listening session in RP California taxpayers affected by wildfires granted extension A look back on Labor Day Donating blood is essential All Sorts of Sports comes to Rohnert Park Trunk or treat at La Plaza Park Cartas a Santa Parolee sentenced Sonoma County Climate Summit: Not just a global issue Sebastopol businesses host lockdown-friendly holiday celebration Sebastopol Project Homekey Rohnert Park Animal Shelter: Still here and open (No Drop-Ins) Ready for hybrid learning 4949 Snyder Lane homicide Sebastopol looks at Capital Improvement Program RP we are better than this 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 DUI driver crashes into 7-1 RP man sentenced to prison 23 years for robbery Adolescent birth rate continues to decline November is Native American Heritage month... Thank you for an exciting season PG&E offers hundreds of college scholarships A 1905 up in the air A dinner of joy and contentment School Board approves an emergency resolution Part two Life behind the closed door Mandatory face coverings (mask) Buchanan celebrates during the COVID-19 Cotati-Rohnert Park Co-op Nursery School struggling to survive The failure to act, is an action Rohnert Park Ordinance 944 will not be reconsidered Richard (Rick) P. Stewart succumbs at age of 61 Rohnert Park breaks ground on new fire station Cotati Accordion festival going virtual for 2020 The next step after applying for disaster assistance Tech High Morrow and Brassfield receive scholarships Good-bye to Summer with Fall BBQ Budget Surplus for Cotati Hahn Elementary Hannah Stay at home order Sebastopol City Council fills Planning Commission seats Coming to RP – Mentor Me! Community resiliency survey results heard by Sebastopol council Former Sebastopol Mayor accused of sex with minor Use of fireworks taken without a lot of heat Agave Americana in Rohnert Park Cotati Planning Commission approves much needed projects Guns, violence, hatred and rage 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: Teen arrested for shooting at RP Grand Jury report on SoCo jail system Former Rancho student convicted A New Experience – Coffee with the Congressman Monitoring wells provide picture of underground water New laws written by Dodd take effect SMART launches an expanded service schedule CA women’s to men’s earnings Milestone for RP Animal Shelter Cotati City Council’s emergency meeting Donated lunches feed many people SMART reduces train service Sportsman’s Report: Fish and game current Covid-19 regulations Wellness Baskets for Seniors Taking care of mental health while quarantining Peleti heading to the East Coast Correction Wildfire season – Are you ready? More distance learning becomes a way of life for schools this year School Board report – So it begins Correction RP City is seeking your input on what is an ideal park RP City Council Report Cub Scouts Halloween Christmas display on Circle Dr. Attention: Special notice to The Community Voice readers WSCUHSD School Board report Sonoma County Enters The Orange Tier Sebastopol Police Chief Kilgore on local issues Hopkins hosts panel on severity of drought Many landed significant leadership roles Saving Water Challenge Cotati Chamber of Commerce Oktoberfest Rancho crushes Analy CA Homemaker Association needs volunteers Active duty honorees at the RP Veterans Day program Santa now knows her secret CPI receives funding to offer counseling in schools Caltrans works toward decarbonizing California transportation The Rancho Cotati Rotary Club hosts Humanitarian Award dinner SSU and SCOE offer high school internship RP votes to restrict fireworks Illegal robocalls and spoofing Farmers’ Market party on the plaza RP Foundation to reinstate Small Grants Program Reported sexually transmitted diseases reach epidemic level Fire management assistance granted Levine applauds investigation into power shut offs New year, new laws, legislation authored by Assembly member Marc Berman to take effect on January 1, 2020 Some strange new laws RP has public hearing for “by-district” Loud parties and shopping carts Rancho Adobe Fire District April Showers California Governor gives updates on COVID-19 Cotati City Council held a special meeting Covid-19 impacts school district Not as they envision Becerra warns consumers on COVID-19 scams What you need to know before tax day Wednesday evening at the Cotati Farmer’s Market Volunteers needed at CRPUSD Rohnert Park opens new west side park Rohnert Park City Council Report – Yes, no, maybe... Taking advantage of quarantine Local school board taking heat Write a letter to Santa Defendant ordered to pay restitution 2021-New year, new laws Policing, building and honoring at Cotati meeting Learning responsibility through ranching Back to school we go... WSCUHSD weekly updates Tired on the last lap Scouts placed flags for Memorial Day IOLERO’s Threet releases ‘generally positive’ review of Sebastopol Police Sebastopol City Council targets drought, approves Capital Improvement Budget 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 The evacuation through her eyes So Co DA office awarded grant Heading to Hawaii School Board goals for the future Cotati goes green The Sozo Center - Giving teens a place to go Child Care information in our Community A new family dynamic, quarantining with children Part V: Life behind the closed door Shelter in place order update Kids with big heart New Rohnert Park Advocacy Group Sonoma County reverses routes Much needed help on the way for students PG&E to rotate power outage Breakfast for evacuees October is LGBTQ History Month Rohnert Park City Council Results About COVID-19 Vaccine Shedding light on our watershed Friar Tucks, a victim of COVID-19 Sebastopol Increased development impact fees proposed Cougars arise from pandemic with big win Mayor supports remodel project RP City Council remains divided over fireworks Housing, water and cannabis Ag + open space announces grants WestAmerica Bank robbed West America Bank gets robbed Cotati Council adopts 2021-22 budget The Year of Redistricting Cotati Annual Kids Day parade is back 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 2018 local stories which made history 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 Firefighters called to the front 100 birthdays and more to go Sonoma Raceway is hosting John’s march Volunteers needed for Superbowl Sunday tamale benefit Community service projects for youth in Rohnert Park Coach Newton pays homage to the seniors Covid-19 by the numbers A different kind of Easter egg celebration The silver lining among clouds Part I New COVID-19 community testing sites The other side of the Friar Tucks story June is Pride Month Alternative care site at SSU dismantled A great use of recycled plastic bottles Statement on USPS delays from DAV National Commander Rohnert Park fire action near 101 Cotati City Council results Cotati New year, new council, new agenda RP City Council report State of Rohnert Park Sports Annual Easter egg hunt continues with modifications Ceres Community Project serves millionth meal Cotati focuses on cannabis and discrimination Monte Vista student checking health scan North Bay Theatrics brings children theatre classes to Sebastopol New resources for community SSU Graduation Ceremony Rohnert Park cancels fireworks show Penngrove’s chicken BBQ Sebastopol Ready: an emergency preparedness resource Students at University Elementary discussing the labyrinth Rohnert Park City Council Candidates NHTSA reminds motorists to drive sober this season ArtStart brings art to the RP Senior Center 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 Giving students added support A day of celebration and tribute to our veterans New year, new laws School District elections “by-trustee” Public Hearing Cougars extend streak PG&E to customers: Beware of scammers taking advantage of COVID-19 Fears PG&E extends a helping hand City of Cotati and Rancho Adobe Fire District partner for fire prevention Gas Meter Inspectors ACS at SSU – Hoping for the best, preparing for the worst Dr. Perez takes charge as CRPUSD Superintendent RP man sentenced to 33 years in state prison Glimmer of hope... Senator Dodd responds to wildfires Measures 2020 State lifts Regional Stay at Home Orders New Mayor Giudice takes gavel for 2021 SMART and others offer free rides to COVID-19 vaccine appointment The Sebastopol Farmers’ Market past, present and future Fireworks ban to move forward CRPUSD-Special Board report School Reopening and Covid-19 Safety Plan Rohnert Park Foundation Small Grant Program Sports in full bloom Drivers cited for violating hands-free cell phone law Redistricting for California’s diverse communities WSCUHSD remains in turmoil SOMO Fireworks show canceled Two teens deceased in car crash Ceremonial flags are coming to city hall R P Foundation gives grants to NOAH and Petaluma Bounty Summit State Bank annual report FEMA awards Sonoma Water grant Holocaust piano now in Cotati 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 School district seeks new superintendent Digital Bookmobile to visit RP-Cotati library Supervisors visit RP City Council Critters melt hearts during an event SMART makes schedule changes Board of Supervisors approves Eviction Defense Ordinance EPA stresses the importance of recycling and proper disposal of PPE Farmers’ Markets open in Cotati and Rohnert Park Results of Cotati resident survey revealed Call to Action in Rohnert Park RCHS to adopt new school scheduling model Applying for FEMA disaster assistance Cotati gears up for Halloween CRPUSD 2020 election Sebastopol sister city holds annual virtual dinner Fence at the Top Accidents on the rise Measures A, B fail at polls Climate, housing and new resolution Sebastopol City Council resolution condemns anti-Asian American hate Former Sebastopol Mayor arrested Cotati-Rohnert Park School Board report Cotati cottage housing WSCUHSD issues another update Farmers’ Markets coming Homicide at Parkridge Apartments Sebastopol proposed budget at a deficit Johnnie, the equine painter 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 CRPUSD seeking a new superintendent 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 Coming together to have fun and help others New Cotati mayor introduced Construction leads to discussion District map confuses RP City Council We’ll get through this together La Junta de Supervisores aprueba la Ordenanza de Defensa de Desalojo Things to celebrate in June RP Man receives life sentence for child molestation Progressive agenda RP City Council report Corrections to the West Point flower mart opening in RP Breast Cancer Awareness Month ‘Backbone’ of Sebastopol Fire Department Mike Reeser passes Inequity during a Pandemic NOAH receives a gift of a generator Sebastopol endorses climate action platform Cotati council takes up building A community divided WSCUHSD Special Board report Rohnert Park City Council addresses Homelessness Sebastopol Council requests Foppoli’s resignation Sebastopol Council moves forward with fireworks ban RP fireworks saga continues Cotati considers options to address unfunded liabilities Moving towards normalcy - Sonoma Raceway opens Is this the end of era for Analy Tigers? Summer camps are up and running Cottage housing supports current housing demand Kids and firefighters compete in RP RP local, Petri Alva, 14, a nationally recognized athlete Superintendent search begins 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 So. Co. is here to connect with you Potential maps for by-Trustee Elections Newly improved street soccer court coming to A Park Vamos a superar este crisis juntos Enforcement of Sonoma County public health order Embezzlement When it rains – it pours! Cotati City Council report Kaaron Carver, a long time friend and past associate succumbs at age 71 Sen. Dodd responds to Gov. Newsom’s 2021-22 budget Hit and run fatality Woman sentenced to prison WSCUHSD Sonoma County vaccine rollout hits benchmark Some residents question Cotati police survey No more fireworks in Rohnert Park State Tax deadline for individuals postponed Advising boaters to steer clear of whales Criminal charges filed against PG&E related to the Kincade fire The Flip Side opens in Rohnert Park RP Council meeting summary CRPUSD School Board meets in person Fireworks Ban goes to voters in Rohnert Park Rancho Adobe Fire wrapping up its annual training process Raising funds for Special Olympics College mentorship for disadvantaged Laguna seniors SweetPea celebrates 31 years Seawolves serve up a victory Cotati Council moves ahead 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 RP voters overwhelmingly renew open space protections SAY’s winter shelter for youth open Cotati regulates ADUs with state law State postpones tax deadlines until July 15 June is Elder Abuse Awareness Month Local band, King Street Giants, to release new album Theft of catalytic converters on rise CRPUSD October 20, 2020 School Board Report West County Soroptimist Club resurrected by Sebastopol residents Highlight contributions of African Americans Morris Street encampment: Why is it permitted? Transgender Day of Visibility - 2021 State updates blueprint to allow additional activities Man sentenced for beating girlfriend Expanding your horizons-workshops Mobile home fire displaces two in Rohnert Park WSCUHSD under siege Electric bike program comes to Cotati Rancho senior sendoff Sebastopol received $1.8 million in federal, county funding Sebastopol City Council budget hearings continue WSCUHSD School Board preparing for major changes CRPUSD closes out school year Cardinals rout Cougars Planning Commission approves hotel 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 Immigration appointments rescheduled Let hearts soar on Valentine’s Day RCHS Unity week brings out Bollywood dancers Coronavirus in Rohnert Park Doorbell ditch.... Child molester receives life sentence January, human trafficking awareness month RP City Council report Financials, proclamations and more March 2021 Dates to remember CRPUSD Special Board report Former SR police officer convicted of felony domestic violence Cougars bring the heat A multijurisdictional law enforcement program Sixteen-year prison sentence for armed assault, robbery, burglary Cotati calls for 20 percent water use reduction My Opinion: Fireworks Ban RP Small Grants Program approved to fund community projects 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 Family Justice Center Sonoma County receives grant awards Commitment to Service earns agents Pinnacle Award Coronavirus en Rohnert Park Mayor Callinan issues an apology Toledo selected to form Ca. 2020 redistristicting commission Sebastopol Inn rechristened as ‘Elderberry Commons’ Planning Commission and Annexation NorCal Teqers have medals on the mind City Council report Rohnert Park Gunman, getaway driver and gun stasher from September Healdsburg shooting plead no contest Consolidation of Analy and El Molino High Schools Miss Sonoma County retains title Sebastopol budget subcommittee meets with non-profit grant applicants Ravitch’s statement regarding allegations related to Windsor mayor Bike to Wherever Day hits Sebastopol June is Pride month Plan approved for Station Ave. park Football in full swing, 3rd win Arrests and charges target Apple stores CalFresh clients get Feb. benefits early 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 State Fund offers extended credit to policyholders RCH’s soccer team was honored RP man arrested for the Kirk Kimberly homicide COVID-19 Closures & Updates Budget, enforcement and bonds Under-Reporting of COVID-19 cases to local Public Health Departments CRPUSD School Board report Backyard birds threatened by Salmonella outbreak Sebastopol names Kevin Kilgore new police chief Cotati Council touches on evictions and traffic State suspends certain debt collection activities CRPUSD Schools start in-person instruction Give the phone a “break” Annie Rasmussen Celebration of Life Rohnert Park Station Ave. update 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... Fire - Community - Businesses American Heart Month Miss Sonoma County 2020 COVID-19 Closures & Updates Sonoma County Supervisors authorize ordinance Age of eligibility for vaccines to drop to 70 in West County CRPUSD wrestles with In-Person Learning Assault on federal agents Child abuse surges in times of crisis Three high school consolidation in West County Gunman and getaway driver sentenced for Healdsburg shooting Revisiting those who lost it all: October wildfire victims still on the road to recovery Cuts suggested for school district 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 SMART will run limited service So. Co. Democratic party endorses Measure I An epic musical story of love, isolation and justice Sports update: Covid-19 leads us to unforeseen times Felon in possession of a firearm Man sentenced to nine years in prison for beating pregnant girlfriend League of Women Voters hosts panelists on West County Special Election Sakaki participates in Governor’s Recovery with Equity Taskforce Sebastopol working with Zero Waste Sonoma Man sentenced for stabbing, strangling and threatening girlfriends SMART celebrates a year of service RP Public Safety report card The “Healing Wall” comes to Sonoma County 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 Take one, leave one – New free library in Cotati Remembering Japanese Internment Spreckels celebrates 30 years of entertainment A note from the publisher BBB Scam Alert: Phony Amazon callers are phishing for your info Sebastopol pulls additional $1.8 million from reserves Gang member sentenced for his role in Jacobs Park shooting Penngrove native set for amazing voyage Cotati votes opposition to oil leases Cotati memorializes victims 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 CANCELLATION Updated frugality store in RP Cotati’s homeless and affordable housing PG&E’s pandemic response on customer shutoffs for nonpayment Bird Rescue serves community even during Covid-19 CORRECTION: Sen. Dodd responds to school reopening proposal SC neighborhood sues illegal pot grower Rohnert Park considers firework restrictions 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 The Salvation Army expands response to Kincade Fire Coronavirus is rare- giving blood is safe Caltrans activates signs on COVID-19 preparedness Public art installation moving forward—but where to put it? Felony robbery suspect captured after pursuit Former Caltrans employee gets sentenced in bribery case CHP to check motorcycle safety in local area 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 SoCo post offices forced to close DA Ravitch warns against price gouging FEMA resolves claim with PG&E Defendant ordered to pay $10,000 in restitution to nonprofit CHANGE Software engineer sentenced for Bodega Bay assaults Repeat sex offender receives life sentence 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 Cotati honors and appreciates 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 When the power is off, treat signals as stop signs School Board establishes By-Trustee election districts SMART is temporarily cancelling weekend train service State of California awards SMART $1.45m Sex offender denied request for pardon 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 Stay indoors to reduce smoke inhalation Rohnert Park City Council passes Ordinance 947 USCIS launches new online tip form for reporting immigration fraud RP to host community forum for public safety director search Emergency Alert System Test Sept. 10 & 12 Spreckels and Alchemia connects community Help save lives by donating blood Vehicle crashes into house Call to action in Ca. Passenger killed fleeing crash Help with citizenship Consumer alert on price gouging CRPUSD decision looms for board election districts Update on Cotati City Hall operations It wasn’t an easy fight but Rancho wins again RP Safety Dept. climbs in remembrance of 9/11/18 New laws on purchasing and concealing handguns Suicide leading cause of death in youths Impersonating pharmacists Pesticide residue consumed by infants and children Ayuda con ciudadanía Structure fire displaces family Rohnert Park Sports Expo is a success Cotati Council emergency meeting Back to school for Rohnert Park and Cotati Another tough break for roller derby Fencing in Sonoma County PG&E to conduct inspections by helicopter in Sonoma County Correction to the July 26 issue SSU student receives prestigious CSU Trustees’ Award Voters urged to return vote by mail ballots early Seppa reaches a milestone of 100 RP waits to make update to emergency alert system Cougars slay Dragons School district leaders tackle 1.9m deficit Deputy saves overdosing man using department-issued Narcan SR theft suspect caught after lengthy chase Cotati City Council recommends several adoptions Campaign targets vaping-related illness USCIS updates fee waiver requirements Helping elementary kids focus with a sensory path Third pedestrian struck by SMART train Enjoying ribs School district seeking new superintendent Rohnert Park’s Black Blear Diner gets sued Penngrove wastewater pipeline overflows Vote by mail ballots now available for the Nov. 5, consolidated elections Sonoma County 2020 campaign headquarters opening Ca. Senate Fellows Program application period opens Millions in grants for highway safety Little ones with big Polynesian dancing spirit Sidewalk repair gets big break from City of RP Cotati protests CASA compact New safety power shutoff zip code alerts 'Team Trevor' A football team with a heart King and Queen Early voting center opens CORRECTION RP Health Center celebrates anniversary Imitating major leaguers Rohnert Park waiting for approval for canine program School district balances budget 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 The USCIS application support center in Santa Rosa closed

Who is bankrolling?

Who is bankrolling?

The Community Voice

Rohnert Park is being bullied by outside interests!  Did you know a campaign contribution report shows there is ONLY one donor supporting the sale and use of fireworks in our community?  TNT Fireworks, a giant fireworks company from Alabama is bankrolling the WHOLE campaign – sure they don’t care that fireworks are unsafe in our fire prone community or harm our environment – they only care about making big bucks!!

Did you know that 99 percent of fireworks are made in China?  The US Dept of Labor states that fireworks made in China are made with child and even forced labor!!

Did you know that 90 percent of residents in Sonoma County have banned fireworks??  We live in an area of extreme fire danger.  Do we want to continue to risk starting more fires, contribute to increased calls to our police & fire and harm to our environment?

Join me and many other concerned citizens and leaders in Voting YES on MEASURE D. Protect our Future!

Kathy Nordin

Rohnert Park

Kathy Nordin
Rohnert Park
July 30, 2021

Importance of suicide prevention

Importance of suicide prevention

The Community Voice

As part of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Santa Rosa Out of the Darkness Walks, I will be walking on Sunday, October 10 at Santa Rosa’s Howarth Park to draw attention to the importance of suicide prevention. I won’t be walking alone. I will be joined by many who share my dedication. In 2019, over 550 Out of the Darkness Walks took place in communities and on campuses across the United States, attended by a quarter of a million dedicated people who share my passion. Our movement is growing. 

Our goal is to spread awareness of what is currently the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S., and let others know they are not alone. Please help us ensure that mental health is looked upon in equal importance to physical health and continue to bring hope to those affected by suicide. Join me in this walk. We need you. Please sign up at www.afsp.org/santarosa 

Tina Janulaw

Penngrove

Tina Janulaw
Penngrove
July 30, 2021

Replacement fund

Replacement fund

The Community Voice 

I have lived in Rohnert Park for over 38 years. For many reasons, I supported the ban on the sale of fireworks.  Local non-profits were concerned that they would lose a source of income if fireworks were banned.  Therefore, it’s important that everyone know about the “Replacement Funding Program.”

The five-year program was established on April 13, 2021, by the Rohnert Park City Council.  Year-1 grants would be available to the non-profits that sold fireworks in 2019 or 2020.  The grant award pool was to be $324,000 and matched the total funding that local non-profits received in 2020. Individual grants would equal each non-profits net proceeds from 2020 fireworks sales.  

The Replacement Funding Program was placed on hold on June 8, 2021 by the city council because fireworks sales were reinstated pending the September 14 referendum on their sale.

Many people did not know about the program but, when explained, ask why the non-profits did not take advantage of it and have now forced the city to spend thousands of dollars on a special election.

Please keep Rohnert Park safe. Protect our Future – Vote Yes on Measure D

Jamie Black         

Rohnert Park

Jamie Black
Rohnert Park
July 23, 2021

Fireworks gets worse

Fireworks gets worse

The Community Voice

I have lived in Rohnert Park since 1995. The problem of fireworks gets worse and worse each year with this year being the absolute worst.

Along with every city in Sonoma County, we are terribly vulnerable to fire most especially during extreme drought conditions. Although Rohnert Park has been relatively lucky compared to other cities up to this point, why test our luck? There are many other ways to celebrate.  

There are plenty of other options for non-profits to raise funds. All one would have to do is contact other school districts to see how they fundraise.

More importantly, there are significant actions we can take now to help our environment. 

Let’s make the smart choice to protect our families, neighborhoods and community, our pets and PTSD sufferers, and join the majority of Sonoma County residents who agree.

I support the banning of fireworks.

Please vote “YES” on Measure D.

Pamela Fender

Rohnert Park

Pamela Fender
Rohnert Park
July 23, 2021

Fireworks contaminate water

Fireworks contaminate water

The Community Voice

As a recent former scientist for a state water quality agency, I would like to remind the Rohnert Park community that beyond contributing to fire risk, pet and wildlife trauma, and other impacts brought up by other commenters, fireworks contaminate our precious water supplies.

Public drinking and recreational waters can be polluted by fireworks discharges  both public shows and household (street) use. Some of the more common chemical pollutants used in fireworks to produce visual color or explosive effects at typical community display events include aluminum, antimony, barium, carbon, calcium, chlorine, cesium, copper, iron, potassium, lithium, magnesium, nitrates, chlorates and perchlorates, phosphorus, sodium, sulfur, strontium, titanium and zinc.

One of the main pollutants of concern, perchlorate, is known to contaminate drinking water supplies if significant amounts accumulate in waterways. Over time, the cumulative loading of pollutants from fireworks can cause toxicity to aquatic organisms in our lakes, streams and rivers.

In these times of drought, virus, climate crisis, and great uncertainty in so many things, we need to remember that a nation’s real strength lies in the health and resilience of its environment – and act on that basis. This is what the RP City Council has done.

Yes on D

Chuck Striplen, PhD

Rohnert Park

Chuck Striplen, PhD
Rohnert Park
July 23, 2021

Just follow the money

Just follow the money

The Community Voice

There’s a saying in life, if you want to know the answer to something, just follow the money. Well I did just that when trying to find out who is bankrolling the opposition to measure D. I wasn’t surprised at all to learn it’s the out of town Fireworks Company TNT, the General Manager out of Sacramento and their hired lawyers. Do you think these people have any concerns about our area going up in flames again? Absolute NOT! They only care about their bottom line!

And while I’m on the subject of hired hands, did you know that most of those carnival barkers collecting signatures outside of stores to get the ban overturned were paid to do so?? They get paid per signature. They’re only doing it for the money. Yes perhaps some local folks did collect some signatures. Which I find mind boggling. We live here and have gone through two firestorms already! We know firsthand the devastation fires can cause. To promote something with the name FIRE in it, is mind numbing. The fact that the nonprofits were offered compensation to NOT participate and denied that offer is also a difficult decision to understand.

The bottom line is we’re in a drought of historic proportion and will probably be for the foreseeable future, everything is tinder dry. This decision should have happened after 2017. Now is the time to try and prevent another Sonoma County firestorm. Please join me in Voting YES on Measure D.

Erin and David Armstrong

Rohnert Park

Erin and David Armstrong
Rohnert Park
July 23, 2021

Increase in fireworks

Increase in fireworks

The Community Voice

As a resident for 35 years, I've seen the increase in firework activity here in Rohnert Park. I've also seen the increase of fire danger and drought. I very much like to see the sale of fireworks banned in this city.

I watched the city council meeting in April where the members established a program that would match the funding for the non-profit groups who might lose funding from the sale of fireworks. These grants make it a non-issue and I know that people have been concerned about it but are unaware of the generous offer made to help these groups. 

Hopefully your paper will let the public know that it isn't a concern, and they can then vote knowing that it is the responsible thing to do given the potential dangers fireworks pose. 

Thank you,

Annelise Ecklund

Rohnert Park

Annelise Ecklund
Rohnert Park
July 16, 2021

Adds to fire risk

Adds to fire risk

The Community Voice

We all know that illegal fireworks are prohibited in all of California. In Northern California, Safe & Sane Fireworks are banned in Marin, Napa, Mendocino, unincorporated parts of Sonoma County, Petaluma, Sebastopol, Penngrove, Cotati, Windsor and Healdsburg. They are banned because of the added risk of fires from sparks and misuse. These can occur from illegal and non-illegal fireworks. 

Rohnert Park and Cloverdale are the only cities supporting and permitting the sale and use of Safe & Sane fireworks.

People come from all over the Bay Area and beyond to purchase fireworks in Rohnert Park. They are also used in our community at our schools, parks, and residential areas because they are legal here. Illegal fireworks are also brought in and hidden while using the others. This adds to our fire risk, environmental pollution, sounds that cause both domestic and wild animals to flee and be in danger and anxiety for those who suffer from PTSD. 

On the night of the 4th of July, I witnessed ladders in front of residents’ homes to shoot the legal fireworks higher. I could not drive down some residential streets because there were too many people with fireworks in the middle of streets. 

I walked to one of our local parks to find an aerial display of illegal fireworks that lasted for twenty minutes. I was fearful because they were shooting over our homes. As an observer, I spoke to the men with these fireworks, and they told me that they came here to purchase Rohnert Park’s fireworks for their children and used them to mask the illegal ones. I acted as though I enjoyed this display in order to get information for our police department. “Nail Em” was not working on my phone, so I walked away and called Rohnert Park Police dispatch. The officers did their best but did not arrive for 30 minutes. I was told this was happening all over Rohnert Park. There were not enough officers to handle these situations. 

There are many successful fundraising ideas to help our service groups that our neighboring cities have used. The City of Rohnert Park has also offered money to help these service groups. 

Let’s celebrate the 4th of July as a community in a safe and sane manner without fireworks to protect all ages of people, animals, and our beautiful Sonoma County environment. 

Please vote yes to ban the sale and use of Safe & Sane fireworks on Tuesday Sept. 14 in Rohnert Park so that all fireworks will be banned. 

Anonymous 

Contact information on file

Rohnert Park

Anonymous
Rohnert Park
July 16, 2021

Preventing future fire losses

Preventing future fire losses

The Community Voice

My YES on Measure D is firm! I have lived in Rohnert Park since 1987 and believe we need to change with the global conditions we are facing. Have we forgotten the feeling sitting with our cars packed,  ready to leave as the surrounding fires were so close and learning a close friend had lost their beautiful home in Santa Rosa.  Just last year my sister in Medford, OR was awaiting her evacuation order. People it’s the times we live in and the inherent fire danger. Preventing future fire losses, is a YES vote!

I looked out my front window several times this July 4th, neighbors within a block radius setting off illegal and safe and sane fireworks. Some not so respectful neighbors were intermixing legal and illegal fireworks. I heard the loud boom that sets off the car alarm to my right and the sky behind my house lighting up. When safe and sane are mixed in with illegal, it makes enforcement by police unmanageable. 

My neighborhood is out of control on July 4th!

Let’s become aligned with the rest of Sonoma County, Vote Yes on Measure D!

YES,

Anita Felton

Rohnert Park

Anita Felton
Rohnert Park
July 16, 2021

What is the difference

What is the difference

The Community Voice

Sale of fireworks proponents in Rohnert Park are right that Measure D will not stop “illegal” fireworks.  Instead, Measure D will stop ”legal” fireworks. They are also right that legal fireworks do not explode or fly in the air. Nonetheless, they do cause fires that can grow to include a residence, start a wildfire, and/or cause injuries or death.  

Not all non-profits in Rohnert Park selfishly still sell fireworks. There are non-profits (like non-profits in 90 percent of the cities in Sonoma County) who have or are finding other ways to fundraise.  Perhaps these non-profits may later discover that many people will now prioritize and contribute generously to non-profits that do not sell fireworks and avoid or never contribute again to non-profits that do. 

What is the difference between some non-profits and the non-profits who have forced us into this costly vote that wastes money?  They refuse to believe they will receive the monies the Rohnert Park Foundation has offered to them via the Replacement Funding Program.  They do not trust who they call "city politicians" but it’s uncertain if this is their own personal distrust (and possibly also that of the fireworks manufacturers' attorney they are working with) or if it truly represents how the majority of their members feel.  Most people, when made aware of this program, agree that the non-profits should take advantage of it.

Wholesome family fun, tradition, patriotism, and the right to responsibly celebrate are not reliant on fireworks.  Rather, they are reliant on people.  People who know that wholesome family fun lies simply in the act of spending time together, teaching children the life skill of flexibility by creating new traditions when necessary, and showing patriotism by caring about the people in your community.  Stopping behavior that puts your community at danger is the responsible and patriotic way to celebrate the 4th of July.

Diane G. Borr

Rohnert Park

Diane G. Borr
Rohnert Park
July 16, 2021

SAY has accomplished much

SAY has accomplished much

The Community Voice

The end of June marks the end of our fiscal year and SAY has accomplished quite a lot over the last twelve months! Working together, we embraced uncertainty by planting the seeds for our future growth. As we turn towards this new fiscal year, our organization has a new set of goals and new leadership on our Board of Directors to help guide us forward!

These initiatives launch on July 1 with the start of our three-year Strategic Plan, a set of 15 objectives focused on a new vision of growth and expansion. With this intentionality as our foundation, SAY will set the standard of excellence as we broaden our scope to serve the most vulnerable youth and become a stronger organization in Sonoma County. I'll be sure to share our progress as we move through this plan.

I am also excited to share the debut of our Fund for the Future, an invested reserve designed to provide SAY with resources in times of emergency, start-up funding for new initiatives that respond to the complex needs of our youth, and capital repairs to SAY facilities. This fund is a way for the community to ensure SAY’s legacy through robust and dependable financial resources. 

All of this future planning and growth stems from our mission to serve the most vulnerable children, youth, and families so they can realize their fullest potential to live their best lives. In this newsletter, we share how we embody inclusivity all the way down to our approach to collecting personal data and the development of our 2020-2021 holiday schedule. We are truly putting our values into action.

Anita Maldonado, CEO

Santa Rosa

Anita Maldonado, CEO
Santa Rosa
July 9, 2021

SC wishes to thank

SC wishes to thank

The Community Voice

The Sonoma County Archives wish to thank the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors for approving a $140,000 request from the Sonoma County Library. These funds will pay for relocating the Sonoma County Archives Collection from a 3,800 square foot warehouse at Los Guilicos to a more secure facility outside of a known wildfire zone. Our understanding is that the entire collection, all 5,000 cubic feet of it, will be moved by the end of the summer. Although the exact location of this building has not been made public, according to Sonoma County Library Director Ann Hammond these negotiations are in the works. However, who will provide ongoing care, management, and access to this valuable collection is unclear. We look forward to hearing Director Ann Hammond’s answers to these questions and others at the upcoming Sonoma County Historical Records Commission (7/8) and Library Commission (7/12) meetings. As stakeholders, we continue to offer our support to the County, Library, and Historical Records Commission as long-term plans for the Archives proceed.

Downey and Katherine J. Rinehart Co-chairs

Advocates for the Sonoma County

Downey and Katherine J. Rinehart
July 9, 2021

Anti-democratic on the rise

Anti-democratic on the rise

The Community Voice

The House is about to vote in support of The For the People Act (HR1/S1) - which represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to strengthen our democracy by putting more power in the hands of everyday people by strengthening our voting, elections, campaign finance, and ethics laws. 

Then it will be up to the Senate to pass the bill to get this game-changing bill on President Biden’s desk. 

Reforms in the For the People Act are tried and true -- and have taken hold across the nation. Driven by everyday voters, reforms have passed in red, blue, and purple states and localities, often with bipartisan support.

With anti-democratic and authoritarian forces on the rise in the United States, and more and more people are being shut out of the political process through racist voter suppression laws and barriers to participation, is the time for Congress to take bold action to build a democracy that is for the people with solutions that have already tried and tested in states and municipalities across the country.

Nicholas Lenchner

Nicholas Lenchner
July 2, 2021

Zoom or open to the public?

Zoom or open to the public?

The Community Voice

Zoom council and staff meeting or live community citizen centered meetings?

Staff not Vaccinated? Council members? people over 12 not vaccinated? No process or protocols?

Restaurants open inside and outside? Movie theaters, bars, live music venues, swap meets, garage sales, even fireworks stands!!!  No public meetings?  The library is open, is it not?

The way too LATE tent cities remain and few ways too park downtown... Gee what followed the Roaring Twenties?

In Cotati they even moved the tent downtown that was never used to the outdoor eating area at city hall by the barbecue...

How progressive... Did I mention the fireworks stands open to the public doing business?  The new unrestricted normal?  I am afraid to say I am leaving Cotati and Rohnert Park to go to a Fourth of July Independence Day public Parade open to All!

Eric Kirchmann

Cotati

Eric Kirchmann
Cotati
July 2, 2021

Working under leadership

Working under leadership

The Community Voice

As the first official Executive Director of the Family Justice Center Sonoma County I had the pleasure of working under the leadership of D.A. Jill Ravitch from 2013-2019. During those years, DA Ravitch and I worked hand in hand with a committed group of community-based organizations, ensuring victims of family and interpersonal violence received the most comprehensive wrap-around services possible. So imagine my shock when I heard there was an effort to recall her just one year before her term ends and after she announced she would not run again. My shock turned into disgust when I found out one wealthy and vindictive developer, who she held to account for endangering the lives of seniors in his care during the Tubbs fire, was behind this entire recall effort. Jill is a focused, compassionate and goal-driven leader who always holds the best interests of victims at the fore. Jill’s vision and commitment continues to propel the FJCSC forward; exploring new ideas, opportunities and best practices to serve thousands of crime victims. She should serve out the rest of her term and retire as the dedicated public servant she is.

Les Winter

Santa Rosa

Les Winter
Santa Rosa
July 2, 2021

Housing gets a boost

Housing gets a boost

The Community Voice

Affordable Housing in Cotati got a boost when the Northern California Engineering Contractors Association (ECA) adopted the Jamie Lane project as a community project. The firms of ECA agreed to donate materials, trucking, labor, and expertise along with cash donations in an attempt to keep the price of the new homes under $350,000. 

The project is managed by the Housing Land Trust and Dave Weller of RCX Inc., in collaboration with the City of Cotati. The services offered by ECA members will help minimize the actual cost of construction for five new homes for low-income families that would otherwise not be able to afford to buy a home in Sonoma County in 2021. 

According to John Bly, Executive Director of ECA, “The work we have donated and continue to make available to our communities shows we are much more than a trade association looking to enrich our member firms. For the past 25 years, our organization has been giving back to projects that benefit deserving charities in Sonoma and Marin counties.” 

The ECA considers charities that typically benefit women with dependency issues, women that have received or are in danger of receiving physical abuse, and charities focused on at-risk children. Over the past 25 years, the ECA has contributed over $24,000,000 worth of cash, materials, labor, and equipment to repair or build community projects. 

Past projects include The Sonoma Teen Center, The Earl Baum Center for the Blind, Kid Street Theater, the Pony Express, the Miracle League Ballfield and Playground, the Children’s Muse- um, and the Patrick Scott Walkway Elsie Allen, among others. 

For more information about this project or the community outreach by ECA members, see nceca.org or the Housing Land Trust website at housinglandtrust.org. 

John Bly,

Exec. Vice President

Northern California Engineering Contractor Assoc. 1000 Apollo Way, Suite 100

John Bly
July 2, 2021

Good news

Good news

The Community Voice

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors approved a $2 billion budget last week that includes $140,000 to move the Sonoma County Archives collection from Los Guilicos to a more secure facility located within the county. See attached press release. 

It is our understanding this means the entire collection will be moved by the end of the summer. Lease negotiations are underway. 

We expect Sonoma County Library Director Ann Hammond to share details on the exact location, management, and access to the collection at the July 8th Sonoma County Historical Records Commission meeting and the July 12th Library Commission meeting.

 As we wait to hear more, you may wish to send a note thanking the Board of Supervisors for their support. 

Stay tuned!

Lynn Downey & Katherine J. Rinehart, Co-Chairs

Advocates for the Sonoma County Archives

Lynn Downey & Katherine J. Rinehart
June 25, 2021

No new investment

No new investment

The Community Voice

In December of 2019, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors passed a Socially Responsible Investing Resolution requesting that you, Mr. Roeser, our county treasurer “…make no new or renewed investments in fossil fuel development corporations to the extent that other, more socially responsible investments achieve substantially equivalent safety, liquidity, and yield." 

The major banks that finance the fossil fuel industry are listed in the annual Fossil Fuel Finance Report. It has come to our attention that, since the passage of this Resolution, you have to date invested over a half billion into the major commercial banks that invest in and profit from "fossil fuel development corporations.”  

Given the urgency of the climate crisis and our county's ongoing experience of devastating climate-driven drought, wildfires, and flooding, the Sonoma County Climate Activist Network comprised of over 50 Sonoma County climate activist groups, and hundreds of local group members request that you make no future investments with our tax dollars into banks listed in the Fossil Fuel Finance Report. 

We urge you to respect the direction of your Board of Supervisors and of the people of Sonoma County whom you represent.

Sonoma County Climate Activist Network (SoCoCAN!)

Sonoma County Climate Activist Network
June 18, 2021

Progressives seemed to forget

Progressives seemed to forget

The Community Voice  

I can understand the progressives being miffed because the Republicans are using the filibuster to stymie the radical agenda being advanced. However, your June 11 issue went too far, publishing letters from Dinna Withrich and Carole McMillan that were identical, down to the last comma. It's almost like the two writers downloaded the text from MoveOn, and just appended their names to the letters. 

Progressives also overlook the number of times that the filibuster has worked to their advantage. Why, just in the last Congress, Democrats used the filibuster over 300 times to stop legislation that they didn't agree with. How was that different from today? 

What the progressives seem to forget, however, is that they won't always control the Senate. And, given the rash of radical bills that have been coming out lately, that day may be sooner than they think. It would be a simple matter for majority Republicans in a filibuster

less Senate to undo the radical agenda and move the country back on the right track. 

The filibuster is there to guarantee bipartisanship. With the 50-50 split in the current Senate, it's all we have left to stop the progressive steamroller. 

Joe Gaffney 

Rohnert Park

Joe Gaffney
Rohnert Park
June 18, 2021

The solution is clear

The solution is clear

The Community Voice

Year after year, we see politicians in Congress make promises about what they can do for constituents like me. And year after year, the progress is usually less than we hoped for. 

The solution is clear: It’s time to get rid of the filibuster -- a Senate rule that allows a minority of senators to block any piece of legislation. Democrats have introduced some great bills that would help a vast majority of Americans. Right now, the Senate is deciding whether to pass the For the People Act, for instance, a big reform bill that addresses everything from making voting more accessible and streamlined to getting rid of corruption in government. But the fate of the For the People Act is uncertain as long as it can be filibustered by senators like Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham. 

And that’s only one bill. Imagine all the progress that’s being held up in Congress because the filibuster stands in the way. 

For me, for my community, and for communities like mine all across America, I’m asking senators to do away with the filibuster once and for all. 

Dinna Withrich

Santa Rosa

Dinna Withrich
Santa Rosa
June 11, 2021

Filibuster was used

Filibuster was used

The Community Voice

Every senator who protects the filibuster is guilty of protecting a Jim Crow relic that was used to block civil rights legislation for decades. There’s simply no way to get around its sinister legacy. 

