Monte Rio Musings - Chuck Ramsey - March 2017
March has always been my favorite month. Spring, new beginnings, longer days, more sunshine, beauty, and hope. From what this winter has brought, from local disasters to our national disaster, it couldn’t arrive fast enough this year.
This March also brings with it another milestone birthday for me. Hoping our new gym will be open soon as this body needs to work out some stress.
I am glad people are becoming more engaged in community and politics again, but surprised what it takes to make that happen. Leaving national politics aside, I am disheartened to read a comment on Nextdoor that a 26-year River resident has had enough of local government inaction, has given up any hope, and is leaving the area. I also heard from someone else that they are giving it two years and if it doesn’t change, they too are out of here. Our local government doesn’t function as it should and neglects the middle class people here. There seems to be a lack of common sense, and a need for a proactive stance. For instance, there is a retaining wall that is giving way on Starrett Hill Dr. I contacted the county. The response I got was they would check to see if it was beyond their right of way or not. The soil around the telephone/electric pole, as well as the new fire hydrant, is shifting. PG&E came out and said for now the pole is OK, but they are worried that road will collapse. Our fire chief was out and said he is worried he will lose a fire hydrant. There is also State and Federal disaster funds to cover this. So instead of addressing the issue before the wall and road collapses, and it takes a year or two to rebuild and reopen the road (without disaster funds at that point), the county thinks they should just do nothing until the road collapses? This is also a newly paved road when Sweetwater installed new water mains and fire hydrants. Perhaps, there might be some good news and the county will decide that it is in their best interest to be proactive, save money, and maintain our roads, but only time will tell.
While we still are hopeful Lynda Hopkins will be able to make a difference, it is beyond what one Supervisor can change herself. It gets back to our community demanding change and better responsive services.
Next month I will start a scorecard on the county’s response time for issues people have brought up. When was the issue reported? To what departments? What was the initial response? Has anything been resolved? If you have an issue you can report it on Nextdoor Downtown Monte Rio, or email me. Include information about the issue, who you reported to, and when you reported it. Perhaps the scorecard could be titled County Progress Report or CPR?
The other day I was talking to our fire chief at our Park & Rec. A young couple came up and asked if we had seen a sleeping bag they had lost or if we had a blanket for them. The fire chief asked where they were from and they said Santa Rosa. He asked why they were here and they said “because it’s not Santa Rosa.” The chief also told me many people he asks are from out of state. This is not sustainable on any level. Compassion includes helping those that want to help themselves, and also helping long term residents stay here. Same goes for businesses. We are an economically depressed area and yet, we don’t get the modest amount of help and services from our government agencies to improve things?
Why do some people have to keep their vehicles and RV’s currently registered and others don’t? Why do we have a group of people continually cleaning up debris while continuing to allow others to degrade our environment? Where will the increased TOT taxes be spent? Where will the new marijuana taxes be spent? I recently came across an article in the SF Chronicle from July 1991 titled “Monte Rio Making Itself Over, Russian River town hopes to shed its down and out image. “ “Home to the downtrodden and forgotten since the 1960s.” “Monte Rio became known as the place where the sleaze meets the trees.” Then again back then we did at least have the Pink.
So it’s 26 years later, I’m about to turn 60, it’s time to March forward. If you are on the same page, join the Monte Rio Community Alliance. If you live in Guerneville join the Guerneville Community Alliance. If you are a homeowner’s association, a local district, or a community group, join the Russian River Alliance. Together we can make change happen, and happen quickly.
Vacation Wonderland. We just keep getting better.