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When governments fail
For over three decades, Petaluma has failed to adequately invest in, or maintain its parks and recreation facilities.
The result: dangerous playing fields, deteriorating tennis courts and trails, playgrounds which are not ADA accessible, a community center with a leaking roof and a swimming pool with a failing boiler.
A group of 23 grassroots volunteers (Petaluma Friends of Recreation--’PFOR’) has stepped up to tackle this challenge.
We know that in communities with first class recreation facilities, athletic events and tournaments attract thousands of families bringing in millions of dollars in business revenue and sales tax.
We also know that quality parks and recreation facilities attract potential home purchasers as well as businesses considering relocating.
So we are attempting to qualify a parcel tax initiative for the November ballot which would generate $12 million to save our parks and benefit our city.
The proposed tax amounts to a dollar a week for every residential homeowner in Petaluma.
Eight specific park and rec. projects have been chosen to receive these funds--representing both sides of town and serving everyone-- toddlers through seniors.
Our measure will insure that the money designated for each of these projects will only be spent on those projects and cannot be usurped by city or state governments.
We are raising money to pay the costs to get this measure before the voters. We will be circulating petitions soon to qualify the initiative and we will need 67% voter approval in November.
A tall order--but we are determined not to let this vital part of our city’s infrastructure decline any further.
To learn more or to contribute your funds or time, go to or visit our Facebook page.
Thank you, Andrew Eber
Stewards has sent an updated proposed operating agreement to Sacramento to reopen Austin Creek State Recreation Area and the closed areas of Sonoma Coast State Park! We will begin negotiating with State Park’s staff from the Concessions division within the next few weeks. We feel that we have a workable plan and are very fortunate to have two significant partners who are excited about helping us work together to create a model for keeping parks open and safeguarding irreplaceable resources during these desparate times.
Stewards has also requested that Austin Creek be removed from the list to go out to bid as a bundled concession with other parks in Mendocino County. Some of our key partners have agreed to send letters as well.
Besides working on these effort’s Stewards’ staff and board members are geting ready to go to Park Advocacy Day in Sacramento where we will lobby our legislators with a group of about 170 other park supporters. This annual effort sponsored by the California State Parks Foundation keeps State Parks on the minds of those who can make a difference through legislation.
Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods
Why Ernie Runs?
By Ernie Carpenter
Adopting land use controls was a battle in Sonoma County for twenty five years. We adopted a General Plan and zoning that protected agriculture from urban intrusion, directed growth to cities and community centers with sewer like Forestville and Guerneville. Then, an Open Space tax to protect resources and agriculture was adopted. The cities imposed Urban Grown Boundaries. I was a leader in these efforts. This is threatened by the current Board. They have made decisions that are loose with the General Plan. We do not want to go the way of Contra Costa County.
The incumbent voted for a winery at Hwy 116 and Occidental Road that required a General Plan amendment. It allowed the intrusion of a 45 foot tall winery on ground water and septic on a small parcel into the middle of Rural Residential Zoning. There was a waiver of scenic highway setbacks and a loud protest by neighbors. There were two acres of grapes to be planted on the property.
The other decision was the Dutra Asphalt plant in Petaluma. That took a General Plan amendment to allow the asphalt plant against the wishes of hundreds of South County residents and the City of Petaluma. It was in a biotic resource area. The Fifth District Supervisor cast the deciding vote. His explanation was that he “grew up next to an asphalt plant” and it wasn’t so bad. I thought at the time “I’m glad it didn’t grow up next to a nuclear power plant.”
We depend upon zoning and planning to protect our environment and neighbor values. There was a failure in both instances. It’s not like we lack wineries, they are allowed in agricultural land. Asphalt plants need to be in zoning that accommodates them and not simply a convenience for the one ‘per center’ land owner as Occupy would say. It is easy to say “Yes”. It is saying “No” that is the hard part of the job. The incumbent has not shown the ability to say “No” to land use proposals. This does not bode well for the future of planning.
The County has abdicated on fixing roads. It is becoming dangerous for bicyclist and motorist. The response from the incumbent to Save Our Streets is “Maybe you can come up with a solution.” That is not leadership. Leadership is redirecting the $900,000 the County has budgeted this year to fix up the County Campus into fixing roads. Leadership is fighting for more of the Measure O road tax imposed by the voters in 2004 into rural road maintenance. The road budget has diminished from $6.3 million to $4.3 million during the incumbent’s term. There has been nary a squeak about this. I will fight to fix our roads. We need more to fix pot holes not less.