In the 20th century, the filibuster was used to block over 200 anti-lynching bills and held up the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act for 60 days. Over and over again, it’s been a weapon wielded by segregationists and white supremacists. We can’t let the filibuster continue to block the voting and civil rights of Black and Brown Americans in the year 2021 -- which it’s currently poised to do unless we get rid of it. 

I hope senators like Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema are acutely aware of this history as they continue to express support for the filibuster. I am urging them and the rest of the Senate to have courage and get rid of the filibuster as soon as possible. A minority of senators shouldn’t be allowed to stop the progress the majority of Americans voted for.

Stacie Miller

Santa Rosa

Stacie Miller
Santa Rosa
June 11, 2021

Congress makes promises

Congress makes promises

The Community Voice

Year after year, we see politicians in Congress make promises about what they can do for constituents like me. And year after year, the progress is usually less than we hoped for. 

The solution is clear: It’s time to get rid of the filibuster -- a Senate rule that allows a minority of senators to block any piece of legislation. Democrats have introduced some great bills that would help a vast majority of Americans. Right now, the Senate is deciding whether to pass the For the People Act, for instance, a big reform bill that addresses everything from making voting more accessible and streamlined to getting rid of corruption in government. But the fate of the For the People Act is uncertain as long as it can be filibustered by senators like Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham. 

And that’s only one bill. Imagine all the progress that’s being held up in Congress because the filibuster stands in the way. 

For me, for my community, and for communities like mine all across America, I’m asking senators to do away with the filibuster once and for all. 

Carole McMillan 

Cotati

Carole McMillan
Cotati
June 11, 2021

Hiding a meeting?

Hiding a meeting?

The Community Voice

Rohnert Park Dept. of Public Safety called an ALL HANDS meeting this week. It was so important that NO police and fire personnel were allowed to remain on duty, all had to attend the meeting. Sonoma County Sheriff deputies took over policing activities in the City of Rohnert Park, with Rancho Adobe Fire District and Sonoma County Fire taking over fire and rescue responsibilities.

This occurred on Thursday, May 27 between 5-9 p.m. It is not as though the department was hiding this meeting, as it was announced to the public via Nixle that Rohnert Park Public Safety would be "out of service" and its roles taken over by those other agencies.

Taking the entire force off the street has to be for some important reason, beyond usual department business. The question, in light of the turmoil that has afflicted the department and the conflict between department leadership and the Rohnert Park City Manager over the past few years, has to be, "What is happening, and does the public need to know?"

Ben B.

Rohnert Park

Ben B.
Rohnert Park
June 11, 2021

A successful compromise

A successful compromise

The Community Voice

Avoid the September RP election cost and calm the waters. Now that the Rohnert Park City Council has postponed its decision to ban local fireworks sales, I think there is an alternative to spending taxpayer funds on a local election. The September election cost is around $100,000 and that process will just generate more. We won; you lost divisions. Imagine the Friendly City taking that $100,000 and using it to help the 14 (or more) fireworks-supported organizations to develop alternate fund-raising events to meet their needs. Implement the fireworks ban next year. Contact the pro-election group with this idea and request they drop the petition. A successful compromise is better than choosing up sides in the long run.

Andy Durkee

Rohnert Park

Andy Durkee
Rohnert Park
June 11, 2021

Join the Sonoma County LGBTQIA+ Coalition

Join the Sonoma County LGBTQIA+ Coalition

The Community Voice

The coalition is urging Sonoma County schools to support LGBTQIA+ student wellness through pandemic response government funding by sending them the letter at the link below this week and sharing it with your community! 

bit.ly/SoCo-LGBTQIA-schools

As school districts across the state engage in the process of determining how government pandemic response funds (such as ELO funds) will be allocated during the coming weeks and months, the Sonoma County LGBTQIA+ Coalition is seeking to highlight the unique ways in which the pandemic has impacted LGBTQIA+ students (specifically in the area of mental health), as well as the ways in which pandemic response funds can and should be utilized to mitigate these impacts.

This letter was signed by Coalition member organizations including:

Amor Para Todos, Face 2 Face, Lesbian Archives, Letter People, LGBTQ Connection, LGBTQI,

Timeline, North Bay LGBTQI Families, Out in the Vineyard, Positive Images LGBTQIA+ Center, 

Sebastopol Area Senior Center, Sonoma County Pride, Sonoma Valley LGBT Senior, TRANSLIFE Conference.

Email socolgbtqia@gmail.com with any questions!

June 4, 2021

Newsom or no one is nonsense

Newsom or no one is nonsense

The Community Voice

It’s time for many of my colleagues in the California Democratic Party to get a clue about the current gubernatorial recall election against Gavin Newsom. This isn’t 2003, and Arnold Schwarzenegger is not running for Governor of California this year.

In other words, the hostile hyperventilating that you hear from some of our state’s party leaders is unnecessary, since there is almost no realistic chance that Governor Newsom is going to be recalled, in large part thanks to the fact that all registered voters in California will automatically receive an absentee ballot in the mail for this year’s recall election. 

Speaking of unnecessary behavior, the ugly arm-twisting and aggressive suppression of the Democratic candidacies of some well-known potential gubernatorial replacement candidates is unfortunate, not to mention unseemly (and un-American, if you ask me). Democrats, run for office if you want to! Don’t be bullied by anyone.

There needs to be at least one viable Democratic gubernatorial replacement candidate on the ballot this fall, just in case the majority of California’s voters do decide to go ahead and recall Gov. Newsom from office. This latest laughable political proposition of Newsom or No One currently being promulgated by not only Gov. Newsom’s inner circle, but also by the friends and former underlings of recalled Democratic Gov. Gray Davis is so fundamentally at odds with realpolitik, where does one even begin?

How about with the 2003 gubernatorial recall election in California? Democrat Gray Davis (who was barely a Democrat at all) lost that recall election for one main reason - and I’m not talking about Davis’ Republican replacement Schwarzenegger or former Lieutenant Gov. Cruz Bustamante, the most prominent Democratic replacement candidate on the ballot that year. Blaming Bustamante for Davis’ loss is ridiculous.

Gray Davis was recalled as Governor by California’s voters in 2003, because the then 2nd-term Governor Davis had the lowest approval ratings of any California Governor in my lifetime (and I’m a middle-aged man who was born and raised in California). Conservative Democrat Gray Davis’ approval ratings were in the twenties at the time of the recall election, in other words only about 1 out of every 4 Californians approved of the job Davis was doing, which is why Gray Davis’ 2nd-term as governor of California came to an abrupt, embarrassing end in 2003. The voters wanted Davis to go.

Blame the blatant corruption of Bush-Cheney, Ken Lay and Enron for Davis’ ignominious defeat, if you wish, but stop beating up on Cruz Bustamante already, conservative Democrats! Or were you unaware of the fact that a bunch of angry, asinine, over-the-hill, white-haired White folks falsely blaming Bustamante might backfire on our current Gov. Gavin Newsom?

As the worst president in American history, Donald Trump used to say so often: We’ll see what happens.

Jake Pickering

Arcata

Jake Pickering
Arcata
May 28, 2021

RP Fireworks

RP Fireworks

The Community Voice

Regarding “RP fireworks saga continues” May 14, 2021

After having endured four of our most destructive fire seasons on record here in Northern California, wouldn’t it seem wise of us to put away childish things and refrain from playing with fire during fire season?

John Gillespie

Santa Rosa, CA

John Gillespie
Santa Rosa, CA
May 28, 2021

When will it stop?

When will it stop?

The Community Voice

Last night, as I worked on ghost bike memorials for the Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition’s upcoming Ride of Silence, I shared with my wife the fact that while Sonoma County has an average of three or four bicycle fatalities per year, 2021 so far has been free of major injury collisions or fatalities. 

I spoke too soon.

Around 6 pm, two cyclists were severely injured by Ulises Valdez in a horrific incident of vehicular violence. Under the influence of alcohol, Valdez lost control of his truck on a curve and collided with both cyclists as well as a tree and a utility pole; photos of the damage to his vehicle indicate that he was traveling at a high rate of speed. 

Both male cyclists, one twelve years old and the other in his fifties, were transported to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital. Their identities and medical conditions have not yet been released by the CHP. 

This took place on High School Road…a road traveled by young people and others on their way to or from Analy High School and other Sebastopol destinations.

When will it stop?

When will we as a society collectively decide that the good of the whole community – indeed LIFE itself - is more important than individual rights to do whatever the hell we want (drive too fast, drink too much, party indoors during a pandemic)? When will we decide that the right to drive is dependent upon doing so safely, and deny that right to those who abuse the privilege? When will we decide that engineering our built environment to protect our most vulnerable users – pedestrians and cyclists – is more important than enabling drivers to get places as fast as possible?

My heart is so heavy with grief for the victims and their families. And so I will get back on my bike, and my soapbox, and continue to work toward a world where we are free to travel under the power of our own bodies without fear of vehicular violence.

Eris Weaver, 

Executive Director

Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition

Eris Weaver
May 21, 2021

Citizenship for Washington MARYLAND!

Citizenship for Washington MARYLAND! 

The Community Voice

Recently a letter-writer spoke in favor of making the District of Columbia a state. I think there is a serious problem, that over 700,000 people residing in DC have no voting representation in Congress, but I also think that Statehood for DC is the wrong solution. It is certainly not the only one.

The District of Columbia is more than just the seat of our nation's government; it is also a place where thousands of people live, work and raise their families. The residents of DC have carved out a home and sense of community and now need the political power to go with it. Despite being such a diverse community, the residents of the District of Columbia are uniquely disenfranchised and are denied voting members in the U.S. House and Senate. This is an issue of racial justice, as DC is a majority-minority jurisdiction. A true democracy ensures that all people have representation to vote on federal legislation that affects their daily lives. Despite paying federal taxes, serving in the military and on juries, and fulfilling their obligations as citizens and residents of the United States, the residents of DC lack this very basic right. 

But Statehood for DC is the wrong solution. Ending the disenfranchisement of DC residents and fulfilling the commitment of American democracy can be accomplished by using a different solution: SHRINK THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA! It was already done once when the Virginia portion of the original ten-mile-square was returned to Virginia because it wasn't needed.

Draw a line around the government buildings – it would be OK to exclude a few (after all, the Pentagon is in Virginia, not DC and so is the National Airport) as long as all residences are excluded. Then return the rest to Maryland. Washington would become a city in Maryland, and the residents of Washington MD would have all the voting rights in state and federal elections that other Marylanders now have. Congress could contract with the city for municipal services such as trash collection and snow-plowing in the remaining district.

 Rick Luttmann

 Rohnert Park

Rick Luttmann
Rohnert Park
May 21, 2021

RE: Drinking water being wasted by City of Rohnert Park

RE: Drinking water being wasted by City of Rohnert Park

The Community Voice

The contractor is busy at work on a project to repave a portion of Country Club Drive.  A conversation with a spokesperson for Rohnert Park revealed the following.  The city recognized that irrigation of the grass covered center strip had a lot to do with the deterioration of the pavement.  The current project will address that problem to some degree by moving sprinkler heads away from the pavement and the installation of a moisture barrier all to minimize the amount of irrigation water flowing over and under the roadway.

However, it turns out the city is using our drinking water to irrigate the center strip and may be doing the same thing in H-Park!  It would seem that in this and past drought periods, the city would have changed over to secondary water; the same water used on the golf courses and other parks.  The city did not.

When asked about that idea, I was told that the city has been talking (talk is cheap here) about it, but that the city did not have the funds. The water rates and other water charges keep going up every year, yet the city does not have the money.  I wonder where the money went to?

If the city wanted to used secondary water for irrigating the center strip, the grass should be removed and drought tolerant landscaping installed.  As a demonstration project, different types of such landscaping could be planted along with some remaining grass.  Then an estimated cost of irrigation water per 100 square feet landscape could be placed on a sign in the different areas. This should help those who want to conserve drinking water for household and business use.

Perhaps with our new city council things will get better in lieu of the past rate raising abusive council.

So, when the politicians say we must conserve water, tell them to do it too.

Robert Grundman

Rohnert Park

Robert Grundman
Rohnert Park
May 21, 2021

Would impose additional tax

Would impose additional tax

The Community Voice

Well, Assemblyman Marc Levine of Marin and parts of Sonoma recently amended his bill (AB1223) re. sales of firearms and ammo. His change would impose an additional excise tax of 11 percent on all shotguns, rifles, firearm parts and ammo, as well as a 10 percent tax on all handguns. The revenue from these taxes would be deposited in a 'GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION, HEALING, AND RECOVERY FUND. This fund would pay for programs to address the results of the criminal use of firearms. So, responsible owners of guns would now have to pay for the results of illegal gun violence. Now, wait a minute, Levine. How about making the criminals pay for their sins, not the honest and law-abiding citizens? 

His inane bill would drive up the cost of firearm and related equipment purchases for legal and responsible firearm owners.  Hunters and recreational shooters would be negatively affected. And these people are not the ones that are committing the gun violence. Criminals and thugs don't buy their weapons at gun stores. Is it no wonder this state and government is ridiculed for its excessive taxes? 

If you do not reside in Levine's district, I suggest you let your representative and urge him or her to vote "NO" on this faulty legislation.

Anthony Morgan 

Cotati

Anthony Morgan
Cotati
May 14, 2021

Consume animals

Consume animals

The Community Voice

Last night’s Oscar for best documentary went to Netflix’s trailblazing documentary My Octopus Teacher. The documentary chronicles a complex relationship between a man and the world’s most bizarre animal, an octopus. It further testifies to our highly conflicted relationship with non-human animals and the natural world.

Most of us treasure our pets, dogs, cats, horses. Our allegiance to them transcends that to our own species. If our dog and a Congolese child were competing for scarce funds for life-saving surgery, we know who would live. 

Yet, we torment, kill, and consume other animals that are similar in appearance, intelligence and ability to suffer. Then, we condemn Asians who do the same to animals we consider pets.

We pride ourselves on being intelligent, rational beings. We have gone to the Moon, unraveled and modified genetic codes and found cures for deadly diseases. Yet we still have not figured out our relationship with non-human animals and the natural world.

Some of us have. Vegans profess compassion and respect for all sentient beings. Veganism requires no special courses or certifications. Every one of us can become one on our next trip to our supermarket. 

Michael Ignacio

Novato

Michael Ignacio
Novato
May 7, 2021

Banning meat

Banning meat

The Community Voice

So, I heard on Fox News that President Biden may be banning meat to combat global warming. Then I remembered that Colorado Democrat Governor Jared Polis had issued a similar proclamation last month. My first reaction was, what kind of cockamamie idea will the Democrats cook up next? But then I read the article they quoted, and it made a bit more sense. Apparently, a University of Michigan research report found that replacing 50 percent of animal products with plant-based foods would prevent more than 1.6 billion tons of greenhouse gasses by 2030, which is Biden’s target date for a 50 percent reduction in emissions.

Another article I found in The Guardian, argues that animal farming is a major driver of climate change, as well as air and water pollution, soil depletion, and destruction of wildlife habitats. It’s possible that, in an environmentally sustainable world, we may eventually need to replace meat and other animal products with vegetables, fruits, and grains, just as we replace fossil fuels with wind, solar and other renewable energy sources. I may look and see what the internet and my local supermarket have to offer in terms of plant-based meat products.

Mark Isemann

Rohnert Park

Mark Isemann
Rohnert Park
May 7, 2021

Denied representation

Denied representation

The Community Voice

Right now, the hundreds of thousands of people living in the District of Columbia are being denied Congressional representation.

And this denial is no accident. D.C’s status as a district and its lack of voting power and representation is deeply rooted in racism. After the Civil War, white men in power didn’t want Black men to build power by voting, so D.C. - a place where the majority of the residents are people of color - became too much of a threat in their eyes. So, Congress stripped D.C. of its ability to self-govern.

The District’s residents couldn't participate in presidential elections at all until the 23rd Amendment was ratified in 1961, just 60 years ago! And it took until 1970 for Congress to give D.C. a delegate in the House of Representatives, but she wasn’t empowered to vote on legislation. Now, in 2021, residents still can’t control their own laws or their budgets through the local representatives that they elect. 

We can change all of this by making Washington, D.C. the 51st state. It would finally give D.C. long overdue representation in the halls of Congress, allow its residents to self-govern, and begin to unravel the harmful, racist laws of our country’s past and present. 

I’m urging my senators to support making D.C. a state as soon as possible. 

Jeannine White

Sebatopol 

Jeannine White
Sebatopol
April 30, 2021

I agree with opinion

I agree with opinion

The Community Voice

I completely agree with the opinion expressed by Marjorie Crump-Shears about the column in the Community Voice written by Glenn Mollette.  His latest column asking rhetorical questions about our 'God given rights to take off our masks' is more of his nonsense.  Especially since later in his column he implies the opposite.  And then the discussion about this topic goes back and forth to nowhere, just more word salad.  It's time to find another column author to replace his.  

Larry Resnick   

Rohnert Park

Larry Resnick
Rohnert Park
April 30, 2021

Spread the word

Spread the word

The Community Voice

If there were ever a time to celebrate blood donors, it’s during National Volunteer Month. With no substitute for blood and no way to manufacture it, volunteer blood donors are the definition of essential. And, over the past year, these heroes rolled up a sleeve to help ensure blood was available for patients across the country amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

We can’t let up now. Healthy volunteer donors are needed every day to help keep the blood flowing for hospitals and patients that rely on a readily available blood supply. As a special thank-you, those who come to give by April 30 will automatically be entered for a chance to win one of five $1,000 e-gift cards to a merchant of choice. Additional details are available at rcblood.org/Gift.

You can help us spread the word by sharing the area blood donation opportunities below. Please let me know if you have any questions, would like to set up an interview or need additional information. 

Thanks in advance for your support! 

Cari Dighton

Regional Communications Director

American Red Cross

Northern California Coastal Region

Cari Dighton
April 23, 2021

Letter to CRPUSD

Letter to CRPUSD

The Community Voice

Dear Board President Gillies; Trustees Cimino, Wing, Nelson, and Brown; and Dr. Perez.

I am writing to advocate for CRPUSD to reopen for full-time, in-person instruction, as allowed given the recent changes in the state reopening guidance. With revised CDPH Guidance, including a recommended three feet of spacing in classrooms, and the fact that Sonoma County continues to move into less restrictive tiers, nothing is preventing our district from offering in-person instruction five days a week to all students. A judge in San Diego County prohibited the state from enforcing certain rules such as four feet of distancing and prohibitions on opening secondary schools in the purple tier, which the judge said were selective in their applicability, vague in its terms and arbitrary in its prescriptions. The judge also affirmed that the prevailing statewide standard is in-person learning. Furthermore, CRPUSD violates Senate Bill 98 which requires districts to offer in-person instruction to the greatest extent possible. I continue to be disappointed in district leadership. CRPUSD has been and continues to be, far behind neighboring districts regarding reopening. Other districts have been able to adjust with the changing guidance and many are fully open for in-person learning based on the reduction to the orange tier and the 3-foot guidance. While other districts are able to multitask and shift as necessary in the best interest of students, the majority of CRPUSD Board seems satisfied with the status quo. Dr. Perez and Board President Gilles shut down all discussion of expanding reopening plans based on new guidance. Further, Dr. Perez misleadingly reported that the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with union partners would not allow 3-foot guidance. The MOU specifically states, The District shall adhere to current COVID-19 guidelines and orders issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, California Department of Public Health, California Department of Education, California Department of Industrial Relations Division of Occupational Safety and Health, or Sonoma County

Crissy Willson

Rohnert Park

Crissy Willson
Rohnert Park
April 23, 2021

New voting law bad

New voting law bad

The Community Voice

Why the hell are the media and the Democrats tripping and falling all over themselves to try to convince us how very bad Georgia's new voting law is? Voters are being given extra time to vote (the new law even requires an extra Saturday) minimum hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., but some counties may run 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; on election day anyone in line by 7 p.m. gets a ballot. How much time do people need? As far as being cruel because food and water will not be allowed to be distributed---you mean to tell me that voters are not capable of bringing their own snacks and a bottle(s) of water with them. Come on, man, give the American people more credit. With this provision being illegal, it'll keep the voters from being hassled by campaigners of both parties while in line. As far as requiring proper voter identification goes, that's great! Many states (36) already require it—including Delaware (where you know who is from). Voter identity will not be a hardship on anyone. If you don't have an identification card, you can get one by: providing the last four digits of your social security number; presenting a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, etc. This new law will not suppress anyone's right to vote.  While the law may not be perfect, hopefully, it will bring more credibility to the voting process.

What's really pathetic is the lack of backbone by the CEOs of corporate America. Pressure is put on them to assault the new voting law and they "cave". Come on CEOs, don't allow the socialist left to push you around. You're better than that.  Where's your grit??

Sadly, the MLB has become political and moved the All-Star Baseball Game out of Atlanta. So many people are going to lose their jobs, no thanks to the comments by the occupant of the White House, who probably hasn't even read the law. Let's hope H.R.1 (the federal government's takeover of state election laws) doesn't pass.

It's a shame that we don't hear more from the conservative folks, but it's understandable since they would put their jobs or businesses in jeopardy simply for speaking

Estella M. Sterner

Rohnert Park

Estella M. Sterner
Rohnert Park
April 23, 2021

Bills get passed

Bills get passed

The Community Voice

The filibuster has outlived its usefulness when one party states, "no way will your bills get passed because no GOP Senator will vote for them." It is time to end this true Jim Crow relic and make sure our government works for all of us. Historically, the filibuster was used to block civil rights legislation. Today, the threat remains as a way to limit who gets to vote. Once upon a time a senator had to hold the floor, talking-until-he/she-drop. It's now a stealth tool of obstruction. Any senator can signal an objection, and suddenly the senate has to clear a 60-vote threshold. It is time Senator Feinstein drops her objections and helps get rid of this relic of the past.

Bernard Lefson 

Rohnert Park

Bernard Lefson
Rohnert Park
April 16, 2021

Under the thumb

Under the thumb

The Community Voice

The filibuster was created as a stick to keep marginalized, skin-colored folks under the thumb of their" white masters" who ruled in Washington D.C. The "white masters" were primarily from the south, however, the "white masters" were and still are all across the country. It is time for the white population to include all citizens and residents who are in any manner different, either by skin color, language, culture, etc. This country is not a white man's fiefdom but a nation of great variety of talent, work ethic, ideas. It is a nation that must come to grips with its inclusiveness and one of the ways that can be accomplished is to embrace everyone.

The filibuster is a tool to maintain control by the conservative senators to delay all legislation with which they do not agree by requiring 60 votes out of 100 to pass anything. It is a form of obstruction and needs to be ended. Particularly now that they do not have the majority in the senate the conservatives very much want to maintain some control by using the filibuster. It is another form of the "white master" harboring control.

Gwen Dhesi 

Rohnert Park

Gwen Dhesi
Rohnert Park
April 16, 2021

Brings back memories

Brings back memories

The Community Voice  

The news that Rohnert Park will ban fireworks sales, a major source of income to non-profits in the city, but will backfill the revenue with funds from the community foundation, brings back memories of the vehicle license fee sham that Sacramento perpetrated in the 1990's. 

The vehicle license fee is a line item on your registration renewal. It's basically a personal property tax on your vehicle levied by the local city. The money would be collected by Sacramento and distributed to each city. In the early 1990s  Sacramento claimed that there was a budget emergency so it was keeping the vehicle license fee revenue for itself. When the cities screamed, Sacramento promised that it would backfill the lost revenue from the State general fund. 

Well, that lasted about five years. Then, Sacramento found new ways to deny turning over all of the vehicle license fee revenue to the cities, causing massive budget shortfalls. You may recall that this was about the time when cities started enacting sales tax measures, all to replace the lost revenue from the vehicle license fees. 

Now, we see the same thing happening with the revenue generated from fireworks sales. In the name of public safety, the city will ban fireworks sales, but promises to make the non-profits whole with money from the community foundation. Let's see how long that lasts. 

The city should focus on the illegal fireworks and leave us law-abiding citizens alone! 

Joe Gaffney

Rohnert Park

Joe Gaffney
Rohnert Park
April 16, 2021

Questioning statements

Questioning statements

The Community Voice

Out of curiosity, I read Glenn Mollette’s article about violence in the USA!   In the past, I have publicly questioned his statements which are thinly veiled racist comments.  The current article is no exception.  To try to build a case for increasing the security at the US/Mexico border, he insinuates that those people who are coming into our country will increase the violence and we will see an increase in the building of walls and fences for protection in our neighborhoods, mirroring the fencing going up in Washington, DC.

How dare he assume or SAY that the people migrating into our country from Central and South America are causing and/or committing the violence that is rampant in our country, thus causing a rise in self-defense by homeowners across the US.

He has neither looked at the evidence nor weighed the statistics regarding who is doing what to whom.  

Community Voice, why-oh-why do you continue to publish articles by a man who is a “pretender” to be fair and anti-racist??? He is neither and he will never change.  You insult your readers by supporting his comments and ideas.  Several of us have commented on Dr. Mollette’s opinions in the past, at least one of us will continue until he no longer is published in this periodical.  And, you should know that I have personally contacted him about some of his earlier articles which I found insulting and subtly racist.  After the last out cry, you removed his articles for a period of time; now he is back and has been for a while.  WHY???!!!!

Marjorie Crump-Shears

Cotati 

Marjorie Crump-Shears
Cotati
April 16, 2021

Saddens me deeply

Saddens me deeply

The Community Voice

This is regarding the article in Community Voice entitled, "Learning Responsibility Through Ranching", issued on April 9, 2021. I understand ranch life, but it saddens me deeply that a father would actually teach his beautiful, innocent eleven-year-old daughter to kill a turkey, or any other animal, whether for food, or not. What happens in this case is that the child learns to place love and empathy aside and look upon the bird/animal as a commodity, an object, and not as a living being that deserves life and respect. Unfortunately, the child is the big loser here, because she has lost her innocence. She has learned to kill, something that should sicken anyone with a caring, loving heart--rancher, or not. There is a higher, more loving, way to live.

Mary Wallace

Rohnert Park

Mary Wallace
Rohnert Park
April 16, 2021

It is a litmus test

It is a litmus test

The Community Voice

All Republican politicians in Congress are anti-abortion. It is a litmus test. The Republican Party (GOP) has become a clan, a cult of anti-abortionists driven by religious extremists. 

There's nothing pro-life about religious extremists and crazies who get in women's faces day in and day out. These pro-life political activists who have embedded themselves in the Republican Party are great at pointing fingers at abortion providers and women, screaming "murderers" while their own ilk antagonize abortion doctors daily and try to eliminate health care services for women.

No other nation in the Western world restricts abortion as severely as the Republican Party advocates. What hypocrites!

Ron Lowe 

Nevada City, CA

Ron Lowe
Nevada City, CA
April 9, 2021

Where did my well water go?

Where did my well water go?

The Community Voice

Our supervisors are rapidly marching towards approving a cannabis ordinance that will significantly impact our wells and ground water at the same time that officials are asking for voluntary reductions in water use. 

According to the Napa County 9111 report, published in 2020, cannabis uses at least six times the amount of water compared to grapes per crop. The draft cannabis ordinance has targeted 65,000 acres for commercial cannabis development without analyzing the cumulative impact all that cannabis will have on our precious groundwater. If you rely on well water, it is imperative that you start logging your well water availability now. Your well log will be your only defense against a commercial cannabis grow in your neighborhood that sucks everyone’s well dry. 

Tess Danaher

Sebastopol

Tess Danaher
Sebastopol
April 9, 2021

Disavowing tactics

Disavowing tactics

The Community Voice 

The North Bay Labor Council unanimously passed a resolution at its monthly meeting on Wednesday, March 24 disavowing the tactics of William Gallaher and family using their wealth to exercise an outsized impact on local politics. 

Executive Director, Jack Buckhorn said, “Our affiliates and their members feel a strong message needs to be sent stating firmly that there’s no place for the dirty politics of revenge and intimidation in a free, just and fair society.

Several attempts to shape Sonoma County politics are sited in the resolution. Political Director, Maddy Hirshfield stated, candidates who are directly or indirectly involved in or benefit from these tactics should not be considered for endorsement by NBLC.

Emily Conway                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Research and Policy Associate

North Bay Labor Council, AFL-CIO

Emily Conway
April 9, 2021

A turning point

A turning point

The Community Voice

This month we celebrated an important turning point in SAY's journey: Dream Center Day!

Seven years ago, the Santa Rosa City Council unanimously approved plans to transform the empty Warrack Hospital campus into the SAY Finley Dream Center. This monumental display of support proved that our community was ready to take action on behalf of the youth. Today, it highlights the ways in which regular, ordinary people can make lasting change.

As we head into April, and our approaching birthday celebration, I also want to applaud the visionary group of individuals who saw a problem and sought to address it: a philanthropist, lawyer, judge, probation officer and a teacher who came together in 1971 to find an organization that has lasted for 50 years. Together, we have served 60,000 children, youth and families; what an accomplishment!

As the new leaders standing on the shoulders of those who paved the way before us, we honor and celebrate SAY's 50th Anniversary.  We will build upon the good work of those founders, emphasizing that SAY is a "built-to-last" organization because of the community support backing our founders' dream. 

However, there is still so much work that needs to be done.  Hundreds of young people continue to live unsheltered on the streets. I am reminded of a Margaret Mead quote and use it as my inspiration for this month's newsletter:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world: indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

For the youth, 

Anita Maldonado, CEO

Dream Center

Anita Maldonado
April 9, 2021

We must speak out

We must speak out

The Community Voice

Cotati Organized Against Racism - COAR - stands up with our fellow citizens who are Asian and Pacific Islanders, as well as Ms. Jackie Elward, who is African American -against the violence of words and actions from those for whom hatred and destruction have become a way of life. Racism is violence! White supremacy is violence! Exploitation is violence. We must speak out! We must take action. We must come together to mend, to heal, to flourish. The two pandemics in which we are wrapped (Covid 19 and Racism) must not succeed in bringing us down! We are better than that and we can do better! "We must be the change we wish to see in the world" Mahatma Gandhi

Marjorie Crump-Shears 

Cotati Organized Against Racism (COAR)

Marjorie Crump-Shears
Cotati
April 2, 2021

Congratulations Rohnert Park!

Congratulations Rohnert Park! 

The Community Voice

This is what it looks like when you have a city council that is responsive to the people and acknowledges both sides.  Such has not always been the case.  Just last year, the city council completely ignored the repeated requests and impassioned comments of many, many residents over a nine-month period to reverse their decision to adopt a gerrymandered district map and the ouster of a beloved council member, and to stop their complete disregard for the fairness and inclusivity demanded by the California Voters Rights Act.  So, we have a new council that is working on methods of reimbursement to non-profits who could lose revenue due to the banning of fireworks while listening to people’s environmental concerns.  They are not leaving the concerns of the people out to dry like the prior council but rather are sympathetic, caring and proactive for both the people who want steps taken to protect the environment and the money needs of the nonprofits.  This is a great first step and Rohnert Park, you should be proud!

Diane Borr

Rohnert Park

Diane Borr
Rohnert Park
April 2, 2021

Extreme fire risk

Extreme fire risk

The Community Voice

Rohnert Park is one of three Sonoma County cities that still allow “safe and sane” fireworks. Fireworks during an extended drought and extreme fire risk are simply neither “safe nor sane” in any form.

The argument that banning “safe and sane” fireworks will drive more illegal fireworks use is unfounded. In fact, the Orange County Grand Jury studied legal and illegal fireworks and found that “the use of illegal fireworks is significantly greater in cities that allow the sale of legal fireworks.” They also found that legal fireworks mask the use of illegal fireworks and public safety response is hampered by clogged and littered streets. They also found that wholesalers (like TNT) inject money to overturn local decisions to ban fireworks.

Non-profits are concerned they will lose an easy funding source. The RP City Council plans to use its foundation to replace non-profits’ funds lost from the sale of fireworks.

Banning all fireworks will not lead to greater use of illegal ones – quite the opposite. Public safety will be better able to respond to incidents and improve our safety. The key is to keep non-profits whole as they transition to new fundraising efforts. As Heraclitus said, “the only constant is change.”

Chris Borr

Rohnert Park

Chris Borr
Rohnert Park
April 2, 2021

Emergency Paid Sick Leave: a critical protection against Coronavirus

Emergency Paid Sick Leave: a critical protection against Coronavirus

The Community Voice

For those of us who have been economically affected by the pandemic, taking time off work when we’re affected by the virus can feel impossible, even though we know that’s what it takes to cut transmission rates. No worker should have to make the choice between losing income, and recovering from the direct and indirect consequences of this deadly virus.

That’s why it’s so critical that both the City of Santa Rosa and the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors voted to renew their Emergency Paid Sick Leave ordinances earlier this year. These ordinances protect workers through the end of September and the end of June, respectively. 

What does this mean? If you work full time in unincorporated Sonoma County or the City of Santa Rosa, you are entitled to an additional 40 hours of COVID-related paid sick leave: not just if you’re positive and symptomatic, but also if you’ve been advised to quarantine, are caring for someone who is positive or quarantining, or if your loved one’s place of care (school or elder care) is closed due to COVID.

Further, your employer cannot make you use another form of leave first, refuse to provide this leave, or retaliate against you for requesting or using this emergency leave. 

When we’re able to care for ourselves and loved ones without economic penalty, it benefits us all, lowering transmission rates and ensuring that our community economies are able to recover more quickly.

The best way to thank an essential worker is to help protect us. Spread the word about local emergency paid sick leave!

In Solidarity,

Emily Conway

Political Research and Policy Associate

North Bay Labor Council, AFL-CIO

Emily Conway
April 2, 2021

Atlanta bandit

Atlanta bandit

The Community Voice

The day of the Native American mascot is over. In 2020 & 2021, Blue Georgia has gone a long way towards proving The New South is for real. Step up again, Atlanta.

Make this the final season for the Atlanta Braves and feel free to choose from any of the following ten new team names for Atlanta’s Major League Baseball franchise:

* Atlanta Raves

* Atlanta Backwoods

* Atlanta Knaves

* Atlanta Anabolics

* Atlanta Caves

* Atlanta Barbarians

* Atlanta Saves

* Atlanta Barbarellas 

* Atlanta Super Daves

* Atlanta Bandits

(Jerry Reed’s East Bound and Down can be the team’s theme song and Kenny Powers can be the new team mascot.)

Jake Pickering 

Arcata

Jake Pickering
Arcata
April 2, 2021

Two problems

Two problems

The Community Voice

The RP Council's suggestion to ban fireworks has prompted heated discussion from both sides, but I'm not hearing any discussion by the council about the real culprit, noisy sleep-disturbing illegal fireworks. Is there discussion about aiding the safety officers to enforce the existing laws? Using the app "Nail It" did nothing to resolve the numerous nights of 1-2 a.m. fireworks coming from G park and Gold Ridge School grounds.  Would temporary cameras throughout the parks and vacant lots be a start to identifying some of these inconsiderate lawbreakers? Are there other ideas? My dog was equally disturbed by any and all fireworks, so there won't be any relief if there is a community- sponsored fireworks show.  Which makes me wonder:  Has the city reached out to SSU?  Is the plan to compete with their show with double the noise?  Double the pollution?  Or is the intention to coordinate a joint effort and foster good relations between the campus and the community?  If so, what are the ideas? 

When my children were active in sports, the fireworks booth was a dependable $10,000 profit each year.  Can the city afford to provide that for each organization?  Each year?  At this time the parents are willing to work for their profit.  History tends to repeat itself as the best of intentions can lead to regrets. Think pension costs.  What seemed reasonable during a budget surplus has become a burden, and seen as irresponsible during leaner years.  Will the city be able to continue replacing lost fundraising monies in years to come?  

These are not new issues, having been debated just a few years ago.  I feel there are two problems.  One, appears there is no council-supported effort to stop the illegal incredibly disturbing late night fireworks, and two, with only three months notice there is no thought-out plan to address the fundraising issues.  It's very disappointing that the council failed to do the research, outreach and preparation necessary to offer a reasonable solutions or an alternative. 

Kathie Servente

Rohnert Park

Kathie Servente
Rohnert Park
April 2, 2021

SAY stands in support

SAY stands in support

The Community Voice

Social Advocates for Youth (SAY) stands in solidarity with the Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community to condemn the recent attacks and threats of violent incidents and assaults over the last several weeks. This includes the Atlanta-area mass shootings that led to the killing of eight people, including six Asian women. Since early in the COVID-19 pandemic, members of the AAPI community across the country have been targeted and blamed for the Coronavirus disease.  We cannot continue to ignore these threats, intimidation, assaults, injuries and deaths fueled by discrimination, racism, misogyny and xenophobia.

It is our duty to exhibit allyship and acknowledge the contributions of our AAPI brothers and sisters who have endured decades of persecution and bias. We wholeheartedly condemn these attacks and the racist rhetoric that fuels them. As we mourn those who were lost, we also affirm our commitment to becoming an anti-racist organization and will continue working with allies towards a more just society.

SAY is committed to engaging in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) practices at all levels of our organization by:

• Listening to Our Youth: We will listen more deeply to their needs, experiences, and voices to ensure that our programs and services are grounded in culturally competent principles. Always, we will lift up their voices in our community;

• Building an Inclusive Workplace: We will engage in comprehensive discussions at all levels of our organization, with the goal to recruit, retain, and include a more diverse staff, executive leadership, and board of directors. We recognize our teams must better include all of the voices of Sonoma County;

• Striving toward Anti-Racism: As a team, we will engage in anti-racism training, as we acknowledge implicit bias exists in all of us;

• Evaluating our Progress: Create an evaluation plan to make sure we are doing the work required to meet these goals.

Our board and staff continue to engage in the work necessary to create a more just environment and support progressive changes, both in our organization and the community.

Anita Maldonado

CEO, Social Advocates for Youth

Anita Maldonado
April 2, 2021

Moving to ban

Moving to ban

The Community Voice

To Rohnert Park City Council: Thank you for finally moving to ban fireworks in Rohnert Park. We have been hoping for this change for 30 years!!!

I can hear the cheers from Cats and Dogs and Wildlife and Police and Fire personnel. 

I am sorry that local organizations have become dependent on this income. But it is time to move on and find other ways to fund these activities.

David Jackson

Rohnert Park

David Jackson
Rohnert Park
April 2, 2021

Dear Americans,

Dear Americans, 

The Community Voice

THE PLAGUE

Ring around the polls

Republicans on their toes

Much to disclose

Really foes

Time to expose…..

(published Dec. 1992)

I thank the Democrats for all they have done, over the 76 years of my life.

We need to speak to the people about Republican hindrance and how they have affected our countries progress and hurt most of our citizens. Starting with, President Obama, we need to inform our citizens; how the Republicans refused to pass Democratic legislation, spell out HOW it affected the country and “we citizens.” Every time a congressman or congresswomen speak, have at least one example. Unstable 45 should be exposed. The robber barons have been the Democratic down fall. They are the real enemies!

EXPOSE

Our governments self-serving bureaucracy

Corporate greed/lack of responsibility

Peoples’ prejudice/loss of integrity

Organized religion, the medical community

Scores more, ripping-off humanity

America! The land of the free!?

We need to get coverage on local News channels. Even the fox brainwashed,

watch the local news.

Save our country from crimes against all Americans and the Constitution.

Continue to fight.

Sincerely

DRL

P.S.

Especially the police racist policies. Name the Democratic bills that are being pigeonholed!

Daniel Lucchesi 

Santa Rosa

Daniel Lucchesi
Santa Rosa
March 26, 2021

No notice

No notice

The Community Voice

We now have a cannabis operation next door to us, 1700 Barlow Lane. This operation started with no notice to us. We are concerned for our safety. We have been told by others that the smell will be unbearable. And while looking into the county’s plans, 6,500 acres will be okayed by Sonoma County Supervisors. That is more acres than grapes. Where will the water come from? Please investigate this matter for us.

