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Our County by Efren Carrillo

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Our County by Efren Carrillo - December 2016

by Efren Carrillo

Congratulations to Supervisor-elect, Lynda Hopkins!  She worked hard to win your trust during this past year, and has already reached out to me and other Board members to begin her transition into office.  With 26 different departments and agencies, 4000 County employees, and a sprawling district, there is a lot to consider between the election and beginning to serve as Supervisor.  

Lynda will be the first woman elected to serve our District.  When she is sworn in January 3rd, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors will celebrate its first ever female majority.  These are both historic events that bring hope during a time of national disappointment with the unexpected result of the presidential election.

I look forward to Supervisor-elect Hopkins’ stewardship of the Fifth District.

The City of Santa Rosa and the County have agreed on terms to annex the Roseland area and several county islands into the City of Santa Rosa!  Roseland Annexation has been decades in the making, and prior efforts had been doomed by disagreements of a financial nature.  One of my highest priorities as a Supervisor and Local Agency Formation (LAFCO) Commissioner was to see this effort come to fruition.  It has taken all of the past eight years, and new leadership at the Santa Rosa City Council to make this a joint priority for the city and county. 

While there was never any question that annexation should happen - as the Roseland area and the other neighborhoods which will be absorbed into Santa Rosa are literal islands completely surrounded by the city - the questions of both the process and the cost share were huge roadblocks to achieving our goals.  

In 2014, both the City Council of Santa Rosa and the Board of Supervisors made annexation a high priority in their work plans.  Over the past two years, a Roseland Advisory Committee was formed and many public meetings have been held in Roseland by Santa Rosa planning staff.  Chuck Regalia, the former planning director who served as Assistant City Manager, led a team that reached out to citizens for their input on every subject from farm animals, sewer and water hookups, public safety, affordable housing, and streets and sidewalks.  The community responded with input and opinion.   Chuck retired before the process was completed, but planner Jessica Jones carried on to complete this huge effort.

Meanwhile, the County continued its investments to transform Roseland Village into a community focused project which will eventually provide both housing and community oriented services.  A Public Library opened this past year in a former furniture store.   With the passage of Measure Y on November 8th, the hope for a permanent home for a Roseland Library becomes a true reality!  The Roseland community has the highest concentration of youth per capita in the County, and a Roseland Library branch has long been a priority for the Library Commission. 

The temporary community center also serves as home to the Boys and Girls Club, wildly popular Zumba classes, and offers free public wifi to the community.  A new linear park and play area was built next to the Joe Rodota Trail.  

The Community Development Commission staff held many meetings, and a project and developer was selected for the Roseland Village site.  Currently, the future one acre Plaza is being designed and will be built in the first phase of the eventual development.  In the meantime, most of the former shopping center buildings have been cleared, and the nearly 7 acre site continues to be used for Cinco de Mayo and other community events.

Thanks are due to retired County Administrator Veronica Ferguson, Deputy CAO Rebecca Wachsberg, Supervisor Shirlee Zane (who served with me on the Roseland AdHoc), City Manager Sean McGlynn, retired Assistant City Manager Chuck Regalia, and Mayor John Sawyer along with numerous county and city staff and attorneys for doing the heavy lifting required to make this dream come true for our community.  Without their persistence and the support of elected officials in the City Council and Board of Supervisors, we could not have moved forward on this important, historic effort.

While there is more work ahead for both Santa Rosa and the County, there is now a clear path and momentum that will see this effort through.  Congratulations to Roseland residents and the City of Santa Rosa for the addition of this vibrant, diverse community to the city!