Each year in January, the Board of Supervisors sets our priorities for the coming year. We capture the accomplishments of the past year; review the challenges that were addressed, refocus on those long term issues remaining, and include any new issues that may have arisen during the prior year. The County’s theme for this year is building strong foundations for the future.
In 2014 we battled through yet another year of drought, as well as an earthquake that shook our homes that reminded us both of our fragility and our strengths. Today Sonoma County has one of the strongest economies in the State. We are tackling legacy challenges and making major investments that provide the foundation for our next generations. Needs remain high, but opportunities persist. We have made strategic investments targeted at the board’s priorities in making smart investments in our community.
By Dennis Rosatti
Few everyday citizens have reason to engage in regional government, even though the decisions these government bodies are making impact all of us in the Bay Area.
Our appointed local elected representatives come together to discuss problems, solutions and strategies to upcoming challenges and issues that cross local boarders. The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), Metropolitan Transportation District (MTC), Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD), and San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority (SFBRA) are not likely to be conversation pieces around the dinner table, and they rarely find their way into the local newspapers with issues of interest. The average person probably doesn’t even realize that many of these government entities exist, let alone know what they do or understand how to engage in a process that might benefit their neighborhood or local town.
A coalition of labor, faith, environmental, and community organizations has proposed a Living Wage Ordinance to the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors. Over the past year, the coalition has both lobbied the Supervisors and County staff, and conducted an extensive public education campaign.
The law would mandate an hourly wage of $15/hr. for all workers employed by the county, large county contractors and employers receiving county subsidies or leasing county property.
More than 5,500 low-wage workers, including park aides, janitors, security guards, County Fair temp employees, and about 3,800 home-care providers, would receive wage increases.
There is a monumental battle currently being waged between Verizon and the FCC in the U.S Court of Appeals in Washington DC. At stake is whether the Internet will remain free and open.
Susan Crawford, co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard and who supports the FCC’s position states “The question… is, does the U.S. government have any role to play when it comes to ensuring ubiquitous, open, world-class, interconnected, reasonably priced Internet access?”
Every citizen has a stake in the outcome of this case. The telecom industry strongly supports Verizon—the largest mobile network operator in the nation with over 119 million subscribers. If Verizon prevails, competition among both service providers and content providers would be controlled by the telecom companies that own the “pipes” through which the content flows.
Living Wage Coalition Action Alert:
On Thursday, January 24th at 6 pm (at Rohert Park City Hall 130 Avram St.) the Rohnert Park planning commission will consider again a proposal to expand the existing Wal-Mart discount store to become a supercenter. Please save the date!!
The Sonoma County Junior Commission on Human Rights believes that shelter is a human right, and are committed to fighting to end homelessness in our own community. They believe the first steps to solutions are advocacy and awareness. The Commission’s Homelessness Committee, made up of high school students, are hosting a forum to address concerns at Chops Teen Club on Wednesday, March 29th from 5:00 to 6:30.
The Community Alliances would like to announce our stance on any proposed homeless service center.
We would like to start by being very clear that we are neither for nor against any proposed service center at any proposed location at this time. We reserve the right to change that position as information changes, specifically after the town meeting being planned by Supervisor Lynda Hopkins on March 29th at 6pm at the Guerneville Elementary school, when/where everyone's voices can be heard. We are encouraging the community to come up with constructive ideas in the event a service center is opened somewhere within our community. It is our hope to try and change the conversation from a divisive one, to let's all work together and fix this as a community.