K. Gutzman

Sebastopol

K. Gutzman
Sebastopol
March 26, 2021

This is not who we are

This is not who we are

The Community Voice

A  response to the inexcusable racist attack made against Rohnert Park’s Vice Mayor, Council member Susan Hollingsworth Adams Facebooked, Rohnert Park: this is not who we are. But if you’ve logged into social media or Nextdoor recently, you may question the validity of her statement. Online, residents of The Friendly City have been anything but. Not only are they personally and professionally assaulting Rohnert Park’s elected officials but many of them are also publicly and privately bullying residents with differing views. One such resident tagged me on Facebook writing, People like you are what’s wrong with this world. I beg to differ. People like me and many, many others have been silenced for too long. We have found our collective voices and we will not tolerate the divisive, hate-filled vomit”- now or in the future. I understand that, for some, that shift is difficult to accept. For years and years, we’ve heard the same voices in Rohnert Park, many of which have had the privilege of creating policy while others have been focused on maintaining the status quo. However, in November, our residents overwhelmingly voted for change and change is what we got. Change is hard but it’s also so necessary for growth. Representation matters and diverse thought and lived experiences make for a better city, not worse. Ideally, elected officials' moralistic behavior embody such characteristics of honesty, transparency, humility, courage and compassion. I’m proud to have witnessed these traits in the current leadership team of five. They’ve had difficult discussions and made nearly impossible decisions with the betterment of Rohnert Park in mind. So, let’s take a page out of their book. Let’s push through the uncomfortable, agree to disagree, express our opinions but STOP the inexcusable attacks. Let’s prove our City Council member’s statement to be true. I know we can! 

Julie M. Royes

Rohnert Park

Julie M. Royes
Rohnert Park
March 26, 2021

To whomever this concerns

To whomever this concerns

The Community Voice 

Hello, my name is Jessenia Morales, and I am a student from Rancho Cotate High School. I am in a CTE course called Hospitality Tourism & Recreation two, Right now as a whole class, we are organizing an Academic Achievements Awards Dinner, which every year the school hosts for the top 20 students with the highest GPA, to acknowledge them for their achievements. One of the things we want to do to express our gratitude is to capture an image of them in the newspaper. After doing some research, I believe that you're the best option. This is something you can do to uplift the students during these hard times and would be greatly appreciated. If you have any further questions, please feel free to inquire. Thank you, I am looking forward to being in touch with you. 

Jessenia Morales 

Hospitality II

Top 20 Committee

Jessenia Morales
March 26, 2021

We support

We support

The Community Voice

As a resident of Rohnert Park for 31 years and a resident of Sonoma County for 45 years. We support the new city council in Rohnert Park for their vote to eliminate the sales of fireworks in our city. This has been a concern for many years with past council members, with the exception of Jake Mackenzie, seemed too reluctant to address. Being one of the few cities in Sonoma County who still sell legal fireworks it has put a burden on our Public Safety Officers. With another drought anticipated in Sonoma County, this is not the time to have legal or illegal fireworks in any part of the county.

George and Rosemary Mojica

Rohnert Park

George and Rosemary Mojica
Rohnert Park
March 26, 2021

Fireworks nuisance

Fireworks nuisance

The Community Voice

We finally have new city council members recently elected who have the courage and foresight to ban fireworks in Rohnert Park. We are the last city in Sonoma County to come around to the sensible conclusion that fireworks are an enormous nuisance that cause both air and noise pollution as well as the potential for fire. It causes terrible stress on pets and wildlife as well. It doesn't make us special. It makes us look like fools. We have had years after year of them and now it's finally our turn to get some peace and quiet. Now however, the decision is put in jeopardy as these council members are being harassed. 

One member that I know of is even being racially attacked by an ignorant, bigoted self-entitled idiot. I hope that our representatives stand strong against the aggressive push by these people whose motives are to make money from the sale of fireworks. There are other ways that all of the other cities make money for their groups that don't rely on fireworks. We should not even be having this issue and we should not give in to bullying.

Name and personal information withheld due to the likelihood of retaliation.

Rohnert Park

Rohnert Park
March 26, 2021

Ban the sale

Ban the sale

The Community Voice

The behavior of some citizens in Rohnert Park in response to the council majority’s intention to ban the sale of safe and sane fireworks is not only upsetting but embarrassing. Citizens on both sides of the issue have been exchanging disrespectful, hateful and divisive rhetoric and threats; especially on social media. Many of the most egregious attacks directed at Mayor Giudice, Vice Mayor Elward and Councilman Linares, are coming from members of organizations that these council members have pledged to help by finding ways to replace lost revenue from a ban on the sale of these fireworks. None of our council members deserve this kind of treatment regardless of the issue! This is unacceptable and has no place in our community. With the city council promising to address the money issue, are smoke bombs, screaming spinners and sparklers really worth dividing a community like this? Maybe it’s something more that is behind this vitriolic rhetoric. Is Rohnert Park regressing to bullying politics? We sincerely hope not. Rohnert Park can be better than this!

Jamie and Bonnie Black

Rohnert Park

Jamie and Bonnie Black
Rohnert Park
March 26, 2021

Taking exception

Taking exception

The Community Voice

I take exception to the article "Fatal Police Violence..." in The Community Voice of March 19, 2021. Number one: who wrote the article? No mention of the author. #2: very biased in that there are numerous mentions of "fatal police violence increases risk of preterm birth". What exactly is "police violence"? There is no mention of the so-called "victim" of the police violence. What actions precipitated by either party resulted in the act of police "violence? There were no statistics to support the allegation of police fatal actions causing pre-mature births. It seemed to me just another thing to put blame on law enforcement. After all, it seems that they are being accused of every other sin committed against society. Why not one more?

There was no mention of the age of the mother-to-be, previous births, pre-natal care, physical and mental conditions. The author made no mention of the relationship (if any) between the pregnant woman and the deceased. No mention of the presence or absence of substance abuse. Nothing of lifestyle choices or education.

The researchers seem to have claimed expertise in law enforcement practices and training. The article doesn't mention this. I think this whole study is a precursor to attaining a couple million-dollar grants to come up with some justification for the research, faulty as it is. Well, that is alright. The taxpayer, through the California university system, will be paying for it.

Robert Bostitch

Petaluma

Robert Bostitch
Petaluma
March 26, 2021

Pass the ‘For People Act’

Pass the ‘For People Act’

The Community Voice

My name is Nicholas, and I am a delivery driver in Northern California. Sen. Alex Padilla must do whatever it takes to get the For the People Act passed in the Senate and signed into law. The House is about to vote in support of the For the People Act (HR1/S1) - which represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to strengthen our democracy by putting more power in the hands of everyday people by strengthening our voting, elections, campaign finance and ethics laws. 

Then it will be up to the Senate to pass the bill to get this game-changing bill on President Biden’s desk. 

Reforms in the For the People Act are tried and true and have taken hold across the nation. Driven by everyday voters, reforms have passed in red, blue and purple states and localities, often with bipartisan support.

With anti-democratic and authoritarian forces on the rise in the United States, and more and more people are being shut out of the political process through racist voter suppression laws and barriers to participation, now is the time for Congress to take bold action to build a democracy that is for the people with solutions that have already tried and tested in states and municipalities across the country. Nothing, including the filibuster, which is a relic of the Jim Crow era and subverts the basic notion of majority rule in our democracy, should stop Congress from passing comprehensive democracy reform to strengthen our elections like the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.

Nicholas Lenchner 

Rohnert Park

Nicholas Lenchner
Rohnert Park
March 26, 2021

Taking away revenue sources

Taking away revenue sources

The Community Voice

I would like to ask you to reverse your decision on banning fireworks in Rohnert Park. This decision is taking away from youth in our city. These non-profits help more than just the children that play in their leagues. RPSC has donated goals to our city schools and helped donate money to the new street soccer court in A section. Not to mention how they help children in their programs by offer scholarships and reduced fees.

By taking away the revenue sources with no solid plan to replace the funds is irresponsible. I have heard concerns over fire and noise. Those are not the fireworks we are trying to save. Safe and Sane fireworks are just that. The city has already placed restrictions on the height and noise level of the fireworks sold at these booths. Unfortunately, by banning legal fireworks you are going to force people to use more illegal ones which will only make the 4th worse for pets.

At the very least I would ask that you but this on a ballot and let the residents decide.

Shannon Potter

Rohnert Park

Shannon Potter
Rohnert Park
March 19, 2021

You have to be kidding

You have to be kidding

The Community Voice

I read a letter in another newspaper which I found hilarious. The writer referred to the decent, intelligent, honorable man that was elected in November. Really?? You've got to be kidding. In just a little over two months the current occupant of the White House has shown his ineptitude in handling our country's business. God help us.

 A letter which appeared in The Community Voice on Friday, March 12th was in reference to the office of the sheriff.  It appears to me that our right to vote for this very important office could be in jeopardy. We have the absolute right to vote for our sheriff!! The idea to possibly have an appointed "blue-ribbon" committee select our sheriff stinks. What's also worrisome is that while trying to take away our right to vote, efforts always seem to be in the works to silence the conservative voice. Hijole!! What will be next?

Estella M. Sterner 

Rohnert Park

Estella M. Sterner
Rohnert Park
March 19, 2021

Right off the bat

Right off the bat

The Community Voice

What a joy Savannah Ashley has been to the Community Voice. She brings a perspective beyond her years at the same time showing her youth. I love how Savannah starts with a question. Right off the bat it gets you thinking, then she follows up with information from research, ending with asking "what are your thoughts". Love her! My next article I read right away is The Sportsman's Report by Bill Hanson. As a want-to-be-Rock-hounder, I enjoy reading about all of the outdoor activities going on for that particular season. There is something for any kind of outdoorsman. My third must-read article is the one written by Dr. Glenn Mollette. The perspective that he brings to the subjects he is writing about have been a refreshing change to all the daily incidents we have been dealing with, lately. Thank you for allowing these three people to bring their articles to our community

Julie Zamacona

Rohnert Park

Julie Zamacona
Rohnert Park
March 12, 2021

Right of voting

Right of voting

The Community Voice  

Should County Sheriffs be appointed by county officials instead of the voters? That is what we don't need. There are beliefs that appointed sheriffs are not under the control of the county administrators and they do what they want to do, ignoring civilian oversight. That is false. There is civilian oversight. The county grand juries can investigate malfeasance/misfeasance. The voters can choose not to elect the individual or start a recall (as what is occurring with our District Attorney). The question of "vetting" the sheriff begs to ask if we would vet our politicians in the same manner.  

Sheriffs are the frontline of protecting our Constitutional rights against intrusion by foreign and domestic entities. Yes, they wield the power to say "NO" to certain demands of certain boards and commissions. Being chosen by a political board puts them under the whim and the thumb of politicians, who could oust them if they don't tow the line. 

Don't take the right of voting for the sheriffs out of our hands. 

Anthony Morgan 

Cotati

Anthony Morgan
Cotati
March 12, 2021

Got fed up

Got fed up

The Community Voice

I frequently ask myself "why are people such slobs?" For several weeks there was a growing pile of trash, garbage and whatever existing on Redwood Dr. in Rohnert Park near the Graton office building southern driveway. I finally got fed up with it and called R.P. Public Works Dept. I told the operator why I was calling, and she said that the city is working to get the mess cleaned up and that they have received a number of complaints. Lo and behold, there were three trucks and a back hoe out there this morning (Thursday 3/4/21). 

Here is a suggestion: instead of waiting for citizen complaints why can't the police officers, who patrol the streets 24/7/365, see the problem and report it directly to DPW? The graveyard shift would probably be a great time to accomplish this. Then, hopefully, DPW can get out there in a timely manner.

And, right across the street there is a growing number of tents and accumulated garbage spilling off the sidewalk into the street. Now, I can understand that housing might not available, but do people have to be slobs? Can't they use garbage cans like the rest of us are expected to do? Our cities and the county have spent millions to address the homeless situation with nearly zero improvement. We, the taxpayers, are getting pretty tired of this

Frank Hufnagel

Petaluma

Frank Hufnagel
Petaluma
March 12, 2021

Community update on school staff vaccinations

Community update on school staff vaccinations 

The Community Voice

We would like to share an update on the Sonoma County Office of Education (SCOE’s) efforts to vaccinate school staff. 

As with so many things in the age of COVID-19, the vaccination rollout is complicated and subject to changes and setbacks. These delays are disappointing for all of us as we know that getting school employees vaccinated is a top priority in order to safely reopen our schools. 

California recently announced that they are transitioning the management of vaccines from county health departments to Blue Shield with a system called MyTurn. The result is a dramatic and sudden change in how vaccines are allocated. Because of this, as well as winter storms in the Midwest, the County of Sonoma has received dramatically reduced allocations and is prioritizing second doses over first doses. Therefore, SCOE has not received its requested vaccine supply for the last three weeks. 

For the week of March 8, we requested nearly 4,000 vaccines. However, we only received 1,100—the amount needed to provide second doses to those school employees who already received their first dose. Due to these circumstances, we will unfortunately not be unable to provide first doses at the SCOE clinic for the week of March 8. 

Fortunately, no scheduled appointments were cancelled. Rather, we were able to secure a number of vaccine access codes which allow educators to make an appointment with Kaiser to receive a vaccination. These codes were issued to everyone who had an appointment at our clinic for their first dose of the vaccine. 

Additionally, about 1,500 school employees across five school districts in the Santa Rosa area were provided vaccine signup codes to use in the state’s MyTurn system, thanks to the advocacy of Santa Rosa City Schools and Sen. Mike McGuire as well as SCOE’s efforts to lay the groundwork to use the MyTurn system. These elementary school employees were selected because they were next in line in SCOE’s vaccine priority (Group B). 

Another 150 Petaluma-area staff are being vaccinated this weekend through Kaiser-Petaluma. These staff were chosen both because of the local partnership with the Kaiser-Petaluma and because Petaluma-area staff were scheduled to receive vaccines next week (Group C - our current area of concentration). We will continue to work with school districts, health agencies, and lawmakers to identify opportunities like this to secure vaccines. 

We were authorized by the County of Sonoma to begin giving vaccines on Monday, Feb. 8. As of Friday, March 5, the SCOE clinic has administered 4,200 vaccines. With the support of other local medical providers working alongside the SCOE vaccination clinic, an estimated 6,000 Sonoma County educators have been vaccinated in the last three and a half weeks. 

Steven D. Herrington | Sonoma County Superintendent of Schools

Board of Education | Gina Cuclis, Herman G. Hernandez, Peter Kostas, Andrew Leonard, Lisa Wittke Schaffner

Steven D. Herrington
March 12, 2021

For the People Act

For the People Act

The Community Voice

The 2020 presidential election revealed the many cruel and unnecessary barriers that far too many Americans still face in order to vote. From confusing voter registration instructions to long lines outside of too few polling places, there are still so many hurdles to participating in our democracy.

It doesn’t have to be this way -- not if Congress can pass the For the People Act.

The For the People Act is an expansive bill that would greatly strengthen our democracy and level the playing field for all Americans in the political process. The act is so comprehensive that it would take on the numerous barriers to voting and representation, like stopping partisan gerrymandering, overturning racist voter ID laws and ending felony disenfranchisement. It would also register millions of new voters. Many of these barriers are Jim Crow relics that continue to disproportionately impact Black and Brown Americans across the country.

Prioritizing this bold democracy reform would send the strong signal that our new Congress and administration are serious about ending America’s racist voter suppression laws, which is why I’m urging Congress to pass the For the People Act. 

Pat Bakalian 

Santa Rosa

Pat Bakalian
Santa Rosa
March 5, 2021

Help save the Sonoma County Archives

Help save the Sonoma County Archives

The Community Voice

The Sonoma County Archives houses the county’s most treasured historical resources. Holding over 150 years of local history within its walls, the archives are vital to researchers, educators and genealogists who depend on it for research. These documents also influence our daily lives, as historical records are often used by police departments, utility companies, urban & rural planners and insurance companies. 

Located at Los Guilicos, this one of a kind collection has narrowly survived two wildfires in the past five years. Located in the burn scar area, the archives are within the path of floods and mudslides. The facility lacks the environmental controls necessary for long term preservation of documents. This integral part of our shared story is in danger of not just being lost to us, but future generations.

The 2019 Archives Space Place recommends that the most vulnerable and fragile items be moved to the Sonoma County History & Genealogy Library at 725 Third St., with the remainder to reside at the Central Santa Rosa Library basement. This would be a temporary fix. Sonoma County Library director Ann Hammond has authorized staff to conduct a preliminary inventory of the archives. The inventory and relocation could and should take place simultaneously. 

The Library Commission held a meeting on March 1 at 6 p.m., where the archives were discussed. You can contact your Library Commissioner to let them know the urgency of moving the archives.

The Advocates for the Sonoma County Archives has been established to alert the public to the plight of the archives. Our activities will include educating the public about the importance of the archives through articles, letters to the editor, social media, presentations and fundraising. Please stay up to date at our website socoarchives.org, and send us a message to see how you can help! You can also find us on Instagram and Facebook @socoarchives. 

Mackenzie M. Mackling

Advocates for the Sonoma County Archives

Mackenzie M. Mackling
March 5, 2021

Democracy a top priority

Democracy a top priority

The Community Voice

The first 100 days of Biden’s presidency are under way and I’m hoping that he and Congress will make reforming our democracy a top priority. The best way to do that is by passing the For the People Act. 

The For the People Act is a bold piece of legislation that would strengthen our democracy for generations to come. The law would dismantle numerous barriers to voting and representation, like gerrymandering, racist voter ID laws, unnecessary hurdles to registration, and felony disenfranchisement, adding millions of new voters to the rolls. It would also reduce the influence of big money in our politics by enacting limits on donations from lobbyists and increasing the power of campaign contributions from Americans by enacting a small-donor matching program.

Without this much-needed reform, our political system will never be truly democratic or fully representative, meaning our government will continue to work only for the privileged few. 

With a new president in the White House, I want to build a better system for all Americans -- which is why I’m urging Congress to pass the For the People Act. 

Lauren Spieler

Sebastopol

Lauren Spieler
Sebastopol
March 5, 2021

Dream job

Dream job

The Community Voice

I’ve been a teacher in Sonoma County for 21 years. This year, it felt like I was being asked to teach in German. All my years as a Rockstar teacher left me in tears, working hours just to plan one lesson. If I could have quit, I would have. Even though teaching history is my dream job! Then something happened, about ten weeks in, I understood some of the German and spoke it! Words like Zoom, asynchronous, padlet, mentometer, slidedeck and Google Classroom were now part of my dialect.

Last week, over 120 of our 8th graders scored an average of 88 percent on their Constitution tests. 55 of them got A’s! I didn’t have one student fail. This during Zoomland, when having the time, I’m convinced they are watching “The Office” on a second scene!

This is what good teachers do. We adapt because failing our students is something we will not allow to happen. We spend our own money, we work ridiculously long hours, we build connections, and content and fun through Brady Bunch screens! 

What we are asking of our districts is to, KEEP UP SAFE. We know the CDC and local guarantee with 97 percent certainty that we will not get sick or die if we do? Of course not. However, Pfizer and Moderna can make us that promise. 

I understand kids are bored and sad, but none of them have learning loss. They are surviving a pandemic. They have all kinds of skills that will serve them in the future. They learned a new language too. 

Give teachers time to receive our 97 percent guarantee, and then you will have 100 percent of what we have to give to our students.

Lisa Le Donne

Santa Rosa

Lisa Le Donne
Santa Rosa
March 5, 2021

American people agree

American people agree

The Community Voice

Nearly a year into the coronavirus pandemic shutting down the United States, it's time for our leaders in Washington to put aside partisan bickering and do something to help. President Biden's American Rescue Plan to stop coronavirus and deal with the pandemic’s impact on our nation does just that. And the American people agree. 

Real American unity is more than about politicians agreeing on a piece of legislation – it’s about getting vaccines in arms, safely reopening schools for in-person instruction, giving every American a chance to survive the crises facing our nation, and preserve critical jobs and services in our states, cities and town.

And President Biden’s American Rescue Plan meets this moment. According to major polls, there is more bipartisan support for the American Rescue Plan than virtually anything in the last few years

Even West Virginia's Republican Gov. Jim Justice said, “We need to go big, and if we waste some money now, well, we waste some money. But absolutely, we’ve got too many people hurting and the economy is going to sputter and we’ve got to get ourselves out of this mess.”

We need unity to get out of the coronavirus crisis. We need the American Rescue Plan.

Kelly Kovanis

Petaluma

Kelly Kovanis
Petaluma
February 26, 2021

Ignoring repeated requests

Ignoring repeated requests

The Community Voice

Cotati has a 99 percent unanimous vote record for over a decade by its city council following the city staff's recommendation to a T.   The last time an item did not pass the council was April, 2009.   The city staff and city council also set what is on the agenda--they ignore repeated requests from the citizens for such items as homelessness, weed abatement, etc.    It has become known to Cotati citizens that our voices, especially those who oppose their unanimous ways, don't matter.   If it is on the agenda, it will pass even if there is a room full of opposition.  The citizens with opposing voices have given up over time...or moved on to cities that respect their right to speak.

This has led to hardly anybody ever attending council meetings and other city meetings.   Except for one or two items that the citizens come just for on the agenda, the average number of citizens was two even before the pandemic    In October/November, 2020, there was less than 30 minutes total for all of seven city meetings...the majority of meetings had no public comment.    We citizens know that our voices don't matter in the long run.   

When we few citizens try to take this out of the area, i.e. federal civil rights cases, the city of Cotati gives blank checks to municipal attorneys in the East Bay to "kill" our complaints.    I'm attaching my federal complaint from last year.   I wrote and filed it pro se (my own attorney).    I was asking for injunctive relief mostly (that's in the first complaint, not this amended one), but the city would not ever mediate or try to change their ways.   It's actually gotten worse as far as retaliation against the few citizens who do speak out in the last year.    The city has retaliated by trying to financially destroy us with having to pay the city's legal fees, for example.   

Believe me, a few of us have tried to change this situation for the good of our community, only to be villainized by the council in the chambers and on social media.   Actions are regularly taken against us for speaking out.  The city has never acknowledged one wrong-doing and has never had one consequence for its actions against the citizens.   They have complete financial and political control of the city, and they know they can silence us citizens for this financial and political gain.      

It's an unusual story, but I thought it might interest others in your viewing area.   Unless this issue with the unanimous vote record over a decade gets some media attention, I can guarantee the situation will continue on unabated.   

P.S. I'm also attaching George Barich's first amendment federal lawsuit from 2015 against the City of Cotati.     The judge in his case, said he never wanted to see the City of Cotati in a federal courtroom again about chilling citizens civil rights, obviously, they didn't learn from 2015.  Lastly, a recent joint federal lawsuit filed, that they are spending top dollar to an attorney once again to "kill" without even ever replied to our attorney for any kind of mediation or conversation about the case.

Laurie Alderman 

Cotati

Laurie Alderman
Cotati
February 26, 2021

Stop bashing teachers and union

Stop bashing teachers and union

The Community Voice

I am a 4th grade teacher in Sonoma County. I have been teaching for 17 years, and never have I worked harder or been more stressed than in the past year. This sentiment is not unique to me, nor to teachers in general. All workers are working harder and have been under more pressure than ever before. 

The added negativity of the teacher and union bashing that has been occurring lately, however, is not something that everyone is contending with right now. This adds an unnecessary weight on teachers’ shoulders. If you are someone who supports your child’s teacher because you can see how much they care and how hard they are working, but are bashing unions, you need to understand that teachers are the unions. The teachers who are working tirelessly to do the best they can in a manner for which they have never been trained, nor ever wanted to work in, are the very people who are hurt when their union is being slandered. In addition to the work you do and don’t see them doing to educate your children daily, they are also working extended hours to ensure a safe return to schools. 

I understand the frustration with school campuses being closed to students. I want to go back to in- person learning and I want my own children to go back. The need for childcare during this past year is very legitimate and is something that has been exposed as a systemic problem in our country during this pandemic. Public education is not provided for child care. Its purpose is to educate the future citizens of our society in order to create a cycle of continuous improvement through researched based curriculum and social-emotional learning delivered by a professional who has been trained for many years to do so. 

So, why are the unions being so stalwart about reaching an agreement? Well, there are several reasons. To begin with, we have 150 years of history which show that teachers will be taken advantage of with every inch they give. It is no secret that most, if not all teachers work well beyond their paid hours and invest hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars into their classrooms each school year to make the learning environment the best it can be for the students they are entrusted with and care deeply about, because education is not prioritized enough to make that happen without their personal, extra efforts. Education has not been prioritized in this country financially nor in terms of respectability from the general public. If it was, there would have been public outcry in the form of voting for public officials to fix this antiquated system long before this pandemic. Education is thought of last in most budgets, and it shows. Year after year, teachers are expected to do more and more, with less and less. We give our hearts and souls when we hear, it’s for the children” And, we are happy to do so. But never before has it literally been a life and death situation as it is now. 

In addition, while yes, we are essential workers, as are so many other beneficial professions, we work with children. Working in a grocery store, for example, has a space many, many times the space of a classroom, with better air filtration systems, the customers don’t chew on everything then hand it to you, nor do they sneeze on you at your job. 

Until very recently, education was given no guidelines from the health experts as to safety protocols for reopening school campuses. It was left to each individual state to set guidelines, many of which did not, set bare-bones guidelines, or set guidelines which left us in distance learning. If we are to open school campuses, education needs to be given clear expectations as to the safest way to do so by the professionals who are doing the research, as has been done by other businesses which are open. 

Also, unions have been working very hard behind the scenes to ensure that every-day classroom details are ironed out before it is an issue. What happens if a student gets ill? What happens if a student’s family member becomes ill? Where do we eat lunch? Do we have hand sanitizer in all classrooms? Do we have hot water to wash hands? Touchless soap and towel dispensers? These details are important, but are not on the minds of the school administration, understandably, who have bigger fish to fry, so the unions are attempting to solve problems which should be addressed by our governmental leaders as basic protocol. Administration has also been reluctant to come to agreements with union requests due to a moving target and a lack of funding. In many cases, the unions are ready to make an agreement, and the administration is the hold up.

It is a union’s job to protect its members. That is what they are doing. Protecting educational staff so that their teachers can go back to a classroom and do what they are good at and trained for: educating. Not worrying about paper towels. 

Carley Harp

Sonoma County

Carley Harp
Sonoma County
February 26, 2021

Want to see students

Want to see students

The Community Voice

A beautiful "We (heart) Teachers" sign was constructed over the weekend on a fence at Monte Vista School. The gesture filled the teachers' hearts with joy. They cannot wait to see their students, again.

Anonymous

Rohnert Park

Anonymous
Rohnert Park
February 26, 2021

Built the fire

Built the fire

The Community Voice 

The impeachment hearing says it all.. Donald J. Trump incited the violence. He assembled the kindling and built the fire. He was ready to light the match if he lost the election. This man must be convicted and disqualified from ever running for office again. Here's hoping that he be removed from our collective memory as well.

Amy Contardi 

Sebastopol

Amy Contardi
Sebastopol
February 19, 2021

Unnecessary barriers

Unnecessary barriers

The Community Voice

The 2020 presidential election revealed the many cruel and unnecessary barriers that far too many Americans still face in order to vote. From confusing voter registration instructions to long lines outside of too few polling places, there are still so many hurdles to participating in our democracy.

It doesn’t have to be this way -- not if Congress can pass the For the People Act.

The for the People Act is an expansive bill that would greatly strengthen our democracy and level the playing field for all Americans in the political process. The act is so comprehensive that it would take on the numerous barriers to voting and representation, like stopping partisan gerrymandering, overturning racist voter ID laws, and ending felony disenfranchisement. It would also register millions of new voters. Many of these barriers are Jim Crow relics that continue to disproportionately impact Black and Brown Americans across the country.

Prioritizing this bold democracy reform would send the strong signal that our new Congress and administration are serious about ending America’s racist voter suppression laws, which is why I’m urging Congress to pass the For the People Act. 

Nicholas Lenchner

Santa Rosa

Nicholas Lenchner
Santa Rosa
February 12, 2021

Opposed to recall

Opposed to recall

The Community Voice

I am vehemently opposed to the recall effort against the district attorney for a few reasons related to cost.  First, there is the cost of a special election of at least $500,000.  This is not a time to burden taxpayers, particularly when Ravitch has announced she is not running again and there will be a regular election next June for the next DA.  Then there is the cost of lost productivity and morale within the office with uncertainty about the future.  There is also the cost of lines being drawn in the workplace between employees impressed with her performance and opportunists looking for advancement.

We hold elections for this position and there is one scheduled next year – Ravitch won’t be on the ballot by her choice.  That said, I have been personally impressed with her performance and have supported her since day one. She has a great work ethic and has done an amazing job during the most trying of times. Her character is beyond reproach – that means her honesty, integrity, grit, loyalty to oath and resolve for justice.  She is an asset who should complete her term.

Doug Wood

Forestville, Ca.

Doug Wood
Forestville, Ca.
February 12, 2021

I was overwhelmed

I was overwhelmed

The Community Voice

 I watched the Inauguration of President Biden and Vice President Harris, I was overwhelmed with a sense of relief; a feeling that the national nightmare is over, and that this country will now turn back towards achieving the goals of prosperity and opportunity for all those who want it. Those willing to work hard and put in the effort will have doors opened for them instead of having them slammed shut in their face. Donald Trump was not and will never be my president. After the election in 2016 and Trump’s inauguration in January 2017, my disappointment in those election results were crystal clear to family, friends and acquaintances. For those who supported Trump, and many still do, the response back to me was Trump is now our president, give him a chance. Well, Trump had his chance for four years, and to those who still support him, we will have to agree to disagree about his successes. To those Republican Congresspersons who are now espousing accolades turn to a new chapter, to compromise with and show respect for others, I truly hope you mean those sentiments; however, I cannot help but wonder if those same statements would have been expressed if Trump had won the election. That being said, I truly hope to see bipartisan cooperation over the next four years of the Biden/Harris Administration, and all Americans will see what happens when we all work together, rather than being constantly at odds with each other. Our opinions can be different, but that fact does not exclude or excuse one from showing respect, listening without rancor to those who have opposing views, and working hard to compromise for the benefit of all citizens of this country, not just the privileged few. So, to my friends and family who are as disappointed the election results of 2020 as I was in 2016, I ask the same of you, please give Biden and Harris a chance. My opinion and hope is that you will not be disappointed come 2024. 

Geoff Hicks 

Santa Rosa

Geoff Hicks
Santa Rosa
February 12, 2021

Witnessed a series of firsts

Witnessed a series of firsts

The Community Voice

As we wrap up this first month of a brand new year, I am filled with a sense of optimism and hope that extends far beyond the corners of my own personal world.

We have witnessed a series of firsts: the first female and woman of color to become vice president, the first female secretary of treasury, and the youngest poet to ever perform at an inauguration. For SAY, this means greater sources of inspiration for our youth, hopefully encouraging them to pursue their own personal 'firsts'.

Speaking of firsts, mark your calendars for April 17 and join us as we celebrate our first 50 years! We are so proud of our rich and steady history. When SAY opened in 1971, our founders knew that critical services were lacking and dedicated themselves to pushing for change. Fifty years later, we have provided support to more than 50,000 young people while continuing to shine a light on the roadblocks that stand in the way of these vulnerable youth and families.

Some of the accomplishments that we hold dear, from both our past and our present, include: our support in passing the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act in 1974, our role as founding and current members of the Sonoma County Human Trafficking Task Force, and our recent appointment as a member of California's 100 Day Challenge, a cohort addressing homelessness with a focus on equity.  We're excited about all we can do in the next fifty years and hope you will join us in the journey forward!

We also have another cause to celebrate this month. January marks the 30th SAY-versary of our incredible Chief Program Officer, Elizabeth Goldman! Keep reading below for a profile on this remarkable woman, who always brings her best when supporting our staff and youth.

In It Together

Anita Maldonado, CEO

Anita Maldonado, CEO
February 5, 2021

Survey regarding racism

Survey regarding racism

The Community Voice

First, thanks for placing the minutes (Reader's Digest version) of the Cotati City Council meetings in your paper. Second (and my main point of my comments) is the survey regarding Racism and Public Safety. In the past six years of living in Cotati, I have maybe five contacts with a public safety member. I felt that I have always been treated with respect and a helpful attitude by the dispatchers. The police officers and Community Service Officer have always acted in a professional manner and I have never noticed a condescending attitude by any of them. They are true professionals. 

Now, it would have been beneficial if more information could have been put in the paper. Such as, how many blacks, POC, and young people completed the survey? Why are they skeptical of the police? What type of interactions have they had with the police? Victim, witness, person of interest, violator? And this also applies to white respondents. Type of contact plays a major part in their answers. What type of perceived attitude did the officer display? Was it demeaning? Badge heavy? Too legalistic? Helpful? Friendly? 

18 percent observed racism in Cotati frequently or occasionally. Who are the offenders? Who are the recipients of such racism? Not long ago I was called a "white boy" followed by a maternal expletive. I'm 68 years old. I have been a light skinned individual all my life, probably due to my Irish, English and French ancestors. Did I consider it a racist comment? I could have. I chalked it up to a POC that had nothing for brains or manners because I did not acknowledge his panhandling. 

All in all, I think Cotati P.D. does a pretty good job with their limited resources. Just something to consider: "the cops are there to save your butt, not kiss it." 

Anthony Morgan 

Cotati, CA.

Anthony Morgan
Cotati, CA.
February 5, 2021

Sebastopol Area Time Bank Orientation

Sebastopol Area Time Bank Orientation  

The Community Voice

I can rewire a lamp like nobody's business, but organize my closet? Forget it! "I helped Gus edit his resume. Pete taught me to play backgammon!" Wouldn’t it be great if we could swap the help we need for the help we can give? We can! With the Sebastopol Area Time Bank. The Sebastopol Area Time Bank allows members to offer services to, and request services from, our local Time Bank community. We bank hours for services rendered and spend hours for services received each transaction constituting an exchange. No money changes hands and all work is equally valued. To date, members have completed exchanges worth almost 8,000 hours. That’s a lot of rewired lamps, well-organized closets, edited resumes and games of backgammon! Membership is free. To qualify you need to call Sebastopol home and live in West County, be at least 18 years of age, complete an online application, attend an orientation and show a photo ID. Start by clicking Apply for membership at www.sebastopoltimebank.org. An orientation team member will contact you about the group orientation (5 p.m. on the 10th of each month) or an appointment for an individual orientation. For more information, email info@sebastopoltimebank.org . Sebastopol Area Time Bank: Building Community One Hour at A Time!

Michael Fels

Sebastopol

Michael Fels
Sebastopol
February 5, 2021

Caring and generous

Caring and generous

The Community Voice

As the old saying goes “it takes a village” well our “village” truly came through for NOAH (neighbors organized against hunger) in amazing ways. With such difficult times surrounding all of us, our great community came together to truly help each other.

Donations started rolling in from: Grocery Outlet, Rotary Club members, Rancho Cotate High School, Hahn Elementary, Summit Bank (Rohnert Park, Montgomery Village and Petaluma), many local businesses, the City of Rohnert Park and so very many private donations it would take pages to list them all. 

The caring and generosity within our community is amazing. The NOAH Board of Directors and all of their volunteers can’t thank this fantastic community enough. So very many individuals and families will truly benefit by everyone’s donations. We are truly grateful for everyone’s help and we wish each and every one of you a prosperous New Year.

Please stay well, wear your mask, keep distancing and be kind to each other.

Darlene Phillips 

NOAH Board President

Rohnert Park

Darlene Phillips
Rohnert Park
January 29, 2021

Found with guns

Found with guns

The Community Voice

How is it possible that Demian Savoy O’Neill the felon you write a story on is getting no time? He has been terrorizing his wife and children? This is the second time a felon was found with guns. He has assault rifles and silencer and stolen property. He continues to this day to carry a fire-arm, driving while high! His children live in fear of him and were praying for him to be taken out of their lives, but I guess ‘cause he has money and is white he gets no time? Can someone follow up on this story?

Kimberly Davis

San Francisco

Kimberly Davis
San Francisco
January 29, 2021

Don’t be paltry

Don’t be paltry

The Community Voice

Give every American a $2,000 stimulus check instead of the paltry $600 being pushed by Republican Mitch McConnell. Ask the millions of vulnerable people who will receive stimulus checks if they would rather receive $600, or the $2,000 dollars that President Trump and Democrats are asking for. Will $600 or $2,000 a person help the still weak economy more. And really, why is “one” Kentucky Republican Mitch McConnell being allowed to force his will on millions of Americans in such a crucial situation.

Ron Lowe

Nevada City

Ron Lowe
Nevada City
January 22, 2021

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

The Community Voice

We at Verity hold such deep warmth and appreciation of and for you in this New Year and always! You give so mush of yourselves with the purity of true and genuine kindness and love. We continue to be in awe of your commitment to survivors. Each time we experience a challenge you must feel it because you are there. You support Verity and survivors in so many incredible ways and you make the magic happen at just the right moment, just the right time.

You honor the heroic women, men, children and youth for whom we walk this journey of healing. You understand their journey and you continue to cheer them on despite the challenges we are all facing at this historic moment in our world. We have experienced such a tremendous outpouring of support all year long as we have navigated the pandemic, fires and social injustice and are truly humbled to be a small part of their compassionate community of Sonoma County and beyond.

Together, we will continue to make a difference. A difference in the lives of those who are struggling, disadvantaged and dealing with hardships. We will continue to show up for survivors in our community. We can share our own personal stories with one another which will support survivors in knowing they are not along, that they are believed and that there is help and hope always,

We wish you and your loved ones a Happy New Year and our dream for you in 2021 is a year of blessings, good health, happiness, joy and love to last the entire year through.

With deep appreciation always

Christine Castillo and Team Verity

Santa Rosa

Christine Castillo and Team Verity
Santa Rosa
January 15, 2021

Unsettling two weeks

Unsettling two weeks

The Community Voice

From everyone here at the Peace Center, we wish you a very happy new year! During what has been an extremely unsettling two weeks, we hope you have been able to remain grounded. 

In our hearts, we know that with hard work and careful dedication - peace and justice will always win out over the forces of oppression and hate. At the same time, we need to ensure that we are taking care of ourselves and those around us. 

With the lockdown preventing folks from seeing their loved ones over the holiday break, I know many people have been missing the opportunity to connect with others. The Peace Center has been unable to have in-person events and we have been dearly missing our community. 

We would like to extend an invitation for you to join us at our 12th Annual Peace Awards Dinner, which will be taking place virtually via ZOOM on January 23rd, 2021 from 4-5:30 p.m. This will be an opportunity for community to gather, discuss their feelings about this current moment, and honor our chosen awardees for this year!

For this year’s Peace Awards, we have chosen to recognize a local hero for Peace and an International Hero for Peace. 

Our local hero for Peace selection for 2020 is Rossmoor resident and activist – Mary Taylor. As the founder of the Black Lives Matter Committee of the African American and Friends Club in Rossmoor, Mary Taylor has taken an active lead this year organizing in her community by organizing numerous rallies & educational guest speaker events that served to raise awareness around issues of racial & social justice. 

Our International Hero for Peace selection for 2020 is the organization, BLACK ALLIANCE FOR PEACE (BAP). BAP concentrates its efforts on opposing the U.S. war agenda and other projects of militarism abroad through educational activities, movement support, and awareness building. They also work to raise awareness about the link between global militarism and the state-sanctioned repression Black and Brown communities face domestically. BAP will join the award ceremony represented by lead organizers, Margaret Kimberly and Bilal Ali. 

The virtual celebration will feature keynote addresses from our awardees, a special Peace Center retrospective historical video, a raffle fundraiser, as well as time for small group discussion/mingling via breakout sessions. 

For more information and registration, please visit:

www.tinyurl.com/peaceawardsjan23

For any questions, please do not hesitate to email: andrew@ourpeacecenter.org or call (925) 933-7850.

The Peace Center

Santa Rosa

The Peace Center
Santa Rosa
January 15, 2021

Graton Casino plan to spread the virus

Graton Casino plan to spread the virus

The Community Voice

The Graton Casino has announced an indoor new year's party for thousands. So much for Graton's concern for their customers.  This has the potential of infecting thousands attending the party and many thousands more afterward. The County Health Department states that there is nothing that it can do to stop the party. Maybe so based upon laws passed by the federal government, but with a little back bone on the part of our local government, the virus spread in Sonoma County could be minimized.

While Graton Casino may control its on-site activities, it does not control the roads leading to the casino. The local governments (Rohnert Park and Sonoma County) could use their backbone (if they have any) to record and publish the names/pictures/license plate numbers etc. of those going to the casino using the roadways leading to the casino.  This would aid the virus tracers and those who may come into contact with those attending the party.

Robert Grundman

Rohnert Park

 

The party has since been cancelled.

Robert Grundman
Rohnert Park
January 1, 2021

Pro-business

Pro-business

The Community Voice

In the fall of 2009 Walmart proposed to expand their existing discount store to become a Supercenter that would add another 200 low-wage jobs in the city and threaten existing grocery stores. A broad coalition of organizations was formed to oppose the project that included all the major county labor and environmental organizations as well as Go Local and the Democratic Party.