There are fixes for the County Pension Plan that should be implemented now. The County has not taken up this issue in a serious way. It is true that when Wall Street collapsed IRA’s, they collapsed pension plans too. There are fixes that can be implemented by the Board. I will soon have my program on my web site. They can start by eliminating pension spiking for elected persons. There is no reason a Board member should be able to roll their expensive time in the State Assembly into their County retirement for instance. It is important to control management benefits which have grown out of proportion the last few years.There is a lack of leadership on the Board of Supervisors. Many Department heads have left taking institutional memory. I remember the hard fought battles. I know who government should work for, you the 99%. We need to get back to an open government, fix the roads, support good planning, and get the gravel miners out of the river. I support good planning and tackling hard issues. That includes ending forest conversion for vineyards and protecting resources. This is why I have decided to once again become a candidate for Fifth District Supervisor. We can do better. We must do better. It’s our future. You can find me at erniecarpenter.com.
What Can We Do For Our Environment & Economy?
By Veronica Jacobi
I want to help empower you, your family, and our community to save money while reducing our impact on the environment. If each of us takes one small action today, it can add up to a big difference.
What can you do today, to save money and create a better future?
• Turn off lights and other devices when you leave the room
• Run a full load of dishes or laundry
• Set your computer to go to sleep when it’s been idle for a while
• Put on a sweater instead of turning up the heat when it’s cold
• Wear cooler clothes when it’s hot
• Switch to energy efficient light bulbs
• Eat local, organic food, or grow your own
• Buy Fair Trade products
• Consumption: rethink, reduce, reuse, recycle, rot
• Walk, bike, combine trips, carpool, ride the bus
• Telecommute 1 day a week
• Drive a car with good mileage, or go electric
• Drive slower and check tire pressure to improve mileage
• When you’re waiting for someone turn off the engine
• Use renewable energy
Pick one and do it now!
It only takes a few minutes
and you’ll be glad you did!
Websites with more ideas: *En Espanol
Veronica Jacobi’s Plan for
Local Jobs & Climate Resiliency/Recovery
GROW LOCAL GREEN JOBS. The global market for green services and technology is growing rapidly. From clean energy solutions like solar, wind, and geothermal to innovative architectural and engineering services, safe cleansers, and recycled building products this is where the growth is. With the right planning and leadership, we could be a center for Green-Tech, just as the Peninsula has become a center for Bio-Tech in the past decade. New technology means new skills and new good paying jobs for today and tomorrow!
LEAD THE SHIFT TO GREEN ENERGY. Sonoma County is already a national leader in solar! Let’s jump start Sonoma Clean Power by purchasing energy for county, commercial, and residential uses from clean, renewable resources like geothermal, solar, and wind. We can learn from Marin’s Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) to enable local control of our energy sources. We can allow private energy development on public property in exchange for long-term purchase agreements. Local governments could leverage the program to create new green jobs.
LOWER OUR CARBON FOOTPRINT. In 2009, 62 percent of Sonoma County’s greenhouse gas emissions came from transportation. We can replace government vehicles with hybrids and bio-fueled models. But, the biggest impact will be from the programs that help people work from home, walk and bicycle safely, participate in car share programs, carpool easily, and take pleasant and affordable buses and trains. There are models for these systems that we can replicate, starting with Marin County’s Go Geronimo. We should also plant carbon-reducing plantings on public lands, encourage community gardens, and impose traffic impact fees on new developments.
CONSERVE AND RE-USE WATER. We need to incentivize rainwater harvesting, gray water, and purple plumbing solutions for new construction and remodeling. We must reduce the regulatory red tape surrounding these emerging technologies for those who want to use them responsibly. In the long run, we won’t just save water – we will also save money.
MOVE TOWARD ZERO WASTE. San Francisco already has a zero waste goal for the year 2020. We can too! If we take the advice of the Sonoma Waste Advisory Group, we can eliminate landfills, save money, and create new jobs.
LOCAL FOOD PRODUCTION. Let’s encourage the creation of community gardens, pastures, worker-owned cooperatives, and other innovations that promote local food production and consumption. Let’s reverse the trend of picking fruits and vegetables before they’re ripe, shipping them half way around the world, and then spraying them with chemicals to make them look ripe.
LOCAL BANKS. Unaccountable multi-national banks are a big part of our recent financial crisis and economic problems. I will work with state senators, assembly members, and other counties to pass laws that enable municipal and county banks. The State Bank of North Dakota is the only state run bank in the US. It has helped that state to weather the current recession.
REDUCE CRIME & GANGS. I will work with experts on crime prevention and gangs to assist our youth and prevent repeat offenders. We should eliminate failed programs and expand successful programs that are already in place and that create jobs.
Finding practical solutions to our problems is challenging, but it can also be a fun adventure! Let’s show the world what’s possible!
Please share your successes, suggestions and questions with me at VJacobi@sonic.net or on facebook. If you don’t have email please call (707) 575-5594 or write to Veronica Jacobi, P.O. Box 15073, Santa Rosa CA 95402. Please include your phone number if you would like a reply.
Veronica “Roni” Jacobi - The Small Footprint / Big Impact Supervisor Candidate for 5th DistrictP.S. There is online information at www.VeronicaJacobi.com and on facebook at “Veronica Jacobi” and “Our Green Challenge”, and also at www.OurGreenChallenge.org