Our campaign has officially ended nearly 11 years later. Walmart informed city staff earlier this year that it would not apply for another one-year extension of the approvals for the project. In short, Walmart will not move forward to build a supercenter. There will now be no Supercenter on the North Coast including Marin, Sonoma and Mendocino counties.

From the moment when Walmart began pushing to expand its Rohnert Park store to a Supercenter, the citizens of the city made clear their opposition to having a business with such low regard for human welfare increase its presence in their community. Over 2,500 residents submitted postcards to the city council expressing their opposition, and whenever there was a hearing, scores of residents turned out to voice their concerns. Yet the city council persistently voted 4 to 1 to defer to Walmart’s demands. The community is grateful to outgoing City Councilmember Jake Mackenzie for being consistently that lonely but principled vote in opposition.

The rest of the councilmembers evidently regard themselves as “pro-business”. But they fail to realize that one must distinguish between “big” business and “small” business, because the interests of these two groups are antithetical. To be pro-Walmart is to be anti-local business, because Walmart has a persistent history of driving small businesses bankrupt. Rohnert Park Councilmembers are elected to represent their constituents' interests, not those of an enormous and unprincipled world-class behemoth. “Low prices” have high costs.

Walmart is ruthless in pressuring its employees, its suppliers and its neighbors. Its business plan is “capitalize the profits, socialize the costs”. It pays employees so little in general that they qualify for government support programs for the impoverished. Each and every Walmart store in America costs the taxpayers a million dollars a year to fund programs of assistance to the working poor. Walmart even has the audacity to ask its customers to

contribute donations for the welfare of its employees! – and apparently without a trace of irony.

Walmart’s Supercenter proposal was a clear violation of the City’s General Plan, yet Walmart’s attorneys had the audacity to tell the city council at a public hearing that the General Plan was merely “a suggestion”. Rubbish! We citizens take the General Plan as seriously as a Constitution for the City.

We at North Bay Jobs with Justice are delighted that the Walmart Supercenter proposal has not come to fruition and is apparently dead, and we are equally delighted to have a new and more progressive city council coming to power in Rohnert Park.

Rick Luttmann, District 3

Rohnert Park

Rick Luttmann
Rohnert Park
January 1, 2021

Four terrible teams

Four terrible teams

The Community Voice

The unavoidable fact that one of the NFC East four terrible teams is going to make the playoffs this season as a National Football League division winner is a travesty. The Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants and Washington Football Team have four of the worst win-loss records in the NFL. 

However, since one of the NFC least’s four flailing franchises will win their division by default, one of these embarrassingly bad NFC East teams will be playing in the playoffs at home in January, while much more worthy National Football Conference teams from other divisions (such as the Los Angeles Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Arizona Cardinals and Chicago Bears) are forced to fight for wild card playoff spots.

Fans of professional football should demand a rule change in time for next season whereby no NFL division winner with a losing record should ever be allowed into the playoffs again. Instead, an additional wild card team should be chosen to replace any division winner with a losing record in the playoffs.

Jacob Pickering

Arcata

Jacob Pickering
Arcata
January 1, 2021

True history

True history

The Community Voice

Thank you so much for your generous investment in the Petaluma Museum Association. Through your support we have been able to tell the story of Petaluma’s history, highlighting citizens of our community, updating our exhibits to reflect a true history of our town and bring exciting exhibits to our patrons and visitors. 

We began the year with a fabulous quilt exhibit: “The Threads that Connect Us.” Curated by the Petaluma quilt community, this exhibit brought together antique and vintage quilts along with antique quilting machines and tools. We also held community discussions on the origins and resurgence of quilting. 

The unexpected appearance of the Coronavirus and ensuing pandemic meant Petaluma’s Participation in the Women’s Suffrage Movement, curated by Paula Freund and Katherine J. Rinehart had to be moved to a digital online platform and all exhibits scheduled for 2020 had to be postponed to 2021.

While the situation prevented the public from attending this exhibit and accompanying events in person, we invite you to view it online. Our curators and staff, along with many volunteers, worked diligently to make it possible for viewing on our website. 

As we look forward to the New Year of 2021, we have new and exciting exhibits in the works. Since we are unsure when the museum will reopen to the public, we are working to embrace new technologies and new exhibition concepts so that they may be viewed online as well as in person.

We understand that these are difficult times for many of our members but are hopeful that you will renew or increase your support, thus ensuring that The Petaluma Historical Library & Museum remains a cultural hub where all of us can make connections in the present, building bridges together to the future. Your investment in us – with a year-end gift today – is your vote of confidence and approval of our mission.

Thank you for your generosity and support of the Petaluma Museum Association. We wish you a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!

Clint Gilbert and Debbie Countouriotis 

President & Vice President, Petaluma Museum Association and our Board of Directors

Clint Gilbert and Debbie Countouriotis
December 25, 2020

Happiest time of the year

Happiest time of the year

The Community Voice

The long-anticipated Christmas holiday is nearly upon us. It conjures visions of happy families gathered by a warm fireplace, opening presents, sharing their love, and feasting on ham and turkey. It's the happiest time of the year, but not for the animals. 

The 222 million turkeys killed in the U.S. this year were raised in crowded sheds filled with toxic fumes. At the tender age of 16 weeks, workers cut their throats and dumped them into boiling water to remove their feathers.

Mother pigs are crammed for life in tight metal crates. Their babies are torn away, mutilated without anesthesia, stuck into crowded pens for six months, then slaughtered for Christmas ham.

Consumers pay a heavy price too. Animal flesh is laced with saturated fats, cholesterol, hormones, pathogens and antibiotics that elevate risk of chronic killer diseases. 

This holiday season let’s refuse to subsidize such wanton cruelty. Let’s choose from the large variety of plant-based meats, cheeses, ice creams and milks that abound in every supermarket, along with nutritious fresh fruits and greens.

This year, let’s have a truly compassionate Christmas holiday, just as the Prince of Peace would counsel.

Michael Ignacio

Novato

Michael Ignacio
Novato
December 25, 2020

Maintain vital service

Maintain vital service

The Community Voice

This has been a life-changing year. The Living Room has repeatedly pivoted during this time to maintain vital services and rise to an increasing need. We have had participants tell us that living on the edge has now become a matter of “how long can I cling to this cliff face?” Mothers have shared losing their jobs due to COVID, which has led to many sleepless nights trying to figure out how to feed their children. The need in this vulnerable community has grown and will continue to grow as we all get through this pandemic together. We ask that you support us and believe that we CAN weather what these times throw at us. We can be our best selves, believing that not only will we rise, but we will make this a better world.Thank you for your continued support. We wish you a happy holiday season and a peaceful new year ahead.With heartfelt gratitude,

Cindy Pasko

Executive Director

Cindy Pasko
December 18, 2020

Teaching hatred

Teaching hatred

The Community Voice

This Eco 2 school sounds more like a program of more bad deals that would promote more brainwashing of our young minds in our failing schools. Now a days, the schools teach hatred of our country, pushing this anti-energy, anti-capitalism and anti-freedom down their throats. Instead, we should be teaching our young minds U.S. History, Civics-how government works, and teaching our young people about the Constitution, Bill of Rights and our Declaration of Independence. This is why I support and promote Hillsdale College's free online courses (i.e. U.S. Constitution, The Federalist Papers, Statesmanship, and learning about the inner workings of Congress. Hillsdale also has The Barney Charter School Initiative from grade K-12. To learn more, go to, hillsdale.edu. The more knowledge we learn the greater and stronger our country will be.

Lino Zamacona

Rohnert Park

Lino Zamacona
Rohnert Park
December 18, 2020

Rohnert Park City Council

Rohnert Park City Council

The Community Voice

We would like to take the time to thank each and every one of you for your outstanding contributions to our city. We all face unprecedented challenges and we need a unified creative thoughtful council stewardship. You have truly exemplified outstanding leadership. 

We want to extend our heartfelt thanks and appreciation to our outgoing city council members, Jake Mackenzie, Joseph Callinan and Gina Belforte.

We pledge our continued support to our new council leadership. We congratulate Gerard Giudice, Willy Linares and Jackie Elward on being elected to city council.

Vera and Dan Blanquie

Rohnert Park

Vera and Dan Blanquie
Rohnert Park
December 11, 2020

Completely disregards

Completely disregards

The Community Voice

Stop writing articles suggesting people travel to Mendocino County, specifically Point Arena. The article written by Patrick Norton on Nov 27 is well written, yet completely disregards opinions and reality of the locals who live there. There are no public restrooms, so the beautiful locations this article mentions visiting are now littered with toilet paper, human waste and garbage. These places are all free to visit, so these visitors are putting an extreme strain on the infrastructure, we simply cannot host this many visitors. We also don’t need another article from some random person who doesn’t live here, telling people to travel during a pandemic. How is it possible this article was ever allowed to be published? Research what’s actually going on, articles like this show lazy and irresponsible reporting.

Emily McConnell

Point Arena

Emily McConnell
Point Arena
December 4, 2020

Adding to Lowe Letter

Adding to Lowe Letter

The Community Voice

I don’t think all Evangelicals are called by God to minister to the poor. I believe that we should help the needy when the occasion arises. Each person if he seeks God’s will for his life will find his calling.

It seems to me that whatever Christians do these days they are unfairly criticized.

This world is evil. If you follow the world’s path you are going to be disappointed. The world doesn’t fill our spiritual needs. Money, cars, se and other material things will not fill or replace your spiritual needs.

If we live by God’s standards, we will not be disappointed. He supplies our ever need. He gives us the strength to get through the difficult times.

It has taken me over 70 years to get on the straight and narrow path that God has outlined for me.

Don’t be a slow learner like me. Start following God’s will for your life when you are young. The rewards are great, satisfying and permanent.

Richard Cole

Rohnert Park

Richard Cole
Rohnert Park
December 4, 2020

Feelings of gratitude

Feelings of gratitude

The Community Voice

I have to admit, it's been a bit harder this year to muster up feelings of gratitude and appreciation. But just like a challenging uphill workout leaves me tired, invigorated, proud of myself, and ultimately stronger, so too does a little emotional/psychological workout!

I have been anxious about the pandemic...but then I focus on gratitude that I am healthy, and that those friends & family members who have been infected experienced mild cases.

I have been  depressed about having to stay close to home, missing seeing loved ones and going places I love...but grateful that I have a nice home.

I was antsy when the fire-related air quality prevented me from riding...but also grateful that I was not in an evacuation zone and that the County had no fatalities. These emotional juxtapositions have been our reality for the last several months.

But what motivates and inspires me more than anything is the way the cycling community has come together and taken care of each other during these challenging times. I feel so fortunate and proud to live here!

I am so grateful for and proud of my staff. They show up every day with passion, grace, and humor and regularly go above and beyond the call of duty. With schools closed and events cancelled, juggling their own kids and spouses all working from home, they have learned new technologies and retooled our programs to operate in our new virtual world.

I am grateful for our recent wins in the courtroom, on the roads, at the ballot box.

I am grateful that many people are riding who haven’t ridden in years. Our group rides, workshops, and events have had a long hiatus...but bike sales are through the roof as more people are getting back in the saddle, experiencing anew the joy of two wheels!

I am grateful for all of you who step up – to write a letter, speak at a meeting, circulate a petition, serve on our Board, donate money or products or time – participating in our mission to make cycling safer and more joyful in Sonoma County.

What are you grateful for?

Eris Weaver

Executive Director

Eris Weaver
December 4, 2020

Salty language

Salty language

The Community Voice

Pretty irresponsible article by Patrick Norton with regards to escaping to the Mendo Coast - in particular Pt Arena - near my home. Why on earth would you put that out right now when we are in the middle of a pandemic? We don't have the healthcare infrastructure to take care of local residents if Covid spikes as a result of outside visitors. Use your heads for fucks sake.

B. Novick

Gualala

B. Novick
Gualala
December 4, 2020

Incredibly irresponsible

Incredibly irresponsible

The Community Voice

Hi, I am writing about this article (https://www.thecommunityvoice.com/article/Get-away-to-the-Mendocino-Coast?fbclid=IwAR3VHdjC0n1RP3_AdI65ujiDnmkXymgG4Lb1ZI8kyBBvempGDa5YifvpExc)

While I know your intentions were nothing but good, I find it incredibly irresponsible to encourage people to travel during the pandemic, especially to a county that was doing a pretty good job, but cases are now rising! We are trying SO hard to keep Covid under control here for the sake of our friends, family & loved ones, and it is inappropriate to tempt tourists to come to this beautiful place we call home, bringing their Covid cases with them. It is a beautiful, well-written article, but it is not the time for it to be released. It should be released when Covid is no longer a problem. I don't want to sound drastic, but I believe it should be taken down. Once again, I know intentions were good, but we should not be encouraging people to travel as CA hits the WORST amount of cases ever. Please know I mean no offense to the writer or the manager of this site. I know you guys are just doing your jobs, but we must think about saving people's lives. 

Thank you and all the best,

Julia Brocked

Mendo County

Julia Brocked
Mendo County
December 4, 2020

Reckless and disrespectful

Reckless and disrespectful

The Community Voice

The article encouraging people to visit Mendocino and specifically focusing on Point Arena and the Pomo is appallingly reckless and disrespectful. The reservation near Point Arena is currently having a COVID outbreak, elders have died, our county is purple and we need PEOPLE TO STOP COMING. Fort Bragg hospital has two ICU beds. Point Arena has NONE. Encouraging travel right now is wrong. Take this article down. You are endangering our community.

Gowan

Caspar

Gowan
Caspar
December 4, 2020

Stay home

Stay home

The Community Voice

Please do not send people to the Mendocino Coast. There is a pandemic going on in this country, if you didn't know it. Our numbers in Mendocino are rising, and we want people to stay home, not traveling here. What is the matter with you?

Shiver me timbers

Manchester

Shiver me timbers
Manchester
December 4, 2020

Deepest gratitude

Deepest gratitude

The Community Voice

On behalf of the staff and Board of Directors here at Social Advocates for Youth, I want to take this opportunity to express our deepest gratitude to you, our community members, for your continued support of the youth and families whom we serve.

You have joined us in recognizing that our community is stronger when we uplift the most vulnerable among us. And you have advocated on behalf of our youth by giving generously of your time, your money, and your attention. 

However, you chose to spend this Thanksgiving holiday, I want you to know that SAY is incredibly thankful for the actions you have taken, year-round, to help us create a caring and supportive community for children, youth and families across Sonoma county.

In It Together, 

Anita Maldonado,

CEO of SAY

Anita Maldonado, CEO of SAY
December 4, 2020

You are strong

You are strong

The Community Voice

We here at Verity would like to start by saying how truly fortunate we are to be able to serve our community - we are always grateful for this all year round! 

To our clients: thank you so much for letting us be a part of your individual healing stories.  You are strong.  You are worthy. You are beautiful.  It is our greatest honor to be a part of your growth. 

To our volunteers: you selflessly show us how much you care about our mission; you work so hard on behalf of our community to make sure survivors can receive support anytime they need it.  We cannot thank you enough!

To our  tremendous staff:  You are the strength of Verity.  You are the passion and commitment of who we are and all we do.  You show up every day....you bring love and light and strength and wisdom to all those you serve.  You nurture and care for our community with dignity and respect.  You are the deep roots of Verity's tree....holding us all together and walking the journey with survivors as only each of you have the way to do. We are so very blessed to have Team Verity and hold you so very dear each and every day.

To our Board of Directors: You lead and advise us fearlessly in support of survivors and our mission.  Your diverse talents and professions bring so much to Verity.  Our gratitude goes out to each and every one of you for all the time and expertise you bring to Verity.

To our Partner Agencies:  Supporting survivors is a team effort and we are so incredibly lucky to have partner agencies like you that believe in our mission. Thank you for helping Verity and our community everyday to eliminate sexual violence.  We look forward to working with you in years to come!

To our funders and private donors:  You are not just supporting an organization when you support Verity, you are supporting a movement of ending rape culture and believing survivors.  Verity cannot thank you enough for your financial contributions - every donation, regardless of the size, is making a difference in the life of a survivor.

Our hearts are so full this year.  It's been a difficult one for all of us, but when we really take an inventory of all the wonderful little things we have to be grateful for, it's evident that our cup is spilling over this year.  

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Verity

Verity
December 4, 2020

Wear masks

Wear masks

The Community Voice

We are an extremely small community here, in the purple with Covid, and doing all we can to keep our elders and front line community members safe and you are sending people here? The visitors don't wear masks! We don't have a hospital! Tourists empty our small stores shelves. Please Tell people to STAY HOME. If you don't live here...GO HOME.

Kidd Creek

Gualala

Kidd Creek
Gualala
December 4, 2020

Rears its ugly head

Rears its ugly head

The Community Voice

Just when we are ridding ourselves of the disdainful, dismissive and extremely rude man in the White House, this kind of behavior rears its ugly head right here in the City of Rohnert Park.  At the last city council meeting, Callinan, Stafford and Mackenzie thought it was totally appropriate to make denigrating comments about a constituent on the record.  Perhaps they have forgotten that they were elected to serve everyone, not just those who agree with them, with respect, compassion and civility.  Is it too much to ask that they keep their personal opinions about an individual to themselves, especially in a public setting?  No, it is not, and in fact, it’s what is actually expected and required of them.  Instead, in response to a public comment, they aimed their personal acrimony at a citizen who exercised her right to be an active participant in government.  And here is the ironic part: the sole purpose of her letter was to compliment City Manager Darren Jenkins on his performance. Yes, you read that right! The main purpose of her comment was to praise a city employee.  Yet, the three elected leaders took umbrage to her comments and let their personal opinions control their behavior via totally inappropriate, disrespectful and hurtful words that should never have been spoken. A competent mayor would have shut that kind of talk down immediately and yet not only didn’t he shut it down, he actually joined right in! Furthermore, I’m incredulous that they also failed to address the purpose of the comments and to express gratitude, along with the constituent, to their exceptional city manager.  Methinks I smell “sour grapes”, and it’s not only coming from the White House, but also here in Rohnert Park.  I demand that these three city council members offer an apology to the concerned citizen who did exactly what they have always asked her to do - she took the time to be involved and care about the city she lives in. You absolutely need to provide that apology immediately.  You let your emotions get the better of you and the people you were elected to represent, and support expect better of you

Diane G. Borr

Rohnert Park

Diane G. Borr
Rohnert Park
November 27, 2020

Serving you

Serving you

The Community Voice

I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to the people of Cotati for believing in my message and electing me to Cotati City Council. I am determined to serve Cotati with honesty and integrity and to earn the trust you have placed in me. As a candidate, my platform focused on Inclusive Government, Climate & Environment, Affordable Housing, Anti-Racism and helping local businesses. I am looking forward to doing everything I can to tackle these issues and I will need your help. I will keep an open door throughout my tenure on the city council and I am asking you to bring me your ideas large and small for building community and making us more resilient. 

During the League of Women Voters Candidates Forum, I stated that I would like to help improve the diversity in city leadership. The first responsibility I will fulfill as a city council person will be appointing someone to the Planning Commission and to the Measure G Citizen Oversight Committee. I invite any Cotati residents with an interest in local government to apply. We particularly need people of color, LGBTQ people, people with disabilities, young people, and anyone who can bring a unique perspective to get involved. The decisions we make as a community are better when the conversation has a diversity of viewpoints. There is an application posted on the City of Cotati’s website that is due no later than December 17th. (http://www.cotaticity.org/headlines/opportunity_to_serve_on_the_planning_commission ) 

Thank you again, and I look forwarding to serving you!

Laura Sparks

Cotati

Laura Sparks
Cotati
November 27, 2020

Churches closed

Churches closed

The Community Voice

I am writing this to all the citizens of Sonoma County in the great state of California.  We meekly agreed to close our houses of worship last March, for a limited time to help prevent the spread of the virus.  That has obviously made no difference in the rise of cases in the past eight months and yet, our churches and synagogues remain closed as we enter our cold, winter rainy season.  The government has a right and duty to protect the health of citizens, but this duty cannot be so broad that the right to freely exercise one’s faith per the First Amendment is trampled upon.  Our spiritual health is essential to our wellbeing as much as our physical health.  

Our local government health officials put restrictions of the number of people allowed into houses of worship with the other safeguards i.e. sanitizing, mask wearing, six foot spacing, no singing by worshipers, etc.  All of this was complied with and yet, our churches are still closed.

We are allowed to shop at Macy’s, Home Depot, Ross, Costco, etc., but unable to join together safely in our churches to worship God.  We have seen people protest in our streets during the summer and celebrating together after the election and yet, we are not allowed to gather together in a reasonable restricted manner for worship services without justification to our spiritual health.  This is against the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment which protects religious liberty.  Wake up!

Maureen Scott

Rohnert Park

Maureen Scott
Rohnert Park
November 20, 2020

We chose equality

We chose equality

The Community Voice

We America chose love rather than hate this election. We chose to build bridges instead of walls. We chose equality in place of discrimination. We chose diversity rather than bigotry. We chose the environment over profit. We chose progress before backsliding, the future rather than the past, truth instead of lies, kindness over cruelty. We chose to be humble rather than in ego. We chose the right to choose, the right to vote, the right to peacefully protest. We chose rainbows and unicorns rather than dinosaurs and vampires. We chose hope. We chose change. We chose love. We chose love. We chose love.

Ron Lowe 

Nevada City

Ron Lowe
Nevada City
November 20, 2020

Ordered not to sell

Ordered not to sell

The Community Voice

What happened to ALL the tiger salamanders? Over a couple of decades ago, an elderly organic Gravenstein apple farmer in Cotati lost his 20-acre parcel with houses, barns, et cetera because of an invisible invasion of these amphibians that normally live in dark, dank forests with water nearby (according to a biologist that specializes in this). Forty plus “low income” townhouses @ $500K were built over the tiger salamanders, a home improvement store and now it looks like there might be a strip mall going in there too. I do know that the elderly apple farmer was only given a pitiful $200K for his home, livelihood, 20 acres, and court ordered to not sell his apples, move or face being arrested. He had to live out his days with his daughter since he didn’t even qualify for or could afford one of those townhouses built on his land. The paltry amount that he was ordered to accept paid for his declining health care costs due to cancer. Sadly, when there is eminent domain abuse, the general public is clueless as to what happened in the past. All eminent domain records are not in the public domain. Prior property records are shredded. It all makes me wonder, what really happened to the property where Red’s Recovery Room once sat too since they were across the street from the above nightmare? Did the tiger salamanders cross the street?

Rachele Ketchem

Sebastopol

Rachele Ketchem
Sebastopol
November 13, 2020

Giudice honored to be elected to Rohnert Park City Council

Giudice honored to be elected to Rohnert Park City Council  

The Community Voice

Gerard Giudice received a call this morning (Nov 4) from Joe Callinan (Rohnert Park City Councilmember and serving Mayor). Joe graciously acknowledged Gerard’s 21.4 percent lead, and congratulated Gerard’s on his win.

Said Gerard:

I love this community, and I love our people. That passion inspired my run for city council and will remain the foundation for my service.

Rohnert Park should expect compassion, thoughtfulness and decency from our elected leaders. So, I make these commitments to you: I will keep the door open and listen with an open heart. I will rely on facts and science in order to plan for a healthy future. I will place the priorities of the community above my own and serve one and all with equal respect. We will leave no one behind. I expect to be held to these standards.

Thank you to everyone who joined our team in every way. This has not been an easy year for anyone. It’s been a bumpy race and we were blessed with one amazing team. We all shared a love for our community, and we left it all on the field. From the bottom of my heart, thank you all.

Thank you to Joe for his service.

And thank you to everyone who voted this election, and to those for whom this was the first time—I hope you don’t stop at 2020.

Thank you for honoring me with your trust. I look forward to getting to work.

Gerard Giudice
Rohnert Park
November 13, 2020

Commending city council members

Commending city council members

The Community Voice 

In these difficult times, I want to commend both current and past Cotati City Council members on ending up with a budget SURPLUS when so many other local governments are struggling. Despite the vocal naysayers who are anti-tax no matter the benefits (some people don't understand that you get what you pay for), the initial passage of Measure G and the recent passage of Measure S are clearly paying off for Cotati. 

I'm also impressed that the current council has, once again, been awarded a Certificate of Achievement of the highest level by the GFOA for its financial reporting. Many can utter opinions on how our government should be run, but the devil is in the details. Our council's complete transparency about the budget and how our tax dollars are spent proves that they truly are "public servants."

Joan Simon

Cotati

Joan Simon
Cotati
November 13, 2020

Publishing letters

Publishing letters

The Community Voice

You have published an anonymous letter from a person who was criticizing a column from Dr. Glenn Mollette, “If Trump is not elected, America would be hurting.” While not taking a position on Dr. Mollette’s column, I am extremely concerned about the anonymous writer declaring that you should “NOT (sic) continue to publish” the column since it is “inflammatory and insults the public’s intelligence.” 

If anyone is insulting the public’s intelligence, it is the anonymous writer. This person has inserted his or her own version of facts into the story and declares that the public should not be exposed to anything different. It is censorship like this that has caused the furor over like actions by Twitter and Facebook and has led universities to cancel speaking dates for controversial speakers because they did not want students exposed to opposing viewpoints. 

Please continue to publish opinions from across the political spectrum and let your readers decide what they want to believe. 

Joe Gaffney 

Rohnert Park

Joe Gaffney
Rohnert Park
November 13, 2020

I agree

I agree

The Community Voice

I completely agree with the writer Stefanie Landman in reply to the word salad written by Dr. Glenn Mollette in the Community Voice dated October 16.  Further, seeing a second such column in the latest Community Voice is also, disappointing.

If these columns continue, in the interest of competent journalism, the Community Voice should allow the opposite opinions equal space to refute the completely biased information these word salads contain, or, better, stop printing these biased and opinionated pieces, which do not reflect the feelings of many of us.  The opinions presented in these word salads are indeed offensive and almost entirely incorrect in my opinion.

Larry Resnick

Rohnert Park

Larry Resnick
Rohnert Park
November 6, 2020

What a beautiful gift

What a beautiful gift

The Community Voice

On Tuesday, October 27, someone left a package on our doorstep. The notation on the package read, “I am clean, but I’m not perfect.  If you can see past my imperfections let me fly free”.  

Enclosed in the package was a beautiful and huge American flag appropriately folded.  What a beautiful gift!!  

So, to the generous person who left us this gift we humbly and sincerely thank you. We can only guess that you were in the military, in which case, we thank you for your service.

We immediately replaced our tattered flag, which we were going to do, with this new one. It is with great honor that we fly this lovely flag.  As far as we’re concerned—-it’s perfect.

God bless you and God bless America. 

Gary and Estella Sterner

Rohnert Park

Gary and Estella Sterner
Rohnert Park
November 6, 2020

Dear Community

Dear Community

The Community Voice

The phrase “community partners” is one that we use often in the nonprofit world, and it can sometimes feel like a networking buzzword. In truth, community partnership is all about building enduring relationships that are vital to our growth and well-being.

At SAY, we build our relationships on the mutual belief that all young people deserve a chance to thrive. But we acknowledge that they aren’t all given a solid foundation from the start. Youth who have experienced trauma, instability and neglect must focus more on survival than on dreaming of future plans.

Our youth also display an amazing amount of fortitude, perseverance and hope. We watch them step up to big challenges regularly. Even when they struggle to overcome those challenges, and often fail to do so, we see how much progress they’ve made just in pushing forward. 

One major obstacle they face is finding sustainability in an increasingly unstable world. With youth unemployment at almost 16 percent for teens and 12 percent for 20-24-year-olds, we need to invest in helping our young people gain access to income, experience and opportunity. 

The John Jordan Foundation (JJF) and the Community Foundation Sonoma County are two of our community partners who believe that investing in careers and employment for our young people has immense value.

The JJF has generously supported SAY since the Dream Center opened its doors to youth in 2015 with their investment in the John Jordan Foundation Career Hub. This month, they join the Do Gooder Fund and St. Joseph Health in standing up SAY’s $100k campaign match challenge. The Community Foundation Sonoma County recently honored SAY with a $20k COVID relief grant in support of youth employment. The generous grant supports job seeking and retention services so that youth can find and maintain employment. Many of our youth help support their families, especially during these unprecedented economic times.We consider each of you to be a community partner, as well. Your interest in what we do, your support of our fundraisers, and your dedication to making this county a welcoming space for young people mean so much to us. 

 

For the youth, 

Anita Maldonado, CEO

Anita Maldonado, CEO
November 6, 2020

Giudice for Rohnert Park City Council

Giudice for Rohnert Park City Council

The Community Voice

Hello Sonoma County, I’m Isabella the youngest daughter of Gerard Giudice running for City Council in Rohnert Park. My dad has valued community and made it a part of our daily lives. There is no better candidate than my dad for Rohnert Park. He has always given back to the town that he loves and called home for 20 years. Growing up he always taught us how important giving back was. When I was four years old my sister and I got our first taste of learning how good we had it through a foreign exchange student named Dasha from Belarus, part of the Chernobyl Children’s Project. It was an eye-opening experience. Living her summers here in Rohnert Park brought a smile to her face and helped to heal her from the horrible effects of radiation. We fell in love with Dasha and she returned for seven years. Dad loves people, all people. I have watched him work long hours making our community a safer and happier place. I might be biased, but no one deserves my dad more than Rohnert Park. Vote for my Dad for Rohnert Park City Council member

Isabella Giudice

Rohnert Park

Isabella Giudice
Rohnert Park
October 30, 2020

Hold special bond

Hold special bond

The Community Voice

Jake Mackenzie and I were first elected on the same day years ago. We’ve held a special bond since then. When cities were holding elections for new Urban Growth Boundaries, many of us worked together. Jake and his wife Barbara walked precincts with me in Windsor and I walked with them in Rohnert Park. Jake is always about working regionally when it can help us as a whole. Jake has been a stellar representative for Sonoma County at the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. In fact, he was chair for the past two years. It’s unheard of for the less populated counties in the nine county Bay Area to rise to the Chair position, but it was Jake’s hard work over many years that won him that seat. How privileged we were to have such a prominent voice with political sway at the MTC when we needed money for widening 101 and for the SMART train. And he still serves us on the Commission. We all owe Jake a great debt of gratitude and we most certainly need him elected to another term on the Rohnert Park City Council, because he’s not done yet!

Debora Fudge

Windsor Town Council member

Debora Fudge
Windsor Town Council member
October 30, 2020

Reopen safely

Reopen safely

The Community Voice

California is the fifth largest economy in the world, yet we rank 39th of the fifty states in per pupil spending. The COVID-19 pandemic threatens to further gut school budgets, right when schools need additional resources and support in order to reopen safely.

Proposition 15 would reclaim $12 billion annually that would go directly to neighborhood schools and vital community services. It would close unfair loopholes being exploited by some of California’s wealthiest corporations, while maintaining all existing protections on homes and other residential property. 

Many businesses would see their taxes go down under some great new tax breaks in Prop 15, while a relatively small group of very large and very rich corporations would finally start paying their fair share. Investing in students and public education is the best long-term investment we can make. Voters should vote YES on Proposition 15.

Jacob Rich

Santa Rosa

Jacob Rich
Santa Rosa
October 30, 2020

Really appreciate

Really appreciate

The Community Voice

To me, the beauty of a free press is exposure to different viewpoint. I appreciated hearing why someone wanted to vote for Trump. I also really appreciated the article about the slippery slope of giving up our freedoms.

Thank you, I love your newspaper.

Anonymous

By request

Anonymous By request
October 30, 2020

Require funding yet

Require funding yet

The Community Voice

People have been asking about THE LIVING ROOM during this s.i.p. period and we are glad to report that they have, as we would expect, adapted their services to the circumstances.  They are “operating as a crisis center providing two meals a day, pet food, hygiene products and information services to anyone in need of help.” 

 Of course, all of these services still require funding and 85 percent of The Living Room funding comes from private sources, of which The Sitting Room, so similarly named, is proud to be counted.  However, our annual HARVEST DINNER benefit for THE LIVING ROOM ain’t happenin’ for all the obvious reasons, but we would still like to be sending them some $$ this fall and so we are asking our would be guests to  please send a tax-deductible donation directly to THE LIVING ROOM, 1207 Cleveland Ave., Santa Rosa, CA 95407 by November 15, 2020 (further info about how to donate by check/credit card/memorial gifts or even by shopping at Oliver’s is carefully delineated at their website thelivingroomsc.org).

Karen Peterson

Petaluma

Karen Peterson
Petaluma
October 30, 2020

Response

Response

The Community Voice

This is a response to Dr. Glenn Mallette's column from 10/16: "If Trump is not reelected, America will be hurting".

I agree with Stefanie Landman's letter (10/23), where she expressed how offensive Mallette's article was. I was shocked and outraged that our community paper would publish such misleading information, especially at a critical time (pre-election), when undecided voters could be taken in by the opinions stated. What about fact-checking?! 

Every single statement in this article could be challenged, but I'll isolate just one: "In an age of mass human trafficking, drug smuggling, and terrorism the wall is a layer of security". This propogates the myth that refugees seeking asylum are criminals, when in fact the majority are fleeing violence and poverty (only to be incarcerated and separated from their children at the border). The Trump regime has instead stoked Domestic Terrorism in the form of militia attacking peaceful demonstrators, white supremacists chanting "Lock her Up" at Campaign rallies, and much more. 

Talk about "killing more babies"? What about the infants and children who have died while being held at the Border, for our "safety"? And by the way, the antibody treatment for Trump's Covid was derived from stem cells from a fetus - funding which he'd stopped, yet the lack of integrity to receive when his life was on the line. 

Please show some integrity, and do NOT continue to publish this regular columnist. His misunderstandings are inflammatory, and insult the public's intelligence.

Signed,

Anonymous by request

Anonymous by request
October 30, 2020

Response to letter

Response to letter

The Community Voice

In response to, "If Trump is not reelected, America will be hurting": At first glance, this article could appear to be satire. However, having read other pieces in this paper by Dr. Glenn Mollette, it is no surprise that this article is intended to be taken seriously.  

Other readers have written letters expressing concern over pieces by Dr. Glenn Mollette. His article, "How to Avoid the Police," triggered justifiable outrage, as it dismisses the experience of our Black neighbors who have been victims of unprovoked violence and racial profiling by law enforcement. 

Dr. Glenn Mollette should be embarrassed by such a gross misunderstanding of reality. Among the falsehoods presented: 

It is stated in the article that "veterans were dying before Trump because of such poor medical care." In actuality, Trump is taking credit for policies set in place by President Obama. The budget proposed by the Trump administration in February included massive cuts to programs that benefit millions of veterans.   

He states that jobs will return to foreign countries. The US has lost 4.7 million jobs since January 2017, according to the Labor department. 

"At least now we can have a National Day of Prayer." This day was formalized by law in 1952. 

Our country has not been this divided in a long time. The president has time and again sided with white supremacists. He is attempting to force through a new supreme court justice who, in terms of civil rights, will put us back more than 50 years. 

Trump has removed protections for the environment, in favor of making corporations more profitable- and going against the interests of most Americans. 

The only thing Mollette got correct was in saying that the southern border wall represents Trump's presidency. It sure does: his presidency is one that thrives on racism and division. But even when he got it right, he got it wrong: Trump has only built 3 miles of new wall. I don't think 3 miles could be considered a "layer of security," as Mollette calls it. 

I urge you to reconsider printing the offensive and largely incorrect statements by this columnist. 

Stefanie Landman

Santa Rosa

Stefanie Landman
Santa Rosa
October 23, 2020

Feinstein's second Catholic moment

Feinstein's second Catholic moment

The Community Voice

Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on another remark by Sen. Dianne Feinstein that has made the news:

When Sen. Dianne Feinstein made a patently anti-Catholic comment in 2017, saying to circuit-court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, "the dogma lives loudly within you," I wrote to the senator expressing my concerns. More important, I mobilized thousands of Catholics to email Sen. Charles Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, about Feinstein's bigoted remark. Now Feinstein is back in the news with a hot-mic quip about Barrett's Catholicism.

Speaking about Barrett, Feinstein was caught saying, "She's been pro-life for a long time. So, I suspect with her, it is deeply personal and comes with her religion."

Feinstein is now being rapped for making another anti-Catholic remark. She should not be. What she said is not anti-Catholic. But I hasten to add that coming from someone who previously made an anti-Catholic comment about Barrett, Feinstein's second Catholic moment tells us a lot about who she is.

Feinstein was correct to say Barrett is "pro-life," which is an accurate way to characterize what is usually understood by those on the other side as "anti-choice." And, yes, for practicing Catholics, such a conviction—which is also confirmed by science—being pro-life is "deeply personal." But given what Feinstein previously said about Barrett's Catholicity, it appears that she is positively awestruck by her sincerity.

Feinstein is not alone. Secularists abound in the media, the arts, the entertainment industry and education. At best, they look at people like Barrett in wonderment, almost as if they are from some other universe; at worst, they hate them. Feinstein falls into the former category.

It is somewhat surprising for Feinstein to be puzzled by a Catholic's deeply personal faith. After all, she graduated from Convent of the Sacred Heart High School. However, she also attended a Jewish temple—her father was Jewish—and spent time in a Jewish day school. So perhaps she never found anchor in either religion; she is not known to be a practicing member of any faith.

Elites in all walks of life are acutely sensitive to stereotypes, expressing horror whenever generalizations are made about people of color, et al.  Moreover, they are constantly urging us to meet people who are different from us so we can understand their point of view. The one exception to this maxim is people of faith, especially Christians. For us, they just stare. That's if we're lucky. Others seek to silence us.

Feinstein congratulated Barrett during the hearings for her "impressive" command of the facts. That was kind of her. Now if she could only sit down and spend some time really listening to people like Barrett—getting to know them the way she knows dogmatic secularists—that would make her a better person. Not only that, we would all benefit from that outcome.

The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights

New York, NY

The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights
New York, NY
October 23, 2020

District voting

District voting

The Community Voice

I am a resident of Rohnert Park have been for some 20 some odd years and this is the first time I have heard of district voting. To me it sounds like the city council only wants the incumbent to win. That is not right we the people of Rohnert Park should have a say in it all of Rohnert Park not just some but all. Now I'm not running for city council but if there are people out there that want to write my name in that's ok also, so getting back to what I was saying this city has gone to hell in a hand basket quick. I think that there are some city council members that need to move on like I have said I've lived here for 20 some odd years and there is one city council member that has been there for at least that long, it’s time to move on. People let’s take back our city. Let’s vote in who we think will do the best job. Now there is one council member that when she was running for city council we met her at Star Restaurant in Cotati when it was there and asked her about a stop sign or stop light in front of Rancho Feliz and she had promised me that we will get one or the other and she said that we may not get a light but we will get a stop sign even if she has to put it in herself, well here it is eight to 10 years later and still nothing. Council members. please don't promise something if you can't make good on it. So, with that i end this letter with if you want to write my name in for city council please do. Thank You for listening.

Daniel Hunter.

Rohnert Park

Daniel Hunter
Rohnert Park
October 23, 2020

I can never seem to be recognized by the community voice

I can never seem to be recognized by the community voice

The Community Voice

I have lived in Cotati since 1981. There used to be a city logo with the Hub of Sonoma County being joined and watched over by a representation of the legendary Chief Cotati. It was the city logo. The police had it on their cars and wore it on the sleeve of their uniforms. I knew the staff by first and last names and they knew me. That was then, this is now.  Then there were a number of female officers, now one. Then there were female city managers, assistant city managers, etc. now none. Staff used to live here, now very few. The logo has been changed to black and white like our police cars, now; no community identity at all.

So, what will S do?  We will pay forever.  Our right to vote on matters ends this November by voting yes on S.  The claim is that the tax will be paid mostly by out of town visitors, yet it is primarily funded by out of town interests. Buy a car and list your residence and see what tax YOU pay, not out of town visitors. Go online and buy and see what YOU pay. You will pay as long as you live in Cotati.

The claims are not valid:  "Without Yes on S - No Funding to Maintain or Improve Roads” Recent last-minute road repair to the Hub of Sonoma County was paid for by SB1, Measure M and Measure G.   How much from the State SB1?   How Much from Measure M (County)? and Measure G? (City).  When Measure G passed leadership said "We will fix the roads that need the least first..."   Hmmm.

Measure G passed six years ago, in that time two murders in less than two years, how many murders prior to Measure G passing?  When a woman was stabbed to death across from La Plaza Park in the center of our city the Chief of Police was quoted in our local paper as saying "there's nothing to worry about."    Four shots were fired on East Cotati, where were our police?  How did they respond?  What was the outcome?  "it is what it is"?

Measure S will: "Maintain Emergency preparedness"....  recently my phone via Nixle told me there were no evacuations in Cotati due to the Glass Fire. Really?  I also am I believe in Area 3 of five areas in Cotati I am not sure of who is my police go to person or any evacuation plan- where do I go in an emergency and who do I call?  Do you know your area?  Your community officers?  Are we part of a bigger plan?

No potholes?  Uh backside of Thomas Page School, you know the Cotati side.  a new bike path for hundreds of thousands of dollars asked for by whom?  Take a look at that city-maintained street next to the new bike path and tell me what no potholes looks like.  It is hard to see this as a good future move..." largely paid by out of town shoppers."  Look at Nixle for the past six years, look for yourself, are we better now?

The Press Democrat says NO.  I have to agree ongoing forever tax says no more vote needed.  Yes, on S promises a lot and seemingly threatens voters as well. Vote yes or else...  Uh Potholes? Bad trails and parks? Community policing where you know the local officers by name? Even the city itself?   Seems pretty scary, is that what Cotati is a place filled with fear and threat where your vote counts once and then never again?  No S!

Eric Kirchmann

Citizen of Cotati since 1999

Eric Kirchmann
Cotati
October 23, 2020

Candidate doesn’t respond

Candidate doesn’t respond

The Community Voice

Recently I received information from a local environmental organization, reporting the results of their survey of views on environmental issues from the six candidates for Rohnert Park City Council.

Five of the six candidates responded and several of their responses were very thoughtful and responsible.

One candidate declined to respond at all: "Mayor" Joe Callinan. I am taking his failure to respond as a signal that he regards environmental issues as unimportant. I will not vote for anyone who does not take environmental issues seriously. The very future of the Planet is at stake.

Rick Luttmann, PhD

Rohnert Park; District 3

Rick Luttmann
Rohnert Park
October 23, 2020

Not about radical socialism

Not about radical socialism

The Community Voice

Inclusiveness, from the local to the national scene, is the great theme of the 2020 election.  This is not about radical socialism as the current president would have us believe.  It is about access to all basic rights for all the people living in this country.

Local elections are just as important as the national election this year.  My city, Rohnert Park, reflects this in its candidates and its measures.  There is a sense of the good old boy network with council candidates Joe Callinan, Jake Mackenzie and Dave Soldavini and this hints at exclusiveness rather than inclusiveness.

Each is being challenged by hard working newcomers:  Jackie Elward, Gerard Giudice and Willy Linares.  These candidates have laid out their positions carefully and have clearly established what they will do.  The other three rely on recommendations from the established good old boy network.

One incumbent for school board, Tim Nonn, set out four years ago to make inclusiveness a part of the Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District.  He campaigned to have a Latina as superintendent, and he succeeded.  He fought to stop district violations in special education, and he succeeded.  He stood up for safe working conditions and he has helped to make the district healthier.

Nonn exemplified inclusiveness in his first term and now he seeks to push this notion forward at a time when safety in the schools is a number one priority.  

Elward, Giudice and Linares will bring inclusiveness to the city.  They will work to create change in city policy, programs and procedures.  

Vote for Jackie Elward, Gerard Giudice, Willy Linares and Tim Nonn.

Lanny Lowery

Rohnert Park

Lanny Lowery
Rohnert Park
October 23, 2020

Adhere to teachings

Adhere to teachings

The Community Voice

We have heard a lot about 'evangelicals' during the political season. An evangelical Christian is supposed to faithfully adhere to the teachings of Christ. Jesus helped the poor, the sick, the homeless and the hungry. Why do today's Republican Evangelicals do the opposite remaining loyal to lobbyists who throw money at them?

Jesus believed in helping the poor, feeding the hungry and loving all, not just the rich.

Ron Lowe 

Nevada City, Ca.

Ron Lowe
Nevada City, Ca.
October 23, 2020

America is hurting

America is hurting 

The Community Voice   

So, I’m reading my hometown newspaper in a time of pandemic, a time of real hurt involving severe social constraint, economic desperation for so many seeking to keep a business going or to pay last month’s and this month’s rent AND put food on the table for the truly  innocent victims of these times, the children.   Food is the choice and maybe this much for rent, ah, the electric……the gas…the pain of making such choices.

The headline reads:  If Trump is not reelected, America will be hurting.”

The scream comes from deep within: “Trump WAS elected, and America IS hurting!!”  And there’s a story line to this pandemic that brings us to our shared pain:  Wuhan, China; some folks on cruise ships, people sick, some die.  Words make sense of the confusion, of the danger, “novel coronavirus, Covid 19, pandemic, public health crisis, our government not prepared, people die, more people die, the most vulnerable die, health workers sicken and die, healthy people die. 

 Dr. Fauci directs a shut down and the economy reels, the president cries, “Open up!   Mask-up if you want to, but not me, it’s not necessary!”  And people die:  50,000, then 100,000, now 200,000 headed towards at least 300,000.

The author of the article, Dr. Glenn Mollette, White man like me, suit and tie, smiling, not seeming to feel the pain of THESE times. the consequences of this president’s failure to engage this crisis with all the force and resources available.  

But others grieve, or feel the sickness, the isolation, the economic desperation.      

America IS hurting.

 Michael Vosler

 Rohnert Park

Michael Vosler
Rohnert Park
October 23, 2020

We are hurting now

We are hurting now

The Community Voice

Really, a pro trump "editorial" with nothing but lies. Really? Headline of "If Trump is not reelected, America will be hurting." What? We are hurting now with the civil unrest, unemployment, pandemic that is a "hoax," a president that is corrupt? Why lower yourself to be part of the problem. In the future, I won't even open the Voice. Shameful!

JoJo Huff

Sebastopol

JoJo Huff
Sebastopol
October 23, 2020

So many untruths

So many untruths

The Community Voice

I am dismayed by the Glenn Mollette piece. So many untruths and never touching on his racism, treatment of women, pathological lying the list goes on. He obviously has never watched anything but Fox News. How could you print anything so biased? I have only read three copies of your paper and they have been very neutral, but this article was a slap in the face for all that is decent.

Marsha Hamilton

Sebastopol

Marsha Hamilton
Sebastopol
October 23, 2020

Unparalleled record

Unparalleled record

The Community Voice

Please join us in supporting Jake Mackenzie, District 4, RP City Council. Jake brings an unparalleled record of responsible and progressive city and regional governance. He brings experience in tackling our critical and challenging issues. We both have served under the direction of Jake's leadership as Chair of the North Coast Resource Partnership. Here Jake successfully built accords among the region's Tribes and elected to set a course and drive over $110 million in funding to the seven-county north coast region, building resiliency through integrated regional water management. Not only is he a capable and considerate leader, he was instrumental in listening to all voices, setting a wide and long table of inclusion and ensuring diverse issues and diverse perspectives were heard and respected. We are proud of Mackenzie's leadership in honoring and supporting Tribal representation, tribal and cultural values, and traditional ecological knowledge as a core principle of the partnership he led so fiercely and successfully. He was bestowed the Jimmy Smith Leadership Award for his important work in strengthening relationships and building accords to ensure healthy communities and watersheds. Rohnert Park needs leadership that is inclusive, focused on listening first, acting second. Jake is a proven leader and we enthusiastically support his independent voice on the council. Proudly!

Susan & Wayne Haydon

District 4 residents 

Rohnert Park

Susan & Wayne Haydon
Rohnert Park
October 16, 2020

City council voted against

City council voted against

The Community Voice

Why my family is voting Willy Linares for District One Rohnert Park. When my family moved to Rohnert Park almost seven years ago, we instantly fell in love with our historical district. We loved the charming little homes and large backyards. Yet, we noticed our district has been neglected for some time. We first moved to a condo on Arlen Dr., then bought our first home in 2017 on Adrian Dr. My husband works for a local company and our children (5yr and 11yr) attend our RP schools.

Back in June 2020 when the city council voted against their constituents and decided to have District I up for election this year, I was eager to support someone I aligned with. Almost right away, I started hearing about Willy Linares. Thanks to the public record, I could see another candidate had submitted paperwork, but I couldn’t find any information on him. Luckily, Willy already had a running website, endorsements and issues he plans to address as a city council member. The aspects that really drew me to Linares was his eagerness to represent our district. He desires to focus on our Southwest shopping center (the heart of our District and address the Southwest sound wall that has been falling apart for years. He would bring a fresh, new perspective that our city council desperately needs. The more I got to know Willy Linares, his personality and friendly nature was really apparent. Not only that, but what truly sets Willy apart is his life and higher educational experience. He has zero ties to our current city council and no agenda aside from representing our district. I truly believe he will always listen to his constituents. Rohnert Park is ready for a change and desperately needs a candidate to represent our district. You can now find some information on his opponent. He is a longtime resident and is personally friends with three of the five city council members. How is our city going to change if three (potentially four) friends are running it? I’m asking anyone who resides in A or B sections to VOTE WILLY LINARES CITY COUNCIL

Rebekah M Hansen

Rohnert Park

Rebekah M Hansen
Rohnert Park
October 16, 2020

Garbage rates up 20 percent, part three

Garbage rates up 20 percent, part three 

The Community Voice

After checking the city council information package on raising the garbage rates another 20 percent, I found significant errors and misleading information.  How this came about is anyone’s guess. 

I placed a call to the city clerk on Sept. 17, 2020, making a request that the city council package errors and misleading information be corrected and then again presented to the council.  Of course, you can only leave a message.  

As expected, there has been no response from the city.  This is but one more reason that we need new leadership on the city council and perhaps in the city administration. New leadership might gain a more responsive city so vote accordingly.  

David Grundman

Rohnert Park

David Grundman
Rohnert Park
October 16, 2020

Supported many

Supported many

The Community Voice

I have been a Rohnert Park resident for over 30 years and living in D section, now a part of District 3, for the past 20 years. I have supported many council members, but with the implementation of the new Rohnert Park District Elections we have an opportunity to provide direct representation and support for ALL community members. My vote for District 3 is Gerard Giudice. I support Gerard Giudice for Rohnert Park City Council District 3 because of his tireless support, dedication and commitment to our community, through his business, his volunteerism in Rotary, his service to the youth of our county as a board member for Social Advocates for Youth and for the community as a Planning Commissioner for the City of Rohnert Park and a board member for the Rohnert Park Chamber of Commerce.

 He has proven himself to be a thoughtful leader and a compassionate volunteer, which are unique qualities that will serve him well as a council member. Rohnert Park deserves a council member that understands the diversity in our community and will take that diversity into consideration when making decisions. Change is needed, and I feel that bringing Gerard’s dedication, and compassion, to the council is the change I wish to see for our community.

Shari Lorenz

Rohnert Park

Shari Lorenz
Rohnert Park
October 16, 2020

Lost license

Lost license

The Community Voice

I was concerned to see that Don Edgar is on the ballot running for re-election to the SRJC Board of Trustees. Mr. Edgar lost his license to practice law for two years as a penalty for professional misconduct, as reported in the Press Democrat on December 12, 2019. According to the article, he was charged by the State Bar of California with 14 counts of misappropriating his client’s ’money, described as “an act involving moral turpitude, dishonesty, or corruption in willful violation” of state business code. 

Had he been an employee of the college, this no doubt would have resulted in immediate termination.

Kudos to the student groups who have called for his resignation.

I hope the voters of Rohnert Park and Cotati share their opinion.

Alan Wintermeyer 

SRJC graduate and retiree

Cotati

Alan Wintermeyer
Cotati
October 16, 2020

Clear choice to elect

Clear choice to elect

The Community Voice

During these difficult and unprecedented times, we face a very important decision on election day. We need experienced and proven leadership. Jake Mackenzie is a clear choice to elect to City Council.

Jack Mackenzie has command, with no learning curve, in the areas of a needed balanced budget, fiscal responsibility, water supply safety and adequacy, climate change, services for seniors and children, affordable housing and development, strong relationships with the county, neighboring cities, Sonoma State University and Tribal government. Mackenzie is independent minded and will actively work and listen to the constituents of the city to achieve the necessary changes it envisions for our future.

When we have an experienced leader like Jake, there is simply no need for change just for the sake of it.

Join us in voting for Jack Mackenzie for Rohnert Park City Council.

Dan and Vera Blanquie

Rohnert Park

Dan and Vera Blanquie
Rohnert Park
October 16, 2020

I am a resident of Rohnert Park have been for some 20 some odd years and this is the first time I have heard of district voting. To me it sound like the city counsel only wants the incumbent to win that is not right we the people of Rohnert Park should have a say in it all of Rohnert Park not just some but all. Now I'm not running for city counsel but if there are people out there that want to write my name in that's ok also, so getting back to what I was saying this city has gone to hell in a hand basket quick I think that there are some city counsel members that need to move on like I have said I've lived here for 20 some odd years and there is one city counsel member that has been there for at least that long, It's time to move on. People lets take back our city lets vote in who we think will do the best job. Now there is one counsel member that when she was running for city counsel we met her at star restaurant in Cotati when it was there and asked her about a stop sign or stop light in front of Rancho Feliz and she had promised me that we will get one or the other and she said that we may not get a light but we will get a stop sign even if she has to put it in her self, well here it is 8 to 10 years later and still nothing. Counsel members please don't promise something if you can't make good on it. So with that i end this letter with if you want to write my name in for city counsel please do. Thank You for listening. Daniel Hunter.
Daniel Hunter
Rohnert Park
October 13, 2020

Rarely ask staff members

Rarely ask staff members

The Community Voice

Local government should represent all its residents. In order to make decisions and direct staff on behalf of a wide variety of people and beliefs, this bipartisan group of five decision-makers must also consist of a variety of different people. It’s no secret that Mayor Callinan and Councilmembers Adams and Stafford are good friends. They’ve proven time and time again that they have very similar beliefs and very often vote the same way. Additionally, during meetings, they rarely ask the staff member giving the report varied questions or challenge each other to think wider or dig deeper on behalf of the constituents. Having a group of longtime friends, all born within the same generation and with very similar beliefs, makeup the city council is extremely dangerous - especially for a small City like Rohnert Park. Councilmembers Adams and Stafford are not up for re-election currently but their friend Joseph T. Callinan is. Adams and Stafford already represent the important lifelong resident voice. Families that are not part of the original Founding Fathers of Rohnert Park and that do not have streets and buildings named after their family name, deserve to have a seat at the table also. Demographics are changing here and it’s time for our city council to reflect that change. Adams and Stafford have endorsed Callinan’s campaign. They, along with Callinan, have endorsed Mackenzie and newcomer into politics but lifelong resident and friend to the above, Dave Soldavini’s campaign. This circle of friendship-driven endorsements should be a huge red flag to all Rohnert Park voters. Can you imagine having 4-5 out of 5 of the same personalities, skin colors and ages represent and make vital decisions on behalf of our entire diverse city? As someone living in District 2, unable to vote for representation until 2022, I urge voters in District 1, 3 and 4 to think about this question and to vote on or before November 3. 

Julie M Royes

Rohnert Park

Julie M Royes
Rohnert Park
October 9, 2020

Thank you for supporting

Thank you for supporting

The Community Voice

My name is David Armstrong. I have been a resident of Rohnert Park for 25 years. My business is here, my home is here, and I have raised my family here. I also served on the Rohnert Park Planning Commission for six years.

I am writing to thank you for supporting Gerard Giudice for Rohnert Park City Council over the incumbent. I know Gerard very well. I have served with him on the Board of Directors for a number of non-profits and no one, in my opinion, does more for our community than Gerard. I have witnessed his leadership and compassion first-hand. Gerard was instrumental in helping me raise money for the repair and restoration of The Rohnert Park Friendly City sign and during the Tubbs Fire Gerard opened his facilities in the middle of the night to house and feed those displaced by the fires. He also sponsored a fundraiser for my family after my wife, Erin, had a massive stroke. He offered up his facility on two occasions. One so the community could come together and pray for my wife and the other so we could gather and celebrate her survival and recovery. At a time when my world was the bleakest, he took the time to reassure me that it was going to be ok and offered any help I needed.

Our city faces many challenges. Our current leadership is out of touch. I witnessed gerrymandering of the District maps so those in power could retain their seat. I have been witness to a Public Safety Department that has stepped away from its responsibility. They have stolen from community members and stolen from their own. The city spent over one million dollars of our money to bail out bad cops. Personally, I was appalled by the insensitive comments made by our mayor regarding the Transgender community. Joe Callinan referred to these individuals as IT!!! Our current leadership is looking out for themselves not the community they were voted in to take care of and represent. It is time for a change and a new perspective on our city council! One that is based on common decency, intelligence, empathy and compassion. I believe with every fiber of my being that Gerard is the man for the job.

David Armstrong

Rohnert Park

David Armstrong
Rohnert Park
October 9, 2020

Changes in ten years

Changes in ten years

The Community Voice

Rohnert Park’s neighborhoods have changed a lot in the last 10 years.  As we head into District elections, we need fresh voices and fresh ideas from new people to help guide the city through the challenges we now face.  People who listen to those who speak at council meetings, answer their emails, have a fresh outlook on our city.  People without preformed opinions and closed minds.  Someone from each of the districts who works within the community to bring people of all ages, race and gender together to the table in discussions.  That is why, as a senior citizen, I will be voting for Jackie Elward in District 4.  Look for the freshness in your district as well.  

Christina Meyer

Rohnert Park

Christina Meyer
Rohnert Park
October 9, 2020

I support Gerard

I support Gerard

The Community Voice

I'm writing today in support of Gerard Giudice for Rohnert Park City Council. Gerard and I have been friends for over 15 years, and I can honestly say I have never met such a caring person. As a former President of the Active 20-20 Club of Rohnert Park/Cotati, I worked with Gerard on many fundraisers and events to benefit the community. When our club decided to give a thanksgiving feast to the foster kids of The Children's Village, Gerard, his daughters and his team at Sally Tomatoes offered to cook and deliver an amazing meal for our meager budget. Gerard was so moved by this experience he continued to cook Thanksgiving dinner for the Children's Village every year until it's untimely closing. As a business owner, Gerard helped us get accepted into the Sonoma Mountain Business Cluster, the support we received in this business incubator was paramount in our success. The lunches from our "cafeteria" Sally Tomatoes helped too. We were the first company to "graduate" from this program. The list of local businesses Gerard has had an integral and positive effect on is huge. Growing up in "B" Section, my father still lives in our home, I had friends from diverse races and ethnicities. This diverse community has proven to be very beneficial for the lives of the "kids" in our neighborhood. Many are now business owners, educators and clergymen, and are excellent community members and leaders because of the lessons learned as kids playing together in the streets, parks and pools of Rohnert Park.

Gerard knows diversity is Rohnert Park's "secret sauce" and will embrace new equitable ways to strengthen this. This is one reason why he's the best choice for residents of Rohnert Park’s new third district. Please vote for a new passion for Rohnert Park, Vote for Gerard Giudice

Nate Gulbransen

President of Westcoast Solar Energy

Nate Gulbransen
October 9, 2020

They did participate

They did participate

The Community Voice

Erin Armstrong found to her dismay that two of the candidates for the Rohnert Park City Council were no shows. The League of Women Voters also held a forum for Rohnert Park and both Joe Callinan and David Soldavini participated. The forum was recorded and is on YouTube. 

https://youtu.be/hPMl6wgs9Lk.

Check out the League’s webpage for more forums including one for Sebastopol at https://my.lwv.org/california/sonoma-county. Also, there are links to other useful election information.

Linda Robinett

Sebastopol

Linda Robinett
Sebastopol
October 9, 2020

Dear Editor, Please join us in supporting Jake Mackenzie, District 4, RP City Council. Jake brings an unparalleled record of responsible and progressive city and regional governance. He brings experience in tackling our critical and challenging issues. We both have served under the direction of Jake's leadership as Chair of the North Coast Resource Partnership. Here Jake successfully built accords among the region's Tribes and electeds to set a course and drive over $110 million in funding to the 7 county north coast region, building resiliency through integrated regional water management. Not only is he a capable and considerate leader, he was instrumental in listening to all voices, setting a wide and long table of inclusion and ensuring diverse issues and diverse perspectives were heard and respected. We are proud of Mackenzie's leadership in honoring and supporting Tribal representation, tribal and cultural values, and traditional ecological knowledge as a core principle of the Partnership he led so fiercely and successfully. He was bestowed the Jimmy Smith Leadership Award for his important work in strengthening relationships and building accords to ensure healthy communities and watersheds. Rohnert Park needs leadership that is inclusive, focused on listening first, acting second. Jake is a proven leader and we enthusiastically support his independent voice on the Council. Proudly, Susan & Wayne Haydon District 4 residents
Susan Haydon
Rohnert Park
October 8, 2020

Why my family is voting Willy Linares for District One Rohnert Park When my family moved to Rohnert Park almost seven years ago, we instantly fell in love with our historical District. We loved the charming little homes and large backyards. Yet, we noticed our District has been neglected for some time. We first moved to a condo on Arlen drive, then bought our first home in 2017 on Adrian Dr. My husband works for a local company and our children (5yr and 11yr) attend our RP schools. Back in June 2020 when the City Council voted against their constituents and decided to have District One up for election this year, I was eager to support someone I aligned with. Almost right away, I started hearing about Willy Linares. Thanks to the public record, I could see another candidate had submitted paperwork but I couldn’t find any information on him. Luckily, Willy already had a running website, endorsements and issues he plans to address as a City Council member. The aspects that really drew me to Linares was his eagerness to represent our District. He desires to focus on our Southwest shopping center (the heart of our District), and address the Southwest soundwall that has been falling apart for years. He would bring a fresh, new perspective that our City Council desperately needs. The more I got to know Willy Linares, his personality and friendly nature was really apparent. Not only that, but what truly sets Willy apart is his life and higher educational experience. He has zero ties to our current City Council and no agenda aside from representing our District. I truly believe he will always listen to his constituents. Rohnert Park is ready for a change, and desperately needs a candidate to represent our District. You can now find some information on his opponent. He is a long time resident and is personally friends with three of the five City Council Members. How is our city going to change if three (potentially four) friends are running it? I’m asking anyone who resides in A or B sections to VOTE WILLY LINARES CITY COUNCIL.
Rebekah M Hansen
ROHNERT PARK
October 7, 2020

I have been a Rohnert Park resident for over 30 years and living in D section, now a part of District 3, for the past 20 years. I have supported many council members, but with the implementation of the new Rohnert Park District Elections we have an opportunity to provide direct representation and support for ALL community members. My vote for District 3 is Gerard Giudice. I support Gerard Giudice for Rohnert Park City Council District 3 because of his tireless support, dedication, and commitment to our community, through his business, his volunteerism in Rotary, his service to the youth of our county as a board member for Social Advocates for Youth, and for the community as a Planning Commissioner for the City of Rohnert Park and a board member for the Rohnert Park Chamber of Commerce. He has proven himself to be a thoughtful leader and a compassionate volunteer, which are unique qualities that will serve him well as a councilmember. Rohnert Park deserves a councilmember that understands the diversity in our community and will take that diversity into consideration when making decisions. Change is needed, and I feel that bringing Gerard’s dedication, and compassion, to the council is the change I wish to see for our community.
Shari Lorenz
Rohnert Park
October 6, 2020

Editor, I'm writing today in support of Gerard Giudice for Rohnert Park City Council. Gerard and I have been friends for over 15 years and I can honestly say I have never met such a caring person. As a former President of the Active 20-20 Club of Rohnert Park/Cotati, I worked with Gerard on many fundraisers and events to benefit the community. When our club decided to give a thanksgiving feast to the foster kids of The Children's Village, Gerard, his daughters, and his team at Sally Tomatoes offered to cook and deliver an amazing meal for our meager budget. Gerard was so moved by this experience he continued to cook Thanksgiving Dinner for the Children's village every year until it's untimely closing. As a Business Owner, Gerard helped us get accepted into the Sonoma Mountain Business Cluster, the support we received in this business incubator was paramount in our success. The luches from our "cafeteria" Sally Tomatoes helped too. We were the first company to "graduate" from this program. The list of local businesses Gerard has had an integral and positive effect on is huge. Growing up in "B" Section, my father still lives in our home, I had friends from diverse races and ethnicities. This diverse community has proven to be very beneficial for the lives of the "kids" in our neighborhood. Many are now business owners, educators and clergmen, and are excellent community members and leaders because of the lessons learned as kids playing together in the streets, parks and pools of Rohnert Park. Gerard knows diversity is Rohnert Park's "secret sauce" and will embrace new equitable ways to strengthen this. This is one reason why he's the best choice for residents of Rohnert Parks new third district. Please vote for a new passion for Rohnert Park, Vote for Gerard Giudice. Sincerely, Nate Gulbransen President Westcoast Solar Energy
Nathan Gulbransen
Santa Rosa
October 5, 2020

Four years ago, I was elected to Sebastopol City Council without receiving or spending money, without seeking or accepting endorsements, and without campaign signs or printed propaganda. For my 2020 reelection bid, this song remains the same. In our republic, the people have a right to call with their vote upon any person’s services and when they do, it is the duty of the individual to yield their services to that call. I will be honored to serve again if reelected, but I will not actively campaign for the office. As a member of City Council, I and my Main Street boot shop of 27 years have always been open and accessible to everyone, to listen to their concerns, take varying viewpoints into consideration, and make decisions based on what I feel is best for our entire community. Every decision that I make is free of pressure from outside groups or special interests and I will remain an independent voice every day that I serve as your City Councilmember. If I am reelected, my promise is this; I will serve at the best of my ability with great resolve to promote our general welfare, and further our pursuit of happiness.
Michael Carnacchi
Sebastopol
October 5, 2020

Local government should represent all its residents. In order to make decisions and direct staff on behalf of a wide variety of people and beliefs, this bipartisan group of five decision-makers must also consist of a variety of different people. It’s no secret that Mayor Callinan and Councilmembers Adams and Stafford are good friends. They’ve proven time and time again that they have very similar beliefs and very often vote the same way. Additionally, during meetings, they rarely ask the staff member giving the report varied questions or challenge each other to think wider or dig deeper on behalf of the constituents. Having a group of longtime friends, all born within the same generation and with very similar beliefs, makeup the City Council is extremely dangerous —- especially for a small City like Rohnert Park. Councilmembers Adams and Stafford are not up for re-election currently but their friend Joseph T. Callinan is. Adams and Stafford already represent the important lifelong resident voice. Families that are not part of the original Founding Fathers of Rohnert Park and that do not have streets and buildings named after their family name, deserve to have a seat at the table also. Demographics are changing here and it’s time for our City Council to reflect that change. Adams and Stafford have endorsed Callinan’s campaign. They, along with Callinan, have endorsed Mackenzie and newcomer into politics but lifelong resident and friend to the above, Dave Soldavini’s campaign. This circle of friendship-driven endorsements should be a huge red flag to all Rohnert Park voters. Can you imagine having 4 - 5 out of 5 of the same personalities, skin colors and ages represent and make vital decisions on behalf of our entire diverse City? As someone living in District 2, unable to vote for representation until 2022, I urge voters in District 1, 3 and 4 to think about this question and to vote on or before November 3.
Julie M. Royes
Rohnert Park
October 4, 2020

Dear Editor, My name is David Armstrong. I have been a resident of Rohnert Park for 25 years. My business is here, my home is here, and I have raised my family here. I also served on the Rohnert Park Planning Commission for 6 years. I am writing to thank you for supporting Gerard Giudice for Rohnert Park City Council over the incumbent. I know Gerard very well. I have served with him on the Board of Directors for a number of non-profits and no one, in my opinion, does more for our community than Gerard. I have witnessed his leadership and compassion first hand. Gerard was instrumental in helping me raise money for the repair and restoration of The Rohnert Park Friendly City sign and during the Tubbs Fire Gerard opened his facilities in the middle of the night to house and feed those displaced by the fires. He also sponsored a fundraiser for my family after my wife, Erin, had a massive stroke. He offered up his facility on 2 occasions. One so the community could come together and pray for my wife and the other so we could gather and celebrate her survival and recovery. At a time when my world was the most bleak he took the time to reassure me that it was going to be ok and offered any help I needed. Our city faces many challenges. Our current leadership is out of touch. I witnessed gerrymandering of the District maps so those in power could retain their seat. I have been witness to a Public Safety Department that has stepped away from its responsibility. They have stolen from community members and stolen from their own. The city spent over 1 million dollars of our money to bail out bad cops. Personally I was appalled by the insensitive comments made by our Mayor regarding the Transgender community. Joe Callinan referred to these individuals as IT!!! Our current leadership is looking out for themselves not the community they were voted in to take care of and represent. It is time for a change and a new perspective on our city council! One that is based on common decency, intelligence, empathy and compassion. I believe with every fiber of my being that Gerard is the man for the job. Sincerely, David Armstrong
David Armstrong
Rohnert Park
October 3, 2020

Measure S is forever – Vote carefully

Measure S is forever – Vote carefully

The Community Voice

Cotati’s Measure S is a forever tax.  If approved, it never expires and effectively denies you any further opportunity to renew it.  Forever taxes shield councilmembers from voter scrutiny thereby eliminating any pretense of accountability or transparency.

Regardless how you feel about the merits of Measure S, the bigger issue, and the one Cotati councilmembers hope you miss, is whether you will ever again have a reasonable opportunity to voice your approval or disapproval of how the city spends your money.  

The official ballot language says the tax continues “until ended by voters.”  That sounds simple enough, right?  But doing so is no simple matter and certainly not one for the faint of heart.   

Ending a tax by voters requires that you put a measure on the ballot, a complex political and legal process beyond the energy and resources of most.  You will likely need to hire a political consultant to guide you through the process and an attorney to draft the necessary notices and ballot language.  You will spend weeks gathering the signatures needed to qualify the measure for the ballot (a task requiring a small army of volunteers or paid signature gatherers). 

And good for you if you make it that far, but you’re not done.  You still have to run an expensive campaign promoting the measure.  You are up against city hall.  It is a daunting process and the cards are stacked against you.

A forever tax like Measure S is nothing more than the city councils’ attempt to shift onto you the nearly insurmountable burden of repealing a no-longer needed tax.  

Measure S is a renewal of an existing tax.  Cotati councilmembers will tell you that they have managed well your tax dollars under the existing tax and have therefore earned your trust to justify making the tax permanent.   What they won’t tell you is that their management decisions are guided by the knowledge that you will be evaluating their work when voting whether or not to renew the tax.  Your vote keeps them honest.  

Whether or not you support added sales taxes to help pay for municipal services is not the issue.  The issue is whether you are willing to cede for yourself and your children the right to ever review this tax again.  The choice is yours.

Dan Drummond, Executive Director

Sonoma County Taxpayers Association 

Santa Rosa

Dan Drummond, Executive Director Sonoma County Taxpayers Association
Santa Rosa
October 2, 2020

Devoted my life

Devoted my life

The Community Voice

I am a woman who made a great career as a construction and maintenance electrician. I would never have gotten a job in the previously all-male all-white industry without affirmative action. I’ve devoted my life to helping other women achieve success in jobs in the construction trades. Why? Because these union jobs pay wages substantially above what women can make in traditional female careers, decreasing the number of women (and children) in poverty. Women got a foot in the door, but we are still being denied entry to these jobs because of entrenched sexism and racism, especially after affirmative action was made illegal in California by the passage of Proposition 209 in 1996.Proposition 16 on the November 3 ballot will overturn the 1996 law. Right now, only about three percent of construction workers are women. That’s not enough. Women still experience isolation and harassment on the job. Working conditions in construction will not truly improve until discrimination ends, and the numbers of women increase. A YES vote on Proposition 16 will make programs like targeted recruitment for women and minorities possible again, restoring a level playing field for all.

Molly Martin

Santa Rosa

Molly Martin
Santa Rosa
October 2, 2020

Failed to respond

Failed to respond

The Community Voice

I concur with Erin Armstrong’s recent letter.  Candidates for office are obligated to inform the public of their ideas, beliefs and vision for their community.  Failure to do so shows a lack of respect for voters and the City of Rohnert Park which they espouse to love.  Joe Callinan and Dave Soldavini were invited to provide video responses to prepared questions from FAIR-RP.  With arrogance and disrespect, they both failed to respond.  Fortunately for the voters of Rohnert Park, all the other candidates did, and their responses can be found in the Candidate’s Corner at FAIR-RP.org.

Diane Borr

E Section & District 4 resident

Diane Borr
E Section
October 2, 2020

When you care about the community you live in

When you care about the community you live in

The Community Voice

When you care about the youth in your community, you help to fundraise for scholarships, you volunteer in school literacy programs, and you mentor youth when you can.

When you care about the families in your community, you donate to food banks, you help inform those families on resources and you do what you can to make sure that they will not fall through the cracks.

When you care about the community you live in, you check on your neighbors, you monitor how things are going with your local leadership and you try to do what you can to keep your community thriving and safe for everyone.

Because I care for my community, I will be investing in my community by supporting Measure S.

Measure S will ensure that my small investment of just one penny on the dollar will help Cotati continue to provide the basics that our community needs like public safety, improvements to our streets and sidewalks and programs for our children and seniors. 

Join me in caring for our Cotati community and Vote Yes on S. 

Sylvia Lemus

Cotati

Sylvia Lemus
Cotati
October 2, 2020

Don’t be misled

Don’t be misled

The Community Voice

The cuts to city services are not imminent. Measure G does not sunset until 2023. The cuts would happen in 2023 if Measure G is not renewed by that date. The City of Cotati is not telling you that it is changing the Measure to a permanent tax, not one that sunsets in the future. Citizens would have to petition in the future to repeal the tax which requires a lot of extra work for the citizens to do. 

The ballot measure misleadingly focuses on that this measure is for city services. Being a general use tax, the monies from this measure can be used for anything from toilet paper to community development, not just city services.

The public safety cuts are only Cotati police department cuts that would be effective in 2023 if Measure G did not renew then. We citizens also passed recently a special use tax to fund the Rancho Adobe Fire District with Measure W for fire, medical and other public safety services for the Cotati area that are not affected by this measure. 

The City of Cotati put this measure on this election earlier than needed, when voters are suffering financially and emotionally because of the pandemic. The city council and city staff are protecting and locking in their exorbitant salary, benefits and pensions long into perpetuity. Let your voices be heard that now, in the middle a pandemic and economic crisis, is not the time for this permanent measure to pass. There is a better time in the future for such issues to be decided by the voters.

” Vote NO on Measure S.

Rebuttal to Argument for: Don’t be misled by the Argument For statement. facts: We did not come together¦. Measure G in 2014 only won by 6.4 percent (53-47 percent). 

Cotati does not just receive just one cent in sales taxes. The City of Cotati receives one cent 1 percent from their share of the basic state sales tax of 7.5 percent. Plus, the city receives the one cent 1 percent from the add-on sales tax Measure G. That is two cents that the City of Cotati receives on every dollar spent in Cotati. 

The City of Cotati is overly dependent on sales taxes, which affect lower income residents more. Measure G/Measure S is 28 percent of the general fund revenue. The shared state sales tax is another 28 percent. This means that 56 percent of the city’s budget is reliant on sales taxes. Property taxes only consist of 22 percent of the city’s general fund revenues. Staff salaries, benefits and contract work, i.e. code compliance, account for $6,664,003 out of $7,643,875 of the general fund expenses. That’s 87.2 percent of the general fund expenses go to staff, salaries, benefits and contracts, not infrastructure and city services. 

Are your streets maintained? Do you feel safe with 1-2 police officers on duty for a population of 7,500? Local control is taken to the extreme in Cotati, as the city council has a 99 percent unanimous vote record for a decade. Last time a spending agenda item didn’t pass was 2009. 

Take back control of this city and vote no on Measure S. 

Laurie Alderman

Cotati

Laurie Alderman
Cotati
October 2, 2020

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Dellalee
October 1, 2020

Neighbors organized against hunger needs help

Neighbors organized against hunger needs help

The Community Voice

 Neighbors Organized Against Hunger (NOAH) has been supported by the Rohnert Park-Cotati for many years, and in fact me and Isabelle Acconnero represent our club on the NOAH Board of Directors. Some months ago, the board discussed the need to install a small standby generator capable of providing power during power outages to the refrigeration units that house produce and other food items. To accomplish this goal, we first submitted a grant application to the City of Rohnert Park asking that they consider a $5,000 allocation from the Casino monies that are earmarked for non-profit organizations. The city approved our request of $5,000 and we are certainly very thankful for these funds that kick started our effort. This, however, still resulted in a shortfall of funds to complete the project. We then continued with our funding outreach and Rotarian Ken McCoy was able to secure another $5,000 from his company, Petaluma Home Loans/American Pacific Mortgage. 

Our efforts then focused on securing an electrical contractor who would complete the work. I met with Ray Reyff; owner of Reyff Electric based out of Rohnert Park. We had a great discussion of what NOAH"s efforts entailed, our limited funds and the reason behind the generator installation. Mr. Reyff indicated that he would assist us with the project, essentially donating his labor, which is huge! At that time the cost of the project utilizing the casino grant and Petaluma Home Loan/American Pacific Mortgage funds seemed sufficient to cover the project costs. The only item left was the permit fee from the city for the generator installation. It was the NOAH Board's belief that the City of Rohnert Park would be able to assist us with a fee waiver for the project due to the importance of the service we provide to the community. A letter was drafted and provided to the city council asking for the waiver of fees. Unfortunately, the city council did not approve our request to waive the nearly $3,000 fee. This information was brought back to the NOAH Board and while disappointed with the city's action, we decided to fund-raise for the additional $3,000 needed to complete the project.

With this project background provided to you, I am reaching out hoping that some of you would be willing to donate any amount of money to support the project. We would really like to maintain our funding for the purchase of food that supports the community and not be burdened with utilizing $3,000 of funds for the generator permit fee. If you or someone you know can help, please send your donation to:     

NOAH 

Attention Darlene Phillips, President

P.O. Box 2955

Rohnert Park, CA 94927-2955

We are a nonprofit 501(c) (3) ID # 20-2685006 and would be happy to provide you with an acknowledgement of your donation.

Thanks, so much for your consideration.

 Bob Stewart

President Elect 2021-22

Rohnert Park-Cotati Rotary

District 5130

Abuse Prevention

Coordinator

NOAH Vice President

Bob Stewart
September 25, 2020

My duty to watch

My duty to watch

The Community Voice

On Tuesday September 15 I watched, via zoom, the candidate’s forum for Rohnert Park City Council sponsored by FAIR RP. I found it to be quite educational and informative. Although my newly designated district is not voting, I thought it was my civic duty to watch and be informed. Apparently, I was alone in my thinking as two candidates didn’t even bother to respond!! Joe Callinan and Dave Soldavini did not even respond or participate! I find this absolutely appalling!! These two are running to represent our town and they couldn’t be bothered to participate? Really? This is not the type of behavior I want from people representing our town. Joe has already been called to the carpet for his “IT” comment and now he doesn’t even join in a forum to express his ideas on running Rohnert Park. It is time for big changes in our city and I say we start at the top!!! Out with the old and in with the new!

Erin Armstrong

Rohnert Park

Erin Armstrong
Rohnert Park
September 25, 2020

Do miracles

Do miracles

The Community Voice

The Democrats of today act and sound just like the Pharisees, Sadducees and scribes of Jesus time. Jesus healed people and did all kinds of other miracles right before their eyes and they still didn’t believe. They are the blind leading the blind.

There is no comparison between Jesus and Trump of course. Trump has done many good things, like cut taxes, got rid of regulations that are strangling business and wiped out ISIS. He also is building a wall on our southern border to keep out terrorists, gangs and people who aren’t willing to go through the legal process to enter our country.

The democrats don’t want people to be free and to think for themselves. They want government to control us.

We have sought and loved freedom. We rebelled against British control and we will rebel against socialism of any kind. America has been asleep for a long time, lulled by the comforts of material things. But they are waking up because our freedom and rights are being threatened. I don’t care what the polls say about the next election. They were proven wrong in 2016 and will be proven wrong in 2020.

Richard Cole

Rohnert Park

Richard Cole
Rohnert Park
September 18, 2020

In regard to the article ‘Rohnert Park Districts’

In regard to the article ‘Rohnert Park Districts’

The Community Voice

1, 3 & 4 candidate forum," Council Member Joseph T. Callinan and Council Member Jake Mackenzie are listed as incumbents. While it is true that they are councilmembers, they are not incumbents. Since this is the first by-district election in the City of Rohnert Park, there is no one currently elected to the office if Councilmember District 1, Councilmember District 3, or Councilmember District 4 so there are no incumbents. This will also be the case in 2022 when Districts 2 and 5 are up for election.

Elizabeth Machado

Rohnert Park

Elizabeth Machado
Rohnert Park
September 18, 2020

Change!

Change!  

The Community Voice

That's what I am looking for to come out of this election.  No reason to comment on the obvious need for change at the national level.  Let's focus on the local election. 

A year ago, I observed at a Rohnert Park City Council meeting our elected officials spend about an hour debating about lining the new soccer field at Sunrise Park.  Council members spent maybe five minutes talking about the homeless issue.

We need council members who show concern about more than the athletic fields.  We have all the ills that other communities throughout the United States are experiencing homelessness, racial unrest, environmental damage to name a few.

This year citizens are limited to voting for candidates who represent their districts.  Yet, when all is said and done, council members will be making choices for all of us.  And we need to think beyond our districts.

Under the old system, I would be voting for three candidates who have shown interest and action in dealing with the most crucial issues of our time.  I would be promoting a ticket of Jackie Elward, Gerard Giudice and Willy Linares.  

Change will happen only when there are enough new council members to create change.  Elward, Giudice and Linares have exhibited extreme work ethics, determination, independence and commitment to change.

Last week The Community Voice posted a story noting that The League of Women Voters and The Northern California Public Media are sponsoring an opportunity to meet the candidates online at www.facebook.com/lwvsonomacounty/liveon Monday, September 21 between 6:30 and 8 p.m.

Here is a chance to discover why we should elect Jackie Elward, Gerard Giudice and Willy Linares.  Time for change in politics in Rohnert Park.

Lanny Lowery

Rohnert Park

Lanny Lowery
Rohnert Park
September 18, 2020

Cotati is safe

Cotati is safe

The Community Voice

I like the fact that Cotati is safe, independent and has its own local police department with 911 dispatch center instead of being forced to rely on the County Sheriff. I like seeing our parks kept up, and our roads actually being maintained, along with having our own recreation department with programs for our children and seniors. So of course I’d like to see that continue and that’s why I’m voting Yes on S. Knowing that we can keep the good direction we have going in Cotati without raising our current tax rate makes a lot of sense to me, so I’m encouraging my neighbors in Cotati to vote Yes on S."  

Claudia Theis

Cotati

Claudia Theis
Cotati
September 18, 2020

Vote yes on Cotati’s Measure S

Vote yes on Cotati’s Measure S

The Community Voice

For the last six years, Cotatians have enjoyed increased public safety, better roads, improved parks and more recreational opportunities. All of this has been possible as a result of revenue produced by Measure G, a one-cent sales tax that Cotati citizens approved in 2014. Expenditures have included repaving Old Redwood Highway and neighborhood streets, fixing potholes, adding new sidewalks and street trees, resurfacing basketball courts, improving tennis courts, making pedestrian and bicycle safety improvements, installing new water fountains and lighting in parks, purchasing new police vehicles, and funding new positions in the police, recreation, parks maintenance and building departments.

Unfortunately, Measure G ends in three years and the revenue for Cotati with it. In order for this one-cent sales tax revenue to continue, Measure S was placed on this November’s ballot. It will ensure that these funds will be extended past the expiration of Measure G, with no tax increase at all. If you want to continue to enjoy these improvements to Cotati’s safety and quality of life, vote yes on Measure S.

Suzanne Whipple

Cotati

Suzanne Whipple
Cotati
September 18, 2020

Looks like Detroit

Looks like Detroit

The Community Voice

Thanks for all the news provided here. I was wondering the status of the project at State Farm complex. I can’t find any info on the current state of the project any place. It just looks more and more like Detroit over there. Any articles or info would be very appreciated. Thanks so much and keep up the good work. 

Brendan Cooney

Rohnert Park

Brendan Cooney
Rohnert Park
September 11, 2020

Good job

Good job

The Community Voice

Thank you to the group/s responsible for clearing undergrowth, trimming branches, and building the cute log bench along RP expressway pedestrian walkway and the golf course! Such a pleasure to stroll on now...

Good job!!!

Gloria Hafner

Gloria Hafner
September 11, 2020

Candidates raise concern

Candidates raise concern 

The Community Voice

As Rohnert Park enters its first district-based city council election, already actions by half of the candidates raise concerns whether these races will be clean. 

One candidate intentionally placed his campaign sign directly in front of and blocking another candidate’s sign. Social media backlash led the candidate to move his sign. Another candidate made the false statement in a campaign mailer that he “now represent(s)” a district in which he is running. As the city attorney clarified at the August 25 council meeting, current councilmembers are at-large incumbents and do not represent districts. The mailer claim is inaccurate, misleading and confusing for the public. Lastly, a third candidate is using a social media channel to fundraise. There is nothing wrong with that if the candidate complies with campaign finance reporting laws. Unfortunately, key donor information which is required in his fundraising reports is not being collected at the time of the online donation.

Voters demand that all candidates conduct clean, lawful and compliant campaigns. If they don’t, please cast your vote for candidates you believe have integrity, honesty and a willingness to follow the law. Past actions are the best indicator of future performance.

Diane G. Borr

Rohnert Park

Diane G. Borr
Rohnert Park
September 4, 2020

I will be voting

I will be voting

The Community Voice

In 1995, I began teaching at John Reed Elementary and later at Waldo Rohnert. As a 21-year homeowner in A Section and a teacher in the community, I love the diversity here. Some said I should transfer to better schools in the district. Some questioned why I would live in the community where I taught! Leaving is not in my character. One doesn’t walk away from your Community. District 1 can choose who to represent them on the city council come November 3. Willy Linares is the person I will be voting for. He is the voice for District 1 which previously has not been heard. With close community ties to local schools and houses of worship, Willy sees a future for us and will bring a new perspective and voice to a table where we have been marginalized by more affluent neighborhoods. When I set up the Nextdoor page, The Historic A Section, I intentionally included the surrounding apartments. Home ownership is not the sole ticket to participate in the life of our community. Willy will be our voice, no matter where you find yourself living. It is time to get a full picture of our history and community.

Mark Galipeau 

Rohnert Park

Mark Galipeau
Rohnert Park
September 4, 2020

Garbage rates up 20 percent, part two

Garbage rates up 20 percent, part two

The Community Voice

After looking at the proposed garbage rates for Rohnert Park being up 20 percent, I became curious as to what the city council was shown.  I contacted the city and was provided a copy of the council item detailing the proposed rate increase.  

Something seemed odd, so I started to review the information as most of the proposed rates showed a decrease as compared to the average of nine cities; not ten as shown in the R3 rate study commissioned by the city.  I added the City of Sonoma rates back into the proposed rate table consistent with the R3 study, also entering the correct rates for Petaluma.

The actual rate increase for the 32 gallon can amounted to a 19 percent increase, not 2.6 percent as shown in the proposed rate increase table.  I also found that the Novato Sanitary District was listed as one of the cities; odd since that district runs the sanitary sewer system in Novato, not garbage.

After correcting the mistakes/misrepresentations for the 32-gallon can, I saw no need to examine the rates for the other can sizes, suffice to say that the council item appears to be highly inaccurate.

The conclusion here is that the statement in the most recent city newsletter, that the rate is among the lowest around (?) IS NOT ACCURATE.

This appears to support the fleecing of the garbage rate payers particularly in view of the last 20 percent rate increase approved by the city council. 

David Grundman

Rohnert Park

David Grundman
Rohnert Park
September 4, 2020

Henry 1 rescues two

Henry 1 rescues two

The Community Voice

At 8:15 p.m. last night, Aug. 22 two deputies operating the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Helicopter (Henry 1) were dispatched to the fire at Point Rescue. Two Marin County Firefighters were surrounded by the advancing flames and cut off from their escape route. Henry 1 hurriedly flew to the scene and located the firefighters. After making equipment adjustments, Henry 1 flew back to their location. As the pilot hovered above them in the high winds, the Tactical Flight Officer lowered himself to them. He calmly told them what they were going to do. The firefighters were fitted with the extraction equipment and all three were lifted to safety. Thank God. 

Now, if Henry 1 had been defunded and grounded by the Sonoma County Bd. of Supes, Marin fire officials might very well be planning funerals for their two firefighters. Thankfully, the Henry 1 crew was able to respond and make the rescue as they do many times a year. Serving the people. And community and social activists want to defund the SCSD, which would mean losing Henry 1. The saved dollars could go toward their pet projects. Is it worth the possible loss of a life to ground this invaluable tool? 

Anthony Morgan 

Cotati, Ca. 

Anthony Morgan
Cotati, Ca.
August 28, 2020

A case for ranked-choice voting

A case for ranked-choice voting

The Community Voice

SSU M*A*T*H Colloquium, Wednesday, 9 September 2020, 4-5 p.m.

Connect on ZOOM at 3:45 pm using <https://SonomaState.zoom.us/j/93420187349>.

There are many methods of determining the will of an electorate, but the system in widespread use in this country (the “Plurality System”) is just about the worst. Though it has been shown mathematically that there is no perfect system (“Arrow’s Impossibility Theorem”), the family of Ranked-Choice Voting systems have many advantages. We will consider two of these systems: APS (“Average Placement Score”, based on the ideas of Jean Charles de Borda of France) and IRV (“Instant Runoff Voting”, first suggested by Thomas Hare of England). By comparing them thoroughly, we will see why APS is by far the superior RCV method, though both are superior to Plurality.

Rick Luttmann, PhD,

Professor Emeritus of Mathematics, SSU

Rick Luttmann, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Mathematics, SSU
August 28, 2020

THANK YOU!

THANK YOU!  

The Community Voice

 The series of columns entitled “A Teachable Moment”  by Cassandra May Albaugh are so very important especially right now.   We are a country divided ~ the racism that continues to divide and disrespect people who are “the others” is taking us down a rabbit hole into chaos and darkness! We must talk about racism, learn about racism, learn the real history of our country and the immense contributions of all the peoplr who have come here or were brought and finally we must examine our shelves - honestly and seriously - if we are going to come together as a country which honors and protects and supports all of its citizens. And, what Ms. Albaugh’s articles are doing is giving us the information and the parameters around which our soul-searching can occur.

Brava to Ms. Albaugh for so clearly, and simply educating us all!   Bravo to you ~ “Community Voice”  ~ for including her insights and knowledge in your weekly newspaper.

Marjorie Crump-Shears

 Cotati

Marjorie Crump-Shears
Cotati
August 21, 2020

Take a closer look

Take a closer look

The Community Voice

Many people are concerned about the widespread use of mail-in ballots in the upcoming election and are lining up their arguments to blame Trump when things go wrong. But, let's take a closer look at the USPS and how we got here. 

The USPS is a semi-private business that is heavily regulated by Congress. In a press release a week ago, the USPS reported losing $2.2 billion last quarter. The Post Office is meant to be self-sufficient, but it hasn't broken even for years. Total losses since 2007 run to $78 billion according to the GAO, which said that the "USPS's current business model is not financially sustainable." Overall mail volume is dropping, there are more addresses than ever, and walk-in customer visits are falling. 

If you want to watch a Congressman flip out, suggest closing a rural post office in his district. The USPS workforce is organized into seven different unions, which make their influence felt. The sorry result is that Congress has continued to mandate six-day service, but caps price increases on letters and junk mail at the rate of inflation. 

The current debate is over $25 billion for the USPS that is buried in the Democrats' $3.5 trillion corona virus relief bill. Watchdogs have pointed out that the losses have been known for years, so it's not credible to say that the USPS merely needs pandemic relief. If the Democrats are serious about rescuing the Post Office, maybe they can split the funding out into a separate bill and send that up. Instead, they complain to a willing media that Trump wants to undermine the election without telling us what's in the rest of the bill. 

The HEROES Act, HR 6800, is available on the web, all 1,600 pages of it. Read it for yourself and see what non-COVID spending is hidden in the bill. 

Joe Gaffney 

Rohnert Park

Joe Gaffney
Rohnert Park
August 21, 2020

Jehovah’s Witnesses hold “Virtual Conventions"

Jehovah’s Witnesses hold “Virtual Conventions"

The Community Voice 

This summer many of your Northern California readers would have attended Regional conventions of Jehovah's Witnesses at large venues in Fairfield or Sacramento. 

Due to COVID-19, the 2020 "Always Rejoice" Regional Conventions are being held "Virtually". Using web-based video conferencing platforms, Jehovah's Witnesses are enjoying a series of outstanding Bible discussions and dramatizations. Please kindly publish the attached Press Release detailing this important event being held through August 2020.  Please direct your readers to: jw.org for more information. Worldwide we expect an on-line attendance of 14,000,000! 

Alan Mobley

Media Representative

Oakland, Ca.

Alan Mobley
Oakland, Ca.
August 14, 2020

Covid-19 narcs

Covid-19 narcs

The Community Voice

Since March I have been entering Oliver’s with my full-face helmet on instead of a mask. Yesterday I was kicked out stating a full-face helmet is not a mask... ridiculous. Yet people are walking around with masks pulled down to expose the nose or pulled all the way to the chin. The person who booted me was wearing a plastic face shield. The left/right/and bottom of the face are completely exposed. This type of harassment and nonsensical approach makes absolutely no sense and is a double standard.

 A full-face helmet offers far more protection than any of the things I’ve cited. Ridiculous does not even begin to describe the selective enforcement and in the way the acceptable face mask people are wearing them puts everyone at risk of contracting this flu which has killed upon average the yearly normal deaths from flu.

 Also, if they want to have a ridiculous at best system which is posted inside by the way, at the very least he could be polite about it instead of being mask Nazis about it. I for one am fed up with this crap and after yesterday’s interaction I will not be returning to Oliver’s after shopping there almost every day for 16 years. Oh, and FYI my helmet was not an issue from March to the end of July... until someone had a crappy day, which is apparently an excuse to abuse me there, it must be in the company manual.

Ryan Woltering

Cotati, Ca.

Ryan Woltering
Cotati, Ca.
August 14, 2020

Not allowed to serve because of where I choose to live

Not allowed to serve because of where I choose to live

The Community Voice 

I went to the County Registrar Monday to take out papers to run for the Cotati Rohnert Park Unified School District. I have been elected five times before serving twenty years. During that time, we built Multi Use rooms and classrooms for all our schools, added to facilities built our newest middle school all on a bond that spanned that two decades with funds left over. I have concerns and wished to serve our communities and our future.

 It turns out that I cannot run for office for two years because of where I live.  I am not able to serve unless I relocate. I wish to serve now as I am concerned with where the district is headed but I live on the wrong street in the wrong town... so too bad.  I feel like I live in the Colonies and the King does not want to hear from me.  What is more upsetting is that it appears one of the two districts where people can be elected this election has no one running?  Does that mean another election, or we just select someone to serve? No real need for the election process.  

The idea is better representation, but it appears only certain people from certain areas can serve; not anyone who wishes to serve.  The election is not to select a candidate at large to serve all but rather to select whoever lives in XYZ section and if no one runs, well, we don't really need an election to select our representatives. At present two trustees live in the same district and the only other district eligible this election is vacant.  What a system.

I was happy to serve for five terms but now do not know if I can wait two years for another election; could well be too late.  I do not see the advantage and do hope someone who lives in a certain district steps up to run but I worry that now our two cities are further split by North, South, East, West or what side of the tracks we fall upon or choose to be...

Eric Kirchmann

Cotati, Ca.

Eric Kirchmann
Cotati, Ca.
August 14, 2020

Time for Change

Time for Change

 

The Community Voice

 

As the elections are rapidly approaching, my vote is for Jackie Elward for the 4th District City Council member of the City of Rohnert Park. As a twenty-year resident of Rohnert Park, I believe now is the time for positive change and Jackie Elward will bring that change. Jackie is a wife and mother of three beautiful children. She understands what our city needs to move forward in these uncertain times. She works hard and listens to the needs of her district. Jackie brings a fresh energy to the table and is capable of addressing the current issues which is needed to make our city a vibrant community that meets the needs of all its residents. She has a strong voice and solid ideas which will improve the future of Rohnert Park. Subjects like homelessness, housing, the environment, community oversight, a living wage, equity and racial justice are all issues that she holds dear to her heart. Jackie truly cares about people and listens to them even when the conversation becomes uncomfortable. She does not shy away from hard work and will dedicate herself to seeking viable ways to help the community, which is why her philosophy for Rohnert Park’s future is Come, Live, Grow. Jackie wishes that everyone feels welcome in our city so they will put down roots here, raise their families and become part of this vibrant community.  NOW is the time for all of us to come together and bring about the change Rohnert Park desperately needs. Vote for Jackie Elward!

 

Patti Fiske

 

Rohnert Park, Ca

Patti Fiske
Rohnert Park, Ca
August 14, 2020

Valued supporters

Valued supporters

The Community Voice

I wanted to reach out and let you all know that The Living Room will not be able to accept used in-kind donations at this time. We are complying with a laundry list of COVID restrictions issued by the Department of Health and the CDC. This makes it extremely burdensome for us to safely process previously used items. Our focus is on keeping our participants, staff and volunteers safe, as well as, doing our part to curb the pandemic figures in Sonoma County.

In the past, we had the honor of working with a team of volunteers who accepted, sorted and cleaned our donations. Most of those amazing women are not able to volunteer at this time. It is a labor- intensive task even during normal times. Our long-term goal is to possibly open a TLR thrift store and implement a voucher system so that our participants can have access to the items that they need. We also envision using the store as a job-training program further helping some participants achieve independence.

We have been incredibly blessed by your generosity over the years and truly look forward to a time when we can open up this line of donation again in the future. Thank you for your kindness and understanding.

Cindy Pasko,

Executive Director

Santa Rosa, Ca

Cindy Pasko
Santa Rosa, Ca
August 14, 2020

I’m calling on my lawmakers to fund vote-by-mail

I’m calling on my lawmakers to fund vote-by-mail

The Community Voice

COVID-19 is still wreaking havoc on our families, our economy, and our elections, with cases surging across the country. But Congress has the power to intervene right now.

In response to safety concerns and pressure from constituents like me, Congress has passed limited funding to expand absentee voting, online registration and in-person early voting -- but it’s simply not enough.

Without $3.6 billion in total funding for election assistance, voters may not be able to make their voices heard during one of the most important elections of our lifetime. That’s why we need our leaders to prevent a situation where any voter is forced to choose between protecting their health and casting their ballot.

While these policies are critical as we recover from this national crisis, voting reforms like expanding no-excuse absentee voting and online voter registration are common-sense changes that will help voters participate in the political process. Multiple states have already adopted vote-by-mail, and their models could

be implemented across the country. 

When Congress is back in session, it will be up to Mitch McConnell to ensure the bill they pass next must include expanded funding for mail-in voting, more early voting at safe polling places, and other options to make voting possible this November.

If voting by mail is good enough for Donald Trump and others in his cabinet, it should be good enough for all of us. Congress needs to make it possible for every eligible American to vote by mail if they choose to do so.

Michael Rosenbach

Rohnert Park, Ca.

Michael Rosenbach
Rohnert Park, Ca.
August 14, 2020

Garbage rates up 20 percent

Garbage rates up 20 percent

The Community Voice

Garbage rates up 20 percent again.  I contacted Recology about this huge increase wanting to find out about the “study” that supported the increase. Recology did not know anything about the “study” but thought that maybe the city of Rohnert Park did the study.  

After some prodding, I was able to speak to someone who admitted that the city paid for the study (possibly done in secret).  I was able to obtain a copy of that study and disagree with most of the reasoning after all, there was a 20 percent increase when Recology took over. That same person stated that if I did not like the new rate, I was free to haul my own… such an attitude!

Part of the original 20 percent increase was a substantial increase in the franchise fee that the city charges Recology for the exclusive right to operate in the city.  That increase was 12 to 17 percent of the total Recology billings.  This increased the city take by 42 percent that you pay as a hidden tax.  That same 17 percent hidden tax is included in the most recent increase. 

It appears that the city is again fleecing the citizens.  What to do?  An election is coming up and based on the gerrymandering recently done by the council, we need a set of leaders that represent the citizens.

David Grundman

Rohnert Park, Ca.

David Grundman
Rohnert Park, Ca.
August 14, 2020

Walking with dirty feet

Walking with dirty feet

The Community Voice

Your July 17, 2020 issue quoted on page two, "I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet."

That very quote walked through my mind with dirty feet, which generously inspired the response herein. The quote seems to suggest sterilizing the mind by social distancing through blocking communications. 

Science now shows that the soil microbiome creates more fertility than sterile soil, and analogously we might fertilize our minds with the "dirt" of others to achieve more wisdom, whether aligned or opposite.

Similar to a vaccine creating immunity through dirty infection, that quote generates awakened attention to a potentially divisive, polarizing concept.

2020 is a year for 20-20 vision in all directions, not a year to stop truly hearing all perspectives.

Do let everyone (even that politician) walk through our minds with their dirty feet. Then mindfully harvest that dirt for golden nuggets of insight, even if only a tiny fraction (parts per million) of the whole. Harvest the mineral content and compost the biomass for broader and deeper perspectives and simultaneously hold all viewpoints in an open mind.

The soil type and DNA fragments in the dirt tell any detective where that person has been. Creating a better Earth arises from truly seeing the perspective of all others, rather than shutting them out. Understand your worst villain. Improving the behavior of a person likely begins by first understanding where they have been and their sufferings and fears.

We are all idiot-savants: genius, ignorant, reactive, and blind in varying aspects. Even the homeless person sleeping on the sidewalk is likely to hold a few nuggets of wisdom that are completely unknown to Nobel Prize laureats.

Finally "sanitize" (re-balance) one's mind after the dirty footprints by skeptical ("critical") thinking with non-reactive, attentive mindfulness, and remember that we don't solidly know anything. We must always gamble on the most likely "fact" while remaining open to new data that can shift probabilities.

In summary, I would change the quote to, "Listen to everyone and do not mindlessly believe anyone."

Alan Friedman

Rohnert Park

Alan Friedman
Rohnert Park
August 7, 2020

Regarding Caruso letter

Regarding Caruso letter

The Community Voice

Your article about a great dad really touched me. I’m a 79-year-old dad and grandpa .

i was an only child. My dad got drafted into the Navy about the time I was born. My dad and mom were on their way to a divorce at the time. My mom had to be committed to Napa State Hospital. Shortly after I was born. Her father died. It was all too much for her. I presume growing up I was told that my mom had died but when I was 18 I enlisted in the Navy and my grandmother told me the truth about my mom. It was a shock> I went to visit her at Napa State Hospital. We were like strangers-she didn’t know me and I didn’t know her. I had a good home with my grandparents.

My dad got out of the Navy in 1945 and married again to a wonderful woman named Roberta. They asked me to come and live with them in Astoria, Oregon.Roberts and I hit if off almost immediately- from then on I had a true mom. 

About 1948 my dad got drafted into the Navy for the Korean War. In 1950 my stepmom, Roberta, divorced my dad. (He wasn’t supporting us). I didn’t understand it at 10-years-old. So I was back staying with my grandparents. I only lived with my dad one more year (another marriage). I refused to move again and I wanted to finish school in San Rafael. My dad was always good to me but for a what ever reason I resented him. He was not a real father to me. Thank God for his parents, my grandparents. They came through for me.

I understand your dad. He was a dedicated responsible father. He took his job seriously as a parent. I understand that too. 

I have five children, three boys and two girls. When they were two and a half  to seven years old their mom and I separated. I moved out to live with a friend of mine parents who were staunch Southern Baptists. I live there for three or four months and through their prayers, love and good advice I dedicated my life to the Lord. I was very worried about my children and I didn’t know what to do but pray to Good for them. 

Well god came through with flying colors. My wife called me and told me he was leaving and I needed to take over the house and kids in a week. Three days later she called and said, “I left come over after work and take over. For the next 10 years I made my top  priority the children. If I hadn’t had God with me I never would have survived. We fathers learn as we go along as we are dedicated and listen.

Richard Cole

Rohnert Park

Richard Cole
Rohnert Park
August 7, 2020

Redistricting

Redistricting

The Community Voice 

The Constitution has several provisions which bear on this. 

A. Article I, section II.  "Representatives … shall be apportioned among the several States … by the whole number of free persons [in such State]." 

B. Fourteenth Amendment, section II.  "Representatives shall be apportioned according to … the whole number of persons in each State ...  But when the right to vote at any election … is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such state … [who are] citizens of the United States … the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens … in such State."  (The word "male" was effectively deleted by the Nineteenth Amendment.)  This was intended to be further impetus that former slaves should be able to vote.  So far as I am aware, such a reduction has never actually taken place – possibly because it is difficult to determine the number of people who have been disenfranchised.

 The Fourteenth Amendment and many Federal laws deal with the citizens of states and other laws deal with all of the inhabitants of states.  Since states generally have alien inhabitants (legal or not) who are not allowed to vote, as well as citizens who are, it would be appropriate for any census to question whether or not a particular inhabitant is a citizen.  It seems obvious, as the Fourteenth Amendment provides, that the number of representatives to Congress from any state should relate to the number of citizens able to vote in such state.  Which makes the recent decision of the Supreme Court dealing with such census not very sensible.

Robert A. Saunders 

Rohnert Park

Robert A. Saunders
Rohnert Park
August 7, 2020

Do not open schools

Do not open schools

The Community Voice

Do not open schools.  Common sense, science, daily news reports make it clear that opening schools is deadly.

No one should be playing Russian Roulette with children’s lives.  I am not speaking on behalf of teachers; I did that during my career in education.  I am not speaking on behalf of parents, but I did when my children were in school.   I am speaking to say simply:  “Opening schools will be deadly.”

We need real leaders to stand up and take the heat.  Let’s begin with the county superintendent and let’s follow with each of the forty superintendents in Sonoma County.  Let’s hear from every administrator from every school, now.  Don’t wait to see how the political winds are blowing.  Opening schools will be deadly.

One former Sonoma County superintendent now in the San Diego area said that he will open the schools just as soon as he’s allowed to.  Everyone needs to think for himself, not act because he is allowed to.  Opening schools will be deadly.

When I was a child in the mid 1950s, the responsible adults protected children from polio by closing things down.  They knew that opening public facilities would be deadly.

Local leaders need to stand up to the absurd and deadly position of the CDC.  Come on administrators stop looking over your shoulders.  Speak out now.  Opening schools will be deadly.

Lanny Lowery

Rohnert Park

Lanny Lowery
Rohnert Park
July 31, 2020

Clear and evident

Clear and evident

The Community Voice

Thank you for moving the Sudoku puzzle.  It's much easier to complete when not on the fold.

Also, thank you for printing Nick Strats's letter.  It's important to hear each other's views.  Mr. Strats is absolutely correct that we all feel entitled to the rights expressed in our Declaration of Independence. Though taught that all men created equal is a self evident truth we probably took pause when first heard,  " . . . but some . . . are more equal than others."   Most would agree that Mr. Strats's suggestion has merit, but unfortunately history  shows (and each ethnic group could sight many examples) that working hard, even cooperation, seldom quells prejudice and bigotry. I am sorry he feels victimized, that his accomplishments are under appreciated and that this movement is a personal attack. I totally agree that no one should feel this way.  No one.

Acknowledging flaws in a system and seeking change is progress and is meant to benefit everyone.  Denying the existence of needed change simply means one has not had the same experiences, perhaps exposes a sheltered existence, but definitely offers no benefit to anyone. Any mother would be saddened if her offspring thought the way to intentionally offend a group was to choose a term representing women. Daughters would be incredibly hurt by such hateful, yet revealing rhetoric.  I have heard you, Mr. Strats. Your insults are clear and  your prejudices are evident. 

Kathie Servente

Rohnert Park

Kathie Servente
Rohnert Park
July 31, 2020

We need peace officers

We need peace officers

The Community Voice

I’m 97 years old and I’ve been protesting war my entire life. I belong to Grandmothers for Peace. I’ve been arrested several times at the School of the Americas in Fort Benning, GA where the U.S. trains international assassins. We need a Department of Peace, not a Department of War (they call it Defense now) and we need to divest from war. War (including Homeland Security etc.) costs us taxpayers $1.25 trillion a year. Just think what we could do with that much money applied to infrastructure, education, transportation, healthcare, a guaranteed income.

Now our police forces have been militarized and the war is against us, the citizens. We need peace officers, not police officers. They should be there to help people. Their job should be to protect and preserve life more than property. They must stop killing civilians.I don’t believe the police should have guns, but if they do, we need better police oversight. The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors is considering citizen’s recommendations to strengthen oversight of law enforcement. If they don't have the guts to stand up to the sheriff and police, they should put the Evelyn Cheatham IOLERO Ordinance on the ballot.

Corine Thornton

Rohnert Park

Corine Thornton
Rohnert Park
July 31, 2020

Aren't we clever?

Aren't we clever?

The Community Voice

Some legislators seem to think that people should be happy to pay $12 per therm for electric heat energy instead of the exorbitant $2 per therm for natural gas heat energy.  It only costs six times as much to cook your dinner or dry your clothes using electricity as it does with gas.  What a bargain!  If you want to heat your house with electricity rather than gas, you can pungle up several thousand dollars for a heat pump -- and then it only costs twice as much to use electricity as it does to use gas.  And, when the sun goes down, and the wind stops, where does the electricity come from?  From power plants in Nevada.  (They burn coal.)

Robert A. Saunders 

Rohnert Park

Robert A. Saunders
Rohnert Park
July 24, 2020

Not familiar with signs

Not familiar with signs

The Community Voice

In "Results of Cotati resident survey revealed" (https://www.thecommunityvoice.com/article/Results-of-Cotati-resident-survey-revealed)

Paul Matli wrote: "Countywide pools jumped up much higher than were estimated, Wayfair-Online retail reported new taxes. Community members in the open session pointed out the amount of Wayfair signs in Cotati and larger than projected point of sale activity from local merchants."

I'm not familiar with the Wayfair signs, could this be a typo? I tend to block out advertising, so perhaps I just have not noticed them.

The video outline for the meeting at

https://cotaticityca.iqm2.com/Citizens/SplitView.aspx?Mode=Video&MeetingID=2172&Format=Agenda

says 

" Reasons for higher than budgeted revenue are due to:

As higher contributions from county pools for online sales,

As larger sales in Food and Drug related to increased grocery and cannabis

As increased building and constriction due to tenant/housing improvements "

Is the mention of Wayfair somehow be a typo about Mercy Wellness?

I'm just curious...

Christopher Brooks

Cotati

Christopher Brooks
Cotati
July 24, 2020

Weak and riddled

Weak and riddled

The Community Voice

Ah, yes, of course our local newspaper couldn't go without throwing their two cents into the fad topic of 'privilege'. Just like the increasingly popular word racism. Two words used by those who are too weak and riddled with expectations in life, hell bent at pointing the finger at anyone but themselves and their own shortcomings. Yup, white males have it SO much better. They don't have to worry about excessive use of force after disregarding and combating police commands or seeking a proper education to not only provide for their family but also their community. No, we white males are incredibly privileged. 

Spare this liberal community any additional fuel to the estrogen-rich fire that is BLM and 'white privilege'. Instead, consider spending your time teaching others to roll their sleeves up and get to work.

Nick Strats

Cotati

Nick Strats
Cotati
July 24, 2020

This is an issue of basic equity

This is an issue of basic equity

The Community Voice

During this uncertain and destabilizing time, I have watched with growing alarm as school districts across LA County propose drastic cuts to arts education programs. While there is no doubt that the economic devastation caused by COVID-19 is forcing leaders to make difficult decisions, I take this opportunity to remind our school board members that California education code legally requires every student to have access to arts education.

Additionally, multiple studies show that arts education increases student engagement, their sense of connection, average daily attendance rates, and thus graduation rates. This cannot be overlooked as distance learning fuels an “engagement crisis” and drop-out rates spike across the state. Evidence shows that students with arts ed are: 

Five times less likely to drop out of school,

Four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement and

Three times more likely to earn a bachelor's degree. 

This is an issue of basic equity. We know low-income students and students of color face the greatest barriers to the high quality arts instruction they deserve. And, because the creative sector generates one in 10 jobs in the SoCal region, cutting funding for these essential programs will negatively impact an entire generation of students preparing to enter California’s workforce.

If we fail to recognize the importance of arts education, we fail our children. We must invest in the arts programs that will ensure students have the tools they need to thrive. Do not cut arts education funding when our children need it most.

Sita Geroux

Santa Rosa

Sita Geroux
Santa Rosa
July 17, 2020

False claims against mail-in ballots

False claims against mail-in ballots

The Community Voice

Do you know who's voting by mail this election? Donald Trump. And do you know who's making it harder for everyone else in the country to vote by mail in the middle of a global pandemic? That's right -- Donald Trump. 

He and other White House officials have gone on record with false claims against mail-in voting, even though it’s one of the safest options for us to cast our ballots as the country recovers from this pandemic.

In the face of Trump’s hypocrisy, I expect Congress to do the right thing and provide both economic relief and expanded funding for no-excuse absentee voting, early voting and other options to make voting safer this November. These are all common-sense reforms that a vast majority of Americans support and changes that would help increase voter participation during and after this crisis.

Even though Congress allocated some funds to help states implement these voting reforms, without an additional $3.6 billion in election assistance funding, some voters may not be able to make their voices heard during one of the most important elections of our lifetime.

We must prevent a situation where voters are forced to choose between protecting their health and casting a ballot -- no matter what Trump says. 

Congress has the ability to act right now and we need to make sure our representatives know that anything less than immediate action is unacceptable.

Sandra Henshaw

Santa Rosa

Sandra Henshaw
Santa Rosa
July 17, 2020

America’s history is being hi-jacked

America’s history is being hi-jacked 

The Community Voice

We, the American Patriots, need to stand firm against anarchy, lawlessness and terrorism.  We've been infiltrated by homegrown subversionists for generations, taking control of our public schools and universities of higher brain-washing.

America's history is being hi-jacked from within and outside our borders.  We must defend our ramparts of this great country or we will lose our history and freedoms.

This lawlessness is no different than homegrown terrorist Jihadists who will destroy property and human life.  Their strategies are diabolical, creating socialist groups, divisions and shouting death threats to those who don't subscribe to their ideology.

Victory to them is conquering western culture and defeating the free market of ideas and individualism.  These gangsters who are on our streets are also in the deepest recesses of our government.  But right now we are holding our own and we can overcome this onslaught of tyranny in our home land.

Will we lose the greatest country in the world or will we preserve the greatness of America?

Lino Zamacona

Rohnert Park

Lino Zamacona
Rohnert Park
July 17, 2020

No effect on people

No effect on people

The Community Voice

There is a remarkable degree of ignorance about cell phones and their possible radiation effects, especially, it seems, about 5G. It is a fact that cell phone radiation has no effect whatever on people.   Some experiments have been done on animals, which have shown slight effects from radiation which is hundreds of thousands of times stronger than that used for cell phones.  Towers for 5G phones will emit less radiation than those for 4G -- because the towers are closer together and, since the intensity of radiation at a point within a tower's coverage range decreases as the square of the distance, less power is needed.  Because it is closer to you, you get more radiation from the cell phone in your pocket (which contacts the nearest tower from time to time so that the tower knows how to direct incoming calls) than you get from standing under a tower all day.

Robert Saunders

Rohnert Park

Robert Saunders
Rohnert Park
July 17, 2020

What's wrong with the RP City Council?

The Community Voice

 

In a word, hypocrisy.

 

All bluster, no action. Or, as they say in Texas, "all hat and no cattle".

 

This week's Community Voice had side-by-side stories on the front page:

 

"RP City Council condemns racism." Oh, very nice, but so easy to be glib.

 

"RP City Council turns down money from $1-billion state fund to build low-income housing." And they probably don't see the connection to the racism they just condemned.

 

Rick Luttmann

 

Rohnert Park

Rick Luttmann
Rohnert Park
July 10, 2020

Will Congress provide more relief?

The Community Voice

 

COVID-19 is wreaking havoc on our families, our economy and our elections. But Congress has the power to intervene right now.

 

In response to safety concerns and pressure from constituents like me, Congress has already passed limited funds to expand absentee voting, online registration and in-person early voting, but it’s simply not enough.

 

Without $4 billion in total funding for election assistance, voters may not be able to make their voices heard during one of the most important elections of our lifetime. We need our leaders to prevent a situation where any voter is forced to choose between protecting their health and casting their ballot.

 

While these policies are critical as we recover from this national crisis, voting reforms like expanding no-excuse absentee voting and online voter registration are common-sense changes that will help voters participate in the political process. Multiple states have already adopted vote-by-mail and their models could be implemented across the country. 

 

I expect Congress to provide more economic relief, but the next bill also needs to include expanded funding for mail-in voting, more early voting at safe polling places, and other options to make voting as safe as possible this November.

 

If voting by mail is good enough for Donald Trump, it should be good enough for all of us. Congress needs to make it possible for every eligible American to vote by mail if they choose to do so.

 

Nicholas Lenchner

 

Santa Rosa

Nicholas Lenchner
Santa Rosa
July 10, 2020

Real information

The Community Voice

 

Now THAT is the way to “spell it out”!!!!   BRAVA to Cassandra May Albaugh and BRAVO to “The Community Voice”!   More people need to read, hear, take note and internalize the information in this article.  Keep the thoughtful, real information coming!!!   MORE!  MORE!   PLEASE!!!!

 

Marjorie Crump-Shears

 

Cotati

Marjorie Crump-Shears
Cotati
July 10, 2020

Decipher state rules

The Community Voice

 

As a long-time high school teacher and resident of Sonoma County, I would like to share a perspective. Teachers and Administration have been meeting since June to try to decipher the state rules about re-opening schools. Parents want their kids to go back to school and teachers want to meet in person with their students but, the current conditions make me wonder what is best for all of us.

 

The state has clarified that school districts can make decisions regarding how to deliver instruction based on what is best for their teachers and their students. I wanted to give parents of high schoolers a glimpse of what "going back in person" might look like and to say that I do not think this is the best way to deliver instruction because of the almost certain disruptions to schedules and programs forced by illness of kids and teachers (even if not Covid, anyone with a fever will be turned away.) 

 

I would also like to say that teachers have spent a lot of time reconfiguring what distance learning looks like. This will not be a repeat of the spring placeholder used for the emergency that Covid 19 created. There will be accountability and attendance and student involvement directed by teachers who have learned a lot in the last few months! 

 

Going back to school in person will require all the same parameters that have been put in place by restaurants, gyms etc. but imagine what that looks like with 1,300 students on one campus: 

 

 Hallways will have to be unidirectional to allow for social distancing (who will patrol it?)

 

 Classrooms will need desks (typically about 6" behind one another) 6 feet apart with more room if the teacher is to walk between. This means less than half the usual occupancy. 

 

In order to have only half the school present at a time you have to cut the amount of time on task by half. Students will not be on campus from 8-3 so this may not help parents who need daycare.

 

 Masks will have to be provided and worn by both teachers and students making communication difficult.

 

 Classrooms will have to be cleaned between classes (more time off from teaching) and hand sanitizer will have to be purchased, provided and refilled often. 

 

 Students will need to stay in cohorts for ease of tracing when one gets sick. That means students may not get to be with friends during school. 

 

 Lunches will be supervised in classrooms to prevent mingling in the hallways and bathrooms trips chaperoned! 

 

And the main point for parents who think this will let them go back to normal:

 

If any student gets sick, all other students, the teacher and anyone else who contacts that student (family and friends) will have to be self-quarantined for two weeks. Who will continue teaching? A substitute? There are not enough substitutes in the county to handle this.

 

Given all the risks involved, I believe the best path forward is to continue to prepare fantastic rigorous distance learning programs to support student growth and to provide safety for all concerned including families who do not want their students to bring Covid home with their homework!

 

The current trend of increased cases of Covid-19, and the governor pulling back on re-opening seems to say we are not ready to try in person instruction. Most people I know simply want an answer they can count on ASAP. It seems the only path we can count on is to stay with distance learning and wait out the virus through the fall. 

 

When you think abut sending kids back to a school where they are sequestered in groups, monitored all day for behavior (social distance, wear your mask) and their teachers have to stay away talking at them through a mask, does that really sound better than distance learning?

 

Lee Boyes

 

Rohnert Park

Lee Boyes
Rohnert Park
July 10, 2020

Dear RP Council

The Community Voice

 

 I have been a RP resident for 22 years. I own a business here. My daughter was born here and attends school here. I have won the Sonoma County Spirit Award for community involvement and contribute back every chance we get so the following comes from a place of respect and love for our city.

 

 In over two decades of celebrating the 4th of July here, this was the most difficult I have witnessed. I watched a blatant lack of caring with both legal and illegal fireworks going off from "W" to "H" sections and from Snyder to the casino. I saw explosions over the open spaces behind "G" and "F" sections as well as over the unincorporated areas on Mountain View and Petaluma Hill near SSU. 

 

I am sure public safety was in high gear but it wasn't enough. It has to stop and in order for this to stop, we need to put an end to firework booths in Rohnert Park.   Exactly, why do you need fireworks to be sold in RP? It can't be because it symbolizes patriotism for the masses. We have a flag flying in front of our house 365 days a year. You can hang banners. You can post on social media. We could have easily had a parade. There were several televised displays on TV. I understand this year many were cancelled and that brought out illegal fireworks all over the bay area but most of those areas also ban regular sales as well from the start.

 

 It can't be because it is an effective fundraiser. I have personally manned booths over the years for the EXL Program at Hahn, the Education Foundation (when I was on the board), and for The Piranhas. It is a money maker but at a 50/50 split with the firework companies. It is also a huge commitment of time setting up, selling and taking down on a daily basis. I am not saying it doesn't help our local schools, sport teams and organizations because it does. But what if that wasn't an option? Do you think individuals and families wouldn't still financially support their kids and groups? Our youngest goes to Credo and we as a family "Pledge" a certain amount each year to help with materials and programs. "Dine and Donate" fundraisers happen all over town almost on a weekly basis and I know they would increase as another option. Small and large businesses can increase their sponsorships. I know we would. There are all alternatives is all I am saying.

 

What about the stress it causes in the neighborhood? Every year, we get to clean up projectiles in our yard from blocks over. We get to sweep the street and hose down the scorch marks left by the previous night's festivities. We get to man our hoses just in case a stray comes flying over the fence or onto the roof. Sales start days before so we get to hear them for days before and days after. What about the stress it causes the animals and people around us? I know we are not the only ones trying to keep our animals calm for hours. Is any thought given to the people this affects as well? There are a fair number of veterans that have come back with PTSD and this is a night of hell for them. What about folks with a Developmental Disability? People with Autism are very sensitive to sensory overload and loud noises. What about young children or the elderly? There are so many that either don't have a voice or feel their voice won't be heard.

 

 Last night was it for me. My daughter and I walked around the neighborhood and watched irresponsibility at its finest. Large crowds, no masks, not social distancing, drinking beer with one hand and lighting off fireworks with the other. Most of which started well before dusk and lasted well after midnight. We were evacuated in 2017 from our home and almost relived it again in 2019. What would it have taken to level a neighborhood this year? An illegal Roman candle brought in from out of state that sets a neighbor's fence on fire or a legally purchased "fountain" purchased to support youth sports that ignites the overhanging tree by accident? Here is a better question - does it really matter and why are we risking it?

 

Kenneth Schrier

 

Cotati, Ca.

Kenneth Schrier
Cotati, Ca.
July 10, 2020

Distressed about tower

The Community Voice

 

We are longtime tax-paying residents of Cotati writing to say that we are distressed about the 5G tower that just went up in our neighborhood on Old Redwood Highway. While all the scientific evidence is not absolutely conclusive, it does seem that 5G towers are linked to some cancers. Moreover, many people report that when a 5G tower goes up near them they have adverse reactions and serious health issues.

 

Several studies suggest that prolonged exposure to radio frequency electromagnetic fields could increase the risk for cells to be damaged, a possible cause of cancer. The World health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) published a paper that pointed to this risk to the public.

 

We feel that it’s better to be safe than sorry. 5G towers are said to increase the speed of the Internet, but speed isn’t everything. They are not worth the risk. An AT&T employee who recently visited our property to check on our lines said that fiber is the way to go, not 5G. He sounded sensible and he wasn’t trying to sell us anything.

 

In some places, 5G towers have lowered property values for the simple reason that people don’t want to live near them and be exposed to their emissions. Also, we were never informed about installation of the 5G tower across the street from us. The company has tried to hide it, bit it is still an eyesore. We hope that the Rohnert Park/Cotati community educates itself about the potential health hazards associated with 5G. The life you save might be your own. The health you protect might belong to you, your family members, friends and neighbors.

 

Thora G. Lares

 

Karin A Larex

 

Cotati

Thora G. Lares, Karin A Larex
Cotati
July 10, 2020

Feeling sympathy

The Community Voice

 

While waiting for a washer to become available at the laundromat, I walked along the shaded storefronts,  glancing at a book I had brought along.  Soon the sounds of a mother and two young boys called on my attention.  As the two children, maybe two to four years old, created a game out of touching the door of a currently closed business and then circling back, the mother shouted at them to stop.

 

Soon I noticed I felt sympathy for this woman, doing all she knew how to do to keep the sons from bothering businesses and other people. Having worked with children as a mentor and teacher, I attempted to console her and help her find a more effective approach with the boys.  "Hard work taking care of them," I said.  Then a few minutes later, "seems like the more you tell them to stop, the more they do it."  "It depends on your tone of voice," she responded.  I also made eye contact with the boys and reflected back their spark of playfulness.  

 

"What good can I do?" I thought.  "We are each in our own world.  And now with social distancing and masks, there is even less of a chance that unfamiliar faces can connect and influence each other."  A moment later, however, inside the laundromat a man was talking to the woman, remarking how much energy these boys showed.  Soon her sons were circling the laundry carts inside with bits of laughter and smiles as this calm woman happily watched them and spoke to the man, or took care of drying the laundry. 

 

For whatever effect I may or may not have had on easing this family's situation, despite my fears of a difficult confrontation, I was glad I reached out.  I was reminded of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,s words.  "A man dies when he refuses to stand up for that which is right. A man dies when he refuses to stand up for justice. A man dies when he refuses to take a stand for that which is true."  I believe the same is true for a woman. Whenever we do share our voice with those we know or with strangers, there is a risk that it will not go as we had hoped.   I also value quiet time.  I also believe in keeping our opinions to ourselves when we are in a very angry or stressed state of mind. Yet more is needed than remaining silent and doing our own thing, if we want to create a healthier world.  Reach out!

 

Rocky W. Nash

 

Cotati, Ca.

Rocky W. Nash
Cotati, Ca.
July 3, 2020

If you call 911

The Community Voice

 

Dr. Glen Mollete (column in your newspaper, June 19,2020) isn’t even local to Sonoma County.   He hails from Kentucky where EMT Breonna Taylor lived and died, shot by police while she was sleeping.   

 

He begins with the sentence "If you have to call 911 in an emergency you are typically glad when a policeman shows up”.   In those words he completely ignores the real life experiences of black and brown communities who keep telling us that the mostly white police are NOT friendly when they show up to a 911 call in their community.  Often the police have been acting as an occupying force in their communities, constantly on the lookout for minor infractions and always assuming guilt before innocence.

 

He echoes that assumption of guilt by exhaustively listing all the ways he imagines anyone can avoid confrontations with the police.  It’s insulting to the citizens who have been killed by police overreach, including Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Philando Castie, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, Andy Lopez, Jeremiah Chass, and many, many more.  He assumes, without baldly stating so, that minor infractions of the law and fearful reactions from citizens merit summary execution.

 

Please publish an apology to your community for amplifying his ignorant message in Sonoma County, where most people want their community to equitably recognize and respect people of all colors and all kinds of experiences. 

 

Carol Kraemer

 

Windsor, Ca.

Carol Kraemer
Windsor, Ca.
July 3, 2020

Looking for 49er staff

The Community Voice

 

We just read the letter from Sarah Knapp looking for the grooming staff from the now closed 49er Pet since there was no contact information, I was wondering if you you could pass along our information to her.

 

We have opened a new grooming salon called Wags at 135 Southwest Blvd., Rohnert Park, You may call us at 707-243-3133.

 

Cyndi Tumminia

 

Rohnert Park

Cyndi Tumminia
Rohnert Park
July 3, 2020

Writing in response

The Community Voice

 

I am writing in response to a letter by Molinaro, Northey and Rzevicido about their guilt feelings for their "white privilege". I will simply point out what should be obvious to any fair minded person: If it is legal to discriminate against a given race that race is not privileged. Under existing Supreme Court decisions, e.g. United Steelworkers v Webster (1979) 443 U. S. 193, it is legal for employers to discriminate against white people. In view of this legal fact claims of "white privilege" should be viewed as the vicious and invidious lie that such claims really are.

 

John Hudson

 

Ben Lomond

John Hudson
Ben Lomond
July 3, 2020

Protesters topple statue of St. Serra

The Community Voice

 

Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on protesters who destroyed statues of Saint Junípero Serra:

 

Smashing statues of American icons is all the rage among urban barbarians. Ignorant of history, they are destroying statues of those who were among the most enlightened persons of their time. This includes Father Junípero Serra. The 18th century missionary fought hard for the rights of Indians, and was rightfully canonized by Pope Francis in 2015.

 

A statue of Saint Serra was toppled in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park on June 19, and the next day another statue of the legendary priest was torn down at Placita Olvera in Los Angeles. Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles, who is also president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, singled out Saint Serra for his compassion and his effort to establish rights for Indians and women.

 

In 2015, I published a booklet, "The Noble Legacy of Father Serra," that detailed his many accomplishments. In light of the attacks on him, it is worth recalling some of his heroics.

 

Serra got along well with the Indians. His goal, and that of the Franciscan missionaries whom he led, was not to conquer the Indians—it was to make them good Christians. The missionaries granted the Indians rights and respected their human dignity, quite unlike the condition of black slaves. The Indians were taught how buy animals and were allowed to keep their bounty. Women were taught spinning, knitting ad sewing.

 

The Archbishop Gomez is right to point out that Serra fought for the rights of women, as well. It was the missionaries who sought to protect Indian women from the spanish colonizers. The Friars segragated the young girls and women from being sexually exploited. When such offenses occurred, Serra and his fello priests quickly condemned them.

 

A total of 21 missions were established by the Franciscans, nine of them under the tenure of Serra; he personally founded six missions. He baptized more than 6,000 Indians and confirmed over 5,000; some 100,000 were baptized overall during the mission eriod.

 

If the truth were told about Saint Serra, he would be heralded as a friend of the Indians, not as their enemu. But truth matters little to those whose hearts are full of hatred and whose minds are closed to reality.

 

The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights 

 

New York

The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights
New York
July 3, 2020

Correcting Lowery’s letter

Correcting Lowery’s letter

The Community Voice

Last week in Lanny Lowery’s letter to “Letters to The Voice” he wrote about the naming of a facility or field after a person who has contributed to our community. One example was the Callinan Recreation Center, he stated was named after the city founder Pete Callinan, even though Pete Callinan was very prominent figure in Rohnert Park during those days, the founders were Paul Golis and Maurice Fredricks.

Marion Ackerman

Rohnert Park

Marion Ackerman
Rohnert Park
June 12, 2020

Tobacco has doubled down

Tobacco has doubled down

The Community Voice

May 31 marks the 32nd annual World No Tobacco Day, a global public health campaign led by the World Health Organization (WHO) to expose the deadly tactics of the tobacco industry, the impacts of the tobacco epidemic it drives, and offer solutions for people to claim their right to healthy lungs and lives.

As the world's eyes are on the COVID-19 pandemic, we can't lose sight of another deadly global epidemic: Each year, tobacco kills eight million people globally. Almost a half-million of those deaths are in the U.S.

This epidemic is driven by the tobacco industry, which seeks to profit off the sale of addictive and deadly products. In fact, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Big tobacco has doubled down on its time-tested tactics: marketing its products to young people and interfering in public policymaking. The industry is using aggressive public relations campaigning to position itself to profit from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Luckily, the world has a powerful tool to curb big tobacco's power: The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), also known as the global tobacco treaty.

The U.S. has yet to ratify that treaty, but state and local governments can still use the guidelines in the WHO FCTC, which is one essential way to counter the devastating impact of COVID-19 and future respiratory-related pandemics and save millions of people's lives from the effects of tobacco use.

Our elected officials must look past big tobacco's publicity stunts and enact policies in line with the global need for strong corporate accountability measures that save lives.

On World No Tobacco Day, I'm calling on our elected officials to take steps to stop big tobacco's marketing to youth, reject tobacco industry interference in policymaking and make big tobacco pay for its abuses.

Nicholas Lenchner

Santa Rosa

Nicholas Lenchner
Santa Rosa
June 5, 2020

Dear Trustees

Dear Trustees

The Community Voice

Last week the Community Voice reported that a public hearing was held for the naming of Rancho Cotate's new theater.  For the past twelve months former students and teachers have followed the process the district has outlined for naming a facility or field after someone. 

Students from four decades of the high school's history have submitted testimonials that demonstrate that the theater should be named after long time drama and literature teacher James Pitt.  These testimonials speak to the many hours that Mr. Pitt devoted to his students and his actors and his abilities to produce quality shows in less than favorable circumstances.  

Beyond that, the letters reveal how Mr. Pitt was a pioneer in providing inclusivity for all students.  He created a safe environment for diversity of all types.  He modeled what we should all be doing in these days of health and social crises.  

No one at the hearing spoke against naming the theater after Mr. Pitt.  However, one trustee suggested that the theater name should be sold to some corporation.  These possible one time monies might add a few thousand dollars to the district.

One of the problems in our society is basing everything on economics.  We need to remember people who have contributed to our community.  That's why we renamed the Snyder Lane Middle after Officer Friendly, Larry Jones, or the Callinan Recreation Center after city founder Pete Callinan.  Perhaps, the trustee who wants to sell the name of the theater would like to lead the community in renaming the middle school Nike or the recreation center Walmart.

Financial crises come and go.  Meantime, children and grandchildren can remember or learn about a city founder or a police officer who involved himself in the lives of young people.  And now they can learn about a man who devoted himself to young people through teaching, drama, and safe netting.

I look forward to the school board voting five to zero in favor of naming The James Pitt Theater on Tuesday, June 9th.

Lanny Lowery

Rohnert Park

Lanny Lowery
Rohnert Park
June 5, 2020

We might act in lifesaving way

We might act in lifesaving way

The Community Voice 

This is a time of unparalleled discord. We are rightly horrified by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. We are legitimately frustrated by a pandemic that has threatened lives and livelihoods in unprecedented magnitude. We sympathize with protests, but like most others we cannot comprehend or condone violent attacks on fellow citizens and their property.

Through it all, first responders have bravely dealt with disease, unrest and violence. That group of heroes includes news reporters: men and women who arrive at the front lines armed with pens, tablets and smartphones, who rush to dangerous scenes so we might know what's at risk, what choices we have and what resources are accessible. They deserve the same kind of respect and protection against harassment and harm that we afford police, fire and health workers.

I've been an eyewitness as head of the 400-member California News Publishers Association. Reporters are parked at the scene gathering the news, risking infection and bodily harm, and filtering fact from fiction so that we might act in lifesaving ways for our good and the good of all our neighbors.

This work of gathering news and telling stories is less dramatic, perhaps, than a medic caring for a coronavirus patient in ICU or a fireman racing to the fire. But it is no less impactful. For journalists are the conduit for informed engagement, which is the lifeblood of our democracy. From their pens come the impetus that moves entire populations to think, to decide, to act.

To fully understand the import of such service, we need only visit the stories in our local news outlets filed by correspondents in harm's way. These aren't just first drafts of history. They are the transcripts of the warnings, dreads, pleas and consolations that inform communities and provide the raw material for both decision-making and community resolve.

What makes these drafts so powerful is their honesty in the face of tragedy. It is the work of first responders trained in truth-telling, plying

their skills to inject our understanding with facts so that we can more ably ward off fears from the unknown and the unfounded.

The point is that news outlets -- and the reporters who have braved their way into the places where virus spreads and chaos erupts -- are critical to public safety and community well-being. Indeed, their stories are the proof points that inform and instigate our engagement in the resolution to problems ranging from systemic racism to economic hardship.

During these times, it is vital that communities continue to have access to the type of authoritative information that journalists provide. They must be protected from violence while engaging in newsgathering activities. Additionally, to the extent public officials decide that curfew orders are necessary to protect public safety, the media must be designated as essential and specifically exempt from these orders.

At this moment in time, we pray that the work of journalists in California will be the catalyst that augurs for recognition of our biases and a meaningful effort to change them.

Chuck Champion 

President and CEO of the Sacramento-based California News Publishers Association.

Chuck Champion
June 5, 2020

A message from Mayor Tom Schwedhelm

A message from Mayor Tom Schwedhelm

The Community Voice

On behalf of the entire city council, I wanted to reach out to our community. Santa Rosa has dealt with a number of challenging and tragic situations in the past few years. Adding to that is now the senseless tragedy in Minneapolis that cost Mr. Floyd his life which is difficult to come to grips with. While it happened across the country – the anger and frustration it causes is felt deeply here in our community like many others around the country. I, along with other Santa Rosans are struggling with what we saw and how to express our anger and grief.

Gathering together to voice our concerns is an absolute right that the City of Santa Rosa supports and protects. What we cannot tolerate is when that right turns into unlawful acts of violence and destruction of our community. I fully support Chief Navarro and the women and men of the Santa Rosa Police Department for actions they took to protect our community last night (protesters). We are better than the criminal behavior that was displayed by some who remained in the downtown long after the peaceful protesters left.

I want to remind everyone that in the midst of this critical time of grief and call for change, we are also addressing the public health emergency. A Shelter in Place Order is still in effect and, while we respect people’s right to peacefully assemble, I must also emphasize how important it is to stay home as much as possible to continue to protect each other from the deadly coronavirus.

Finally, I would like to acknowledge and thank the many community members and business owners who were spotted early today around downtown voluntarily cleaning up from the damage and destruction of last night. We see you and we appreciate you – those actions are among the very things that make this community so strong.

Be well and stay safe,

Tom Schwedhelm, 

Mayor of Santa Rosa

Tom Schwedhelm
Santa Rosa
June 5, 2020

Fair and honest elections

Fair and honest elections

The Community Voice

I think we can all agree elections have consequences. How elections are conducted are a big part of those consequences. Fair and honest elections should be everyone’s goal, regardless of candidate or issue. In just a few months, Rohnert Park will have it’s first District Election so that the city can be in compliance with state election laws. The map dividing Rohnert Park into five districts and the sequencing for which districts will vote (some in 2020, others in 2022) have received over fifty-five (55) public comments in opposition and zero in favor since accepted by the city council in February. 

At the last council meeting, Councilman Mackenzie and Councilwoman Belforte finally responded to all of the 55+ public comments of concern and the alternative plan offered by the citizens. They have requested an opportunity to discuss and respond to the comments and the alternative proposal be put on the next council agenda. 

Mayor Callinan and council members Adams and Stafford clearly would prefer not to consider the concerns of their constituents and just move on with the plan that protects them as incumbents. Unfortunately, few residents in Rohnert Park are paying attention or understand the significant changes that are being made to our city’s governance.

 As the editor of The Community Voice, I encourage you to do some follow-up articles regarding Rohnert Park’s transition to district elections to help educate the public so they can make informed decisions. 

Bonnie L Black

Rohnert Park

Bonnie L Black
Rohnert Park
May 29, 2020

Nothing gets done

Nothing gets done

The Community Voice

I have watched in complete disbelief as the Rohnert Park City Council has completely and deliberately (over the past five months) ignored the input of our residents with regards to District Elections to the benefit of their personal political agendas. 

Communities of interest in our newly formed first and fifth district have unanimously voiced their desire to see district five sequenced in the upcoming election only to be ignored by a council more interested in blocking the one council member who has truly represented our Latino population, Gina Belforte. 

The council has violated the spirit of AB 849, they have completely ignored our General Plan section on Environmental Justice and are not in compliance with SB 1000. The entire west side of our community is a classified as a Disadvantaged Community but that does not concern the majority of the council. 

The map they selected has been gerrymandered to be sure, with three of the council members living within 1,000 feet of each other.

There is a larger concern here, that being the welfare, safety and integrity of our community. At today’s council meeting I was in disbelief by the councils’ response to a recent survey in which 1,700 of our residents responded. Here are some of the conditions in our town:

1. 1.000 citizens could not make their water bill payment, what was done…NOTHING

2. 29 percent of our citizens said they were in need of mental health services, what was the response……..NOTHING

3. 35 percent of our citizens indicated that they did not understand how to negotiate their unemployment benefits………the response…………NOTHING

Saying you care and love this town is a very different thing from showing through actions, actions committed to the benefit and well being of our residents. Now is not the time for political gain. It is time to roll our sleeves up, help our residents with their hard-earned tax dollars and do the right thing.

Gerard Giudice

Rohnert Park

Gerard Giudice
Rohnert Park
May 29, 2020

Serious endeavor

Serious endeavor

The Community Voice

I don't know if the letter (Friday, 5/22/2020) submitted by one Jake Pickering of Arcata was a serious endeavor or meant to be a bit of humor. Either way the letter was inappropriate. If Mr. Pickering detests President Trump he has every right to do so. He is exercising his first Amendment Right to Free Speech as your call taker said to me on Friday. That is true. And it is also within your right to print it even if it goes against common sense and proper decorum. 

There are a number of people who dislike Trump and write letters to various papers. For the most part they are well-written and backed up by their core beliefs or feelings. I may disagree with the content but they have made a decent effort to explain their feelings and thoughts. Now, I did not like Obama and I wrote letters to the editor explaining my beliefs. I kept it civil. If I had used a list of adjectives to demean him the content of my letters would have immediately labeled me a racist, a nut job etc. and probably never printed.

I believe that you should not have printed Mr. Pickering's letter in the paper. Especially when we are all trying to get back on our feet and on a weekend honoring all the men and women who sacrificed their lives in defense of our Rights, including the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights, Mr. Pickering.

Anthony Morgan

Cotati, Ca.

Anthony Morgan
Cotati, Ca.
May 29, 2020

People using big words

People using big words

The Community Voice

Recently, there have been some pretty big words thrown around in Rohnert Park as the city transitions to district elections. Fraud, abuse of power, Brown Act violations, gerrymandering, conflict of interest and cronyism, to name a few. 

Throw those words in with the fact that the Covid-19 situation has deprived the public of certain inalienable rights it possesses living in a democracy. The public is unable to speak to the council in person on the record and instead must have their comments read by someone who trips on words and leaves some words out entirely.

 Recall and referendum procedures are impossible because they require face-to-face interaction, which is currently restricted and very unsafe.r

The city council could adopt a collaborative approach and respond to its citizens to defuse many of these big words. They could listen to the unopposed 55+ public comments they have received about district elections and course correct. It is not too late, and I sincerely hope they will do what they were elected to do and put the public's best interests ahead of their own.

Diane Borr

Rohnert Park

Diane Borr
Rohnert Park
May 29, 2020

Get to it sooner or later

Get to it sooner or later

The Community Voice

Is staying at home boring or otherwise is stressful.  Think about all of the times you said ‘ll get around to someday.  Well, someday has arrived.  Make a list and see what you can do with it.  If children are at home wait until “school is out”, recess is over and then get the whole family involved in one of those ‘round-to-its’.

For me with the fires still fresh in my mind and the way insurance companies/government etc. treated the victims, I found that it would be a good idea to produce a detailed inventory of the house, something the insurance companies demanded. 

The advantage of doing this is to have the inventory in case of a loss like a fire or burglary.  A side advantage was the fact that you now have the opportunity to sort through things, donate/give away or throw away “stuff” that you don’t want or need.

Make two or more copies of your inventory, keep one at home and the other(s) at another location such as a safe deposit box or out of state trusted person.  

A word of caution:  someone else may get the idea that it would also be a good time to paint!

David Grundman

Rohnert Park, Ca.

David Grundman
Rohnert Park, Ca.
May 29, 2020

Benedict Donald

Benedict Donald

The Community Voice

Vladimir Putin’s psychotic servant Benedict Donald is not only the worst president in American history, traitor Trump is so demented he actually claims the assassinated Abraham Lincoln had it easy compared to delusional Donald Trump!

As embarrassingly low as deranged Donald’s I.Q. is, even a mindless moron like Trump knows honest Abe Lincoln would definitely be a Democrat today were Lincoln still alive. (Lincoln was from Illinois after all.)

Vote blue no matter who says honest Abe who would have been shocked at the sad sight of racist, right-wing Republican Party terrorist troglodytes flying Confederate flags in Michigan while illegally threatening elected officials with assault weapons.

And speaking of elected Democrats under assault, several prominent Democratic politicians were recently subjected to multiple failed assassination attempts by an insane Trump fanatic from Florida whose mail bombs failed as completely as traitor Trump’s pathological presidency has failed. 

Joe Biden for president, folks.

Jake Pickering 

Arcata, Ca.

Jake Pickering
Arcata, Ca.
May 22, 2020

Thank you

Thank you

The Community Voice

On behalf of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), I’d like to thank all those who work in nursing facilities -- doctors, nurses, food preparers, housekeepers, and others -- for their unwavering dedication to compassionately caring for the vulnerable residents who are relying on them during the COVID-19 pandemic.

These facilities have been on the front lines of the pandemic, and our hearts are with all of those who have been affected by this virus and their families.

We at CMS share the goal of keeping nursing facility residents safe and healthy. Under President Trump’s leadership, we are using CMS’s regulatory authority to facilitate residents’ care and ensure that long-term care facilities have the guidance they need to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The best thing nursing facilities can do to keep residents and themselves safe is to ensure they’re following effective infection-control practices. These are outlined in our guidance and include recommendations that employees wash their hands properly; separate ill residents from well residents; use personal protective equipment correctly; get screened for illness; and stay home if they’re sick.

By employing effective infection control and prevention, coordinating with local and state health authorities, and showing patience and kindness to others, we can beat the virus, reopen America, and keep our nursing home residents safe and healthy.

Seema Verma

Administrator, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Washington, D.C.  

Seema Verma
Washington, D.C.
May 22, 2020

Refreshing to see

Refreshing to see

The Community Voice

I find that Friar Tuck's safe based movies are to be congratulated on thinking outside the box in these times. It was refreshing to see an article which highlighted working within the rules to lighten the emotional toll of these times.

I would think the Cotati Police Department would be fully supportive of such moves rather than the free for all conditions in places like Wisconsin. To say it isn't fair is to say that building a better mousetrap should be punished.

Michael Schwarz

Rohnert Park

Michael Schwarz
Rohnert Park
May 22, 2020

Council’s handling of elections

Council’s handling of elections

The Community Voice

In February 2020, a new group of citizens was formed called FAIR-RP (Fair and Inclusive Representation in Rohnert Park) in response to the city council’s handling of the change from at-large elections to by-district elections. Their enactment of a gerrymandered map of districts does not provide fair and inclusive representation for all citizens, especially for the Latino community, ensures they do not have to run against each other in the Nov. election and unnecessarily kicks one well-respected member of the council. If you would like more information (and there is plenty of it) please contact Chris Borr 

Spokesperson for FAIR-RP 

707-849-5046

Spokesperson for FAIR-RP
May 15, 2020

Mental health issue

Mental health issue

The Community Voice

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been talking to many of my friends who are 15-20 years old in regards to their situation with COVID-19. Most of them just gave me a typical answer, but a few mention their mental health issue. So that got me to wonder about mental health issues during this time. Of course, I headed to the internet to do some research about this issue and found some interesting reports both presented by mainstream media, scholars such as professors and government officials. What I found made me believe that mental health is increasing in the United States and for the people that are impacted by mental health, it's giving worst for them. 

As a person who had friends impacted by this situation it is hard to comprehend what they are going through and scary to know that you cannot help because you are miles away or social distancing. And yes there are "faces calls" but it's hard to read their reaction or hear them if their wifi is bad. I want everyone to be happy but I know that's not the case, so I try my best to make that the case. It's something I have been fighting for all of my life. 

Now here where you guys come in. This topic is barely hitting the surface of media and I feel like my way of helping this situation is to put light on it. To inform people that it is possible for their mental health to increase in a negative course of action, not only as of right now but over time and into the future. Speaking on the solution to keep stress down and ways to cope positivity without a quick and easy dopamine releaser will help with people's mental health. And for the people who are already impacted, just allow them to get the information they need to contact people during this time (Civic bodies/intuitions).

The last thing to leave you with is a narrative base report, it might be the best way to approach it and ending the article on giving out the information.

Thank you for your time.

Zach Hendry

CSU Monterey Bay student

Zach Hendry
CSU Monterey Bay
May 15, 2020

Officers losing lives due to the virus

Officers losing lives due to the virus

The Community Voice

I am an EMT graduate living in Sonoma County. I’ve started a petition in honor of fallen Santa Rosa Police detective Marylou Armer, the first Ca. peace officer to lose their life due to COVID 19. Many people are upset with how Marylou’s health care was handled when she put her life on the line. I have her family’s full support going forward and the petition has been in the Press Democrat, KSRO and ABC10. I have 7,000+ signatures on the road to more. This death was negligent and preventable. Our first responders deserve better. I would like to know if this is something you can give your attention to in order to make a statewide policy for now and in the future. 

I went to EMT vocational school, I have worked as a first responder and I know the risks that are taken every time you go to a call. I was so angry when I found out that she was denied testing multiple times when athletes or the wealthy with no symptoms managed to get tests. 

This should be a no brainer. First responders of all fields risk their lives and choose to put themselves at risk so it’s the least we can do to make sure they are taken care of. 

It shouldn’t be up to individual health care policies and the state needs to make a blanket policy to protect those who protect us. 

I did not meet Marylou but I know several people in the department and it hit them hard. I work with domestic violence and human trafficking victims and it sent shockwaves through that community... they all loved her and she was their advocate when everyone else gave up. She gave them a voice.... I am going to keep pushing this petition so this doesn’t happen again.

I am in regular contact with Marylou’s sister and this petition has the family’s full support. http://www.change.org/ArmerLaw

A first responder

Rohnert Park

A first responder
Rohnert Park
May 15, 2020

Working even in dangerous times

Working even in dangerous times

The Community Voice

I am proud to represent postal workers. During this Coronavirus pandemic the frontline coworkers continue t go to work every day even in these dangerous times, to serve the people who rely on us.

The public Postal Service receives no tax dollars, running its operations solely on postal revenue. The pandemic’s economic impact has resulted in a massive drop in mail volume and a fifty percent reduction in revenue. Without urgent funding, the postal Service will run out of money this summer, ending our ability to deliver for you with life-saving medications, Social Security checks, packages, vital health information and other important communication.

Thus far Congress has provided $3 trillion in combined “stimulus” money, including $1 trillion in bailouts for private companies. Yet bi-partisan Congressional efforts to provide real financial relief to your public Postal Service were shamefully stopped by this administration and Treasurer Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

I know the public greatly appreciations and supports the postal service. Please contact your Congressional representatives and urge them to fight for the relief the postal service needs to survive. Postal workers want to continue our mission of binding the country together and providing universal service at reasonable rates to every home and business.

Valerie Schropp

Present of Redwood Empire Area 

Local Am. Postal Workers’ Union, AFL-CIO

Valerie Schropp
May 8, 2020

Not within jurisdiction

Not within jurisdiction

The Community Voice

It was never the RAFD's responsibility to cite anyone within city limits and enforce Cotati's weed abatement ordinance.  I know because I attended many board meetings where I asked for clarification and they assured me that high weeds inside Cotati were not within their jurisdiction and they were helpless to address the problem. They urged me to take my concerns back to the City of Cotati.   They also claimed they had no money to bail Cotati out of it's weed abatement responsibilities.   I got the runaround for ten years.  

Must the city continue to lie about the facts?  Since 2009, nobody at city hall addressed my vocal concerns and the fact that for over ten years the city refused to enforce its OWN weed abatement laws endangering thousands of Cotati citizens and businesses.  Often, city officials smiled or laughed under their breath that they could care less about public safety and town pride.  This is yet another black eye on Cotati and another creative propaganda cover up of monumental proportions.  

Mayor Skillman is most happy when the city is not doing its job, taking credit where it is not due and sending out fake press releases like this one.  

George Barich

Former Cotati City Council Member

George Barich
May 8, 2020

Recommending CDC

Recommending CDC

The Community Voice

I am wondering why Dr. Sundari and the Sonoma County Health Dept. is requesting that masks be worn at all times when an occupant is outdoors. For the five years that I worked at Chevron Corporation headquarters in San Francisco, the nurses including myself always went to the CDC handbook for updates relative to foreign travel. Whenever I travel to a foreign country I go to the CDC website in Atlanta, Georgia for knowledge relative to required immunizations and info regarding diseases and safety., The current guidelines at the CDC headquarters does not recommend face masks at all times. A common sense approach is to wear a facial mask when inside a business or establishment. 

My last comment is a recommendation to re-open our beautiful parks even if only for limited times like Florida is re-opening its beaches.

Eunice Edgington

Retired R.N.

Eunice Edgington
April 24, 2020

All levels of government come together

All levels of government come together

The Community Voice

Our community faces unprecedented challenges as the coronavirus pandemic forces us to pause our normal lives.

Families grapple with economic uncertainty as businesses shut down and workers stay home to slow the spread. Parents experience the challenge of home-schooling kids. And there is widespread fear about what infection could mean to loved ones. Sadly, our county recently suffered its first coronavirus deaths.

That’s why it’s so important that all levels of government come together to address the pandemic and its impact on public health and our economy. It is something people across our state are already doing by social distancing and sheltering in place. Early indicators suggest California’s efforts to slow the spread of the virus in this way are working. We’re encouraged by what we see.

But we cannot let up. State and federal governments are working to help doctors and hospitals to deal with any surge in COVID-19 patients. We’re investing in more beds and equipment as well as testing to get a better handle on how the virus is being transmitted.

Rohnert Park, Cotati and local groups have kicked in, encouraging continued self-isolation to prevent more people from becoming ill. Donation drives have generated supplies of much-needed personal protective equipment such as masks, which will soon be required to be in public. People are donating blood. And school campuses, which are closed until at least summer, are transitioning to online instruction. 

Fortunately, the state has been prudent in years past with its own finances and has set aside rainy day funds for emergencies like this. Gov. Gavin Newsom and the state Legislature are now devoting those resources to this crisis. 

In addition to safeguarding public health, much attention is focused on the economic fallout. A federal stimulus program supported by our own congressional representative, Mike Thompson, is expected to put checks in the hands of all working Americans. Unemployment benefits have been streamlined to help people who lost jobs. A number of small business loans and grants are now available to help small companies weather closures.

Other welcome measures from Gov. Newsom include suspending all evictions of people who are out of work and cannot pay their rent. The DMV is extending the deadline to renew licenses and registrations for 60 days. In addition, an extension is now in place for filing state income taxes and resources are available to help impacted businesses and workers. 

Local government is the backbone of emergency response. We’re heartened by the resilience of city and county agencies as they continue to provide services such as police and fire fighting -- despite the enormous new financial burden. The state needs to continue to support local agencies, providing immediate assistance and resources on the long road to recovery.

Of course, we all must do our part though isolation and social distancing. Stay apart to stay together. This is especially important for people over 65 or those who are medically vulnerable. Staying in place is effective locally as the number of COVID cases remain relatively low so far.  This helps us to stay within the capacity of our critical health services. As always, follow official health guidance including frequent handwashing. If you become ill, call your doctor for advice before going to a hospital or medical office. It is now recommended that you wear face coverings whenever you are accessing essential services.

Make no mistake – this is a time of hardship. But if we follow the advice of medical experts and limit public contact, we will get through it. Rohnert Park and Cotati have  weathered fires, floods and earthquakes, and we’ll get through this too, as we always have – together. 

 

Sen. Bill Dodd, Mayor Joseph T. Callinan and Mayor Wendy Skillman 

 

Senator Bill Dodd represents the 3rd Senate District, which includes all or portions of Napa, Solano, Yolo, Sonoma, Contra Costa, and Sacramento counties. 

 

Mayor Callinan was elected to the Rohnert Park City Council in 2008.

 

Mayor Skillman was elected to the Cotati City Council in 2012.

Sen. Bill Dodd, Mayor Joseph T. Callinan and Mayor Wendy Skillman
April 17, 2020

Thank you Rohnert Park!

Thank you Rohnert Park!

The Community Voice

The entire Board of Directors of NOAH (neighbors organized against hunger) and all of their

volunteers want to thank the Rohnert Park police and fire department for the outstanding job

they did of collecting the much needed food items within our community and donating it all to NOAH.

It was done in such a way that everyone was able to participate at the same time. They were also able to put smiles on our children’s faces and adults too, with a wonderful Easter bunny visit.

These generous donations will help NOAH fulfill their mission of helping those in need!

I don’t think I need to remind anyone of what a wonderful caring community we live in.

Our thanks again to our great police/fire department. To the Rohnert Park Council members and City staff and of course to everyone in our community.

We truly could not do this without your help

 

Darlene Phillips

NOAH Board President

Darlene Phillips
April 17, 2020

A small percentage

A small percentage

The Community Voice

What good do face masks do when you are touching door handles all day long? And have you seen Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence and politicians who are pushing the lockdown agenda wearing face masks? Is this a "do as I say, not do as I do" scenario? 

People have got to take back their towns, open their stores and get back to work. What did the paper say? 99.999 percent of the American people don't have Coronavirus. A small percentage of fear mongers are controlling the current debate.

 

Ron Lowe

Nevada City, Ca.

Ron Lowe
Nevada City, Ca.
April 10, 2020

People are the problem, not guns

People are the problem, not guns

The Community Voice

Guns are an object activated by a human being, before one more gun control law is made, someone needs to sit down and look at every law concerning guns. They need to get rid of the confusing laws and any law that is repeiitious. After that law enforcement needs to start enforcing the law. When i was a child almost every house had guns.

A rifle in the bedroom closet or in back of the door or a pistol in the top drawer of the dresser. Some had unlocked gun cabinets.

We kids knew they were there. We never thought of touching them. What has happened to our society? Is it because the families are falling apart? Too much alcohol and drugs? Liberal teaching in the schools? Even liberal teaching in the church.

Luckily we have an organization named the National Rife Association whose sole purpose is to protect and educate the American gun owners.

What foolishness the gun control advocates are trying to sell this American public. Who is going to have a gun when all guns are confiscated? You guessed it, only the criminals. Now what sense does it make to take away honest law abiding citizens guns?

The news media needs to start reading the American Rifleman, specifically the article, ?The Armed Citizen.” Then they’d have something good to report.

Richard Cole

Rohnert Park

Richard Cole
Rohnert Park
April 3, 2020

Re: Thomas D. Elias

Re: Thomas D. Elias

The Community Voice

Your readers are not all liberal Democrats and blurring biased as Thomas D. Elias appears.

Some of us are: Republicans, Libertarians, Democrats and Independents.

Shame on you Mr. Shah for allowing such ugly bias in a community that is so very diverse in many ways. Leave bias political views out of “The Community voice.” We deserve better from you, Elias and your newspaper. We would have sent this letter to “Letters to the Voice” if we thought our voices would be heard… maybe next time.

Citizens of Cotati and Rohnert Park

Citizens of Cotati and Rohnert Park
Cotati and Rohnert Park
March 27, 2020

Americans tend to overreact

Americans tend to overreact

The Community Voice

As Covid-19 advances, there is much scientists and doctors do not yet understand. Infection produces widely varying responses. Some people have no symptoms but can still transmit the virus to others. A majority of people suffer only mild respiratory distress. Others become severely sick, with flu-like aches and high fever and pneumonia. You can’t sugar coat this virus. 

Americans tend to overreact to such disruptions; protected by our oceans and relative affluence we expect to be exempt from problems affecting places like China and Italy. Now we face a mindless invader thousands of times smaller than a grain of sand—one that knows no national boundaries. Covid-19 will test our strength, our social cohesion, and our leaders.

 

Ron Lowe 

Nevada City, Ca.

Ron Lowe
Nevada City, CA
March 20, 2020

Writes interesting story

Writes interesting story

The Community Voice

Julie Ann Soukoulis, writes wonderful stories of interest in the Health, Body, Mind, Spirit section.  I have picked up copies of the Community Voice at the Rohnert Park library.  In particular, two weeks ago she wrote, "Wonder What it's Like to Lose your Senses."  I'm 67 years old, and don't crave anything other than one piece at See's Candy.  Used to like pizza - not anymore. Kudos to Julie, writing something we can all relate to.

Irene Kay

Santa Rosa

Irene Kay
Santa Rosa, Ca.
March 13, 2020

Homes for All: Ending the Epidemic of Homelessness By Nathalia Alvarado and Tasia Henderson Graduate Students at the University of Southern California Students of Dr.Kratz Visualize this picture: You and your four-year-old child are living in a one-bedroom apartment. The rent has increased and now you cannot afford to pay for this month’s rent. The landlord has kicked you and your child out, you are now homeless, and seeking shelter. Unfortunately, all the family shelters are full. According to the U.S Census of 2019, there were 2,951 homeless individuals in the city of Santa Rosa, California. You and your child are now part of that statistic. There are unaccompanied children, adults, and families experiencing homelessness every night in Santa Rosa. Our city streets and trails have become a common place to rest. Our local shelters consist of poor conditions, are filled to maximum capacity, and our waiting lists for Burbank as well as other affordable housings have all become tediously long. Santa Rosa is one of four cities in the United States that holds the highest rate of unsheltered homelessness individuals. Of the 2,951 individuals found homeless, 1,957 were found unsheltered. Unsheltered is defined as living on the streets, in cars, or couch surfing. When this population was surveyed for the Sonoma County 2019 Homeless Report, they were asked if they would like to live in their own permanent housing and 89% of this population answered ‘Yes’. Every individual and family deserves to have access to a place they can call home. A home is where memories are built, traditions are made, and where people feel most comfortable as well as safe. Housing should not be considered a privilege, but should be a human right. Individuals should not be condemned to living on city streets due to having experienced unfortunate events in their lifetime. To limit the amount of homelessness in Santa Rosa, there needs to be access to more affordable housing. H. R. 5244: “Homes for All Act”, was introduced by politician Ilhan Omar in November of 2019. This bill intends to establish new units for public housing and private market affordable housing. Section 3 of the bill has proposed to build 9,500,00 publicly owned dwelling units over the course of 10 years. Along with these dwellings, there will be a program embedded to make sure that these units will be built in locations that provide access to public transportation and hold the highest environmental standard, while minimizing energy costs. Additionally, it will provide supportive services that will assist individuals with healthcare, employment, education, childcare, and financial literacy. Section 4 of the bill has proposed to build 2,500,000 private market affordable housing units over the course of 10 years and will embed the same program that looks at location and accessibility, environmental standards and supportive services. We are advocating for H. R. 5244: “Homes for All Act” of 2019 to become a bill. This bill has the potential to aid the shortage of affordable housing in Santa Rosa and within the country. Supporting this bill indicates that 12,000,000 publicly owned and private affordable housing units will be built over the course of 10 years. Imagine the impact this would have across the country. This would eliminate visible homelessness, loitering, and the amount of overcrowded shelters. This would positively impact individuals and families by giving them access to a warm, stable, and a safe space where they can thrive. By supporting this bill, you would be part of a movement to create solutions to put an end to the homeless epidemic, and ensure homes for all!
Tasia Robles Henderson
Rohnert Park
March 11, 2020

I was disappointed on February 25 when, after hearing several of us speak about the importance of allowing voters to have a voice, I watched the Rohnert Park City Council vote three to two to use redistricting and election sequencing to prevent Gina Belforte from running for re-election in 2020. No matter how you look at it, this is wrong. Voters, not other City Council members, have the right and responsibility to elect their representatives.
Holly Neal
Rohnert Park
February 29, 2020

Wake up all you decent people

Wake up all you decent people

The Community Voice

What is this country coming to? Attacking the president of the United States like this. What happened to manners and decency? Two years and millions of dollars spent on an investigation that fund nothing. It seems to me their evidence was bogus to start with. The news media should be ashamed all this fake news. No one is going to listen to the news media pretty soon and they are going to be out of business. Newspapers are being taken over by liberals and they are going out of business already.

America is slowly waking up. They elected Trump, a complete outsider. They are seeing through the lies of the liberals and socialists. In the end it will be the truth that shines brightly. It is a shame that all lies will do a lot of unnecessary damage in the meantime.

As Americans, we have the greatest country in the world. We need to always be honest and seek the truth. There is nothing gained by lies and deceit. It poisons the soul.

It is hard for people who were brought up in the 1940s and 1950s to understand why so many people these days want to rid this country of patriotism, God and religion, (mainly Christianity). This attitude is just plain evil.

I know we can’t go back to how it was in the past, but things need to be thought out in decent, honest terms. If we follow the good path things will turn out right.

All this opposition by the Democrats, socialists and liberals is getting our country no where.

The democrats are wasting time and our tax dollars. They aren’t doing what they’re being paid to do-serving the people. We only have one alternative. That is to vote against them in the next election.

Richard Cole

Rohnert Park

Richard Cole
Rohnert Park
February 28, 2020

“THE MARXIST MESSIAH” Democratic primary voters, please do not throw away your vote on multi-millionaire Marxist Messiah hypocrite Bernie Sanders. Vermont’s Senator Sanders would be a disaster as the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate in 2020, which would only assure a 2nd term for deranged Donald Trump against all odds. We cannot afford to roll the dice in November. The political stakes are far too high for that this year. Are we American adults actually supposed to buy into Bernie’s B.S. that he has supposedly turned over a new leaf and is now a so-called “democratic socialist”, whatever that’s supposed to mean? The fact that revolutionary Marxist socialist Eugene Debs is Bernie Sanders’ professed personal hero says otherwise, folks. First and foremost, Sanders is now and always has been a Marxist socialist. There is no question about it. Why do you think that foolish, far-Left communist caricature publicly calls for revolution constantly? Bernie is no Michael Harrington, that’s for sure. Sanders is a Marxist socialist of the old school, Soviet Stalinist variety. If Sanders is really a “democratic socialist” as he falsely claims, then why is there so much publicly available videotaped documentation of pro-Soviet Senator Sanders proudly and passionately praising anti-American, totalitarian communist dictatorships? Would you care to answer that simple unavoidable question, Bernie Bros? (No, I didn’t think so.) As the vast majority of Americans over the age of 40 are already well aware, the political label “democratic socialism” is basically nonsensical and is every bit the contradiction in terms that the oxymoronic phrases “military intelligence”, “business ethics” or “Stalinist variety” are. Socialism is NOT democratic! Get a clue, Bernie crew. Socialism is now and has always been fundamentally anti-democratic. Read Karl Marx sometime, if you don’t believe me. Bernie Sanders obviously has read and worshipped Karl Marx extensively, which explains Sanders’ personal political history. Sincerely, Jake Pickering Arcata, CA, USA Mailing Address: P.O. Box 3050 Eureka, CA 95502, USA Phone Number: (707) 683-6285
Jake Pickering
Arcata, CA
February 25, 2020

Coursey is a leader

Coursey is a leader

The Community Voice

Elected officials quickly learn that Job One is to win re-election, which demands large campaign donations. The longer in office, the more a politician irrevocably gets bought by the rich and quits listening to the people. Case in point: Shirlee Zane’s list of rich donors. This contamination shows up as callousness, witness Zane’s throwing county staffers under the bus for failing to solve homelessness and shirking the permit fee required for campaign signage. By contrast, former Mayor of Santa Rosa Chris Coursey capably led our city’s emergency response to the October 2017 fires, coordinating with city, county, state and federal agencies and leading the adoption of our Resilient Cities Ordinance. Coursey devoted an entire Saturday morning to astutely listening at an innovator’s conference on affordable future transit solutions for Sonoma County and the Bay Area. Please vote for the fair-minded, good listener Chris Coursey.

Brien A. Seeley M.D.

Santa Rosa, Ca. 

Brien A. Seeley M.D.
Santa Rosa, Ca.
February 21, 2020

The Diet of Lent Dear Editor: February 26th marks the beginning of Lent, the period leading up to Easter, when devout Christians abstain from animal foods in remembrance of Jesus’ 40 days of fasting in the wilderness. The call to abstain from eating animals is as traditional as Genesis 1:29, yet as current as the teaching of evangelical leader Franklin Graham. Earlier religious leaders like Methodist founder John Wesley, Salvation Army pioneers William and Catherine Booth, and Seventh-day Adventist Church founder Ellen White, all abstained from animal flesh. A plant-based diet is not just about Christian devotion. Dozens of medical studies have linked consumption of animal products with elevated risk of heart failure, stroke, cancer, and other killer diseases. A United Nations report named meat production as the largest source of greenhouse gases and water pollution. Undercover investigations have documented routine mutilation, deprivation, and beating of animals on factory farms. Today's supermarkets offer a rich array of plant-based meats, milks, cheeses, and ice creams, as well as traditional vegetables, fruits, and grains. Entering "vegan" in our favorite search engine provides lots of suitable products, recipes, and transition tips. Sincerely, -------------------- Editor References  https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2017/01/05/why-all-christians-should-go-vegan/  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_vegetarianism  http://www.cnn.com/2016/08/01/health/meat-eaters-risk-of-death-plant-protein/index.html  http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/food-recipes/healthy/g807/vegan-recipes/  https://www.thespruceeats.com/easy-meatless-recipes-for-lent-fridays-4158115
Michael Ignacio
Novato
February 19, 2020

My choice is clear

My choice is clear

The Community Voice

After attending both District 3 Supervisor debates my choice is clear.  It’s Chris Coursey.  Just one of the reasons is Chris doesn’t make decisions until he reaches out to his constituents as well as talking to the larger entities involved. I’ve had enough of putting up with decisions made by a Supervisor who has continually disregarded the voice of the people in favor of special interests who contribute to her campaign.  

As a woman who has fought for women’s right my whole life it is a joy to advocate for women who run for office.  I just cannot support Shirlee Zane, Vote for Chris Coursey.

Christina Meyer

Rohnert Park

Christina Meyer
Rohnert Park
February 14, 2020

Really disappointed

Really disappointed

The Community Voice

I have been really disappointed by the articles you have had recently in which the columnist attacks anything that may be not through the white male lens. The one-sidedness rearranging trying to have the representation actually include all parts of Rohnert Park, not just white business. Home owning interests.

Also using veiled racist language of dumbing down universities because overwhelming evidence shows standardized tests exclude poor people and people of color.

Finally, today’s column about ethnic studies. As an attorney of color living in this city, this paper is not inclusive of the minorities in this city. 

I will no longer subscribe or read your paper. I enjoyed it for the six years I have lived here. Hopefully, you will get some columnists who are not so hostile to the changing city and world around here,

Lily Hernandez

Rohnert Park

Lily Hernandez
Rohnert Park
February 14, 2020

Praising the so-called virtues

Praising the so-called virtues

The Community Voice

Bernie Sanders is on the record, but even more importantly on videotape from Aug. 8, 1985 and June 13, 1988. uncritically publicly praising the so-called virtues of communist dictatorships in Cuba under Fidel Castro, in Nicaragua under Daniel Ortega and in the Soviet Union under totalitarian tyranny. Sanders and his second wife Jane spent their 1988 marital honeymoon in the Soviet Union. 

Why would Bernie Sanders, of all places on this planet, actually voluntarily pick the Soviet Union as the destination for their honeymoon? Were all of the available hotel rooms in Cuba, Nicaragua and North Korea already booked in 1988?

From the numerous communal kibbutzim in Israel that Bernie Sanders could have chosen from in 1963, why would Sanders have voluntarily joined Kibbutz Shaar Haaamakin whose founder Aharon Cohen was convicted of spying for the Soviet Union?

According to the Feb. 9, 2016 edition of The Times of Israel, the kibbutz belonged to the Israeli Kibbutz embers had admired Joseph Stalin until his death and they would celebrate May Day with red flags? 

If Sanders were to ever publicly disclose the truth about his prior political activities, that’s the day those much-heralded tons of millions of dollars in donations will cease.

These days your favorite so-called democratic socialist Senator Sanders prefers flying on his personal private jet plane to sitting with us commoners in coach.

Joe Biden still rides Amtrak, from what I’ve heard. And I thought Biden was supposed to be the elitist, Bernie? 

This might explain why Sanders vehemently refused to disclose any of his tax returns until April of 2019 when Senator Sanders finally had to admit that he has been a member of the top one Percent of Americans economically all along, while publicly, dishonestly pretending to be the otherwise.

Jake Pickering

Arcata, Ca.

Jake Pickering
Arcata, Ca.
February 14, 2020

“BERNIE THE COMMIE” (300 Word version) Bernie Sanders is on the record, but even more importantly ON VIDEOTAPE (from August 8, 1985 and June 13, 1988) uncritically publicly praising the so-called virtues of communist dictatorships in Cuba under Fidel Castro, in Nicaragua under Daniel Ortega, and in the Soviet Union under totalitarian tyranny. Sanders and his second wife Jane spent their 1988 marital honeymoon in the Soviet Union. Why would Bernie Sanders, of all places on this planet, actually voluntarily pick the Soviet Union as the destination for their honeymoon? (Were all of the available hotel rooms in Cuba, Nicaragua, and North Korea already booked in 1988?) From the numerous communal kibbutzim in Israel that Bernie Sanders could have chosen from in 1963, why would Sanders have voluntarily joined Kibbutz Sha’ar Ha’amakim whose founder Aharon Cohen was convicted of spying for the Soviet Union? According to the Feb. 9, 2016 edition of The Times of Israel, “The kibbutz belonged to the Israeli political party Mapam, which in the 1950s had been a communist, Soviet-affiliated faction. Kibbutz members had admired Joseph Stalin until his death, and they would celebrate May Day with red flags.” If Sanders were to ever publicly disclose the truth about his prior political activities, that’s the day those much-heralded tens-of-millions of dollars in donations will cease. These days, your favorite so-called democratic socialist Senator Sanders prefers flying on his personal private jet plane to sitting with us commoners in coach. Joe Biden still rides Amtrak, from what I’ve heard. And I thought Biden was supposed to be the elitist, Bernie? This might explain why Sanders vehemently refused to disclose any of his tax returns until April of 2019, when Senator Sanders finally had to admit that he has been a member of the top 1% of Americans economically all along, while publicly, dishonestly pretending to be otherwise. Sincerely, Jake Pickering Arcata, CA, USA Mailing Address: P.O. Box 3050 Eureka, CA 95502, USA Phone Number: (707) 683-6285
Jake Pickering
Arcata, CA
February 1, 2020

“BERNIE THE COMMIE” How would Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign be able to successfully handle four specific politically (and morally) problematic aspects of Bernie Sanders’ biography that would certainly be exploited and advertised to the tune of tens-of-millions of dollars in televised attack ads by the Republican Party during the course of a general election? Senator Sanders’ four potentially disqualifying issues in his personal background that he has not adequately addressed with the American people or media to date are as follows. 1. Bernie Sanders is on the record, but even more importantly ON VIDEOTAPE (from August 8, 1985 and June 13, 1988) uncritically publicly praising the so-called virtues of communist dictatorships in Cuba under Fidel Castro, in Nicaragua under Daniel Ortega, and in the Soviet Union under totalitarian tyranny. 2. Bernie Sanders and his second & current wife Jane enthusiastically and unapologetically chose to spend their 1988 marital honeymoon in the Soviet Union. Why would Bernie Sanders, of all places on this planet, actually voluntarily pick the Soviet Union as the destination for their honeymoon? (Were all of the available hotel rooms in Cuba, Nicaragua, and North Korea already booked in 1988?) You know damn well why Bernie Sanders chose the Soviet Union. Please! Do I have to spell it out for you? Because Republicans most certainly will during a general election if, God forbid, Soviet Senator Sanders becomes the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee. 3. Out of all the numerous communal kibbutzim in Israel that Bernie Sanders could have joined in 1963, why would Sanders have voluntarily chosen to join Kibbutz Sha’ar Ha’amakim whose founder Aharon Cohen was convicted of spying for the Soviet Union? From the Feb. 6, 2016 edition of the New York Times, “The kibbutz was founded in Romania in 1929 and established in pre-state Israel in 1935. It saw the Soviet Union as a model, and often flew the red flag at outdoor events.” It’s no wonder that Bernie Sanders dishonestly claimed during the 2016 presidential primary campaign to have supposedly completely forgotten which Israeli kibbutz he lived and worked on for several months, only later admitting to joining the Stalinist kibbutz after the Israeli newspaper Haaretz unearthed a 1990 interview with Sanders wherein Bernie specifically names his Stalinist kibbutz. Furthermore, according to the Feb. 9, 2016 edition of The Times of Israel, “The kibbutz belonged to the Israeli political party Mapam, which in the 1950s had been a communist, Soviet-affiliated faction. Kibbutz members had admired Joseph Stalin until his death, and they would celebrate May Day with red flags.” 4. And then there’s Bernie Sanders’ bizarre, incredibly disturbing, misogynistic “rape fantasy” article that Sanders wrote which was published in 1972 when Sanders was a 30-year-old far-Left Marxist socialist gubernatorial candidate in Vermont. Speaking of 1972, hopefully non-Democrat Bernie Sanders will never be given the opportunity by Democratic primary voters to become the next George McGovern! Now, I must admit, if I were a sycophantic supporter of the pro-Soviet Senator Sanders, I would also probably desperately attempt to actively ignore these impassable issues as well. Unfortunately for the Bernie Bros., the general electorate is not at all likely to simply ignore Bernie’s past. If Bernie Sanders could just be honest for once with the American people about his personal political background and finally just admit and apologize for having spent the first half of his life as an anti-American, pro-Soviet quasi-communist, then perhaps Sanders’ presidential campaign could get past this immovable morass. But don’t hold your breath, because Bernie has been lying to the public about his political past for decades now and at the advanced age of 78, Bernie Sanders is not at all likely to admit to his cultish, financially generous followers that Sanders disqualified himself from the presidency long ago. If Senator Sanders were to ever finally disclose the truth about his prior political activities publicly, that’s the day those much-heralded tens-of-millions of dollars in donations will stop, which is why holding your breath here may become hazardous to your health! You see, these days, your favorite so-called democratic socialist Senator Sanders prefers flying on his personal private jet plane to sitting with us commoners in coach. Joe Biden still rides Amtrak, from what I’ve heard. And I thought Biden was supposed to be the elitist, Bernie? This might explain why Bernie Sanders vehemently refused to publicly disclose any of his tax returns until April of 2019, when Bernie finally had to admit that he has been a member of the top 1% of Americans economically all along, while publicly, dishonestly pretending to be otherwise. And finally, for those of you who still inexplicably believe that Senator Sanders’ presidential candidacy has a snowball’s chance in Hell of surviving general election level media scrutiny and the GOP slime machine, then I have but two words for you foolish folks: JEREMY CORBYN. Sincerely, Jake Pickering Arcata, CA, USA Mailing Address: P.O. Box 3050 Eureka, CA 95502, USA Phone Number: (707) 683-6285
Jake Pickering
Arcata, CA
February 1, 2020

Support Measure G

Support Measure G

The Community Voice

At the regularly scheduled meeting of the Sonoma County Fire Districts Association held January 23, in Glen Ellen, the members voted unanimously to endorse and support Sonoma County Measure G in the upcoming election on March 3, 2020.

Measure G will provide funding to increase staffing and firefighter safety, foster fire district consolidations for efficiency, provide improved emergency warning systems and better fire vegetation management. 

Frank Treanor, 

President of the SCFDA

Frank Treanor
January 31, 2020

Be a Santa to a senior

Be a Santa to a senior

The Community Voice

Brings Holiday Joy to 653 Seniors. We at Home Instead Senior Care, Rohnert Park sincerely thank the Community of Sonoma County who provided gifts and put smiles in the hearts of 653 Senior residents in 18 different Alzheimer’s Memory Care, Skilled nursing and long-term residential care facilities from Petaluma to Cloverdale.

Thank you to the Community Voice for being such an advocate of this program and for the seniors in our community by continuously covering our stories and being in the forefront of providing senior topics and pertinent subjects matter weekly. Ornaments were placed on Christmas trees at Raley’s in Petaluma, Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa and Windsor; Oakville Market/Healdsburg, Oliver’s Cotati, Mercy Wellness Cotati, Patelco CU/RP, The Leading Edge/SR and LTâ’s/RP. Thank you to Dr. Alec Nelson/Fountaingrove Dental, a veteran himself, gifted over 20 Veteran Seniors through his BNI-Alliance Builders and Corporate sponsors, PGE,, the RP/Cotati North Bay Realtors and Mancinas Sleep world! The overwhelming generosity year after year makes it possible for our volunteers to brighten each Senior’s Christmas! Be A Santa To A Senior, a nationwide program provides gifts and companionship to seniors. Our RP Branch partners with staff at long-term care facilities identifying those seniors without family to help them to know they are not forgotten. Since 2007, our volunteers have distributed over 3,800 gifts in Sonoma County and the number grows each year. Thank you to all those who made! the 2019 Be a Santa to a Senior possible.

Home Instead Senior Care 

Rohnert Park

Home Instead Senior Care
Rohnert Park
January 31, 2020

We will do our own

We will do our own

The Community Voice

University District HOA at Rohnert Park has decided to do their own parking enforcement on public street and will use a private company to enforcement parking. I need to see what city and public safety department has to say on this new Initiative.

University District LLC

University District LLC
January 31, 2020

Help solve a problem

Help solve a problem

The Community Voice

Terrible things are happening all over the world.  Most people can’t hope to help to solve them.

Voters in Sonoma County’s Third District, though, can help their county greatly by voting for Chis Coursey for County Supervisor. Please do.

Anne E. Seeley

Santa Rosa

Anne E. Seeley
Santa Rosa
January 31, 2020

Cotati and homelessness

Cotati and homelessness

The Community Voice

Tonight, at the Cotati City Council I learned that "there are a number of houses like this in Cotati."  A number of houses housing the homeless.  What number?  The three houses and a two-car garage on Arthur Street was sold earlier in the day to the county.  No number of occupants was brought forward, but our supervisor explained that the occupants would not be supervised...  Citizen's input? What bother?  The houses are next to a church parking lot and the Bike Path.  A citizen is very concerned about crosswalks in the city.  The city "has been working on it" for decades.  The city put in traffic slowing islands etc. only to raise the speed limits.  A handful of selected homeless from the Joe Rodota Trail will leave that bike path and parking lots to be in the center of Cotati next to a bike path, a parking lot, road construction and the Cotati Crawl.  Everything works so well in Cotati that citizens do not need to give any input or even be surveyed for what they would like in their city. The experts are in Petaluma, Windsor and Bodega Bay and Cotati.

Eric Kirchmann

Citizen of Cotati since 1976

Eric Kirchmann
Cotati, Ca.
January 24, 2020

Law enforcement calls

Law enforcement calls

The Community Voice

Calls to the law enforcement from July-Dec. 2019. For people saying that these vagrants are “good people, who have fallen on hard times,” this is proof of their character. Sexual assaults, stabbings, fights, drugs, ODs, etc. Over 6,000 service calls have been received.

The county has just been awarded $12 million, just for the 220 vagrants on the trail. Those people were all offered shelter beds and they refused. There are currently 72 available shelter beds in this county. They have refused, because they cannot use in these facilities.

The county has already received $64 million dollars in money to go towards homelessness since 2016 and we still have the same 3,000 documented homeless people. Eighty percent of the vagrants on the trail are not from this county. These people have now jumped ahead of the 8,000 families waiting for housing and were wiped off the County section 8 list in June 2019.

We already spend millions on their medi-Cal, CalFresh, cash assistance and Section 8 vouchers. The BOS and other county officials have let this get out of control. The transfer of these people from the trail to the LG Center will only bring this amount of crime to this area of Santa Rosa and expose the vulnerable residents of Oakmont and Valley of the Moon to an unsafe environment. No background checks are being done on these people to at least check to see if they are sex offenders.

Your voice is more important than ever. Write you county supervisors and let’s take our community back.

Jen Milwright

C Section

Jen Milwright
C Section
January 24, 2020

Drawing map behind closed doors

Drawing map behind closed doors

The Community Voice

Shame on the Rohnert Park City Council for the district map they drew behind closed doors and voted to accept at their Jan. 14 meeting.  

The California Voting Rights Act is designed to protect the interests of voters who are disenfranchised by the at-large elections Rohnert Park has used up until now.  It breaks the city into districts that are aligned with neighborhoods so that the elected representatives for the council will be from these neighborhoods instead of chosen from the general population.  It is the best way to ensure fair representation of all the people; especially in a city like Rohnert Park where three of the council members currently live in the same potential district and none of them live in three of the five districts designed by representational maps. 

The city hired a consulting firm to design fair district maps and residents also sent map drafts to be considered. 

Four of the five members of Rohnert Park’s Council, Gina Belforte excluded, chose not to accept the advice and comments of the design firm or residents.  Instead they chose a gerrymandered map designed by them and for their benefit.  In this map, two of the council people who live on the same street now are part of two separate districts.  Each of the council members have their own district. To achieve this, one of the council members said she was moving to another district. 

Would you call this fair?  I don’t.  There is one more hearing meeting at 5 p.m. January 28 in the Rohnert Park Council Chambers.  I urge the residents of Rohnert Park to attend this hearing and make your voice heard.    

Chris Meyer

Rohnert Park

Chris Meyer
Rohnert Park
January 24, 2020

Council did not adopt

Council did not adopt

The Community Voice

At the last city council meeting, on January 14, 2020, the city council did not adopt districts to actually represent the residents of those districts.  Instead, the city council selected districts to not run against each other in future elections rather than represent the voters who live in those districts.

The reason to adopt district voting is for voters of each district to be represented by city council members who are elected by those districts.  An additional requirement should be the city council member should live in the district they represent.  That would be real representation.

As one city council member said, 'So, pick one (district map) because we will be having to do it over anyway'.  That was the only thing they got right.

It appears that the city council is collectively suffering from the Dunning-Kruger effect in that they are unable to do the right thing because they are unable to recognize what the right thing is.

Larry Resnick

B Section Resident

Larry Resnick
B Section
January 24, 2020

Columnists attack anything

Columnists attack anything

The Community Voice

I have been really disappointed by the articles you’ve had recently in which the columnist attack anything that may be not be through the white male lens. The one-sidedness regarding trying to have the representation actually include all parts of RP, not just white business/home owning interests.

Also, using veiled racist language of dumbing down universities because overwhelming evidence shows standardized tests exclude poor people and people of color.

Finally, today’s column about ethnic studies. As an attorney of color living in this city, this paper is not inclusive of the minorities in this city. I will no longer subscribe or read your paper. I enjoyed it for the six years I have lived here. Hopefully you will get some columnists who are not so hostile to the changing city and world around them.

Lily Hernandez

Rohnert Park

Lily Hernandez
Rohnert Park
January 24, 2020

Accept no funds

Accept no funds

The Community Voice

My name is Debbie and I live with my husband and our dog, cats, pony and chickens just outside of Sebastopol. My husband and I have voted all of our adult lives. We raised our only child Angela in Sebastopol. My husband is retired and I still teach dog training here.

The senators must decide the impeachment only on the evidence and cannot under any circumstances accept fundraising help from Trump or coordinate his defense before or during the trial.

The House must be allowed to present its full case, calling on necessary witnesses and allowing all evidence from the impeachment inquiry into the trial record.

The American people deserve to see what's happening, limiting transparency only to protect classified information and whistleblower anonymity.

Our senators must vote for a fair trial with witnesses and public documents.

This matters to me because no one not even a president is above the law and should be impeached because he has broken the law and used his position to advance his own interests and help with his re-election. He has done enough damage to this country already and must NOT get four more years in office. The senators must all do their duty to this country and find him guilty!

Debbie Stoner

Sebastopol

Debbie Stoner
Sebastopol
January 24, 2020

Fellow Californians

Fellow Californians

The Community Voice

We at FEMA are committed to our mission of helping people before, during and after disasters. When wildfires raged throughout our state in 2015, 2017 and 2018, we stood with you and helped manage the disasters.

You may be aware that PG&E equipment was the source of several severe wildfires. As you continue to recover from the disasters that impacted your lives and communities, we want to share information about our agency's claim against PG&E and clarify any questions you may have.

In submitting claims in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, FEMA joined other federal and state agencies who are trying to hold PG&E responsible for its role in the wildfires. FEMA provided billions of dollars in disaster assistance, and we seek reimbursement for assistance from PG&E so those funds can be used in future disasters.

We have no interest in reducing the funds PG&E owes survivors. Unfortunately, FEMA and the State of California have been excluded from the negotiations aimed to settle the claims in the bankruptcy. We want the process to address both survivors' and taxpayers' interests as well as avoid the possibility that some survivors would receive compensation for the same wildfire expenses twice.

Receiving compensation twice for the same disaster is known as a duplication of benefits, and it violates FEMA's authority and the federal Stafford Act. If you received disaster assistance from the federal government following the Butte Fire in 2015, the North Bay fires in 2017, or the Camp Fire in 2018, and you are participating in the claim settlement process with PG&E, please work with your legal representatives to avoid receiving duplicate benefits. In a scenario where you received disaster assistance from the federal government for expenses, and then also received duplicate assistance from PG&E for the same expenses, you would be required to return disaster assistance to the federal government. FEMA is seeking direct reimbursement from PG&E to avoid that possibility.

We know you may have questions about FEMA's role in the PG&E claims process, and we want to help reduce the confusion and misinformation that has circulated in the past few weeks. We invite you to look at our webpage that includes frequently asked questions and answers. Please visit ­ ix-updates for more information.

Thank you for your interest in FEMA's role in the PG&E wildfire claims process.  Our highest priority is to continue to support your wildfire recovery.

Robert J. Fenton

Regional Administrator

Robert J. Fenton
January 24, 2020

Home Instead Senior Care’s Be A Santa To A Senior Brings Holiday Joy to 653 Seniors We at Home Instead Senior Care, Rohnert Park sincerely thank the Community of Sonoma County who provided gifts and put smiles in the hearts of 653 Senior residents in 18 different Alzheimer’s/Memory Care, Skilled Nursing and long-term Residential Care facilities from Petaluma to Cloverdale. Thank you to the Voice for being such an advocate of this program and for the Seniors in our community by continuously covering our stories and being in the forefront of providing Senior topics and pertinent subjects matter weekly. “Ornaments” were placed on Christmas trees at Raley’s in Petaluma, Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa & Windsor; Oakville Market/Healdsburg, Oliver’s/Cotati, Mercy Wellness/Cotati, Patelco CU/RP, The Leading Edge/SR and LT’s/RP. Thank you to Dr. Alec Nelson/Fountaingrove Dental, a veteran himself, gifted over 20 Veteran Seniors through his BNI-Alliance Builders and Corporate sponsors, PGE,the RP/Cotati North Bay Realtors and Mancini’s Sleepworld! The overwhelming generosity year after year makes it possible for our volunteers to brighten each Senior’s Christmas! Be A Santa To A Senior, a nationwide program provides gifts and companionship to Seniors. Our RP Branch partners with Staff at long-term care facilities identifying those Seniors without family to help them to know they are not forgotten. Since 2007, our volunteers have distributed over 3,800 gifts in Sonoma County and the number grows each year. Thank you to all those who made the 2019 Be a Santa to a Senior possible. H Home Instead Senior Care 707-586-1516
Mariclair OConnell
Rohnert Park
January 23, 2020

University District HOA at Rohnert Park has decided to do there own parking enforcement on public street and will use a private company to enforcement parking. Need to see what city and public safety department has to say on this new Initiative by University District LLC.
Sesha Achyuta
Rohnert Park
January 22, 2020

How to throw away money

How to throw away money

The Community Voice

RP did not take the hint to follow the state voting rights act requiring district elections and now must pay $30,000 to a lawyer.  In addition, the districts have to be drawn, in this case, the city hired a consultant (who works for the city, not the voters).  I looked at the several proposed district maps and it appears that most are excellent examples of gerrymandering to protect the existing council members so business as usual. 

As part of the voting rights act, gerrymandering was done away with so RP venture into this will not likely survive. There is also a requirement that the public be given a seven-day public notice prior to the final hearing.  A representative of the city clerk’s office stated that the notice was published on the city’s website. The hearing will be on Jan. 14th, too late.

Trying to locate that notice/maps on the not secured city website was not possible for me, and why does the city think that everyone has a computer and would know about the notice?  

Maybe the council members/administration should reimburse the city for their flagrant disregard of the voting rights act.  Business as usual for RP.

Robert Grundman

Rohnert Park

Robert Grundman
Rohnert Park
January 17, 2020

So far pretty good

So far pretty good

The Community Voice

The new year—so far pretty good. 

“The fault dear Brutas, is not in our stars, but in ourselves...”

What goes around, comes around.

The evil in this world is not done only by those who commit it, but by those who stand back and watch it happen.

Press on. Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. 

Do we really believe that a nation that is starving (North Korea) can field a more powerful force than we—the most powerful nation in the world?

No person is wise enough by themselves.

Whatever you are by nature, keep to it; never desert your own line of talent. Be what nature intended you for and you will succeed.

It takes courage for a person to listen to his own goodness and act on it.

“Be who you is, cuz if you ain’t who you is, you is who you ain’t. —Folk wisdom

“I am going to my quarters, put my feet up and put on one of my personal relaxation tapes”—Captain Jean-Luc Picard (“Star Trek” character)

Ron Lowe 

Nevada City, Ca.

Ron Lowe
Nevada City, CA
January 10, 2020

Probably hasn’t visited

Probably hasn’t visited

The Community Voice

To imply that the Castro is a “noisy, dense, concrete-filled” neighborhood is either a swipe at the gay Senator Wiener or perhaps Mr. Elias (Ca. Focus 12/27/19) hasn’t visited the area. The Castro is a vibrant neighborhood with Victorian houses, several large parks and lots of families enjoying its stores and movie theater. As a lesbian I am opposed to SB 50 for many good reasons. However, there is no good reason to take a shot at Senator Wiener or The Gay Mecca.

Marti Kashuba

Cotati, Ca.

Marti Kashuba
Cotati, Ca.
January 10, 2020

Rotate the states

Rotate the states

The Community Voice

Every four years since 1972, Iowa and New Hampshire in tandem have repeatedly been the first two states to vote in the American presidential primary process. Isn’t it time for the other 48 states to take their turns at being one of the first two states to vote?

The American presidential primary process should be reformed in time for 2024 by instituting a rotational centurial schedule whereby every state will finally have the opportunity to be one of the first two states to vote.

Rotating the states would bring a much needed, overdue element of fairness to the American primary system by giving each state (no matter how sparsely populated) a period of political relevance.  

Also, moving Iowa and New Hampshire out of their unwarranted privileged political positions at the front of the line would help make the process more demographically representative of the nation at large.

Jake Pickering 

Arcata, Ca

Jake Pickering
Arcata, Ca
January 3, 2020

Managing resources

Managing resources

The Community Voice

Sonoma County has gone from total pandemonium in 2017 to a massively successful reaction in 2019. The county has responded, government and people, in an awesome way. Can we do it again and again: fire, flood, drought?

We’ll have to react again, at least until the county changes the way we manage resources in Sonoma County. The Sonoma County Civil Grand Jury (GJ) is one agency empowered to investigate and recommend long-term change in Sonoma County government.

Like Jimmy Stewart I “It’s a Wonderful Life,” events have blessed us with a chance to view the big picture; realize that we must act now and make changes allowing the county to survive climate change.

The GJ has for years monitored and encouraged recent movements by the state, through each county to take control of groundwater resources. A similar endeavor might be worth investigation by the GJ for electricity resources. Local regional, independent networks, like Russian Rive paddle-wheel generators as summer system nodes, could work within a county=wide network that could connect to the state grid, but could also run or not separately along the river.

The county should review power, telephone, pubic health, education, parks, building, even internet, with a 20-40-year lens, rather than the normal 23-month budget cycle of government agencies.

The Civil Grand Jury is in place and capable of such review and recommendation. It is their job.

If you have vision and concern for the future of Sonoma County, consider applying for the Sonoma County Grand Jury. The application enrollment period for the 2020-2021 Grand Jury is Jan-March 2020. Last year we pulled forward a few applicants into the 2018-2020 juries.

Contact the Sonoma Cunty Grand Jury Association, P. O. Box 4716, Ca. 95404-4716.

. Peter Andrews, President, 707-865-9517.

Gene Zingarelli

Santa Rosa

Gene Zingarelli
Santa Rosa
December 27, 2019

Come and hear Sarris

Come and hear Sarris

The Community Voice

Readers of the Community Voice and residents of the Rohnert-Park-Cotati-Penngrove area cam attend a free event at the Rohnert-Park-Cotati Library Jan. 29, 2020 starting at 6 p.m. The event features, SSU Professor Greg Sarris, Tribal leader of the Graton Rancheria and SSU Professor Emeritus Jonah Raskin. The event is titled "A Sense of Place." Sarris and Raskin will talk about writing, books, geography, spirituality and the changing face of the North Bay. Free copies of Sarris's books, Grand Avenue and How a Mountain Was Made, as long as supplies last. There will be time for questions and an opportunity to meet and talk with both men face-to-face. This is a rare chance to hear two authors who have spent much of their lives thinking and writing about Sonoma County people and places. I hope to see you there.

Jonah Raskin

Santa Rosa

Jonah Raskin
Santa Rosa
December 27, 2019

Violated Brown Act

Violated Brown Act

The Community Voice

I attended the Dec. 10 meeting of the Rohnert Park City Council in order to speak out on the council's refusal to discuss citizen oversight of law enforcement. Given the history of the city's policing, that conversation is long overdue. Apparently, Mayor Gina Belforte is tired of being reminded of the council's failure to be on the right side of history. When Marni Wroth, mother of Branch Wroth, the unarmed man killed by asphyxiation after a horrific beating, spoke one sentence past her allotted three minutes, Belforte decided to throw her weight around. She decided to violate the Brown Act, not once, but three times by claiming she could cede the speaking times of three people. And the city attorney and the other council members raised no objection and were complicit. Take a gander at the video. Sadly, not only are your police officers lawless, but your city administration, as well. And the lawsuits just keep on coming.

Susan Lamont

Rohnert Park

Susan Lamont
Rohnert Park
December 20, 2019

Thanking students

Thanking students

The Community Voice

NOAH (Neighbors Organized Against Hunger) thanks the students of Marguerite Hahn, John Reed and Monte Vista Elementary Schools for their recent food drives to help HOAH distribute food to the people from Rohnert Park, Cotati and Penngrove each week. Rancho Cotate High School has started a drive which ends this week. 

Because of the staples NOAH receives from these school drivers we don’t have to purchase as much from the Redwood Empire Food Bank and can use our funds to purchase eggs, frozen meat items and fresh dairy products as they become available.

Elizabeth Hoelter, Coordinator

Rohnert Park

Elizabeth Hoelter
Rohnert Park
December 13, 2019

Marijuana, more bad than good

Marijuana, more bad than good

The Community Voice

Marijuana being now legal is bringing a bunch of criminals out of the woodwork. Home invasions, which resulted I people being brutalized and shot, car jackings, so the criminals could escape.

It gets worse and worse and more and more violent crime. It is sickening to normal people in this society who wish to live in peace. It is truly a sick society who needs and thinks that marijuana will solve all their problems or is hiding behind marijuana to smooth out their problems when they wake up in the morning? The problem is still there.

If you look into the supposed good that marijuana does, you will find that the minus far out- weighs the plus.

Medical marijuana, what a joke. Just a term to get the foolish people to vote to legalize it.

The American people in general are a loving compassionate people. Most people look for the good in everything. They are always willing to help people in need. That makes them gullible. They don’t research the issues before going to the ballot box.

So now we are stuck with the legalization of marijuana which as time goes along will prove to be a mistake.

Do you think the people who have been growing and selling it illegally are going to suddenly turn legit? No way! They’re not going to pay the state any portion of their profit.

Richard Cole

Rohnert Park

Richard Cole
Rohnert Park
December 13, 2019

Sky high drug prices

Sky high drug prices

The Community Voice

I am an older American, and I am asking my members of Congress to address skyrocketing prescription drug prices. There are bipartisan proposals in Congress to fix this -- so this is the moment to finally enact legislation into law.

Like many seniors, I cannot afford to keep paying higher and higher prices for the medications I need. Medication alone will not keep anyone alive if we can't afford food, housing, and other essentials for daily living. Meanwhile, pharmaceutical companies continue to profit on

already billion-dollar industries. No one should have to choose between putting food on the table and filling life-saving prescriptions. 

I'm demanding that my members of Congress vote yes on a bill that lowers drug prices.

Ms. Lynn Johnston

Santa Rosa

Lynn Johnston
Santa Rosa
December 6, 2019

High cost of health care

High cost of health care

The Community Voice

I am 77, recently disabled by a severe concussion and post-concussion syndrome.  I am going broke, a major cause: the high cost of Health care!  Not just drug prices, but the ridiculously high cost of care and

supplements not covered by Medicare and my AARP Supplement.

If I had the time and energy I would mount a major challenge to the Sutter Health System, which I believe is bleeding its clients for its own profits!

Ms. Carol Fisch

Sebastopol, Ca.

Carol Fisch
Sebastopol, Ca.
December 6, 2019

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 4, 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 11, 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